Embark on a soul-refreshing Scenic Rim road trip, where the pure country air whispers new tales with each winding road. Stop and admire the breathtaking landscapes and relish exquisite culinary delights highlighting the region’s finest produce. Discover the region’s rural charm while you feast on the premium local offerings you’ll find on these scenic roads. Prepare to unwind, indulge, and explore the idyllic beauty that unfolds at every turn.

Scenic Rim road trip

They said let’s go away for the weekend. It’s your birthday! Where do you want to go? Of course, I had a Boonah weekend list left over from my Scenic Rim Food Lover’s trail. So we began with lunch at The Overflow Estate 1895, discovered comfortable overnight accommodation at Boonah Motel and munched our way through the region. My other standouts were visiting Lake Moogerah and Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm.  We collected extra supplies at Arthur Clive’s Bakery Cafe in Boonah and stocked up on the way home at Oppy’s Fruit & Veg. The big disappointment was that The Butcher Co Boonah & Kalbar closes on a Sunday, so we will have to come back on a Saturday (before 12 noon) or order through the Scenic Rim Farm Box.

Thank you to my dear friends, who made my Brisbane weekend road trip the best ever.

Boonah weekend lunch at Overflow Estate

Lunch at The Overflow Estate 1895. Photo: Kerry Heaney

How to plan a Scenic Rim road trip

The word is out about the Scenic Rim. Brisbane locals are flocking to explore the rolling country vistas, so our first task for our Boonah weekend was to find Saturday night accommodation availability.

Boonah Motel popped up early in our searches and quickly became the top pick.  Not only did it offer comfortable accommodation, but the price was a pocket pleaser too – just $120 a night when you book direct.  Expect to pay more if you book through an agency, which also means less money for the hotel owners after they pay the commission.

As the Brisbane weekend road trip was arranged around my birthday, the date was fixed, so the next task was to find a dining highlight.  Luckily, my top option, The Overflow Estate 1895, was available. The restaurant is open Thursday to Sunday with a Lawn menu on weekends between 10 am and 4 pm.

The rest of the weekend fell in around those pillars with a goal of exploring the region and enjoying local flavours.  Flick to the end for a Google map which shows where we went. Here is how it went.

Summer Land Camels

Have a chat with a camel at Summer Land Camels. Photo: Kerry Heaney

First Scenic Rim weekend stop – morning tea at Summer Land Camels

Leaving Brisbane around 10 am put us at Sumer Land Camels at about 11 am for a morning tea stop.  I thought it was a quick run but Mandy, coming via the Legacy Way tunnel, took just 40 minutes and didn’t have a red light from Racecourse Road!

With a late lunch in mind, we wanted to keep those tummy grumbles away with a few edible treats.

It also offered an excellent first meeting spot as the four couples on the trip all came in their own cars.

Summer Land Camels

Pack a picnic rug and relax on the lawn at Summer Land on your Scenic Rim road trip.

The secret is about Summer Land Camels as a great day trip from Brisbane, and there were plenty of people enjoying feeding the camels.  There was a queue for coffee and cake, but it was manageable.  Tables were in short supply, but the grounds were perfect for a grassy picnic while watching the camels (remember to pack a picnic blanket).

The most common comment from my friends was ‘We are coming back with the family. The children will love feeding the camels.’ There was even talk about camel rides, for the kids only!

I stocked up on camel milk face cream and camel milk soap after enjoying a cappuccino and muffin.

Boonah Motel

Boonah Motel is a classic and comfortable stay. Photo: Kerry Heaney

Time to check in at Boonah Motel

As Boonah Motel offers an early check-in of 12.30 pm, we decided to check-in and unpack before departing for lunch.

Arriving at the motel is a bit like checking into the Rose family’s motel in sitcom Schitt’s Creek (American TV Series available on Netflix) according to Vicki. I had a much more Aussie flashback to motel stays during childhood road trips with my parents.

Boonah Motel bedroom

Freshly renovated room at Boonah Motel. Photo: Kerry Heaney

While the Boonah Motel exterior fits the classic motel mould with a series of rooms facing a large open car park, the interior is a different world.  No saggy beds, chenille bedspreads, gammy carpet or mouldy bathrooms here.  Instead, everything is fresh, new and extremely comfortable. It looks as though the renovators have just finished. Plus, there is free wifi and a widescreen television that’s perfect for watching the AFL (looking at you, John). Vicki also loved the bathroom toiletries and efficient air conditioning.

While we were only planning to rest and regroup here, a glass of champagne under the pergola before we headed out again seemed appropriate.  There is even a swimming pool, but I doubt it gets much use in Boonah during winter.

Scenic Rim road trip

The Overflow Estate. Photo: Kerry Heaney

Lunch at The Overflow Estate 1895

It’s about a 20-minute drive from Boonah Motel to The Overflow Estate 1895 along Beaudesert Boonah Road. The road shadows the Wyaralong Dam constructed in 2010 creating plenty of picturesque spots along the route. The Overflow Estate, which is a historic grazing property turned into a winery and café/restaurant sits on the edge of a finger into the lake, surrounded by 12 kilometres of waterfront land and vineyards. It’s the sort of vista that makes you go ‘ooh’ when you arrive.

 

Oysters
Peeks heirloom tomatoes with mortadella and white bean hummus.

Heirloom tomatoes with mortadella and white bean hummus at The Overflow. 

