The best thing about living in Brisbane, is its proximity to some truly amazing places. The Scenic Rim is one of them. Set right at Brisbane’s doorstep, the Scenic Rim is a region rich in rolling hills, ancient rainforests, and quaint villages; together with stunning scenery, excellent wineries, and an abundance of local paddock-to-plate producers.
It’s so close to the city but city life feels miles away in the heart of the Scenic Rim. This exciting destination was named one of the top 10 destinations to visit in 2022 by the Lonely Planet. That is for good reason; this hidden haven of nature, food and adventure will keep you wanting more.
There is so much to do on the Scenic Rim, and it is such an extensive area, that it’s impossible to see it all in one day. Below you’ll find the best things to do during your first time in the Scenic Rim. Don’t worry if you don’t get a chance to see them all. I guarantee that you’ll want to keep going back, just like we do.
Spend a day exploring Tamborine Mountain
Tamborine Mountain has always been a popular destination for visitors to the Gold Coast. It’s not hard to see why. It is the best place for tourists to head to when they’re done with the beaches and the theme parks. From the top of the mountain, you will enjoy some spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, Gold Coast skyline in the east and the greater Scenic Rim to the West.
In Tamborine Mountain, check out the quaint shops along the Gallery Walk or immerse yourself in nature at the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, where raised steel walkways take you through the upper canopy of a private rainforest. You can look out for birdlife and enjoy flowing waterfalls.
There is so much to do in Tamborine that it needs its own post. So it’s just as well we’ve written one! Click here to read more about Tamborine Mountain.
Explore the Scenic Rim’s National Parks
Within the Scenic Rim region, you will find six national parks ready for exploring. There’s Lamington National Park, Tamborine National Park, Mount Barney National Park, Main Range National Park, Moogerah Peaks National Parks and last-but-not-least, the Mount Chinghee National Park.
As you can imagine, it would take a lot of time to explore all those stunning national parks. That’s why you’ll never run out of things to do in the Scenic Rim!
Hike one of the many Scenic Rim peak
Who likes to climb mountains? We do! That’s one of the reasons we love the Scenic Rim so much. It’s hiker-heaven with no shortage of peaks to tackle.
Moogerah Peaks National Park is home to Mt Greville, Mt Edwards and Mt Moon.
Mount Barney National Park has West Barney Peak, East Barney Peak, Mt May, Mt Maroon, North Peak, Mt Lindesay, Mt Ernest, and the Ballow Range.
Main Range National Park has Mt Cordeaux, Mt Mitchell, Spicers Peak, Mt Matheson and Mt Alphen.
Lamington National Park features Mt Merino, Neglected Mountain, Mt Wagawn, Mt Hobwee and Mt Bithongabel.
We haven’t been able to hike them all yet, but we are slowly ticking them off our list! Our clear favourite so far is Mt Maroon. We also really enjoyed Mt Cordeaux and Bare Rock.
Read more about the Mt Maroon hike here. It’s not an easy hike but it’s totally worth it.
Go chasing Waterfalls
If you love waterfalls, then there is no better way to spend a day than by hiking the Coomera Circuit in the Lamington National Park.
The Lamington National Park is home to lush Gondwana Rainforests, ancient trees, spectacular views, and many flowing waterfalls.
At around 19 kilometres, the Coomera Circuit is not a short walk, but it is an amazing one and we highly recommend it. Read more about it here.
If you haven’t seen enough waterfalls or don’t fancy a big hike, the Tamborine National Park is also home to some stunning waterfalls, such as Curtis and Witches Falls. They are much easier to get to.
Picnic with the Alpacas at Mountview Alpaca farm
I love Alpacas, so when I found out about this place, I was there the following day! At the Mountview Alpaca farm, you can spend the day surrounded by Alpacas and award-winning wines.
Mountview Alpaca Farm is in Canungra, nestled within the O’Reilly’s Vineyard and it has a river flowing through the grounds.
