Relaxed luxury awaits bushwalkers on the newly launched Scenic Rim Trail by Spicers. Fiona Harper road tests the trail.
It’s hiking but not as you know it. The Scenic Rim Trail covers approximately 33 km of trails that wind through bush land, across grazing fields and alongside boulder-strewn creeks. The three day/three night walk west southwest of Brisbane includes porterage of luggage and is includes all meals, snacks and drinks. All walkers need do is enjoy the scenery. Oh, and eat, drink and sleep. It’s no real hardship with the Spicers team taking care of all the pesky details.
Here are my top 5 reasons you need to experience this trip for yourself:
1. Classic Queenslander
The best way to prepare for your hinterland walk is to stay overnight at Spicers Balfour. in Brisbane. Where urban chic has a heritage heart, this quintessential Queenslander is hidden from the street behind frangipani trees. Located in Eagle Farm, rooms come with mod-cons like filtered water on tap, Nespresso machines and Bose sound systems.
The hotel’s coolest feature is a discreet rooftop bar overlooking Brisbane city and the Story Bridge. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a city sunset, drink in hand, nibbling on complimentary canapés before dining on the balcony at divine Balfour Kitchen.
2. Books, books and more books
Some hotels scatter random books across coffee tables for decoration, dropping token publications between designer trinkets, mostly chosen to match the décor. Thankfully, books are taken far more seriously at Spicers. Perusing shelves throughout Spicers Balfour I found so many desirable books I could have easily settled into a couch and read for hours. Or days. Later, I found out it’s same deal at Spicers Canopy as well as at Spicers Lodge.
Book lovers contain yourself please. You’ll be hard pressed to drag yourself outdoors, which is surely a true indicator of the heart and soul of any hotel, or home for that matter.
Images Credit: Fiona Harper
3. Hiking Trails
As you’d expect from a Scenic Rim Trail, there is plenty of options for striding out in a scenic landscape. But this is not hard-core hiking. I’m going to call it gliking, as in glamorous hiking. Over three days there is about 33 km of trail to cover all up, so it’s not a strenuous walk for anyone of average fitness.
The trail passes tree ferns reaching four metres into the canopy, beneath ancient ironbark and eucalypt trees, skirting through groves of grass trees and 1000 year old hoop pines. Atop Spicers Peak walkers are rewarded with astounding views through Cunningham and Spicers Gap. On a clear day city skyscrapers can be seen on the coastal plain far in the distance.
Spicers Peak Station grazes approximately 450 head of cattle with some trails passing through grazing lands. Each days’ walk is fully supported by crafty guides who conveniently carry all the ingredients for making tea and coffee during lunch stops. There’s nothing quite like taking a tea break high on a ridge accompanied by a soundtrack of chirping bell birds.
Day One starts in Main Range National Park, ending 13 km later at Spicers Canopy. On Day Two there’s a short 6.5km loop or you could simply chill out and enjoy the peace and quiet at Spicers Canopy.
4. Glamping not Camping
It gets a little cool in the southern Queensland hinterland even during summer. So it’s a pleasantly warm surprise at Spicers Canopy to find crisp cotton sheets are pre-warmed by hot water bottles. Clad in woolen jumpers they’re also a rather cosy, non-snoring, sleeping companion.
Luxury canvas tents are dotted across a grassy knoll with grazing lands to the east, natural bush land to the west. Set on raised timber platforms and equipped with king beds adorned with thick doonas, plush bathrobes and slippers are on hand for late night dashes to bathrooms in the main lodge. Naturally, bedside tables carry a selection of tempting reading material
Spicers Canopy is fully powered by solar and gas and is staffed by a team of two. Chef Ryan Whordley and Host Finley Tait keep glampers sustained and nourished with hospitality that would sit comfortably in the best city hotel. I’m talking a three course dinner of French Onion soup, tender pork loin with home-made apple sauce served on a bed of sweet potato mash with red wine cabbage and potato fondant. Finley keeps wine glasses topped up with a selection of fine wines sourced locally, ‘if they’re good enough.’ Sticky toffee pudding rounds out a lively evening around a communal table that invariably moves fireside, lasting well into the star-filled evening.
Breakfast comes however you'd like it. Hot, cold or indifferent, it's entirely your choice.
5. Luxury Lodge
The third day on the trail is only 10 km but it’s probably the most challenging with a steep ascent to Spicers Peak and the final destination Spicers Peak Lodge. It’s well worth the uphill slog. The terrain varies widely as the trail ducks and weaves across the landscape. From dense dank rainforest that smells richly pungent, through stands of stringy bark eucalypts and across open scrub dotted with grass trees, birdsong accompanies walkers.
At Spicers Peak Lodge chilled champagne and chocolate brownies greet walkers in the pavilion beside the tennis court. The lodge is spread out across a vast grassy plateau with mountain views in every direction. Walls of glass dominate, capturing the view as well as warm sunshine. A swimming pool and hot tub share the same outlook. Rooms are enormous and come with a stone fireplace, some with spa baths, all with king beds. Pleasingly, books you actually want to read are everywhere. The grand finale to three days walking is a heavenly seven course degustation dinner with matching wines. It’s an appropriate end to a splendid hiking expedition. Like I said, all you need to do is walk. And eat, drink and sleep. Everything else is taken care of.
The Scenic Rim Trail by Spicers is one of eight Great Walks of Australia www.greatwalksofaustralia.com.au. Why not Take a Mate and Do all Eight?
Follow Fiona Harper travel writer at www.travelboatinglifestyle.com