I recently had the pleasure of trekking the Scenic Rim Trail by Spicers – a 4-day gourmet walk in Southeast Queensland, and I can attest to the fact that it is a truly spectacular experience.
Whilst the challenges were at times, well, challenging, the rewards were more than compensatory!
Hindsight is a great thing, and languishing in the hot tub at sunset, before my hour-long relaxation massage and after a very welcome arrival champagne at the conclusion of the walk, gave me the opportunity to reflect on the privilege of scrambling up breathtaking mountains, through cool rainforests and dry eucalypt scrub, and across bubbling rivers and creeks. Weeks later, with muscles now recovered and the vista of the countryside far behind me, I am longing for the clarity, vitality and serenity which wide open spaces, vigorous exercise and comforting food, can give you.
The Scenic Rim Trail is the latest in the Great Walks of Australia gourmet trekking experiences, and the first in Queensland, providing a winter walk to complement the existing, predominately summer season walks in southern Australia. It is also the latest addition to the Spicers Retreats suite of luxury accommodation and experiences in stunning locations across Australia, courtesy of travel entrepreneurs Graham and Judy Turner of Flight Centre.
The walk provides a unique Australian trekking experience, encompassing a kaleidoscopic landscape and a vast array of native flora and fauna. A truly ‘glamping’ adventure, the first two nights are spent in 5-star comfort at Spicers Canopy, a group of 10 luxury tents with a communal dining room, with the final night enjoyed in the grandeur of Spicers Peak Lodge.
Your experience begins at another Spicers Retreats hotel, The Balfour, in the Brisbane suburb of New Farm. A converted Queenslander home, now a boutique hotel sporting a trendy rooftop bar with views of the city skyline, a cosy library and a restaurant spilling onto a wraparound veranda, you can choose to spend the night here, joining the drive to the start of the walk in the morning. For the trek, you are provided with a day pack, including a rain poncho, cap, lunch and snacks, a mug for tea or coffee and a water bag to keep you hydrated. Your luggage is transported for you to your accommodation each night, so the weight you are carrying on your back is kept to a minimum. You will need walking poles, sturdy boots, long trousers, gaiters and sunscreen, and it can be hot during the day, so come prepared!
The walking is varied, both on-track through national park and off-track through the privately-owned Spicers Peak Station. The walk is graded up to ‘moderate’ and can be undertaken by anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. Day three is the most challenging as you hike up to Spicers Peak, but for your efforts, you are rewarded with dazzling views and varied flora and fauna, including native bush foods, rare birds, wallabies, koalas and even the odd snake!
But the beauty of this trek, as with all the members of the Great Walks of Australia group, is that the food, wine and accommodation, make this a truly existential experience. At Spicers Canopy, you are cosseted with hot showers, a king-size bed, feather duvet and electric lights, so camping has never been quite so opulent. Meals are home-style and hearty, paired with local wines, after which you can relax by the open fire, read, or even toast marshmallows.
On reaching Spicers Peak Lodge on the final day of your trek, you are greeted with that welcome champagne, spa and 5-course degustation, in the surrounds of a gentrified hunting lodge.
After breakfast the following morning, and maybe a restorative stroll, you are chauffeured back to The Balfour, reluctant to leave all that tranquility and exquisiteness behind, but ready to plan for the next Great Walk of Australia on the bucket list!
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