Royal High Tea

The royal bear of the moment, little Puffles πŸ™‚

Royal High Tea

Royal High Tea

Happy Birthday Puffles!

Royal High Tea

A high tea fit for a king!

Royal High Tea

And a new friend… Welcome Carlos to the family!

Royal High Tea

Let’s explore…

Royal High Tea

Royal High Tea

Royal High Tea

Royal High Tea

This is the perfect place to rest before the royal ball tonight…

Royal High Tea

Thank you to everyone at Palazzo Versace for making little Puffles’ birthday a very special one πŸ™‚

The Real Story of the Hiking Adventure

The Real Story of Hiking the Scenic Rim

Not to take anything away from little Puffles and Jay’s grand hiking adventure, but their experience is not exactly typical of those who hike the Scenic Rim. And not just because nobody else climbed trees πŸ™‚

To be clear, this was luxury hiking, which is why little Puffles and Jay went on this adventure, but the luxury came at the end of the day, after some serious hiking. We had no problem understanding the luxury aspects of the adventure πŸ™‚ but it turns out we had no idea what the hiking part of the adventure entailed. My good intentions about my fitness level did not translate into sufficient action on the matter, but at least I managed to prepare with the right gear. Although my idea of wearing in my hiking boots was to wear them to the office for a couple of days. Well, it worked! But I don’t recommned this approach. Too much reliance on sheer damn luck that it will all work out.

Over the three days we hiked around 35km, hiked up about 1100m the first day and 1200m on the third day (in total we climbed the equivalent of over three times the Empire State Building – that is 102 floors three times over!), and we hiked over rocks and trees and everything else that got in the way. While carrying a backpack!

The Real Story of Hiking the Scenic Rim

The first two days went by somehow with awe at the stunning views of the Scenic Rim, getting to know fellow hikers and our two amazing guides and with Puffles and Jay providing a suitable distraction with their antics πŸ™‚ At the end of the two days we enjoyed the comforts of Spicers Canopy and the wonderful cooking of Rachel and Josh. In the meantime the temperature was dropping steadily and the wind was increasing just as steadily and exponentially! The first night at Spicers Canopy there were fleeting thoughts of the tents being blown away and this joke came to mind: “I wake up staring at the stars and wondering – Where the heck is my tent?” At this point I must mention that despite the freezing temperatures, we did not feel cold at night. The bed was simply wonderful and wonderfully warm, also helped by the hot water bottles from the hot water bottle fairy πŸ™‚

Before long the third day arrived, and the biggest challenge of the hike. By now all illusions of lush rolling hills and pleasant walks (think Julie Andrews in the hills in the Sound of Music) had well and truly been crashed by reality. All muscles between my toes, now with a few blisters, and my gluteus maximus were sore like they had never been before. On a side note, I went to a fitness boot-camp a few years back, and it was a walk in the park compared to this hike. The temperature had dropped to somewhere around freezing and the wind was blowing at gale force speeds.

The Real Story of Hiking the Scenic Rim

So when we left on the third day at the bright and early time of 8am, I was quite apprehensive, and dressed for a blizard. And I was still cold! Around 10am we checked the temperature and the wind, and it was 8Β°C that felt like 5Β°C and the wind speed was 41km/h!

Incredibly, there was one advantage to being that cold. I could no longer feel my legs! I lost count of how many times I thought I was not going to make it on that third day. But then options were seriously limited. As in only one available, to take a deep breath and keep going forward, one step at a time. It’s just over one day later and I am already asking myself if it ever happened. But five other brave adventurers, two amazing guides and a whole lot of photos all say that it did happen. Not to mention an impressive collection of bruises (and that’s just the ones I can see!), a tender right ankle (from overflexing) and all the hiking gear in my suitcase!

