The Lost World is a great find

Scenic Rim pro­duc­ers of­fer up food and wine sen­sa­tions sur­rounded by na­ture’s beauty

Western Times - - FINDA TRADIE - Dar­ren Hallesy

TOO of­ten the idea of a ro­man­tic get­away con­jures up thoughts of a quick visit to the beach or a swanky ho­tel in the heart of Bris­bane.

For some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent, es­pe­cially if you are into food and wine, the Lost World in the heart of the Scenic Rim is some­thing out of the or­di­nary.

It is a hid­den plateau, near the bor­der of New South Wales and Queens­land, and right next to Lam­ing­ton Na­tional Park.

The Lost World is about a nine hour drive from Charleville.

Once you get through Beaudesert it’s just a short 20-minute drive over creeks, brooks and farm­land that will quickly trans­port you to an­other time, as you pass through Kerry, Lar­avale and Dar­ling­ton.

Just out­side Dar­ling­ton sits Worendo Cot­tages, a 36ha prop­erty that over­looks moun­tains and huge open spa­ces, with three self-con­tained cot­tages avail­able for hire, from one bed­room up to four bed­rooms, that can ac­com­mo­date three fam­i­lies with ease.

The prop­erty re­cently re­ceived at­ten­tion for its Wild Lime Cook­ing School, which draws peo­ple from all over south-east Queens­land look­ing for a unique food ex­pe­ri­ence.

With the MasterChef revo­lu­tion still in full swing in Aus­tralia, peo­ple are keen to learn and ex­pe­ri­ence food up close, and un­der the steer­age of a pro­fes­sional chef, this five-hour ex­pe­ri­ence gets guests to split up into groups.

Each group cooks part of a five-course meal, which is shared among the cooks after­wards.

The recipes are easy to fol­low, and have a dif­fer­ent theme each month, such as French, win­ter, Ital­ian, or in the case of our visit, Mex­i­can.

We sat down to a meal of corn soup with prawns, beef bir­ria, chicken mole and a straw­berry mar­garita mousse know­ing we’d not only had a hand in cook­ing the meal but would also be able to re­pro­duce it at home.

From lo­cally grown fin­ger limes, to Bun­jur­gen wines, ev­ery­thing from the area is on dis­play and ready to taste.

At night, you’ll feel like you truly are in The Lost World as with­out a street­light for miles, you look out in si­lence to to­tal dark­ness.

Plus you’ll get prob­a­bly the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had. I know I did.

To get to Worendo, you pass over a wooden bridge and over a beau­ti­ful stream where Dar­ling­ton ap­pears only to con­sist of a camp­ing site, shop and a small school.

Very pop­u­lar with campers, you’d be hard pushed to find a spot that is more peace­ful and pic­turesque.

Once the cook­ing les­son wraps up, you may be vis­it­ing at the right time to dis­cover the mar­kets at the Dar­ling­ton State School.

Held four times a year, the mar­kets high­light the lo­cal arts, crafts, food and wine, plus just down the road you’ll find Tom­merup’s Dairy Farm Stay where there is lo­cal meat, cheese and honey for sale.

For those vis­it­ing next month, the Arts in the Olives Fes­ti­val is on May 14.

Fea­tur­ing more than 20 work­shops in skills such as black­smithing, bas­ket mak­ing, sculp­ture and paint­ing, there will also be a plethora of stalls fea­tur­ing pro­duce, wine and goods.

On June 24 is the Farm Gate Fes­ti­val, when a num­ber of The Lost World pro­duc­ers open their farms to start the Scenic Rim’s Eat Lo­cal Week, on un­til July 2.

For wine fans, Bun­jur­gen Es­tate vine­yard is open Wed­nes­day to Sun­day and sits be­tween Mt Al­ford and Boonah. It pro­duces a num­ber of wines and cherry and ruby ports.

For wine lovers, time a visit with La Bun­jurga (June 11–12), a fes­ti­val of wine, jazz, art and food.

The writer was a guest of Wild Lime Cook­ing School and Worendo Cot­tages.

PHO­TOS: DAR­REN HALLESY

PEACE­FUL: The Lost World is in the heart of the Scenic Rim, near the bor­der of New South Wales and Queens­land.

Re­lax at Worendo Cot­tages.

Guests take part in the Wild Lime Cook­ing School at Worendo Cot­tages, near Dar­ling­ton.

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