Spicers Canopy Scenic Rim Trail: Nature By Day Luxury By Night

I pulled up in my rental car and was greeted by Hanna and James, our guides from Spicers Canopy. James took my bag and whisked it away informing me it would be waiting for me at my tent when we finished our hike. Hanna took me to a truck where she introduced me to my fellow hikers and glampers – 3 women who, like me, were also traveling solo. When you think about luxury lodging, you seldom think about experiencing it solo. You normally save luxury experiences like glamping to be shared with someone. However, you don’t have to save ‘special’ experiences to be shared with someone, if I did, then I’d probably never travel! My time at Spicers Canopy was a great way to experience glamping solo because it wasn’t solely about the resort and luxury, it was about how you got there and the people you were with.

Our hiking guide, Hanna, handed us day backpacks already packed with rain gear, a hat, lunch, snacks, and a camel back water system. This wasn’t just luxury camping, it was luxury hiking too. I wasn’t used to getting this type of pampering when I hiked, but I think I could get used to it! We started up the Scenic Rim Trailhead towards the summit of Mt. Mitchell. Spicers Scenic Rim Trail is located in the Great Dividing Range of Southern Queensland Australia. A region rich in exploration and history, which is a perfect distance from Brisbane for a weekend getaway. We started with a gradual climb through cartoonish looking trees and plants I had never seen before native to Australia. We arrived at the summit in time to eat our packed lunches of wraps and fruit; needed nourishment after the climb.

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As we hiked up Mt. Mitchell you could see the big picture of the day’s hike. James pointed out white dots down in the distant valley, the tents of Spicers Canopy, which would be our camp for the evening. He also pointed out the Spicers Peak Lodge perched on top of a hill across from Spicer’s Peak which would be our end destination on our last day of hiking. As I looked at the Spicers Canopy tents in way off in the distance I was excited at the prospect of a glamping experience after challenging hiking day. After all, the last thing I wanted to do after a challenging 8 mile hike was pitch my own tent, start a fire, and cook myself crappy camp food.

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Seeing the camp gave me the energy to get through the 2nd half of the hike which veered off the nice park maintained trail and into proper bush walking. We followed Hanna and James as they led us through the tall grass and down the steep embankment – we were blazing our own trail now! We passed the time by getting to know each other better swapping stories and personal information making us forget about the miles we were logging. After a few more hours we came up over the ridge and saw our first look at the campsite, which had 10 perfectly placed safari style canvas tents with porches all looking out on Mt. Mitchell. The sun was startingto get low and the camp had a golden glow. Or maybe I was blinded by the golden bubbles handed to me as I arrived at the communal lodge building. Ryan and Finley, the Spicers Canopy chefs, handed me a glass of champagne, welcomed me to the camp, and invited us in to enjoy homemade scones, jam, and cream by the fire. I’m an avid hiker, but this was the most memorable way I have ever finished a day hike. It felt great to take off my boots and daypack and sink into the big couch cushions enjoying the smell of a roaring fire with a glass of bubbly. “I earned this”, I thought to myself!

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The hiking was done and the pampering had just begun. We were shown to our tents where our bags awaited us as well as a big queen bed full of pillows making it look like a marshmallow to sink into. The tents were powered by solar so each had two bedside lamps and one overhead lamp. The bed as well as a lounge chair looked out on Mt. Mitchell. It felt wonderful to think that we had been way up there at the peak earlier in the day. I put on my fluffy white robe and walked to the bathrooms in the communal building that was also home to 3 sleek, modern bathrooms with showers. The hot shower felt wonderful on the chilly evening. (Image – Spicers Canopy 2.jpg)

Soon it was time for canapés and wine served around the fire as the lodge was filling with aromas from Ryan and Finley’s cooking. The kitchen was open which allowed and encouraged everyone to interact. After a day of hiking I had gotten to know my fellow hikers pretty well. This glamping experience was more of a group experience instead of a romantic weekend with privacy. And personally I preferred this as a solo traveler who loves hiking. Part of the fun for me was getting to know my fellow hikers.

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The best part about glamping after a hike is you get to enjoy guilt-free eating! A feast was delivered to the communal table; onion brie tart with balsamic vinegar, coq au vin, and sticky date pudding with ice cream for dessert. Not the typical camping food I am used to. The fire was dying down, my belly was full, and the wine had taken hold, it was time to retire to my tent. The air was crisp outside which quickened my step, however as I stepped up on my porch I glanced up and was stopped in my tracks. The luminous Milky Way was staring back at me with such sharpness I was mesmerized and the chilly night air became an afterthought.

