Meet the locals – Steve Noakes, Binna Burra Lodge

Steve Noakes is a Binna Burra local. If you take the winding road up from Canungra to Binna Burra, chances are you’ll bump into him having a cuppa or a cold one with other locals at Binna Burra Kitchen. Or you might even catch him proudly walking the grounds of Binna Burra Lodge – an icon of the Scenic Rim and, in fact, the world.

Steve has been involved with Binna Burra Lodge for 50 years, on and off, and is into his third year as Binna Burra Lodge chairman.

Scenic Rim local and Binna Burra Lodge Chairman Steve Noakes. Photo: Susie Cunningham.

Steve and his wife Suzanne have lived in that beautiful part of the Scenic Rim for 22 years and sent their three children to the local Beechmont State School. One of their adult kids is now a teacher there, and some of her students work for Binna Burra Lodge. It’s just that kind of place.

Steve and Suzanne play an active part in the local community. Suzanne, who is a true blue local (her mum was born in Beaudesert), is a life member of the Beechmont Parents & Citizens Association and on the Beechmont ANZAC Day Committee.

Both Steve and Suzanne are members of the Lamington Natural History Association (Suzanne is vice-chair), which provides the visitor information services for Queensland Parks & Wildlife on the Binna Burra side of Lamington National Park. They are also members of the Beechmont Area Progress Association.

Suzanne is an active volunteer rural fire fighter and secretary of the Beechmont Rural Fire Brigade, which played an instrumental role in fighting the bushfires which devastated the communities of Beechmont and Binna Burra – including Binna Burra Lodge – in 2019.

We asked Steve to share some of his local tips for the best places to eat, drink and relax in the Scenic Rim. Unsurprisingly, Binna Burra features pretty highly on the list!

What do you love about the Scenic Rim?
The Scenic Rim is close enough to big city services, but far enough away for solitude, peacefulness and inspiration.  It’s an accessible diversion from negativity and bad news! You can connect with what matters – where nature thrives, the human spirit can thrive also.

What’s your favourite place to eat/ drink in the Scenic Rim?
I enjoy the many neat little cafes in Canungra, but my favourites are at Binna Burra Lodge and also at the Binna Burra Kitchen at the old school site in Beechmont. Binna Burra has a long tradition of sourcing and serving local farm products and that is getting stronger as it reopened from the terrible bushfire devasation in 2019.

What’s your favourite Scenic Rim spot?
The Binna Burra side of the Lamington National Park which is within the Gondwana World Heritage Listed rainforests. It’s a large area of warm temperate rainforest which still contain ancient and primitive plants and animals from which the Earth evolved. How special is that?

Binna Burra Lodge reopens from 1 September, 2020. To book, visit www.binnaburralodge.com.au