Relax and unwind where good food and drink and welcoming rural hospitality reside in a naturally beautiful environment.
Go wild and explore arts and heritage, local attractions, nature and wildlife, Aboriginal culture and adventure all year round.
Slow down and enjoy genuine country hospitality from camping to cabins and five-star retreats in stunning surrounds.
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Located in the Scenic Rim’s south and bordering New South Wales, the Rathdowney and Mount Barney area is full of heritage. The Yugambeh people are the original inhabitants of this land distinguished by soaring peaks, rugged terrain and great plains. Mount Barney, Queensland’s fourth-highest mountain, holds particular significance to local First Nations groups and is woven into their storytelling.
Rathdowney is one of the Scenic Rim’s tiny villages and your last refuelling stop before the wilderness of Mount Barney National Park. It has a farming heritage where the harvests sustained the local Indigenous groups before the first settlers established dairy, timber and then cattle farming. Driving from Beaudesert to Rathdowney, the overwhelming view is of beautiful rolling fields and grazing cattle.
A few personal favourites from Innes & Tracey.
The Lower Portals Walk in Mount Barney National Park is a 7.4km return track to a stunning 50m-long waterhole with cliffs coming down into a little waterfall. In the summer months, it’s the place to be.
Another popular track in Mount Barney National Park, Cronan Creek Cascades is a beautiful 12km return walk through multiple different habitats to reach a slightly larger waterfall and waterhole.
Also located in the National Park, the trek to the top of Mount Maroon is highly recommended as a more achievable mountain to climb and worth the effort for the spectacular views over the Mount Barney massif.
The Scenic Rim has three beautiful dams and Lake Maroon is a stunning spot that allows watercraft for a fun day out.
Venture on The Lions Road from Beaudesert to Kyogle via Rathdowney. The 96km scenic route goes past the Border Loop, where the railway does a spiral loop underneath itself. The beautiful drive down to Kyogle in New South Wales and back has multiple creek crossings and fantastic scenery.
“As you leave Rathdowney and drive into the Mount Barney valley, you feel as if you are entering a world apart surrounded by three magnificent mountains and ancient rainforest that provide a sense of scale and heritage.”
The area’s unmissable drawcard is Mount Barney, one of the last vestiges of wilderness. The protected area has only 2 marked tracks to the summit, however there are 20+ wild ridges and gullies to get up that are recommended only for experienced and prepared bushwalkers.
For those looking for a challenge and who want to experience that real, remote wild nature, there is no better spot than Mount Barney. The full-day hike can take up to 12 hours and you have to work hard for the view from Mount Barney, however the effect of untouched wilderness on mental and physical health is well worth the effort.
As part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, the designated wilderness park protects the last remnants of cool temperate rainforest and a walk through these ‘cloud forests’ reveals ancient songbirds such as Albert’s lyrebird and rare plants that exist nowhere else in the world. To hear, see, touch and experience it is a little touch of gold that makes the walk even more exciting and interesting.
When you go on a guided hike in the National Park, the Mt Barney Lodge guides interpret the sights and sounds of the landscape through the history, geology, flora and fauna, weaving stories into the experience.
There is a body of evidence that suggests a single interaction with a passionate guide can transform a nature lover into a nature protector, and that is important to ensure Mount Barney remains wild for generations to come.
A local secret:
It’s not really a secret, which is why it can get busy on weekends, however it is highly recommended to schedule a stop for the generous servings of burgers and chips. Bring your appetite!
Together with his wife, Tracey, Innes Larkin runs Mt Barney Lodge, a family-owned eco lodge established by his parents in 1991, which offers camping, cabins and glamping accommodation. A highly experienced climber and hiker, Innes has a deep connection and knowledge of Mount Barney and the surrounding World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforest Area, which he shares through storytelling and guided adventures.
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We are proud of our diverse communities within the region. We acknowledge the traditional owners of the many lands within the Scenic Rim - the Mununjali in the Centre, the Wangerriburra to the East, the Ugarapul to the West, and all those of the Yugambeh and Jagera language groups. We pay respect to their Elders, past, present and emerging.
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