High on the Blackhall Ranges you’ll find Montville and Maleny, two pretty rural communities with an artistic heritage and beautiful views across the range. Spend a few relaxing hours exploring Montville’s shops and galleries, then check into Spicers Tamarind Retreat, an indulgent culinary escape with private pavilions dotted amongst the gumtrees. There are plenty of secluded spots to relax and get back to nature dotted throughout the grounds.
Native bird calls and the natural beauty of the surrounding rainforest add an unmistakable Australian element to this Asian-influenced retreat which is spread throughout a large area of bush, embracing the Australian landscape. With a stunning stand-alone spa, onsite cooking school, a bushwalk to a waterfall and free guest activities such as bike riding and cocktail making classes, there is little chance of getting bored at this retreat.
Sign up for a morning class at the on-site cooking school then sit down to enjoy the results with a glass of wine followed by a massage at Spa Anise. Couples can book the hydrotherapy room for a private steam and spa followed by a rain shower for two overlooking the rolling fields prior to their treatment. Make sure you book your treatment in advance, especially when the weather isn’t good, or you could miss out. We tried to book a couples’ massage on the day we arrived but Spa Anise was already fully booked, as it’s popular with locals as well as guests staying at the hotel.
However, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it gave us more time to enjoy our beautiful room. It’s hard to tear yourself away from the stand-alone pavilions at Spicers Tamarind Retreat with all of them offering an open fireplace and, in some villas, an outdoor cedar spa tub. We spent part of the afternoon soaking in the deep egg-shaped tub, watching the raindrop tumble down outside.
It was very wet when we stayed however this turned out to be perfect as we could curl up in front of the fire with a coffee from the in-room Nespresso machine and a (complimentary) chocolate and raspberry biscuit from the mini bar. As each pavilion is a stand-alone, they’re ideal for a cosy romantic getaway. That said, the two bedroom villas are large enough to share with friends if you are planning a fun foodie escape.
Later that evening we ventured down to the bar for a complimentary cocktail making class and dinner at The Tamarind, the on-site modern Asian restaurant. We opted for the 5 course Thai banquet which is designed to be shared. Unlike the 5 course meal we had at Spicers Clovelly Estate, this version only offered one choice per course which could not be substituted. This probably wasn’t the best choice for us as we found the set 5 courses rather restrictive. In hindsight, we should have opted for the two course option off the a la carte menu so we could enjoy The Tamarind’s take on some of our favourite Thai dishes.
Breakfast is served in a glass-sided pavilion overlooking the rainforest, accompanied by a chorus of kookaburras and Australian native birds. Fortunately the rain stopped long enough for us to stroll along the wooden boardwalk to Gardners Falls after breakfast. On a sunny day, Gardners Falls would be the perfect spot for a picnic lunch and a swim in the rock pool at the base of the falls. Even better, the Spicers Tamarind Retreat chefs can provide a gourmet picnic basket containing all of your favourite treats (and more).
Disclosure: The writer stayed as a guest of Spicers Tamarind Retreat.
If you’re also heading to Brisbane, we have reviewed The Calile, The Westin Brisbane, Hilton Brisbane, The Johnson, NEXT Hotel Brisbane, Sage Hotel James Street, Royal on the Park, Ibis Styles Elizabeth Street, Sofitel Brisbane, Gambaro Hotel, and Pullman Brisbane Airport.