Some 20 years ago Jude embarked on her first walking holiday with a group of girlfriends. They were in their 40’s, kids were flying the nest and they were seeking an adventure. It was during this first walk that Jude remarked that Queensland deserved a great walk like other parts of Australia or New Zealand.
Before we move forward, we should rewind to the beginning so you can see how one inspiring woman has championed this dream into a reality.
Jude grew up in the country town of Warwick and driving up and over the Great Dividing Range and through the Scenic Rim region on visits to Brisbane some 2 hours away was common. After completing her studies and teaching Art for 2 years Jude packed up and moved to London where she met her husband Graham ‘Skroo’ Turner whilst working at the then fledgling Top Deck Travel, which launched into Flight Centre around 1981 the same time they came back to Brisbane to raise a family (Skroo is still the CEO some 37 years later and also a country boy having grown up in Stanthorpe not far away).
Some farming land came up for sale in the Scenic Rim region. They stumbled upon what is now Spicers Peak Lodge and not too long after Old Hidden Vale Station was purchased now known fondly as Spicers Hidden Vale.
By this time Jude had trudged many a trail including The Overland, Milford track (twice), Bay of Fires (twice), Cradle Mountain, the Routeburn, Queen Charlotte plus inspiring walks through parts of France and England … And climbed Kilimanjaro and Kinabalu with Flight Centre teams.
Spicers Peak Lodge and Spicers Hidden Vale lie some 70km apart divided by the main range National Park and Jude still couldn’t shake the thought of a Great Walk in southern Queensland country. So with her brother David Stent and local farmer Graham Hickson who had both worked on the building of Peak Lodge, she started the journey to today.
Spicers Canopy Luxury Tents was built in 2013 on the foothills of Peak Station and David along with Graham Hickson started Hidden Peaks Trails, what is now known as Spicers Scenic Rim Trail 2-Day (when added to the 5-Day it will truly be a Great Walk!)
In 2011 the Queensland Government put out a submission request for ecotourism proposals in Queensland. With the passion and commitment to fund the project to connect Peak Lodge and Hidden Vale Jude and a team of collaborators tendered a submission, which was ultimately accepted.
7 years of research, negotiations & planning led us to 2019 where the trail achieved State and Federal Government approval to commence development.
The 5-Day Spicers Scenic Rim Trail will commence in 2020 departing weekly on a Sunday from March to November. View the itinerary.