I’ve been described as camp, but I think this is unfair; I’m definitely more #glamp. And unless you’re allergic to mica – the mineral found in glitter – a bit of glamour is NEVER a bad thing.
A recent expedition to Southern Queensland Country taught me that hot showers, heated towel racks and a spa in the bush are absolute necessities if you want to experience the true glory of mother nature.
They’re just jealous because their tents don’t have air-conditioning.
Forget the shovel and ditch, I’ll take the flushable toilet in a bathroom filled with toiletries I can’t even pronounce (“L’Occitane”) ANY DAY.
The problem was, no matter how many filters I tried, I wasn’t quite getting the true, gritty, Bear Grylls 'I drink dark spirits by choice'-style credibility I was hoping to get from a trip to the bush.
This is probably because most of our time was spent consuming champagne and other *lighter coloured* beverages in the outdoor spa.
So, my travelling partner – thankfully NOT life partner – Jessica and I changed out of our swimwear and bathrobes, with a mission to explore our surrounds.
(By the way, the look we channeled totally had locals convinced we were a newlywed couple with high hopes for the future including cute Eurasian babies.)
First stop… Girraween National Park: home to many precariously balanced boulders. How precarious, you ask? More imbalanced than my savings account in between a sale and pay day. Seriously gravity defying stuff.
I took heaps of selfies at Girraween, but funnily enough the photos without me were probably just as good! (Facebook doesn’t need to know that though. After all, we’re talking VERY exceptional circumstances).
On another day, our journey brought us to the Condamine Gorge, where I FINALLY got a photo that was genuinely rustic chic and says “I’m totally BFFs with the harsh Australian landscape”.
I started to realise I was getting a lot of fun, picturesque and jealousy-inducing holiday snaps – and yet I was nowhere near a beach!
That’s because the Queensland countryside truly rivals the coast, yet I had no idea prior to coming here.
Southern Queensland Country is wonderfully scenic. I felt truly blessed waking up on my birthday in this cabin.
It’s one of the few birthdays where the reality of suddenly aging one year didn’t bother me, because I was so mesmerised by the misty, meditative surrounds.
Making it even more compelling was the fact that I didn’t need any of my usual birthday messages on Facebook to winch me from the chasms of B-day solemnness. Up here, there’s no phone reception.
At the check-in desk where I learned this, I channeled my inner Bear Grylls and mustered the courage to stay. (I’m glad I did, because I soon discovered there was a Wi-Fi hotspot onsite and balance was restored to my world.)
The intermittent distance from the digital world was actually a true blessing in disguise – you really don’t want any distractions in the presence of a view like this.
At Spring Creek Mountain Café & Cottages, you’re one kilometre above sea level, watching and feeling the clouds floating by.
The sun, as it rises, breaks over the lush green landscape, then dips away into a subtle beacon, filtered by a sheer layer of white cloud.
Never have I seen a sunrise so magical. Surely better than whatever Ketut was telling Rhona about in those insurance ads.
The rest of our time was spent on the foodie (/winey /beerie) trail, with a focus on minimal mileage between paddock and plate. The freshness of the food was tangible.
Driving through the lush countryside was just as fun as the places we dropped in to visit. There were some definite Instamoments along the way, like when we found ourselves swallowed up in a sea of nature’s own SPIRIT FINGERS!
Still, despite my best efforts, I feel like I haven’t done justice to the wonder and amazement this place gave me. What a hidden gem I felt I was dusting off – one that just keeps getting bigger as you dig around it!
As carefully choreographed my awkward head-tilts-to-camera were, as strategically subtly my filters were applied, they just don’t tell the full story.
The sounds, the tastes, the feelings of transcendence, the warmth in the welcome of the locals, the memories to last a lifetime.
In Southern Queensland Country, there is so much a photo could never capture. And that’s a lot coming from me – just saying.