Turning off the Cunningham Highway towards Spicers Peak Lodge, 120 km west of Brisbane, I drive along a private gravel road amidst the oncoming sunset colours of the stunning surrounding countryside. Every shade of green, orange and brown bursts with life. Where the road is lined with large bushland trees, the sun’s rays are temporarily blocked, presenting me with a cinematic presentation of my surroundings. Cows, bulls, wallabies, kookaburras sitting atop posts, an intrigued hare, dams and ponds all flash before me in a series of picturesque images.
My journey then continues along the peak, to the plateau housing Spicers Peak Lodge – an oasis on top of the world. With breathtaking views of the World Heritage-listed Main Range National Park and Scenic Rim, the lodge is Queensland’s highest mountain retreat. Impressive mountain peaks erupt out of the landscape, and escarpments and ridges offer secluded homes to rare and endangered wildlife.
I drive up to the lodge, hand my car keys to the friendly staff and I am suddenly in their hands. As I indulge in an arrival drink beside the colossal stone fireplace, I look around and take in my options to pass the time away. I could browse the pages of one of the glossy library books. Or partake in a game of billiards and then sky gaze via the impressive telescope on the landing. Or maybe just have a cocktail on the lawn by the pool – sporting magnificent views of the amazing colours of the country sunset. And this is just the first hour of my arrival.
Once the staff transfers my luggage to the suite, I am introduced to my own private sanctuary. Most with their own stone fireplace and some with spa baths, the suites are cosy and homely, opening out onto private decks overlooking the property. The lodge is a boutique venue with only 10 suites in the main lodge and two separate private lodges. Owned by Flight Centre’s Graham Turner and his wife Jude, it was originally to be built as a holiday home, but they quickly realised how much it had to offer, and transformed it into luxury accommodation.
Drinks and canapes are scheduled each evening in the ambient lounge, where I indulge in some more quiet time with the books, as well as meet the other guests. Dinner is a deliciously formal affair served in the dining room, which leads out onto the patio. A set seven-course degustation menu, which changes daily, immerses my gastronomic senses into overdrive. Inspired by the local produce of the region, the chefs and sommeliers create an award-winning dining experience that is complemented by knowledgeable staff, eager to discuss ingredients and wine matching on request.
I wake the next morning with the memory of falling asleep to the gentle crackle of my suite’s fireplace. A familiar orange glow peeking through the cracks of the shutters beckons me to rise and fling open the door to the deck that frames the picturesque view. As I stand in awe of this aspect of nature, I’m drenched with the fresh morning glow. Hypnotised, I eventually recover, eager to resume my gastronomic indulgence, and I make my way to the restaurant, led by the aroma of freshly baked bread and pastries. Over breakfast (where micro herbs have my tastebuds dancing), I discuss the day ahead with my waiter. His suggestion: a bike ride or a walk on one of the many tracks around the 3600 Ha grounds. Or a gourmet picnic hamper and chilled champagne waiting at my chosen picnic spot, ready for me to just sit back and enjoy the views. For the more fit and physically experienced guests, there are remote and rugged trails off the beaten track awaiting exploration, or one- to three-day Spicers Private Walks are also an option. I decide on a leisurely bike ride around the perimeter of the plateau, concluding with my hamper atop a crisp white tablecloth, the beads of condensation from my champagne bottle beckoning me.
On my ride, I meet some guests of the property who, being accustomed to life’s luxuries, chose an eco-tourism experience at the lodge’s sister property, Spicers Canopy. The experience offers ten luxury safari-style tents, complete with polished floorboards and a covered deck, and I’m informed that if guests can drag their eyes from the communal fire, they can look into skies so clear they can see satellites tracking past stars.
For me, another night at the lodge presents me with the same evening routine but a whole new taste sensation. To complete the weekend, I spend the next morning at the lodge’s newly opened purpose-built Spa Anise, which presents me with the only decision I am prepared to make – an aromatic relaxation massage or facial spa … I think both!
Visit www.mrandmrssmith.com for further information or contact the Mr & Mrs Smith travel team on 1300 89 66 27.