After four weeks in our favourite little Airbnb in Brisbane, we were due to go down to NSW. To the Central Coast to catch up with friends and to Sydney to attend a number of appointments and see more friends.
Unfortunately, NSW was hit with a ramp up in Covid cases and we had to change plans last minute. The good thing for us was that we hadn’t gone yet, so really weren’t impacted, except for having to find somewhere to live for a couple of weeks. The sad thing for the people there is that their situation has become increasing dire, and as I write this, my heart goes out to them with no end in sight to the current lockdown.
With all the uncertainty, we decided it was better to stay in Queensland, so did a search within a couple of hours radius of Brisbane. Being the middle of school holidays made it a little more challenging and expensive, but we were extremely happy with where we ended up.
Our home in Tamborine Mountain….
Craig & Catherine were welcoming hosts that couldn’t do enough for us and the accommodation attached to their family home was perfect for our needs. It had been decorated in Victorian style and the rooms were large. This was a good thing as we ended up there for the few days that Brisbane and Scenic Rim – the latter being where we were located – was in lockdown. It also had a bath, which Glenda made the most of, particularly given the cold, wet weather during a large part of our stay. The home was located within ½ hours walk from most things we wanted to do including sunset vantage points, the gallery walk, wineries, distilleries and even the local parkrun was only 200m away.
On the way to Tamborine Mountain….
Almost two years ago, we had watched a TV program about Summerland Camels, a camel farm situated in Harrisville, about an hour’s drive south of Brisbane. At the time, we’d put it on our list of things to do. As it was summer time, we figured it was too hot so planned to go when the weather cooled. This would be after getting back from our planned trip to South Africa. Needless to say, Covid hit, the trip to South Africa never happened and neither did our drive to Summerland. Given Harrisville was on the way to our destination, albeit the scenic route, we decided we’d take the opportunity to stop off on the way. We enjoyed coffee on the deck of the old homestead and watched the children feeding the camels (it was school holidays).
With all the children’s activities, it was very busy at Summerland so we chose not to stay for lunch and headed off to nearby Boonah instead. Flavours Café is in an iconic building built in 1916 and was originally the offices for the Boonah Butter Factory. In 2014 the historic significance of the building was recognised and it was placed on the Scenic Rim Heritage Register. Glenda enjoyed fish & chips served in newspaper on the veranda whilst Walter munched on nachos.
The small microclimate around the mountain is quite unique. There is high rainfall, and being a result of an eruption, the volcanic soil lends itself to growing all sorts of things. They also have no town water, so the locals figure that the water is perfect for growing good produce. Believe the stories or not, the area is renowned for its avocadoes, coffee, wine, gin, vodka and other liqueurs. We don’t normally go in much for tastings, but as we tend to like making the most of local stuff wherever we go, we tasted liqueurs at Tamborine Mountain Distillery and relaxed over a gin tasting flight. Following a tour around the very small Tamborine Mountain Coffee Plantation, we had a taste of their single origin. And probably my favourite experience was the personal wine tasting alongside the vines at Witches Falls Winery just before sunset.
There are a couple of well know sunset viewing spots around and they happened to be within walking distance from our home. As a result, we were able to watch the sun go down on three occasions – and it’s amazing how different each one was. Particularly amazing was the day after all the rain. The wind had come up and cleared the cloud away, but a heavy mist was blowing up out of the valley. So much so that we were very grateful for the headtorch that Walter had taken with us – by the time we were half way home, it was dark and misty.
Hiking the trails….
With lockdown and torrential rains, we didn’t get to do much hiking in the first week. The second week, we managed to do a few of the local walks and were surprised at the lush vegetation of the palm forests and the enormity of the strangler figs. The walks were short and easy, a pleasant stroll through what was largely rainforest areas.
Running & parkrun…
In addition to our walks, we did manage to get in a few runs around the neighbourhood. The local parkrun happened to be situated a few hundred metres from our front door, so we made our way there both Saturday mornings. The first week was just after all the rain and lockdown, meaning the field was small and the largely off-road track was a little slippery. For the first time ever, Walter won parkrun! The second week, the field was a little bigger, but the track was no less slippery. There was even a little water to jump over. In addition, there was an icy cold wind making it extremely hard to breathe. That said, we both managed to do a faster time than the week before. In Glenda’s case, this may have been because she didn’t take a few wrong turns this time.
Canungra & O’Reillys
On recommendation, we decided to hop in the car one day and drive to the nearby little town of Canungra. This quaint town ended up being a little further away than it should as the direct road was closed. The benefit of this was that we had to go on a scenic road, providing spectacular views over the countryside and out to the high-rises of the Gold Coast.
We were too early to stop for lunch, so took a side trip to O’Reillys. Little did we know that this was going to be a 36km trip one way on windy, single lane roads between forests of trees. There were some views in places along the way – but with little opportunity to take eyes of the road and no chance of stopping, these were not of great value. The view over the Scenic Rim from the café at the top was nice.
Once again, we didn’t stick around as everything was overrun with families, so we headed back into Canungra for lunch ans a walk around the quaint little town. This was worthwhile as we discovered a little café with good food and even better coffee.
Before heading home, we stopped off at a disused tramway tunnel just outside the town. Fortunately we didn’t have to walk too far to get there as it was a little disappointing – we couldn’t even enter the space.
The final treat for the day was watching lots of hangliders soar around the aptly know hanglider look out – where we ended up watching the sunset in the mist.
With Covid restrictions, we didn’t end up going out as much as we’d planned, but we did enjoy breakfast at The Treehouse a few times. The family run café was under a tree – as the name suggested – and sheltered from the wind. The food was made of good produce, reasonably priced and helpings were large. During our first visit, we spent ages talking to a local lady at the table next door. We even discovered that she was part of the core parkrun team and we had in fact seen her there a couple of days before.
In addition to it produce, Mount Tamborine is known for its galleries and other boutique shops. We spent a few hours walking up and down the Gallery Walk, the street that houses said shops, browsing the largely locally made goodies.
Back to Brisbane…..
Soon the two weeks were over and we were packing up to head back to the big smoke. The last minute visit to the Botanical Gardens was a very pleasant surprise and a good way to finish.
It’s nice to be back in our little home overlooking the Brisbane River.