If like Honey and Isabelle you are asking “What did you do that for?” the answer is, the only way to stay at Spicers Canopy is to do the hike. The only other way is to hire the entire site. I know, I asked! With short-cuts not available, we joined the hike. Would I have done it if I had known how hard it was going to be? I would like to think so, but hopefully I would have prepared better. Although as it was pointed out, we all made it despite being surprised by the level of the challenge! The limiting factor turned out to be not my leg muscles, but the ability of my heart to pump blood fast enough to the working muscles and of my lungs to oxygenate the blood to the level required by the effort involved. With no control over involuntary and cardiac muscle, the only way to manage was to stop and wait until breathing and heart rate came down a bit before taking off again. Right now the experience feels surreal.

The Real Story of Hiking the Scenic Rim

Spicers Peak Lodge is a luxury retreat for adults, quiet and dignified. The arrival of six euphoric hikers and two little bears πŸ™‚ totally shattered the silence and the formality of the atmosphere. The formality was further shattered by four little bears running around the lodge πŸ™‚ checking everything out. While Puffles, Honey, Isabelle and Jay were sitting on the couch in the lounge all dressed up for dinner, some other guests arrived, looked at them and said to some of the staff, there are teddy bears on the couch! I did not hear the response.

Now that it’s over I am certainly glad I did it. It was an amazing experience, exhilarating, thrilling, intoxicating! Yes, I know, they are all synonyms. And I am talking about the hike, not just the special treatment at Spicers Canopy and Spicers Peak Lodge. The icing on the cake (and we do like cake!) was all the people we met on this adventure. They made the experience a truly unforgettable adventure.

The Real Story of Hiking the Scenic Rim

We’ll talk about the dense rainforest of Spicers Peak, with giant ferns and awe-inspiring 1,000-year-old hoop pines, about the panoramic views of Spicers Gap and the Great Dividing Range in a future post. Right now we are going to celebrate little Puffles big day with a royal high tea. Stay tuned for photos πŸ™‚

Spicers Peak Lodge

Spicers Peak Lodge is Australia’s highest non-alpine lodge. As a member of Luxury Lodges of Australia this breathtaking lodge with its unending views has been named Queensland’s most luxurious accommodation six times in the last nine years.

Spicers Peak Lodge

Little bears are out and about exploring the lodge.

Spicers Peak Lodge

The awards corner…

Spicers Peak Lodge

Those hats look just like mine…

Spicers Peak Lodge

The lounge…

Spicers Peak Lodge

Breakfast!

Spicers Peak Lodge

While the boys are deciding what to have for breakfast, the girls have decided on icecream πŸ™‚ With pancakes, maple syrup, apple and bacon. Yummy!

Spicers Peak Lodge

Time for a little game…

Spicers Peak Lodge

Then for a stroll outside…

Spicers Peak Lodge

…to check out the infinity edge swimming pool…

Spicers Peak Lodge

…and the funky pumpkins.

Spicers Peak Lodge

Spicers Peak Lodge

A paparazzi caught in the act πŸ™‚

Spicers Peak Lodge

Upstairs there is a library with billiards table…

Spicers Peak Lodge

Spicers Peak Lodge

…and a balcony to admire the views.

Spicers Peak Lodge

And look at the mountains they have climbed!

Spicers Peak Lodge

It’s time to dress up for dinner πŸ™‚

Spicers Peak Lodge

…and enjoy the warm lounge while waiting.

Spicers Peak Lodge

Dinner is served!

Fraser Isle Spanner Crab, ham, wakame, fungi
Fraser Isle Spanner Crab, ham, wakame, fungi
Yellowtail kingfish, chilli consomme, cauliflower, radish
Yellowtail kingfish, chilli consomme, cauliflower, radish
Lamb belly, goat milk, garlic
Lamb belly, goat milk, garlic
Angus stirloin, pumpkin, bitter greens, yuzu-miso
Angus stirloin, pumpkin, bitter greens, yuzu-miso
Chocolate, honeycomb, popcorn, caramel desert with 2011 Hollick "The Nectar" SA
Chocolate, honeycomb, popcorn, caramel desert with 2011 Hollick “The Nectar” SA

Time for a song…

Spicers Peak Lodge

Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
Till you find your dream.

