Sunday Territorian 7 Nov 2021
Sunday Territorian; NewspaperNT
Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
News Corp Australia
Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.
News Corp Australia
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 7 2021 ESCAPE 19 V2 - NTNE01Z01MA FEW things feel as refreshing as a heat-breaking afternoon storm in the Australian bush. Except, perhaps, watching showers sweep across parched paddocks from the luxury of an open-air bubble bath. Thunder cracks and the wind ripples a sea of sun-bleached grass, inviting the tiny birds that bunk in the bottlebrush out to ride the current roller coaster. The alfresco attraction at Grandchesters Spicers Hidden Vale, reserved for guests staying in its high-end timber cabins, is the ultimate way to appreciate 12,000 acres (4856ha) of bushland beauty. A screen slides forward to block the breeze and prying eyes, or back to reveal a bigger slice of sky. Theres a strategically positioned stump to hold the red wine and squirrel treats from the mini bar. Tucked towards the back of the retreat, about 40km southwest of Ipswich, the cabins also feature stone fireplaces, open double showers, plush king beds and view-framing verandas. While Hidden Vale has a choice of rooms, suites and Queenslander-style cottages for families intending to bring the flock, these private love nests set the scene for a rural romance. The bathtubs, for the record, comfortably fit two. Days can be spent on cheese and wine tastings, picnicking in the paddocks or cooing over bush babies in the onsite wildlife centre hover over a QR coded activity map for inspiration. To really up the ante, there are scenic chopper flights. Somewhere between sunset cocktails and campfires under the stars, be sure to book dinner at Homage. Any Spicers property could hang its hat on exceptional food, but this is one of the groups most lauded eateries. Each appetising adventure starts inside the grand homestead at Hidden Vales heart, tables surveying the infinity pool and a patchwork of farmland. That pastoral panorama inspires memorable, multi-course meals peppered with surprises, from lavender-scented cocktails to duck leg chiko rolls drizzled in sweet and sour raspberry. Free market garden tours add another layer of appreciation, with executive chef Ash Martins team pottering through garden beds where root, stem and all can be commandeered for the plate. Epicurean experiments centre around a smokehouse and fermentation room, while beehives and orchards contribute to a genuinely homegrown dining experience. ROADTRIP TIP: Grandchester is in Ipswich, around an hour and a half drive from the Gold Coast. Allow time for a pit stop at the faithfully restored Grandchester Railway Station, which is open on the first Sunday of each month. Spicers Hidden Vale fire pit, an ideal spot to enjoy the end of a beautiful day in South East Queensland. Picture: Supplied BATHE IN THE BEAUTY OF THE BUSH C H A N T A Y L O G A N WITH LUXURY CABINS AND ONE OF THE REGIONS MOST REVERED RESTAURANTS, THIS ROMANTIC MINI BREAK IS A BREATH OF FRESH COUNTRY AIR A NEW retreat, which sold out its first release of bookings in less than 10 hours, will open in the Scenic Rim in December. The first in a national network of luxury, eco-aware WanderPods, Wander at The Overflow 1895 is poised to take full advantage of the regions natural assets and onsite winery. Wander CEO Cassandra Sasso said the getaway would feature five one and twobedroom designer pods hidden in private bushland along the shores of Lake Wyaralong. The full-height windows and detailed design will make you feel like youre immersed in nature, whether youre inside or out, she said. There is so much to love and discover about the Scenic Rim and its stunning natural landscapes are world class. Pod perks include pillow-top king beds with organic linen, wood fires, walk-in showers and kitchenettes, with each of the individually styled structures named after surrounding mountains. Ms Sasso said they offered the chance to reconnect with nature, with guests able to stroll through open eucalypt bushland to the waters edge or enjoy a local vino under the stars on their private deck. Australians know that time spent on country heals, she said. It gives us an opportunity to reflect, reset, renew and find balance. Just over an hours drive from Brisbane or the Gold Coast, Wander can organise Scenic Rim farm boxes brimming with local produce, private hot-air balloon rides, on-site yoga, meditation and massage, and walking tours. If you prefer to take your time, we have curated some day trips to explore the greater area, hand-picking some of the best walks, viewpoints and places to grab some local food, Ms Sasso said. Not that guests have to go far to experience the best of our backyard. The on-property Overflow Estate 1895, a boutique winery producing about 10,000 bottles of its four varieties annually, runs wine tastings with cheese and antipasto boards, desserts and coffee, and a full restaurant menu on select days. Ms Sasso said closed state borders hadnt dented demand for the travel brands debut. Despite interstate lockdowns, Wander at The Overflow 1895 sold out its first allocation of bookings within the first 10 hours of going online, she said. The accommodation can also be booked out exclusively by larger groups, sleeping up to 14 adults across the five pods. WONDERFUL PLACE FOR A WANDER