Though just 35 minutes from the Brisbane city centre, Clear Mountain Lodge feels worlds removed from city bustle and distractions. Our gardens, bee hives and vineyard are a measure of the energy we devote to creating unique and inspiring surrounds for our guests. Relax in the Serenity Garden whilst enjoying a good book on a nice sunny day. Plan a beautiful wedding ceremony in our purpose built wedding pavilion and ceremony gardens overlooking lake Samsonvale and the D'Agullar Ranges. Savor great food at either of our restaurants showcasing amazingly fresh produce harvested from our onsite Chefs kitchen and herb gardens.
CHEF'S KITCHEN GARDENS
The Clear Mountain Lodge market gardens give us approximately 200m² of garden beds, along with 50,000L of storage for rainwater for irrigation of the site. Added to our revamped herb gardens our chefs are chomping at the bit to be able to produce amazing dishes using our very own freshly picked produce.
We are always experimenting with new varieties of herbs, vegetables, and fruits. Take a stroll in the late afternoon and you may find one of our chefs selecting harvesting the produce that will enhance your meal in either Mandy’s on the Mountain or Lake View Restaurants. Produce is harvested daily to ensure that the absolute freshness and flavor of our home-grown items shine through during your dining experience with us here at the lodge.
Bees have been drawn to the gardens of Clear Mountain Lodge and the result is our own brand of neighborhood honey. The Lodge has a mentorship program with Bee One Third, a group dedicated to improving the environment by increasing Brisbane’s bee population. As a result, Executive Chef Ivan Butera and our Horticulturist Dustin Meijer are now managing our own bee hives with assistance from Bee One Third when required.
Jars of our unique Clear Mountain Honey are available for sale at reception and you can always experience some natural honeycomb straight from the hives presented on our breakfast buffet (when available).
All honeybees are social and cooperative insects. A hive's inhabitants are generally divided into three types.
Workers are the only bees that most people ever see. These bees are females that are not sexually developed. Workers forage for food (pollen and nectar from flowers), build and protect the hive, clean, circulate air by beating their wings, and perform many other societal functions.
The queen's job is simple—laying the eggs that will spawn the hive's next generation of bees. There is usually only a single queen in a hive. If the queen dies, workers will create a new queen by feeding one of the worker females a special diet of a food called "royal jelly." This elixir enables the worker to develop into a fertile queen. Queens also regulate the hive's activities by producing chemicals that guide the behavior of the other bees.
Male bees are called drones—the third class of honeybee. Several hundred drones live in each hive during the spring and summer, but they are expelled for the winter months when the hive goes into a lean survival mode.
Bees live on stored honey and pollen all winter, and cluster into a ball to conserve warmth. Larvae are fed from the stores during this season and, by Spring, the bee hive is swarming with a new generation of bees.
It’s no Barossa or McLaren Vale but it’s ours, and at Clear Mountain Lodge, we’re proud of our developing vineyard. It’s a beginning and adds to the rustic ambiance of our Ceremony Gardens. Our vision for this project is to provide a small crop of fruit for our chefs to incorporate into the wonderful flavors they create in our kitchen.
We encourage our guests to stroll among the vines, which we hope will be producing at around 80 per cent capacity by the autumn of 2017.