Grandchester Staycation at Spicers Hidden Vale

Set in 12,000 acres of natural bushland, Spicers Hidden Vale at Grandchester is the definition of ‘country comfort’.

This sprawling retreat is just an hour from the big city, perfect for a luxurious weekend or mid-week getaway.

There’s something warm and welcoming about the heritage-themed accommodation, from restored Queenslander cottages to rustic timber cabins.

When it comes to sustenance, you’re well and truly looked after at fine dining restaurant Homage.

It does, as the name suggests, pay tribute to the local area with many of the spectacular ingredients coming from their own market garden.

As you’d expect, there’s plenty to see on a 12,000-acre property like the Hidden Vale Wildlife Centre.

At the centre, Dr Andrew Tribe heads up a team of researchers.

“The aim of the Hidden Vale Wildlife Centre and in fact the whole of the Hidden Vale property is to improve the environment for our native animals so that they increase in numbers and getting a better habitat for our native species in the area,” he said. “Guests from the retreat can come and do our wildlife centre tour, a guided tour behind the scenes seeing what we do and the animals, or we can actually take them out on a koala safari out to see real-life koalas in another part of the property.”

The koala safari has been rated one of the top ten native wildlife experiences in Australia.

With the help of a little technology, finding them is made much easier.

“The koalas have little VHF tags on them and each one has its own separate frequency, so we plug the frequency into our bio tracker and then we can go out and hopefully you can hear we’re getting a good strong signal.”

Tracking the koalas gathers information for the Hidden Vale Koala Project.

“What we’re doing is tracking as many of the koalas on the property as we can so that we can find out how many we’ve got, the ratio of males and females, how they’re breeding, their health and where they go, we can actually monitor their movements.” Dr Trive said. “What we ideally want is to have a nice healthy population on the property that is pumping out lots of little koala joeys that are dispersing all round, not just onto our property but onto the neighbour’s property with suitable habitat as well.”

From a chilled-out track through the bush, to something a little more extreme, Hidden Vale has you covered.

Hidden Vale Adventure Park is adjacent to Spicers Retreat. It’s a 120-kilometre network of tracks awesome on a mountain bike.

If biking’s not your thing though, you can walk the trails or go on an ATV (that’s all-terrain vehicle) tour.

Hayden Brooks is the manager of Hidden Vale Adventure Park and he’s pretty much a human map of this huge bushland reserve.

“You have green trails, blue trails and we have a number of different black features so the harder stuff as well,” said Hayden. “We can seat up to five passengers and the driver and we take you on an hour’s tour of the property so all the nice high spots and viewpoints and yeah, it’s an easy way of doing it, and fun!”

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