Long Weekend: Scenic Rim
The clock strikes 5:30 pm, and we excitedly leave our place of work, eager to prepare for the long weekend ahead. We fossick together some picnic goods for lunch the next day – cheeses, cold meats, fresh fruit and little side salads, with a stop for steamy baked bread and something sweet from Jocelyn’s Provisions planned for early in the morning. Our first day out of our long weekend amongst the fresh air and panoramic vistas of the Scenic Rim revolves around tasting a plentiful variety of locally made wines.
With five vineyards operating cellar doors throughout the region, we arrive at Ironbark Ridge Vineyard at a crisp 10:00 am on Saturday morning. Located at Purga, less than an hour from Brisbane, Ironbark Ridge Vineyard was established in 1984, where the dedicated team of grape lovers continues to pick the plump baubles by hand. While we sip our first drop of the day – pacing ourselves, of course – we too gulp up the mountain views, clean air and quiet surrounds. With a schedule to stick to though, we tear our eyes from the picturesque hills and turn our wheels towards Paradine Estate Wines, sitting pretty atop a hill in the rural township of Harrisville. Within the homestead cellar door we sip the lovingly crafted wines, before taking a short breather on the verandah to nibble on the winery’s homemade chocolates.
Just a short skip up the road is Normanby Wines, where our impeccable organisation skills reward our ravenous appetites with the picnic lunch, accompanied by samples of a few new drops. Wild birds provide a soundtrack to our meal, with views of Flinders Peak and Ivory’s Rock our entertainment. We wander through the vineyards admiring the neat rows of trunks and bunches of purple fruits, before scooting off to Bunjurgen Estate Vineyard in Teviot Valley. This vineyard sees The Flat also part of its property – a 20-acre paddock producing summer corn and winter oats. The sprawling land dotted with ironbark trees is home to possums, kangaroos, dingoes, parrots, wedge tail eagles and wild ducks, which we try to spot when not focused on swirling and sniffing the wines before us.
The last winery on our sardine-tight schedule of stops for the day comes replete with a majestic lavender farm. The sight of the rolling purple hue of Kooroomba Vineyards & Lavender Farm catches our breath set against the mountainous backdrop of Fassifern Valley. The rustic, contemporary architecture of the restaurant and cellar door provide a calming environment to end our day’s wine adventures. We dine on a succulent meal of local seasonal produce in the restaurant, perfectly paired with the vineyard’s own wines. With full bellies, heads and hearts we retire to the Barney Creek Vineyard Cottages for the night, where upon finding a little extra space for indulgence later in the evening, we open a bottle of the vineyard’s autumn rosé, which is thoughtfully waiting in the bungalow’s fridge.
For the remainder of the weekend we set up camp on Tamborine Mountain, making the tranquil and secluded Cedar Creek Falls Retreat our base for the fill of high-altitude eating, drinking and nature-orientated undertakings to come. Our first stop is the Green Shed Produce Market for a gander at the scope of local fruit, vegetables, honey, nuts and herbs on Sunday morning. When it comes to matters of sating our appetite with hearty fare, Mount Tamborine is no bare stretch of road, with an assortment of globally minded tastes coming together. We try to spread the love a bit, taking our fairtrade coffee at Cafe on Alpine at Birchgrove Nursery and lunch at La Ferme Provençale bistro, where vegan, non-grain, non-dairy, sugar-free menu options delight our tricky stomachs. The boisterous Bavarian Grill Haus makes for a perfect end to the day, gaining many a new friend throughout the evening.
Come Monday morning, we turn our attention to soaking up the incredible natural environment that surrounds us, starting with a hike along the Curtis Falls track, stopping for a refreshing dip in the rock pools at Cedar Creek Falls. In the lush rainforest we take time to appreciate the goosebumps rising on our arms as the temperature drops, and crane our necks upwards to admire the crows nests and staghorn ferns growing in the canopy overhead. We spend some time at Curtis Falls before hunting down one more track to stroll. Over in the MacDonald section of the Tamborine National Park we linger amongst the piccabeen palm groves, vines and ferns, mesmerised by the immense scale of the towering strangler figs. We break for a late lunch of pizza and beer at MT Brewery to round out the weekend. We await the sunset upon one of the mountain’s many vista points, before setting off on the short drive back to Brisbane, heads hitting the pillow with contentment that night.
Find more information about the Scenic Rim region here.