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.
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.
Tamborine Mountain is a unique tourist destination that has some of the most beautiful scenery in the Gold Coast Mountain Range. The sunsets and waterfalls are a photographers delight.
With an abundance of guesthouses, cottages, bed and breakfast, family and resort accommodation, Tamborine Mountain is an ideal base for visiting local attractions. It is also a great getaway for locals.
Apart from the several nearby national parks, there are award winning wineries, art and craft galleries, antique shops, markets, cafes and award winning restaurants.
Gallery Walk at Eagle Heights takes you through the studios, craft shops and galleries of the artistic community.
A place to go with many things to do in the Gold Coast hinterland is Oreillys.
You can feed the wild birds, go for walks across the tree tops and experience the breathtaking views over the rainforest canopy, go on guided bush hikes through many spring fed mountain streams.
It's just a great place to go and get away from the city for a while and breath in the fresh forest air.
Situated on Tamborine Mountain in the Gold Coast Hinterland, this cluster of galleries and craft shops provides a wealth of diverse art and craft including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, porcelain, glass, jewellery, woodwork, fabrics and much more. From fine art to the frivolous, you will find something to suit all tastes and budgets.
You can enjoy coffee, light refreshments or lunch at one of the fine restaurants and cafes. I recommend the Country Garden Cafe for an ejoyable lunch.
Allow plenty of time for your visit because there is so much to see and do on Gallery Walk, but be sure to make time to see the natural beauty and other features of Tamborine Mountain.
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!
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!
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
Up in the hinterland just on the Qld border is a beautiful bushwalk down to Natural Arch. Here is a view from the cave of the waterfall. The walk only takes about 15minutes and is wheel chair friendly. You can also take some meat and have a BBQ. It's a lovely way to spend the day.
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.
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.
Escape the hustle and bustle of the Gold Coast by taking a hike, leisurely stroll or even a 4WD adventure through the rainforest settings. Take in the views of the Gold Coast, a perfect spot for photo taking.
Technically this park is in NSW, but it's a good day trip from the Gold Coast so I'll include it here. Mt Warning was named by Captain Cook and is known as Wollumbin by Australia's indigenous people. The mountain and surrounding area remains a scared site to the Bundjalung people. As with other parks in the area, Mt Warning National Park has miles of beautiful scenery. You can climb the mountain (from memory it's about a five hour hike (8.8 kilometres) to the summit) and admire the spectacular view from the top. The last leg is a climb using a chain up a steep incline. It's a lot of fun but if you're not used to hiking it's very challenging. There is a 500 metre walk at the bottom of the mountain for those wanting to take it easy. Camping and fires are prohibited in this national park, and there are no amenities at the top of the mountain.
Besides the beaches, the Gold Coast has beautiful hinterland behind it. You'll need to get a car, or take a tour to see it all. My favourite is the Natural Arch. Up on a mountain there is a short walk which takes you into the rainforest a bit and down to the river which is flowing through a large rock down into a cave below. You walk over the rock and around to get under it for a swim (somewhat chilly I warn you) hence the Natural Bridge name.
People jump down through the hole into the cave for kciks. Doesn't do it for me so I can't report back on it. Its deep, though I don't suggest it, unless breakin gyour neck was part of your travel plans. There's heaps of bush walks up in the mountains there and some B&B places to stay which would be devine.
Photo: O'Reilly's Rainforest - Gold Coast Hinterland
*cow - not included!*
Walk through the rainforests, stop for a meat pie or scone and tea at one of the homesteads along the road.
BONUS BONUS - this is all FREE. No money hungry tourist robbing a-holes with their hands out. No - you take your own lunch if you like, no entry fees. Go where you want..... Just PLEASE don't break any plants or leave ANY rubbish behind. This like alot of Australia is still wonderfully pristine and you get the feeling of being the only human around when you hike out to an outlook to scan the horizon - spotting Surfers Paradise, Stradbroke Island and hills as far as the eye can see to your sides, and an ever stretching ocean in front....... awesome stuff. So, please follow my goal in life - to leave everything better than you found it.