After much debate, we decided to head up to Tamborine mountain, really really enjoyed the day. A few wineries, cheese tasting and gallery walk. Really great day out....only 30 mins from Surfers Paradise.
People always think of the beach and the theme parks when it comes to The Gold Coast. The hinterlands are usually & unfairly forgotten! It would really be a pity to miss them!
Took a Scenic Hinterland day tour (can't remember the name of the company now) to O'Reilly's Plateau, Lamington & Mt Tamborine National Parks. (Then it only cost me A$30)
The itinerary took the group to an Alpaca Farm (Alpacas are Llama-looking creatures, reared for their wool) where we had morning tea, then a lovely stop at Kamarun Lookout to take in the beauty of Lamington National Park.
This was followed by a 160m suspension wooden bridge Treetop walk 45m above ground upon reaching O'Reilly's, where at one point you could climb up even further to reach the apex of the forest. Folks having no wish to sing "Top Of The World", could stay in the lovely gardens of the Guesthouse and hand-feed noisy Crimson Rosellas and King Parrots.
Lunch was at a lovely cafe in Eagle Heights village.
The afternoon saw time spent in a rainforest walk through Joalah National Park (part of Mount Tamborine National Park) where you'll get a chance to come real close to beautiful compact-sized Curtis Fall.
On the way back to the city, the tour stopped at a viewpoint where you can catch a panaromic view of The Gold Coast in the distance.
If you are headed to the Gold Coast, you should definitely take a day trip out to Springbrook National Park, and enjoy the Natural Bridge Walking track. It has some spectacular views, as well as a natural occurance of Glowworms. All in all, it is a beautiful nature walk, and well worth your time!
Take a self guided tour, though twelve individually themed air-conditioned galleries; featuring hundred's of unbelievable exhibits, amazing stories, magic, mystery, incredible illusions, interactive displays and two unforgettable movies.
A completely new experience that last's an hour or more.
Cost: A$13.50 for adults, A$8.00 for children
Opening hours: 9am - 11pm
Southern Cross 4WD offers a range of 4wd Eco-tours and customized packages throughout the Gold Coast Hinterland and surrounds. From nature walks, animal spotting and bird feeding to off-road driving, wine tours, conferences and overnight camping. Whatever your interest, they can find a tour to suit your needs!
During a day with SC4WD, they can take you to the beautiful Rain-forests of Mt. Tamborine National Park and the worlds largest Sub-Tropical rain-forests of Lamington National Park. Not forgetting the O’Reilly’s Canopy Tree top walk and feeding the wild King Parrots, Crimson Rosella’s and Regent Bower Birds. The whole day will be spent in Queensland’s Hidden Oasis.
Whilst on an off-road safari, you'll have the time to spot Australia’s wildlife in its natural environment. Koalas sleeping away in a eucalyptus tree or Kangaroos and Wallabies feeding on lush country fields.
Everything is taken care of from the moment you join till you arrive back to your accommodation. Homemade scones with Rhubarb jam and cream all the way through to our BBQ lunch and afternoon refreshments, all included in the tour packages.
Not just a tour for overseas guest but for locals wanting to see more of this great countryside and what’s hidden behind the theme parks and beaches of the Gold Coast.
About 40 minutes drive from the Gold Coast is Springbrook National Park. There is so much that you can do here and I'm afraid that we didn't come anywhere close to doing it justice. The walking track we took went to 'Best of all Lookout'. Whether it actually is the best, I can't really judge...as we only had time for this one! It was wonderful though...the view at the edge of the escarpment is absolutely spectacular! Even on an unclear day. It was a very easy walk...just over half a kilometre, with no steps or steep climbs. Along the way you will see amazing Antarctic Beechs, relics of the last ice age.
Other walks that we missed doing were Purlingbrook Falls, Twin Falls, and Warrie Circuit. Next time I will stay in one of the guesthouses up there and explore more thouroughly!
Visitors who think the only attractions are the beaches and the theme parks will not have explored the real Gold Coast. If they can put aside one full day to explore the hinterland, like what I did with my wife, they will appreciate the diversity of south-eastern Queensland.
At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, we had booked a full-day tour with Southern Cross 4WD Tours that took us to Mt Tambourine in the morning and the Lamington National Park in the afternoon. Along the way, we had a marvellous morning tea of freshly baked scones, home-made jam and fresh cream. For lunch, we stopped by a ranch somewhere in Sarabah where the ranch-owner had prepared grilled fish and chicken for us.
