Not a 5-star experience, a million-star experience…
Escaping the office has never felt so good!
In our modern age, and our obsession with communication technology, nothing appealed to me more recently than the invitation to attend the launch of ‘Corporate Campout’ at Mt Barney Lodge. To have some down-time away from the city, away from work stresses – and with very limited mobile reception sounded just like heaven to me.
As the day approached the weather prediction was not great, but there was no way that was going to deter me. I couldn’t wait to get there, and the welcoming arrival made me feel right at home straight away. After leaving my overnight bag with the friendly staff I was introduced to the other campout guests, and we were led on a guided tour of the property by Innes – the chatty, very informative, and instantly-likeable owner, who runs the business along with his wife Tracey. Along with a generous dose of humour, Innes explained the eco principles and philosophy of their business, imparted his impressive knowledge about the local wildlife, bush-tucker plants, and the environmental projects they undertake.
While our bags were delivered direct to our tents for us, we all enjoyed a pre-dinner Sunset Ecotour. As the sun set and Mt Barney looms dark in the background we sample our way through a fine selection of local red and white wines, and delicious cheeses from nearby dairies.
Just on dusk we wander down to the campsite to see the tents all lit up from inside (by our LED head-lamp torches provided for the night), a truly beautiful sight, with the warm glow setting off the sillouette of the mountains and darkening sky perfectly. The tents are nestled in an exclusive area of the property, reserved just for corporate campout guests. Guest bathroom amenities are a short stroll from the tents – hence the vital importance of torches for that middle-of-the-night toilet visit!
The nearby circular campfire is the setting for our hearty home-cooked gourmet dinner. A large pot of slow-cooked beef and root vegetable stew with cranberries and sandpaper fig is prepared by Tracey in a camp oven over the open fire – all locally-sourced ingredients, many from their own vegetable garden. The accompanying home-made damper soaked up the mouth-watering juices and tasted just like campfire damper should!
After dinner we were treated to live music from a local Boonah musician, creating an atmospheric setting around the campfire as we continued to sip on local wines and do a bit of star-gazing. We chatted well into the evening before slowly, as the evening became cooler, we disappeared one-by-one to our cosy beds waiting for us.
The tents are top-quality, designed for adventure expeditions, and thankfully are completely water-tight. And the all-important camping item, the mattress, was just as amazing as Innes had promised (he hadn’t exagerated!). No lumps, no holes, no sore body parts the next morning from sleeping on the ground as the air leaks out of the mattress overnight – all strong memories of many previous camping trips. It was the best camp mattress I’ve ever slept on. There was also no uncomfortable sleeping bag to get tangled up in, or zip that gets stuck; instead I had a wonderful, soft and cuddly quilt that kept me completely warm all night.
In the morning we were woken with a freshly-brewed cup of billy tea, delivered right to our tent door. This was followed by a county-style BBQ breakfast cooked by Innes.
Mid-morning found us exploring the property in the drizzle, which didn’t dampen our spirits in the slightest. The refreshing air and opportunity to enjoy nature, along with Innes’ chirpy character was a highlight of the visit. Both Innes and Tracey are a wealth of local knowledge, including the flora, fauna and history. Along with being keen outdoor adventurers, they are also passionate conservationists (hint: get don’t Innes started on this topic). Mt Barney Lodge supports the Glossy Black Conservancy project, and we all spent a pleasant hour learning about this unique local species of Black Cockatoo, while searching the property to locate them in their favourite Forest Sheoak (Allocasuarina torulosa) trees. We did finally spot a pair of these elusive birds, just before they flew off to their next favourite Sheoak destination – for their lunch stop most likely. For more: http://www.mtbarneylodge.com.au/About-Us/Natural-Wonders/Birds/Glossy-Black-Cockatoo
Sadly my 24 hours were over way too quickly. As I got into my car I felt like I’d been away for a few days, and a million miles away from the city. Heading back down the Mt Barney Lodge driveway was a hard thing to do, but I was happy as I knew I’d be back again soon – this time with my family for another eco adventure.
Corporate Campout package details:
Corporate Campout is a brand-new project developed by passionate conservationists Tracey and Innes Larkin, the owners and managers of Mt Barney Lodge. It’s the perfect product for stressed-out and time-poor executives who dream of getting away from it all – even if it’s only for 24 hours. The campout provides the ultimate escape from the office and back to nature, without giving up your creature comforts. An excellent opportunity for businesses to undertake team building exercises, executive planning or incentive programs.
This is a real camping experience for time-poor corporates – to enjoy the beauty of nature close-up, but without giving up your creature comforts.
The Corporate campout is an all-inclusive package, including meals, and single accommodation in a 3-man ‘One Planet Ridgeback’ tent, with a deluxe Exped Mega Mat, full linen service, and a mini-bar featuring local foods, and torch lighting. The Sunset Ecotour is followed by a gourmet camp oven meal featuring local wines.
Mt Barney Lodge have been keen advocates of sustainable living for many years, and this new product expands their already successful ecotourism business by opening up their unique and spectacular location to corporate clients to complement their existing clientele – mainly families, small groups and couples escaping the city for a weekend getaway or school holiday adventure.
Located just 1.5 hours from Brisbane, the advanced eco-certified property are leaders in the local tourism industry, and a shining example of a small family-run business doing the right thing, and the smart thing, for the environment; while at the same time running a very successful business – for which we heartily applaud their dedication.
Images courtesy © Rob Packer, Katie Bennett and Melanie Grevis-James
Words: Melanie Grevis-James
Mt Barney Lodge
Tel: (07) 5544 3233
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