The Lost World is a great find
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 just a 90-minute drive from Ipswich, Brisbane or the Gold Coast.
Once you get through Beaudesert it's just a short 20-minute drive over creeks, brooks and farmland that will quickly make you forget about life in the big city, 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.
The Lost World: www.thelostworld.com.au
Arts in the Olives: www.artsintheolives.com
Wild Lime Cooking School and Worendo Cottages: www.worendo.com
Feast in the Field: www.tommerupsfarmstay.com.au
Bunjurgen Vineyards: http://www.tommerupsfarmstay.com.au