“Escaping the office has never felt so good!”
by Melanie Grevis-James of Our Planet Travel
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.
Melanie Grevis-James is now editor of the sustainable travel magazine Our Planet Travel and recently wrote a blog on her unique experience at Corporate Campout.
As the day approached the weather prediction was not great, but there was no way that I was not going to let that deter me. I couldn’t wait to get there. 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 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 enjoy a pre-dinner Sunset Ecotour. As the sun sets 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).
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.
About the Author – Melanie Grevis-James
Melanie has over fifteen years marketing experience in the tourism industry; both in Australia and overseas. This includes key marketing and management roles with Tourism Queensland (Adelaide, Brisbane & Europe), the Australian Tourist Commission (Sydney), Tourism Sunshine Coast; and operating a successful marketing consultancy and representation business specialising in regional/rural tourism products and destinations. Melanie provides expertise in the specialist area of inbound and international tourism marketing and advertising. Melanie has a Bachelor of Business from the University of Queensland (Major in Tourism and Hospitality Management) and is the editor of Our Planet Travel and Make Tracks on-line magazines