The drive to Spicers Hidden Vale was surprisingly easy and short, given how isolated and tranquil the retreat felt during our recent stay there. It took us less than two hours to get there, which included a stopover for lunch at Ipswich. It was two days after Christmas Day and the roads were pretty quiet which made the drive rather pleasant. Spreading across 12,000 acres of Australian bushland in Grandchester, Spicers Hidden Vale felt like an escape destination where you can get unlimited countryside bliss without compromising on comfort.
A small stretch of dirt road lead us to the reception, and across the road from it was our stand alone cottage - the Heritage Suite which provided a wide verandah overlooking the beautiful market garden. Once a storage room for hay bales, our cottage felt quaint and spacious. The decor boasted a vintage farmhouse style with exposed wood beam ceiling. My favourite part of the suite was the sizeable bathroom - shiny white tiles with mixed elements of brass and wood, the bathroom had a stand alone clawfoot bathtub, which turned out to be a place where I relaxed every night after Minibun George had gone to bed, with bubbles and a book.
Although the food outlets available at the retreat are somewhat limited, when it comes to food, quality trumps quantity. From fine dining at the one Chef Hat Homage Restaurant to a more laid-back dining atmosphere of their homestead menu, or if you prefer, simply ask the staff to prepare a picnic hamper for you, who says you have to limit your dining scene to inside of four walls? Let the wilderness be the backdrop of your dinner.
Given the location of the retreat, we were able to plan a few day trips - one day was spent with Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends at the Ipswich Workshops Rail Museum while on another occasion we packed a picnic hamper prepared by the chefs at the Homage Restaurant and took a drive to Wivenhoe Dam. Sometimes I’d leave the boys to do their own thing and escape to Spa Anise to indulge in some me-time.
Our days at the retreat were chilled. Every morning after breakfast, which often started with Scenic Rim yoghurt topped with fresh berries and granola, which then followed a second more substantial dish, we would take a stroll to the paddock so Minibun George could say hi to the farm animals. During the day, we’d all get changed into our swimmers and splash in some water at the pool (in the company of a few local kangaroos). After a multi-course dinner at the Homage Restaurant, our nights often ended with us sitting under the stars by the fire pit roasting marshmallows and sipping hot chocolate. With the dancing flames and the crackling sound of wood, it was like watching nature’s own ballet.
Spicers Hidden Vale is what relaxed luxury is all about, which makes it a great weekend getaway spot.
Bunnies’ Travel Notes
Bunnies’ Room Number: 25 - Heritage Suite
Bath products: Appelles Apothecary
Perks that we loved: complimentary wifi and those cute farm animals
Check-in/check-out times: 2pm - 11am
Time of stay: December 2016
What we paid: $970AUD for two nights + one additional complimentary night