From camelcinos to Eweghurt, discover the dairy delights of the scenic rim, and plenty more surprises besides.
Known as the ‘green behind the gold’ or the ‘green cauldron’, Queensland’s Scenic Rim is an ancient volcanic land far removed from the glamour of the Gold Coast, less than a two-hour drive away. The traditional country of the Yugambeh people, with World Heritage-listed rainforest and six national parks spread over an area of some 4000 square kilometres, driving the region offers up scenery and surprises aplenty.
Driving just over an hour from Brisbane, I come to the small village of Harrisville. It’s green, undulating country caressed by recent rains, a typical scene of rustic Australian charm. So far, so normal until I pass a sign reading Summer Land Camel Farm.
Down a dirt track I go and there they are: camels and more camels. Some come running to greet me, others just give me the inquisitive once-over and continue munching. How they all got here is a question for co-owner Jeff Flood. Over a camelcino in the on-site cafe (one hump or two?), Jeff tells me his story. He and business partner Paul Martin are scientists from different disciplines whose combined knowledge made this venture possible and viable, even through the tough times of the drought
Summer Land is the largest commercial camel farm outside of the Middle East, with more than 550 animals, many having been ‘rescued’ from Central Australia and brought here to breed and produce nutritious, organic dairy products: milk, yoghurt, cheese – including a wonderful Persian feta – and a highly awarded skincare range. “We rear our camels with infinite care and treat them with great respect,” says Jeff. For them, it’s living the good life… in Camelot.
If it’s sheep cheese you prefer (it’s a rarity in Australia because low yields mean high production costs), your next stop should be Towri Sheep Cheesery in Allenview. Here Carolyn and Dallas Davidson will proudly introduce you to their 350 specially bred sheep and the award-winning hand-crafted cheeses, including Ewe Blue, Black Sheep and Eweghurt, that they produce with their milk.
Accommodating 12 guests in boutique comfort from late July, the Stables here will be available to book out in their entirety for a weekend of milking sheep, making cheese, cuddling lambs and collecting fresh eggs from the property’s chooks.
Wine or Beer? Or Both?
After all that cheese (including those stashed in your Esky) and invigorating fresh country air, you’ll be in the mood for a few tempting vintages. The Scenic Rim is renowned for its prize-winning wineries where you’ll find a variety of styles, including some excellent fortified wines; the port at Bunjurgen Estate is particularly moreish.
Meanwhile, Scenic Rim Brewery at Mt Alford specialises in liquid of an amber hue. Try crafty brews with names like Digga’s Pale Ale and Fat Man Maroon Ale, combined with a homemade deli takeaway lunch that can be enjoyed at a scenic picnic spot nearby.
The Scenic Rim Food Scene
Talented chefs here are passionately embracing the area’s abundance of farm-fresh veggies, meats, relishes, jams and of course, the dairy products. Two of the best-known chefs are Daniel Groneberg and Richard Ousby, both with big-city credentials. Daniel, with over 27 years’ international experience, runs the kitchen at Kooroomba and his love of the “simple aspects of French country-style cooking” is well known. Richard is a recent arrival at The Overflow Estate 1895’s pretty lakefront cafe after a stellar cooking career at Stokehouse Melbourne and Brisbane, raising the bar with menu ideas as fresh as the produce available.
Walking Tracks to try
Food and wine are fine, but the real joy of a Scenic Rim visit is surely the magnificent Green Cauldron countryside, with its dramatic mountain ranges and verdant valleys. From sedate, well-marked tracks, to challenging mountain scrambles, you’ll love walking here.
Lower Portals Track, Mt Barney National Park (7.4 kilometres/three hours)
Mee-Bor-Rum Circuit, Moogerah Peaks National Park, Mt French section (720 metres/15 minutes)
Mt Edwards Summit Trail, Moogerah Peaks National Park, Mt Edwards section (six kilometres/3.5 hours)
Rainforest Circuit and Mt Cordeaux Track, Main Range National Park, Cunninghams Gap (Rainforest Circuit 1.6 kilometres/30 minutes; Mt Cordeaux Track 6.8 kilometres/2.5 hours)
Palm Grove Circuit, Tamborine National Park, Palm Grove section (2.7 kilometres/one hour)
Curtis Falls Track, Tamborine National Park, Joalah section (1.1 kilometres/30 minutes)
Witches Falls Circuit, Tamborine National Park, Witches Falls section (3.6 kilometres/one hour)
Morans Falls, Lamington National Park, Green Mountains section (4.4 kilometres/1.5 hours)
The Scenic Rim region is a one-hour drive from Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
The Scenic Rim brims with stylish locations to rest your head after a long day of indulging. Spicers Peak Lodge boasts top-class cuisine.
O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat for great activities and walks.
Nightfall Camp for a unique luxury glamping experience.
For more information visit visitscenicrim.com.au