A freelance writer and academic, living in Brisbane.
Published July 13th 2014
Heavenly getaway close to Brisbane
What's your idea of a great winter-time getaway? If it's fireside reading and board games in quaint accommodation with a well-stocked fridge and pristine views, then St John's Church at Beechmont could be the answer to your prayers. The church, built in 1932, accommodates four comfortably with two beds, one an old four poster bed on a mezzanine level, the other, a brass bed in the old vestry. It's sprinkled with antique furniture and religious icon curios such as cherubs, crucifixes and rosary beads.
Located on a saddle of Beechmont in the Gold Coast hinterland, St John's Church is a few kilometres from the turn-off to Binna Burra Mountain Lodge and Lamington National Park. The township of Canungra is 20 minutes drive away for supplies, once you finish those provided by the hosts. For our stay, these included eggs, milk, bread, orange juice, cheese, crackers, fruit and chocolate. There is even a homemade pasta sauce ready for reheating with a packet of pasta to cook and a bottle of red wine to go with the meal. On arrival, you'll find music playing, the fire ready for lighting and fresh flowers arranged for your enjoyment.
When we stayed, we ventured further afield to O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, about an hour and a half drive. Here, we walked the rainforest tree top walk and enjoyed a hearty lunch at the cafe with views of the Great Dividing Range to the west. On the way back to Beechmont, we stopped at Mountview Alpaca Farm where my daughter delighted in feeding the alpacas over the fence, with a bag of feed we bought for $3.00 from the on-site cafť. We resisted the temptation of home made scones and lamingtons on the cafť's back deck as a cuppa by the fire back at the church was calling.
St. John's Church is one of three accommodation options available under the Clouds-on-Beechmont umbrella. Renovated by the current owners in 2004, parts of the exterior of the old timber church have seen better days. However, inside it's clean and comfortable and the hosts make every effort to help you feel welcome and at home. There is a reverse cycle air-conditioner and a separate television room with DVD player and a selection of DVDs and board games in the cupboard. The other accommodation options available across the road may be more modern with better views, but we were happy and cosy in the charming old church.