Spicers Peak Lodge

πŸ™‚

Hiking Western Peak of Spicers Mountain

We’re going hiking again!

Hiking Western Peak of Spicers Mountain

Ok… We’ll see you at Spicers Peak Lodge.

Hiking Western Peak of Spicers Mountain

Little Puffles and Jay are off on another hiking adventure…

Hiking Western Peak of Spicers Mountain

Hiking Western Peak of Spicers Mountain

Today they climbed a giant fern tree…

Hiking Western Peak of Spicers Mountain

Hiking Western Peak of Spicers Mountain

…touched a one thousand year old grass tree…

Hiking Western Peak of Spicers Mountain

… and met an anglehead dragon lizard.

Anglehead dragon lizard
Anglehead dragon lizard
Look at me!
Look at me!

Time for a little rest…

Hiking Western Peak of Spicers Mountain

…and a little chocolate cake πŸ™‚

Hiking Western Peak of Spicers Mountain

This moss feels really soft!

Hiking Western Peak of Spicers Mountain

And before they knew it, they reached the top of the western peak and they added their own little stones to the can.

Hiking Western Peak of Spicers Mountain

The knowledgeable guides are suitable impressed with the little bears achievement πŸ™‚

Hiking Western Peak of Spicers Mountain

A little bit more rest…

Are we there yet?
Are we there yet?

A little bit more climbing…

Hiking Western Peak of Spicers Mountain

Another tree trunk to explore…

Hiking Western Peak of Spicers Mountain

And they made it!

Hiking Western Peak of Spicers Mountain

What shall we do next?

Hiking Western Peak of Spicers Mountain

Governor’s Chair Lookout

Honey and Isabelle have decided to check out this adventure business πŸ™‚

Governor's Chair

They are off on a four wheel drive to Governor’s Chair Lookout, over Fassifern Valley.

Spicers Peak
Spicers Peak
Fern forest
Fern forest
Elkhorn (bottom) and staghorn (top) on a tree - epiphytic ferns
Elkhorn (bottom) and staghorn (top) on a tree – epiphytic ferns

Grass trees are very bouncy!

Governor's Chair

Governors Chair, the large rock on the edge of the cliff face, was so named as it was reportedly a popular resting spot for early governors of Queensland when their journeys took them through Spicers Gap – the original route linking the Warwick and Moreton Bay districts.

Governor's Chair
Governor’s Chair

Governor's Chair

Amazing views!

Governor's Chair

Governor's Chair

Sunday Morning Around Millervale Creek

Puffles and Jay are off on another adventure.

Another tree, another tree climb.

Sunday Morning Around Millervale Creek

This time, a gum tree.

Sunday Morning Around Millervale Creek

Next stop, Millervale Creek…

Sunday Morning Around Millervale Creek

…for some rock climbing.

Sunday Morning Around Millervale Creek

Much easier climbing down the other side.

Sunday Morning Around Millervale Creek

How did they get there?

Sunday Morning Around Millervale Creek

I wonder if they get a better view than we do from down here.

Sunday Morning Around Millervale Creek

A little cave…

Sunday Morning Around Millervale Creek

A tree with a termite nest on it…

Sunday Morning Around Millervale Creek

Other hikers out enjoying the views πŸ™‚

Sunday Morning Around Millervale Creek

Ouch! Are you sure we have to climb up there?

Sunday Morning Around Millervale Creek

Oohhh, the view was worth it!

Sunday Morning Around Millervale Creek

Sunday Morning Around Millervale Creek

Mmm, muffins…

Sunday Morning Around Millervale Creek

Sunday Morning Around Millervale Creek

A perfect Sunday morning…

Sunday Morning Around Millervale Creek

A topnotch WordPress.com site