Each Australian capital city has its getaway region; a place where 9-5 office workers can escape not just the city but the ubiquitous beach as well. Melbourne has the spa country around Daylesford, Sydney has the Southern Highlands – Mittagong and Bowral, Adelaide; The Adelaide Hills or the Barossa while Perth has the fabulous Margaret River.
Where does Brisbane go to escape?
The Scenic Rim is exactly an hour southwest of Brisbane and if you look at a map, it’s an hour directly west from The Gold Coast and just across the border from NSW.
And like those other magnificent regions around the country, The Scenic Rim is an absolute surprise. Spectacular views, wonderful food and friendly locals make up an area that tourism has saved from neglect. Little towns like Harrisville, and larger centres like Boonah are again flourishing thanks to vineyards and resorts, mountain climbs and joyrides.
Australian writer, conservationist and photographer Arthur Groom, coined the phrase Scenic Rim to describe the semi-circle of mountains that intersect the valleys between Brisbane and Tamborine Mountain. Today, the region boasts Australia’s most accessible World Heritage-listed rainforests, eight National Parks and rich farmland.
For the adrenaline junkies there’s Jet skiing, 4-Wheel driving, Skydiving, Paragliding and rock climbing just to name a few white knuckle activities. There are artist studios, historic cemeteries and museums to explore. With 13 wineries, 2 breweries and a distillery in the area you’ll never be thirsty. Food? Countless producers, artisans, chefs, markets, restaurants, cafes and picnic spots to enjoy.
The best way to start the weekend in Boonah is with a hearty lunch and a beer at the Dugandan Hotel – lovingly known as the Dugie. This is the quintessential country pub dating back to 1913 where the beer garden is better known as the ‘Chook Yard’ and the steaks and chicken parmies are legendary.
You’d be hard pressed to find a man who loves his job more than Captain Mike at Pterodactyl Helicopter Tours. His enthusiasm for the region shows through as he expertly guides his passengers around the Scenic Rim and beyond.
First time flyers are put at ease as he cheerfully explains procedures. With an encyclopaedic knowledge of the area he points out places of interest and his enthusiasm for flying and the Scenic Rim is infectious. He puts the joy into joyflights.
Captain Mike skilfully transported us from the Dugie to Kooroomba Vineyards and then on to Bunjurgen Estate Vineyard to sample the best drops in the Scenic Rim.
The striking sandstone Kooroomba Cellar Door is set amongst rolling hills of lavender at Mt Alford near Boonah. It’s worth coming here for the breathtaking views alone – the vineyard and lavender fields are surrounded by dark volcanic mountains. The 2012 Kooromba Chardonnay was the pick of the wines with aromas of peach.
The totally solar powered Bunjurgen Estate is about 10 kilometres south of Boonah with convivial host David McMaugh at the helm. David knows the history of the region and he knows wine. He planted the first vines in 2003 – Chambourcin and Shiraz. No wonder every vintage of The Colonel’s Selection, the Otilly Cup Shiraz Rose sells out – it is made for relaxed summer evenings.
Watch for Part 2 of ThisMagnificentLife’s magnificent Scenic Rim weekend – the Bunyip Scenic Rim Resort and Lake Moogerah