I finally pulled myself away from stargazing and unzipped my tent to fall into my marshmallow bed, exhausted. When I turned down the duvet I found a hot water bottle nestled in my bed – the perfect sleeping companion for this solo glamper on a cold autumn night. In this environment it was easy to get a good night’s sleep so that I could get up and do this all over again with my fellow hikers tomorrow!

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More Information: Spicers Scenic Rim Trail is a new inventive 3 day hike and glamping experience covering approximately 19 miles around the Great Dividing Range Mountains in Southeast Queensland Australia. You glamp for 2 nights at Spicers Canoy and the third night your hike ends at the luxurious Spicers Peak Lodge where the pampering continues surrounded by real walls.

Glamping Review: Silky Oaks Lodge

“This is the last traffic light on the east coast of Australia,” my driver tells me, wiping a single bead of sweat from his sunburnt brow. “You can drive from here all the way to Cape York, the most northerly point on this continent, without having to stop for another red light.”

Less than 15 minutes after he’s shifted his van back into gear, we’re pulling into Silky Oaks Lodge, and the resorts that line Australia’s east coast seem infinitely distant. Swaying fields of golden sugar cane and infinite sea views have given way to the Daintree rainforest’s profusion of green draping itself over the orogenic folds of the Great Dividing Range.

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The Daintree is Earth’s oldest living rainforest, estimated to be about 180 million years old. It’s the last remaining relic of a tropical rainforest that once covered all of Australia. The continent’s distinctive animals began to evolve in this environment. The first flowering plants are thought to have bloomed here, and it’s easy to find species of giant fern that once fed dinosaurs. It is one of our planet’s most wondrous ecosystems.

Most of the Daintree rainforest is protected in a world heritage listed national park, but in the thin sliver between the park’s southeastern edge and the Mossman River, Silky Oaks Lodge nestles itself into this lush environment.

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Like every guest, I’m offered welcome drink in the Jungle Perch upon arrival.  The stilted gazebo sits high above the river in the rainforest canopy.  On Silky Oaks’ restaurant plates and in its glasses, tropical flavors are the order of the day. Notes of citrus and mango dance on my palate, and I survey the tree tops around me, a different blooming orchid spilling into view with each quarter turn of my head.

I take a few minutes to soak it all in. Just a few hours off a trans-Pacific flight, I’m jetlagged and generally exhausted, but my new surroundings have given me the urge to explore.

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My home for the next few nights will be a luxurious tree house with a porch that juts into a steep-walled primeval valley below. Countless shades of green overhang the stone paths I navigate through Silky Oaks toward my cabin. It’s virtually impossible to keep the Daintree at bay.

“Keeping the rainforest back is a constant job,” says Paul Van Min, who migrated to tropical north Queensland from the cooler climes of Melbourne to build the rainforest retreat. “It will grow over the paths and boardwalks in days if you aren’t constantly cutting it back.”

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It’s easy enough to believe. A tropical cyclone came through the area just a few weeks before I arrived, but any damage that it did to the forest here has already been covered up by new growth. Life bursts forth everywhere.

Silky Oaks staff will arrange for guests to go sunset sailing on the Coral Sea, diving on the Great Barrier Reef and spear fishing with local Aboriginal people, but hiking in the national park on the lodge’s doorstep is what pulls me in first.


Two trails leave directly from the property. The mountain trail climbs steeply into the park, while the flatter river trail leads past a few picnic spots to the thundering Fig Tree rapids about an hour’s walk upstream.

I tackle the river trail first. The Mossman River is fed by a mountain spring high in the Great Dividing Range, and it stays cool even in summer. Along its banks, the river feels like a natural air conditioner. Afternoon rain filters warmly through the rainforest canopy, contrasting with the rush of air cooled by the river. Even hiking in the tropical heat, I stay cool.

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After sampling a seafood tapas platter of prawn spring rolls, melt in your mouth reef fish and local barramundi, I’m more than ready for a good night’s sleep. My tree house comes equipped with two beds: one indoor, and one on my oversized porch.

The indoor bed is the larger of the two, but there’s only one of me, and both are equally inviting, crisply made with Macadamia-nut chocolates on their pillows for dessert. Given the chance to sleep with nothing but a mosquito net between myself and this extraordinary rainforest, I take it.

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The burbling of a tiny stream nearby is echoed by the roar of the Mossman in the distance, and I fade pleasantly in and out of consciousness for a while. This aquatic soundscape is overlaid with innumerable insects chirping and periodic bursts of birdsong. The jetlag I’d been feeling is lulled away for good as I settle in for twelve full hours of the soundest sleep I’ve ever had.

(Photos from Silky Oaks Lodge)