I am torn. Do I keep my eyes raised on the lookout for koalas in the trees, or lowered to watch for crawling critters beneath my feet? Do I keep them ahead to where I am going, or continue panning around me to soak in the views? Spoilt for choice, I do all of the above like a five-disc CD player on rotation.
Neck kinks aside, my attempt to soak in as much as possible is worth every near-stumble, and if you were here with me, I guarantee you’d be doing the same. I am on the Scenic Rim Trail, a two-day hiking holiday with Spicers Retreats. Hiking by day, luxury glamping by night, it’s a weekend unlike anything I’ve experienced before, and if nature is your thing, then this has your name written all over it.
The hike begins in stunning Gondwanan rainforest at Cunningham’s Gap, about two hours west of Brisbane, towards Warwick. With two knowledgeable and passionate guides, my fellow three hikers and I are taken into Mother Nature’s den where 400-year-old hoop pines line the trail and stinging trees signal danger with their closeness. Our guides relay some common mishaps with said risky plant and I give myself a mental high-five that I have never reached for one of these leaves in lieu of bathroom supplies on any previous camping trips. I commit the plant’s features to memory.
We watch as goannas sun themselves on rocks and spy birds perched in nests at the tips of the tallest trees. Later we spot a koala resting high in a Blue Gum – a highlight of everyone’s trip.
The flora is fascinating. As we duck in and out of sunshine, the terrain changes. Rainforest to bushland, scrub to grass tree forests. It’s a kaleidoscope of ever-changing colour. We trek 13km on day one and camp overnight at Spicers Canopy, a 10-tent glamping paradise with a heavy emphasis on the glam. This is camping like I’ve never seen it. There are king-size beds and fluffy robes, a private chef, top shelf liquor, day spa-like bathrooms, a private chef, outdoor spa, and oh, did I mention the private chef?!
Five-star meals are prepared for breakfast and dinner at Canopy, and the packed lunches for the hikes are next-level delicious. It’s rare to feel so close to nature, yet so immersed in creature comforts, but boy, is it the perfect balance. Each tent has picture-perfect views of Mount Mitchell and surrounds, and the sound of cows lowing in the neighbouring paddocks makes for a sweet bedtime lullaby.
Day two of hiking is another immersion into nature and I challenge my hiking pals to a competition – whoever spots a yellow-tailed black cockatoo wins. Wins what, we never decide, but it would no doubt come with a warm side of satisfaction. They’re not ridiculously rare, but not super common either, our guides tell us. We leave without seeing the majestic native species, but you could get lucky.
Even without the large black bird sighting, we’re spoilt for choice with everything else on offer. Lyrebirds keep us confused as they mimic other animals, and whip birds chatter and flirt as we peek into the homes of trapdoor spiders. Wallabies and koalas are plentiful, king parrots and lorikeets keep our eyes darting between flecks of colour.
Nature lovers are well-and-truly catered for on the trail and Spicers doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to next-level service and gourmet food.
If you’re craving a bit of ‘back to nature’ with unspoilt landscapes and no creature comfort spared, this should be your next weekend away.
The 2-Day Scenic Rim Trail is $1490pp twin share including guided hiking, luggage portered, private chef with all meals & beverages included plus a selection of hiking equipment such as poles. Departs Friday’s from March to November and with a maximum group size of 12.
Words by Georja Ryan.