QUEENSLAND’S SECRET RV HOTSPOT
In the heart of a prehistoric volcano, the Scenic Rim region is filled with fabulous wineries, gorgeous scenery and tonnes of adventure
WORDS BY FRED WRIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY BY FRED WRIGHT AND JOHN HABERFIELD
I’d promised to meet Australian Caravan Club members at Beaudesert QLD. Driving toward the muster it dawn on me that we were entering the beautiful Scenic Rim Region of QLD. This area is just so fantastic I decided it would be a great idea, considering I was already in the neighbourhood, to explore the region and show you the best parts we found.
The Muster HQ was located at the Beaudesert Showgrounds, about 60km from Brisbane. On arrival I was welcomed by a sea of over 400 faces from 215 caravans representing most states in Oz. This was beginning of my Scenic Rim adventure.
Beaudesert is the gateway to the Scenic Rim Region. This semicircular mountain range is dated at approximately 25 million years old and its development is attributed to the Tweed Volcano, including the Mount Warning Shield Volcano and Focal Peak and Main Range volcanic rocks. The volcanic history of the area significantly contributes to the agricultural and scenic richness of the region. Volcanic earth is known to be full of minerals, creating the perfect soil for supporting rainforests and vine thicket ecosystems. It’s because of these factors that the Scenic Rim is also known as the Gold Coast hinterland, full of wineries, prosperous farm lands and rural villages.
I loved the opportunity to meet up with old friends and make new ones as I mixed in with the happy hours every evening. Mal Leyland, one half of the duo the Leyland Brothers – Australian explorers and documentary film-makers – gave an absorbing speech about his life’s adventures and there were stage performers in the evening. The Deputy Mayor of the Scenic Rim Regional Council was also there and accepted my request for an interview, speaking in glowing terms of this region she visited and never left. Business owners in Beaudesert told me she could always be relied upon to answer emails and was well respected in the region.
Sitting on the fence with an ear to the ground, as I often do, I heard about Towri Sheep Cheesery not far out of Beaudesert. Armed with the knowledge of a mud map it was off to meet the owner, Carolyn Davidson.
TOWRI SHEEP CHEESERY
The Towri Sheep Cheesery is the only accredited artisan boutique sheep dairy and cheese room in Queensland and is situated in Allenview. Open to the public, by appointment only, every Friday from 10am to 3pm, this place is well worth a look.
Carolyn’s property is set amongst green, grassy lawns with the scent of Lavender gardens nearby and beside the milking sheds is a large covered area where guests can sit, relax and enjoy the rural scenery as cool breezes blow by while they sample her cheese with a tea or coffee.
I was lucky enough to try one of Carolyn’s cheeses that tasted like brie, and complimented by a drizzle of local honey. Here is one of those places you just never want to leave, but as usual it was time to move on.
During our visit to Towri, I’d heard of a place called Tank Ride and decided to head there to see what it was all about.
Well, this place is fascinating. They own five different types of war tanks and operate tours around their extensive property for thrill seekers wanting to take a ride. As I arrived, another crew were finishing up shooting with a huge Centurion tank, but I was attracted to a smaller, more modern, nimble tank used in the Desert war and quickly hopped on board. Tim, the owner/driver, set off at a cracking pace and my trusty Akubra hat soon flew skywards as I concentrated on holding on.
You might consider putting a tank ride on your bucket list, although it’s not cheap, but it’s the only one of its kind in OZ and the experience is nothing short of exhilarating. I developed a new respect for our fighting men who crewed these tanks in war and it’s impossible to imagine what they must have experienced.
Nearby were Kokoda Army Barracks, so I dropped in to investigate their Military intelligence museum. Make sure you book in advance, as this is a working army base and procedures must be followed.
I learnt so much about Australia’s intelligence procedures dating back to the early 1900’s. Captain Magress was our guide throughout the museum and I was indebted to him and his wealth of knowledge.
Onward and upward we headed to Tamborine Mountain Distillery. Michael Ward and his wife will warmly welcome you with the history of their products designed to challenge and amaze. From the time you drive and park beside Tudor style buildings and then ring a large brass bell your visit will be something to remember. Michael is politically incorrect, fair dinkum and probably QLD’s best tourist attraction. His stories will astonish you and his bottled spirits lift you in more ways than one.
BOONAH AND KALBAR
It was time to relocate from Beaudesert so we took the advice from fellow RVers and headed out to set up camp at Darlington Park. It’s only about half an hour away, in a beautiful valley, with tall shady trees beside the Albert River.
I’d rate this park one of the best of its kind and the managers are the most helpful. Native birds flock here, you can have your own fires in fire bins and if you get in early, camp right on the banks of the river. This place is relaxing, rejuvenating and somewhere special to recharge your emotional and physical batteries.
Seeking to gain a bigger perspective of the scenic rim region it was off to Boonah and Kalbar.
Both delightful towns, Boonah is the geographical centre of the scenic rim. The information centre here will help you plan your visit. Nearby Kalbar proved to be a top spot for RVers. There’s a butcher, chemist, bank, beaut bakery, a shop full of bears and handcrafted goods and a clean café and pub for a bite to eat.
The nearby showgrounds has a dump point, hot/cold showers, toilets and rubbish bins and it’s only a short walk from town. Miss emporium in the main street was one of the first buildings in town and today you can enjoy beaut arts, crafts and gorgeous creations.
Close by is a museum with that 50’s feeling, ‘The Spirit of the 50s’. There’s memorabilia inside you can’t believe, from a sugar shack to an old fashioned milk bar and plastic bench seats. This is the work of one man and when you see his 1958 Chevy, the jewel in his crown of vintage cars, you’ll be taken back to another era with happy memories of a time that started it all.
We’d heard about the mysterious Lost World Valley and as we had the Patriot in tow it was off to find out about it. This prehistoric valley is nestled in the depths of the dramatic, rugged mountains of Lamington National Park’s ‘Wilderness Section’ – an area of Lamington National Park with lush green valleys and prosperous farmland. Located only a few kilometres from Darlington Park, we decided to spend the day exploring this lush, green valley.
We found a number of activities to suit any age or budget, such as birdwatching, horse riding, and fishing. You’ll also find Albert River or Christmas Creek are perfect for cool dips in summer and secluded picnics along the water’s edge.
Yes, the scenic rim region is bursting with exciting things to do and beaut people to meet. Put this trip on your must do list and I can guarantee you’ll love every minute!