When it comes to the Scenic Rim, think romantic cottages, farm stays, hot air balloon rides and some serious glamping. Add in a mix of great scenery and food and wine and you have a great holiday waiting for you to enjoy. Read through the best 10 things to do in the Scenic Rim.
1. Fly in a hot air balloon
One of the most dramatic ways to see the Scenic Rim is from above, soaring high over country farms, glassy lakes, through valleys and, sometimes, through an eery early morning mist. Floating Images hot air balloon pilot and business owner Graeme Day honed his flying skills in France, the birthplace of hot air ballooning, and has been taking passengers from Ipswich, just 30 minutes west of Brisbane, over the Scenic Rim in view of Flinders Peak, Tamborine Mountain and the Macpherson Range for 20 years. Come back to earth with a champagne breakfast. Flights from $330* per person.
2. Go glamping
The approach to Steve and Leona Taylor's secluded mini eco-retreat may be steep but the view from the top over the valley to Knapps Peak is spectacular. Ketchup's Bank Glamping, near Boonah, is a bush camping experience with the added comfort of luxury bedding, plush bathrobes and an ensuite with hot shower and flushing toilet. There's a barbecue and camper stove undercover for cooking up meals like a real outdoor adventurer. Only two eco-tents share the 40 hectares of remnant dry eucalypt forest that is a natural habitat for a variety of wildlife, including wallabies, koalas and more.
3. Cook with local produce
Local chef Kate Raymont (who also runs the Vintage Pickle Deli on Tamborine Mountain) hosts monthly cooking classes at Wild Lime Cooking School, creating dishes with local ingredients - and her 'apprentices' on the day enjoy a three-course lunch, afternoon tea, menus and recipes to take home.
Accommodation is also available in intimate cottages or a family-sized homestead on the property at Darlington, in the Lost World Valley, for anyone wanting to further explore the surrounding countryside.
4. Stay on a farm
Dave and Kay Tommerup are the sixth generation to work the family farm near Kerry, on the edge of Duck Creek and part of the picturesque Lost World Valley, south of Beaudesert. Guests at the farm cottage or homestead can join in farm activities such as milking cows and feeding the menagerie of animals. The property adjoins the Albert River for fishing and try some good old fashioned kite flying in the fields.
5. Walk in the Scenic Rim Trail
With six national parks and World Heritage rainforest to explore there is plenty to scope to walk your way around the region, from the four-day Scenic Rim Trail from Mt Mitchell to Spicers Peak Lodge (36km) - glamping overnight - to more than 160km of walking trails in Lamington National Park. See the list of the Scenic Rim's Top 30 walks.
6. Create your own wine trail
There are 15 wineries, three breweries and a distillery in the Scenic Rim, ranging from the private Barney Creek Vineyard Cottages where the wine with dinner is the property's own label to O'Reilly's Canungra Valley Vineyard and James Halliday's "dark horse" pick, Heritage Estate Wines at Tamborine Mountain, and don't miss the small family-owned Scenic Rim Brewery at Mt Alford.
7. Climb, bike, fly
Bounded by volcanic mountain ranges on three sides, the region has plenty to challenge rock climbers from Mt Barney to Frog Buttress on Mt French in Moogerah Peaks National Park which has a reputation as Queensland's best crack climbing spot; Mt Joyce Mountain Bike trail park has 25km of trails (graded from green to double black); Tamborine Mountain is the jumping off point for hang gliders; and Boonah Gliding Club offers an Air Experience flight with a qualified instructor. That's just the start - there's also fishing and kayaking on the lakes, horse riding, motocross trails and dedicated 4WD trails.
8. Taste the country produce
Whether it's the humungous chocolate eclairs (or home-made pies) at Arthur Clive's Family Bakehouse (Aratula and Boonah), organic and home-grown ingredients on the menu at Canungra Hub Café and Deli, or the beautiful views that accompany meals at Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm at Mt Alford, the healthy choices at Poppi's Wholefood Café at Boonah or fine dining at Spicers Peak Lodge and Songbirds Rainforest Retreat, there's plenty to tempt that taste buds while touring the Scenic Rim.
9. Buy from the farm gate
The Scenic Rim is a food bowl for Brisbane and beyond - a bounty of fruit and vegetables like Matt and Sarah Muller's heirloom tomatoes which they sell alongside other produce from their farm gate stall on the Boonah-Fassifern Road at Kalbar (Fassifern Valley Produce), or the gourmet cheese products the Tommerups sell from their Farm Larder at Kerry.
10. Drive the rainforest away
There is a network of drive itineraries to explore the Scenic Rim and its outskirts, called the Rainforest Way, that pass through tiny country townships oozing country charm. The Scenic Rim Way is one route that connects the Gold Coast to Aratula via the Cunningham Highway, while another detours from Beaudesert to the Lost World Valley. Find a selection of route maps at Rainforest Way.