There’s nothing like a change of scenery and some pure indulgence to reinvigorate a weary body and soul.
This simple itinerary, suitable for couples or solo travellers or groups of friends, offers a hit of luxury, some deep relaxation and the chance to reconnect with nature, for a mini break that will leave you relaxed and rejuvenated.
If you’re visiting from the Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Gold Coast or Brisbane, it’s an easy drive and perhaps a chance to explore new surrounds.
Day one, ideally a Friday afternoon, begins with a drive an hour south-west of the Brisbane CBD to Spicers Hidden Vale, a five-star luxury retreat tucked into a 4800ha property overlooking surrounding farmland. Plan to leave work a little early so you can arrive mid-afternoon to enjoy your luxury accommodation. There are beautifully appointed heritage cottages, suites and luxury wood cabins with secluded outdoor baths to choose from, and while you’re staying you’ll be able to access two pools, a tennis court and the vast multi-level mountain biking trails of Hidden Vale Adventure Park.
But this day is all about relaxing so get into that cottage or cabin, open a bottle of something beautiful and unwind.
Dinner will be at multi award-winning Homage restaurant a mere wander from your cosy abode for the night. In fact, that wafting wood smoke scent in the air is tonight’s menu slow cooking.
Enjoy a long lingering dinner at one of Queensland’s most celebrated and unique dining destinations where the chefs grow and pickle their own vegetables and cook with fire. There’s an incredible wine list and walk-in cellar to explore and it’s worth arriving early to catch the sunset, cocktail in hand, from the vast veranda of the homestead that Homage calls home. You’ll notice the resident roos and wallabies coming out to graze around this hour and later, a starry sky will erupt overhead. This is the best way we know to experience country Queensland.
Day two…Wake to the sounds of birds and serenity before a lazy breakfast in your room or back at the restaurant, then take a country drive to the charming town of Marburg, about half an hour away, where you’ll find a shop in an old church at The Soul Nook Collective. Perhaps you’ve even planned ahead and booked a private picnic in a bell tent on the grounds here! Be sure to check out Scotland Yard Antiques, The Black Museum and Special Branch Collective while you’re in town, to browse for unique pieces for your home and garden.
Next up, head into Ipswich about 20 minutes’ drive, and if you’re still in the mood for browsing, you could check out Soul Sista Fashion for a breezy array of fashion labels and jewellery. Then wander to Embers and Twine in the Old Flour Mill landmark for hand-poured scented candles. Just a few metres from here you’ll find your next stop – a day spa that lures regulars from right across the state’s south-east. Ipswich Massage and Herbal Spa, with 30 therapists offering everything from massage and acupuncture to beauty therapy and cosmetic injectables, also has a modern yoga room next door so you might want to book a class before you depart on your mini break.
Either way your visit here, whether it’s a couple’s massage or full beauty package and re-energising yoga class, will leave you feeling incredible. Owner Sonja says one of the highlights of her day is seeing the relaxed, dreamy look on people’s faces as they leave to go back out into the world. And you don’t have to rush to do it, linger a little longer over a herbal tisane and browse the extensive range of products on offer, including a New York brand with a cult following, Anima Mundi Herbals.
There are plenty of cafes and restaurants in this part of Ipswich, including St Shoebill and Rafter and Rose for coffee, Heisenberg Haus for German fare and The Cottage fine dining restaurant. Bakehouse Steakhouse is a modern restaurant in an historic bakery building that draws huge crowds (another one you’ll need to book before you go!) or simply head back to your Spicers cottage if that Homage menu is still calling your name.
Enjoy your second night at Spicers (which is often about the time people call reception to see if there’s a third night available) then wander out to your veranda with a morning cuppa to look at the view and contemplate options for the day ahead. If you’re ready for adventure perhaps set out on the mountain biking trails before you depart Spicers – there are more than 120km of trails to explore for all levels of riders. The most adventurous thrill seekers even book helicopters to the highest locations and ride back down. Hidden Vale Adventure Park has bikes available for hire or bring your own. Charges apply to use the park.
Or maybe you’d just like to lounge away the last hours of your stay with a good book. And that’s perfectly fine too.
For lunch on your way home you could pull up for some slow smoked American BBQ goodness at Phat Boys Smoke House & Kitchen at nearby Walloon. Best to book ahead if you can as it is a pretty popular spot!