Back in Boonah

After a long, satisfying lunch at Overflow, we proceeded back to our digs for a quick regroup.  It didn’t take long to discover that there was a hotel within walking distance, so we rugged up and headed up the hill to explore a classic country pub in Boonah.

So rarely does it feel icy in Queensland that the chance to put on a beanie, gloves, and coat is a real thrill.  The locals may have thought this was a bit of overkill.

A few drinks and a plate of hot chippies later, it was a much quicker stroll back as we raced back to the motel as the temperature plummeted.

Scenic Rim road trip car frost

Morning frost on the car at Boonah Motel. 

Scenic Rim road trip Sunday morning

Sunday morning started with a knock on the door and the offer of freshly made coffee from Michelle and Jim. They always travel with their Bodum coffee plunger.

I could have raided the collection of tea and coffee sachets, plus a few nice bikkies in the cupboard, and made my own. Still, nothing smells better in the morning than freshly pressed coffee.

Kevin went outside and returned smartly. “You don’t want to go out there”, he said. “It’s freezing.” He ventured out again with a jug of warm water to wash the frost off the windscreen.

Boonah’s main street was the destination for our Boonah weekend breakfast which included a stroll around to check out the shops. It’s an interesting collection with an art gallery and The Butcher Co, where we had intended to buy up big.  Unfortunately for us, they don’t open on Sundays.

Ants Fruit Market and Deli had plenty of local fruit and vegetables and also take away meals.  Should you want to eat in, the Boonah Motel includes a microwave so these meals could be handy.  There was also a good range of pickles and jams.

Soaps at Arthur Clive's Bakery

Great range of soap at Arthur Clive’s Bakery Cafe

One of the most popular breakfast spots in the street is Arthur Clive’s Bakery Café.    This bakery owned by the Pennell family has been operating in the Scenic Rim since 1936.

You’ll also find their stores in Kalbar and Aratula, and they are all open seven days a week.

There’s everything you’d expect to find in a bakery along with plenty of café style seating indoor and out.  Look out for the sausage rolls (taste tested by Paul) and melting moments (taste tested by Kerry and Michelle).  Next time I want to try one of their pies too and their vanilla slices look epic. The coffee is Di Bella, and they also offer cold drip.

The owners like to support Scenic Rim produce, and there is an interesting range of goods for sale, including soap.  I came home with beetroot soap but also was tempted by pumpkin soap and a pea and ham soup mix. Even the art on the walls is for sale.

Scenic Rim road trip

Take the Scenic Rim road trip slow so you don’t miss views like this. Photo: Kerry Heaney

Scenic Rim sightseeing

After seeking advice from a local on the best route, we proceeded to Lake Moogerah where the curved arch of Moogerah Dam blocks Reynolds Creek. Take the drive slowly as the scenic views over the lake are quite superb.

Moogerah Dam wall

Lake Moogerah is a great Scenic Rim road trip stop. Photo: Kerry Heaney

It’s a popular destination as you can walk along the dam wall, picnic on the hillside, or try boating or jet skiing on the water. Fishing is also possible, but you need a permit.

There are new managers, Storm and Aparna, at The Dam Café and they have an enticing dine-in menu along with Botero coffee. The café is open Friday to Sunday.

Moogerah Dam

 

Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm

Kooroomba, where there is a restaurant, lavender farm and winery, was planned as a possible morning tea stop and a chance to check out the lavender.  However, a wheel problem caused an extended stay which was a delightful diversion.

We relaxed around a table in the courtyard listening to live music while overlooking the six hectares of vineyards and lavender fields (not in flower in July) with the mountains of the Scenic Rim as a backdrop.

Brisbane weekend road trip Kooroomba

Walking into Kooroomba. Photo: Kerry Heaney

The restaurant has a Good Food Award hat, and head chef Daniel Groenberg’s seasonal menu is plump with a long list of Scenic Rim suppliers, definitely deserves exploring.

Their lavender scones were terrific!  Crisp outside with a tender fresh interior lightly laced with lavender. Oh my! I tried to get the recipe, but it’s a trade secret.

Lavender scone at Kooroomba

Those scones! Photo: Kerry Heaney

The restaurant has a Good Food Award hat, and head chef Daniel Groenberg’s seasonal menu is plump with a long list of Scenic Rim suppliers, definitely deserves exploring. Their lavender scones were terrific!  Crisp outside with a tender fresh interior lightly laced with lavender. Oh my! I tried to get the recipe, but it’s a trade secret. The other signature dish is the lavender ice cream, which was rich, creamy and delicately flavoured with lavender. (See the top photo)

There is plenty to see here, including the skeleton church, which is a perfect wedding venue. However, I was more interested in the luscious veggie garden and resident chooks who live on the hill.

Lavender scone at Kooroomba

The lavender shop is filled with lavender products, including honey and jam. Kooroomba is open Wednesday to Sunday but check before going as it does close for weddings on some days.

Boonah weekend crew

The Boonah weekend crew.

On the way home

Before the Boonah weekend’ wheel incident’ we had intended to make another stop at the Scenic Rim Brewery. That will have to wait until next time.

Instead, we popped into Oppy’s Fruit & Veg in the Old Butter Factory in Railway Street, Boonah to stock up on some fresh, crisp and locally grown Kalbar carrots, local preserves, heritage tomatoes and rhubarb.

Google maps will tell you that this was just under a four-hour drive all up, but the feeling was much bigger than one night away from home.

Laughing with friends is the best way to relax and explore your region. Give it a try!

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Scenic Rim road trip map