Take an Alpaca for a walk, then sit down and relax with one of their picnic baskets and a bottle of wine, all while enjoying the sounds of the flowing river. On some days, they also have live music performances. It makes for a perfect afternoon!
Visit Kooroomba Lavender Farm
The Kooromba Lavender farm is situated atop a hill in Mt Alford. The Kooroomba Lavender Farm is arguably the most photogenic place in the Scenic Rim. It is stunning and if I wasn’t already married, it’s exactly where I’d want to have my wedding ceremony!
The Lavender Farm is also a working vineyard, and it has a nice restaurant on site, as well as a cellar door where you can try their wines.
It’s the grounds though, that keep me going back. Take the time to wander around and enjoy the fabulous views of the surrounding mountains, with fields and fields of lavender and vines in the foreground. It’s spectacular.
Check out their wedding chapel. Wouldn’t it be amazing to tie the knot there?
Try the beers at the Scenic Rim Brewery
Also, in Mt Alford and not far from Kooromba Lavender farm, you will find the Scenic Rim Brewery. The Scenic Rim Brewery is a small family-owned Australian brewery located inside the 100-year-old Mount Alford General store. Michael and Wendy bought the old building in 2014 and turned it into a brewery and café.
You can sit inside the charming, old building or outside on the back deck overlooking the gorgeous views of rolling hills. This microbrewery brews beer on site, including Digga’s Pale Ale, Fat Man Maroon Ale, Shazza Mid-Strength Ale and Sheep’s Back Spiced Apple Float.
Have a tasting paddle to try a few of their beers. When it comes to the food, Wendy’s Dutch heritage shines through in her home style cooking, perfectly pairing with their range of beer. Their gourmet hotdogs are quite tasty!
Admire the view of Mt Barney
Mt Barney is the most difficult summit to climb in Queensland, and so far, as much as we’d like to, we haven’t attempted it. However, it’s always nice to admire Mt Barney from the ground. As we made our way to the trailhead of the Lower Portals in Mt Barney National Park, we were greeted by some spectacular views of the mountain.
Maybe one day we’ll tick this one off our list!
Hit the water at Lake Moogerah
The peaceful blue waters of Lake Moogerah are popular for recreational boating, water skiing and jet skiing.
If you prefer to go for a dip, there is a swimming area next to Haigh Park, which also has public BBQs, picnic facilities and toilets. From Haigh Park you can take a walk across the big Moogerah Dam wall. The concrete double curvature arch dam wall is 219 metres long and 38 metres high.
Across the far side of the wall, is a hiking trail that takes you up Mt Edward. Bear in mind, there is no view of the lake from the top of Mt Edward, but there is a gorgeous view of the countryside on the other side of the mountain.
Lake Maroon and Lake Wyaralong are also beautiful lakes that are worth a visit.
Try the delicious local produce
The Scenic Rim is filled with lakes, mountains, rich soil, and large plains. Heaps of food producers grow and harvest everything from pecans and beetroot, through to sheep’s cheese, free-range eggs, and olive oil. So why not stop at the many local farms and pick up some local produce to take home.
Enjoy the many viewpoints
There are incredible views to be seen all around the Scenic Rim. In fact, any peak you hike will be well worth it. However, not everyone can hike mountains and you certainly don’t need to be a hiker to find a nice view in the Scenic Rim.
There are a lot of beautiful viewpoints that are easily accessible by car. The top of Mt French is an easy, short walk to reach the viewpoint. The Rosins Lookout in Beechmont is spectacular at sunrise and the Handgliders Lookout in Tamborine is worth a stop.
Wander around the old town of Kalbar
The charming old town of Kalbar (originally known as Engelsberg) is rich in German history. That history is reflected in the many historical buildings around the town.
The main attractions of Kalbar include the heritage-listed buildings of the Wiss Emporium and Wiss House, the Lovett Cafe (with the best coffee and pies in town) and its art galleries.
If you visit the Scenic Rim in April, do not miss the Kalbar Sunflower Festival.
