There is no shortage of options when it comes to a road trip in South-East Queensland, but for those who don’t want to spend too much time driving, the Scenic Rim provides a perfect holiday destination.
This incredibly scenic region is known for its heritage listed National Parks, quaint towns and villages, local-grown produce, wineries and distilleries, adventure parks and eco-tourism.
Why not take advantage of a campervan hire from Brisbane? It will mean that you can embark on your journey with freedom to spend as much or little time in each destination. By having accommodation and transport in one, you won’t have to worry about hotel reservations or last-minute itinerary changes.
Brisbane to Moogerah – 108km
Moogerah is a relaxing place to start your Scenic Rim road trip from Brisbane, and is located just over an hour away from the city. The Moogerah Peaks National Park is centric to our stay, as the attractions in Moogerah are mostly natural ones, such as the Dam, Lake and surrounding mountains.
Moogerah Dam is a huge arched dam, with impressive double concrete curvature; after some rain it provides a beautiful visual of cascading water. There is an entrance to the Moogerah Peaks National Park walking trail beside the dam, and from here you can take a 6km hike to the top of Mount Edwards. The walk is fairly easy, albeit rocky, and manageable for children or adults who have good mobility. You will get some lovely views of Moogerah Lake as you walk across the Dam wall, and at the top of Mount Edwards you can view the Kalbar region below.
There are lots of campgrounds nearby, especially around the lake, which provides a serene site to spend a day or two. In summer, the swimming area beside Haigh Park is a popular place to cool down.
Moogerah to Rathdowney – 88km
On the way to Rathdowney, pass through the rural towns of Templin, Boonah and Wyaralong. If you happen to be visiting on the 2nd or 4th Saturday of the month, then the Boonah Country Markets are a must visit.
In Templin, stop in at the Historical Village Museum and explore local history, exhibited through memorabilia, photographs and artefacts, they are open every Sunday.
Stop in for lunch at The Overflow Estate 1895 in Wyaralong, a cellar door vineyard that offers first-class wine and a gourmet café. The Wyaralong Dam is nearby, and a stroll through the Sculpture Park that sits above the Wyaralong Lake is a perfect way to stretch the legs before your next drive.
The scenery on the way to Rathdowney is full of green pastures and country landscapes. Because of the remote location, the Andrew Drynan Park campgrounds here are quiet and picturesque, with the delightful trickling streams of Running Creek nearby, and an abundance of native bird life.
Rathdowney is a gateway to Mount Barney National Park, which contains the biggest area of untouched native vegetation in Queensland’s South-East region. Walking trails here will take you to crystal clear rock pools surrounded by flourishing rainforest, home to wildlife including rock wallabies, platypus, kangaroos, kingfishers, parrots and many more.
Canungra – 65km
En route to Canungra, pass through Beaudesert, the administrative hub of the Scenic Rim region. The Beaudesert Community Arts and Information Centre provides a place to showcase and sell art that is created by local artists. There is also a lot of information about things to see and do in the Scenic Rim, so before you continue on your journey, it’s worth stopping in… plus, they sell tea and scones.
The Beaudesert Historical Museum is open daily from 10am-2pm, and showcases an assortment of local history, from printed material like maps and photographs, to vintage machinery and vehicles. The relics here date back to the mid 1800’s, and provide great insight to local pioneer history.
Lahey’s Tramway Tunnel in Canungra is just outside of town, and home to a colony of bats. Although closed off to entry due to landslides, it makes for a curious pitstop, and the large signboards tell you of the tunnels interesting history.
The Outpost Café is a popular Canungra food stop, selling highly praised handmade baked goods for breakfast, lunch and takeaway. The Canungra Showgrounds are a great campground to spend the night, close to town, but also situated in a lovely spot beside the Canungra Creek.
Binna Burra – 28km
As you head towards Binna Burra, you may wish to stop by the Mountview Alpaca Farm, open daily between 10am to 3pm. You can feed and pet the alpacas, or even have one join you for lunch, the licenced premises here sell picnic baskets and pizzas.
Lamington National Park, located in Binna Bunna and Green Mountains, is home to prehistoric Gondwanan rainforests, dating as far back as 225 million years and making it World Heritage Listed. There are over 500 waterfalls and more than 20 marked walking trails to explore throughout the park. The endemic animals, especially birds, that reside in these rainforests, make it one of the most significant natural wildlife sanctuaries in Queensland. Some of the inhabitants include the threatened species of Coxens fig parrot, Albert’s lyrebird and the eastern bristlebird.
To have an up-close experience with some of the wild native birds, the nearby O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat gift shop, who operate 10am-4pm daily, have seed available to purchase. You can then use their provided trays to offer it to the local parrots, who are generally more than happy to oblige.
Binna Burra Lodge is a nearby campground, that has amenities and drive-on sites for campervan holidaymakers.
Tamborine Mountain – 52km
Tamborine Mountain wasn’t accidentally left to as the last stop on the Scenic Rim itinerary… it is of course lucky last for a reason. A quaint mountain village, filled with assorted gift shops, inspired art galleries, charming wineries, locally grown produce and incredible natural attractions.
Kgbo, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
The Long Road Gallery Walk makes shopping in Mount Tamborine very convenient. This strip of charming boutique shops and cafes includes art & craft stores, jewellery, confectionary, fashion. Plus, there are cellar door wineries, breweries and distilleries – both along this street or nearby, such as Fortitude Brewing Company, Castle Glen Cellars, Tamborine Mountain Distillery and Cauldron Distillery.
If you are more into coffee than wine, then the Tamborine Mountain Coffee Plantation may be more to your liking. Take a tour of the plantation, have brunch, or just buy some of their locally produced and roasted coffee beans to take home.
Tamborine National Park is another of Queensland’s stunning rainforests, famous for its spectacular Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, where you can walk high through the forest canopy, surrounded by the native flora and fauna. The three most popular waterfalls are Witches Falls, Curtis Falls and Cedar Creek Falls – which is one of the most easily accessible. If you can’t do all three whilst visiting, be sure to take at least one walk through the National Park, as it is truly a breathtaking experience.
Thunderbird Park is a popular campground in the area and is also a well-known adventure park for its many on site attractions, making it enjoyable for a daytrip, even if not staying overnight. A selection of activities are available at Thunderbird Park, for example: zip-lining through the treetops, fossicking for prehistoric thundereggs, outdoor laser skirmish and daily bird-feeding sessions.
The drive back to Brisbane is approximately 70km from Tamborine Mountain, or if you have time, you may wish to continue your adventure into the nearby Gold Coast Hinterland or beyond.
Tip: The “Discovery Roadtrip” app is free to download from the app stores for android or apple, and provides easy access to locating nearby campsites, attractions or restaurants throughout your Australian road trip.