Scenic edge of Australia

Australia has no shortage of unforgettable sights. This is especially true in Queensland, which counts the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, and Gold Coast beaches among its natural treasures.

But there’s another Queensland find that’s been hiding in plain sight for years: The Scenic Rim. Located about 90 minutes southwest of bustling Brisbane, which will host the Olympic Games in 2032, it’s more subtle than its brethren but just as substantial as the state’s other landmarks.

If you’ve never heard of The Scenic Rim, you’re forgiven. Even some Brisbane locals seemed unsure what it was like when I spoke to them.

In short, it’s a wide arc of dormant volcanic mountains dotted with rolling hills, farmland, and small farming communities. There are also wineries, beer pubs, and eco-lodges, such as Spicers canopy luxury tents. The Scenic Rim has six national parks within its borders and hundreds of miles of hiking trails.

Formed nearly 23 million years ago, the scenic rim is lush, dramatic, and largely unknown to most Americans. However, it is a taste of the famous outback just an hour and a half away from Australia’s fastest growing city. The Scenic Rim even got a shout out from the Lonely Plant in 2022 when they named it one of the top 10 places in the world to visit.

Curious to know what it was all about, I took a day trip with Eco Safaris Queensland, a Brisbane-based adventure travel company owned by Tim Scaresbrick, a Tasmanian who now lives in Queensland. A friendly and knowledgeable guide with a wealth of knowledge about the stunning landscape, he was the perfect companion for our eight hour tour in the comfort of a Range Rover HSE.

The day trip aspect was perfect. You could easily pair a visit to Brisbane with this trip back to the scenic landscape. We spend the day on long rides, punctuated by some light hikes and many stops to take in the dramatic scenery from the various lookout points. Chief among them was driving on a dirt track known as the Green Hills Road, which is where Scarisbrick stopped as we reached the top of a ridge. We emerged in a gust of light wind and complete silence, basking in panoramic views of volcanic mountains, dense green slopes, wide valleys, and few signs of human habitation. Apart from a few sheep grazing in the distance, it looked almost primitive.

“I was told that Steve Irwin thought this was the most beautiful road in Australia,” said Scarisbrick, referring to the late Australian zookeeper, conservationist, and TV personality who, more than anyone else, was responsible for Introducing the world to the country’s wildlife and landscapes.

It was magnetically beautiful and it’s impossible to argue with Irwin’s claim. But there was more later in the day when we paused at Lake Mugera, passing a landscape dotted with flame trees, jacarandas and thickets of eucalyptus trees, vainly trying to spot koalas high in its branches.

We stopped at Boonah, which would have been a movie set for an Australian outback. Lunch was in Scenic Rim Brewery In Alford Mountain, a small village where Michael and Wendy Webster have taken a dying general store dating back to 1884 and turned it into a vibrant coffee shop. Wendy creates delicacies like bitterballen (beef) and bratwurst that is inspired by her Dutch heritage and pairs them with Michael’s beers, which include Digga’s Pale Ale and Fat Man Maroon Ale.

Those who want to see more of The Scenic Rim can walk the Scenic Rim Trail, a four-day trek that stretches 30 miles from Thornton View to Cunninghams Gap. On the other hand, a day trip is ideal for those who want to get back to Brisbane and its dynamic restaurant scene (which I wrote about in Forbes) just in time for dinner.

visiting Eco Safaris Queensland.

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