Have a country pub lunch
Settle in to meet some of the locals and enjoy a relaxed, country-style lunch at one of the best country pubs in the region. We liked the Dugandan Hotel in Boonah which dates to the 1880s.
This historical Queenslander first opened as a general store but was converted into a hotel in 1913. It has been renovated recently but has not lost its old country charm. Sitting in the garden enjoying the views is bliss.
We also liked the St Bernard Hotel in Tamborine Mountain. This hotel dates to 1898 and sits on the edge of an ancient volcanic escarpment. The views are incredible and my favourite thing of all, the resident St Bernard dogs that live on the premises. So big and cute!
Take a tour of Summerland Camel Farm
If you want to experience something a little different, visit the Summer Land Camel Farm. The farm is Australia’s largest camel dairy farm and the third largest in the world.
Spend some time with the friendly camels before taking one of their tours, where you will learn about the properties and benefits of camel milk. You can even try some of the farm’s own skin care line. After the tour, try a camel-cino or a camel milk gelato from the onsite cafe!
Go wine tasting
When we moved to Queensland from Victoria, I worried that I was going to miss Victoria’s many wineries. Thankfully, there isn’t a shortage of wineries on the Scenic Rim. If you love local wines, pick a designated driver, or take a tour and explore the many wineries in the area.
Other than the O’Reilly’s Vineyard and Kooromba Lavender farm already mentioned earlier, here are some other wineries not to miss:
The Overflow Estate 1895
Showcasing Vermentino, Fiano, Tempranillo and Montepulciano varieties, the Overflow Estate 1895 is now operating a cellar door, located on the edge of picturesque Lake Wyaralong.
Bunjurgen Estate vineyard
This 60-acre property is 10 kilometres from the town of Boonah. It has a large cellar door with Rose, Shiraz, Verjuice, sparkling Verjuice and Cherry port as the stars. Bring a picnic to enjoy on the grounds.
This family-run winery is nestled at the base of the famous Lamington National Park, just 10 minutes from the township of Canungra. The bistro has a cafe menu to pair with wine tastings.
Heritage Estate Wines
Heritage Estate has been producing award-winning wines for more than 27 years.
Albert River Wines
Stand on the deck of Auchenflower House overlooking lush green valleys of vines. The restaurant serves modern Australian cuisine and Devonshire tea. Nearby, the property’s old billiard room acts as the cellar door for tastings.
Where to stay in the Scenic Rim?
O’Reillys Rainforest Retreat
Set in the World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park, O’Reilly’s offers accommodation overlooking the rainforest and mountains.
Complimentary guided bird walks are offered daily, and the iconic Tree Top Walk is free of charge. Guests can enjoy a swim in the outdoor infinity pool or relax in the hot tub. O’Reilly’s Retreat also offers a library with a fireplace and a kid’s room. Find their latest prices here.
Spicers Peak Lodge
Perched at the peak of an 8000-acre property, Spicers Peak Lodge boasts luxurious, secluded suites with stunning mountain views. There are private lodges with an infinity spa pool or hot tub and views into the valley below and Main Range National Park. Find their latest prices here.
Ketchup’s Bank Glamping
Pethers Rainforest Retreat
Beechmont Bean Cabins
Beechmont Bean Cabins provides accommodation with free private parking. All units come with a patio with mountain views, a kitchenette with a microwave and a fridge, and a private bathroom with bath or shower. This property is right across the road from the Rosins Lookout. Find their latest prices here.
How to get to the Scenic Rim?
The Scenic rim covers 420,000 hectares, and its main towns are Beaudesert, Boonah, Rathdowney, Kooralbyn, Kalbar, Aratula, Canungra, Tamborine Mountain, Harrisville, and Peak Crossing.
These destinations are about a one-hour drive from Brisbane and the Gold Coast. The best and easiest way to enjoy the area is to drive. If you are not a local, car hire is available at both Brisbane and Gold Coast airports.
The Scenic Rim is also easily accessible from Toowomba and the Sunshine Coast.