We made sightings of the koala bears, skinks, kangaroos and wallabies in their natural habitat. And from both Mt Tambourine and O'Reilly's at Lamington, the views were fantastic. Yes, I would say that a tour of the Gold Coast hinterland should be on everyone's To Do list. You'll be missing out on a lot if you don't.
Near the entrance to the Mountain Cafe and Gifts some of the local Crimson Rosellas gather for a feed. They're very tame and will feed from you hand so buy some seeds for them at the shop and give them a treat.
Lamington National Park is about an hour and a half drive west of the Gold Coast. Narrow, winding roads lead you high into the park to O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat.
Lamington has many walking trails, waterfalls, much wildlife and magnificent views. From the main guesthouse you can walk 300m to the Treetop Top Walk which allows you to walk through and experiencethe forest canopy.
The Tree Top Walk is 15m above the ground, 180m long and has 9 suspension bridges. Two observation decks have been constructed in a strangler fig above the walk way and one is 30m above the ground.
Access to the observation deck is on a steel ladder that is enclosed by a wire screen. It's well worth the climb for the view of the surrounding forest and distant mountains.
The Tree Top Walk is free to the public but there is a donation box at the end of the walk to raise money for maintenance work.
Once you have explored the forest and gardens head to the Mountain Cafe and Gifts for a meal or just a drink.
Next to the Tree Top Walk is the privately maintained Botanic Garden which is lovingly tended to my local volunteer green fingers.
In a forest setting along well marked meandering garden paths you will find beautifully coloured azaleas, camelias, rododendrons, bromeliads, clivias and many, many ferns.
I'm not sure about the wisdom of growing introduced plant species next to a National Park but they seem well maintained and contained.
The aptly named Gallery Walk is the mecca that draws most tourists to Tamborine Mountain eventually.
It's a relatively short stretch of road but is crammed with arts and crafts, cafes and restaurants, dress and blouse shops and even a Swiss clock shop.
If you're into that sort of thing then you'll easily wile away a few hours here, soaking up things to tempt the senses visually and tastefully. It's the sort of place that I tend to inhabit, enjoying the eclectic nature of the artwork and then soaking up the blissful atmosphere of a table midst the soothing decor. Here you can see my son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter doing exactly that. I'll leave you to figure out which is which.
This is your classic arty/crafty Aussie hinterland around an hour from the ocean. There's a lot of it on the east coast and Mt. Tamborine tries as hard as any area.
With a horde of tourists nearby all year round it takes little to attract a percentage of them up on this delightful plateau.
We ascended the steep Henri Robert Drive which you can access via Nerang. It's one of four roads (all steep) that take you to the top and the photo here is of a very colourful place just over halfway up.
It's one of many scattered galleries and cafes over the plateau and features clothing and art works of a very eclectic nature.
If you like a bit of greenery, as I do, then you'll find some attractive pieces of it here but if you go with imaginative thoughts that their claimed 9 national parks will deliver much you are bound to be disappointed.
All of the National Parks here combined would fail to make a small corner of the type I normally inhabit. The Botanical Gardens are also a work in progress albeit at the hands of enthusiastic amateurs. They have nice potential but would probably be much better around 2010.
Just driving around you will see attractive gardens and houses in the bush though the latter concern me greatly as Australia is the home of the bushfire and I certainly wouldn't want to be on Mount Tamborine the day one takes hold.
The first shot here is of some national park and the latter two were taken at the Botanical Gardens at Eagle Heights.
A little further up the mountain was our second stop, a real charmer of a place with sublime views and feathered accompaniment.
The Polish Place pays its dues to its European heritage and has a bit of everything. You can stay here in self-contained cottages, eat at the licensed restaurant or go and browse the artwork, featuring that Polish specialty, polished amber.
Should you choose to sate your appetite then, be forewarned, make sure you keep all your food within easy and quick reach. In Southern Queensland one of Australia's native parrots are to be found in abundance and they do love their scraps from the table though it's fair to suggest that their etiquette leaves something to be desired.
Yes, the lorikeets love the Polish Place as clearly shown in my opening pic where one of a few visiting Japanese was left stranded when the others in her party left the table but, not to worry, soon she had many friends. Well, a few too many perhaps!
The second photo is my all time favourite that I've taken of birds. I just love the way his eye is glued on you.
Giroween park about four hours inland from the Gold coast is a wonder. It stradles the NSW queensland state lines near the town of Tenterfield. There are lovely walks as well as great vistas and a good swimming spot with resident turtles. The camp sites are inexpensive and quite. Good anytime of the year.