Allan Cunningham (1791-1839), botanist and explorer was an extraordinary man with a love of plants. He collected hundreds and thousands of botanical samples from his voyages of discovery arriving in Sydney cover in 1816 and on numerous trips thereafter.
'I find I can blend discovery with botanical research tolerably well',
he wrote and I think that sums up perfectly his whole persona.
While exploring the Darling Downs he found a gap in the ranges, now called Spicer’s Gap, which he thought would give access from Moreton Bay to the downs, with fine grazing lands. In July and August 1828 he returned to Moreton Bay by sea and explored the country southward to the Logan River and Macpherson Ranges and found another gap, now known as Cunningham's Gap, and in May 1829 explored the upper part of the Brisbane River valley.
So when we visited Cunningham’s Gap at the weekend it was with this man’s life work very much in our minds. We stayed at Spicers Peak Lodge which has its own interesting history and you can read more about this on http://spicersretreats.com/spicers-peak-lodge/
The journey from Brisbane is an easy one. The last part of the road leading up to the Lodge is narrow and not all tarmac but do-able by most four by fours.
The lodge is perched on top of a hill looking out onto the Great Dividing Range and Main range of Mountains. It is nothing short of spectacular. The architecture of the lodge allows you to enjoy beautiful views in all directions. It has a safari feel to it and is full of comfortable sofas, great coffee table books, good coffee and good food.
The pool and hot tub are in the front of the lodge and after a fairly up and down hike of approximately four hours, the hot tub, even on a cool evening, was really welcome.
Hiking around the area, and there are lots of tracks, we came across kangaroos and wallabies, all quite human shy, which I think is a good sign and countless birds, black cockatoos, red and green parrots and crimson rosellas. The vistas are heavenly. We walked on forest trails full of fallen eucalyptus branches and turning leaves or fields of yellowing grass that were springy and light underfoot. The perfect weekend gateway and largely thanks to this man and his early discoveries through these majestic mountains.