Hinterland haven: How to do Tamborine Mountain
The drive is part of the journey, so wind the windows down and turn the radio up. You’re not far from the Gold Coast’s famous beaches but a whole other world away when it comes to serene.
But first – Coffee (or Tea)
They like it fresh up here and of course it has to be organic, so go to the source at Tamborine Mountain Coffee Plantation. Growing, picking and roasting their own beans, the clean mountain air produces a world class quality coffee, so order the home baked sweets as a side and invite yourself to indulge.
If tea is more your tipple, Tea and Niceties serve steaming cups of their signature loose leaf teas nearby in Eagle Heights. Take it to another level with the high tea or scoff some scones beside a backdrop of rainforest at the cafe.
Renowned for its unique art, crafts and curios many artists choose to live on Tamborine Mountain and open the doors of their studios or supply to local stores and markets. If you time your visit on a designated market weekend – The Tamborine Mountain Art and Craft Markets or the Tamborine Mountain Country Markets are a great place to wander for food, art, craft, fashion and free entertainment.
Walk it off
There are six park sections in Tamborine National Park and most have walks to suit all fitness levels. One of the more popular walks in the Joalah section is Curtis Falls, an easy 1.5km winding through sunlight dappled forest. If you listen carefully you might hear Albert Lyrebirds calling before reaching the whispering, natural spring fed Curtis Falls.
Another option is Cedar Creek Falls; considered Tamborine Mountain’s most accessible. A 500 metre return will reach spectacular views of the falls carving their way through the ancient escarpment. It’s suitable for strollers and wheelchairs, with a picnic area and toilets close by. If decide to descend through the towering eucalypts to the base (1.5 km return) you’ll be rewarded with cascading waters flowing into rock pools the locals claim as their favourite swimming spot.
Get your glow on
Glow worms have their own sanctuary at Tamborine Mountain. Join a 30 minute tour at Glow Worms Caves Tamborine Mountain to see them flash. And while other caves make you wait until dark, here these shining stars can be easily spotted during the day with tours leaving from 10.00am and the last one at 4.00pm.
Children once believed there were giants and witches occupying the forest around Witches Falls but you’ll more likely spot red-necked pademelons, bats and maybe a koala or two. The track to the falls can be completed in just under an hour (3.1km), but soak in the serenity of Queensland’s first National Park (1908) and take it slow. Afterwards cheers to that history with a “pick your own” cheese platter and a glass of locally produced wine at Witches Falls Winery.
You can add some sparkle to the cauldron by booking a few nights at Witches Falls Cottages. Translucent panels in the bathroom roof enable star gazing while having a spa and are said to be one of the mountains most romantic places to retreat.
And speaking of staying over; Tamborine Mountain has all sorts of accommodation to welcome you for a night, a few or even longer. From cosy cabins, rainforest retreats and luxury lodges or if getting back to nature is more your thing, there are camping and glamping spots aplenty too.
For a luxe stay, try the award winning Songbirds, set amidst 51 acres of rainforest twitching with birds, flora and fauna. Or if you are an adventurous family, Thunderbird Park has camp sites, cabins, bunk houses and a 4-star lodge to choose from. Activities include fossicking for thunder-eggs, horse riding, mini-golf, bird feeding, swimming in rock pools and Australia’s largest zip line and high ropes course suitable from ages 3 and up.
Sky high or skywalk
For the best views over Tamborine Mountain, you’ll need to get high. If you are an early riser, join a hot air ballon tour and watch the hinterland wake up with the sun.
Or take a walk through the rainforest via 300 metres of high-tech steel bridges at Mount Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk. From the treetops right down to the canopy floor, appreciate the rainforest from every level and maybe catch a glimpse of the creatures that call its many layers home.
The heart of Mount Tamborine is the Gallery Walk where you’ll find a selection of 70 stores dotted down both sides of one street. From famous fudge at Granny Macs where you can try before you buy to over 150 varieties of award-winning liquor, vodka and schnapps at the Tamborine Mountain Distillery.
A range of boutiques, cottage arts and crafts and cafes create a bustling village vibe. Stock up on locally grown beauty products, homewares and all sorts of delicious fresh from the farm produce.
With eight wineries, two breweries and one distillery condensed into eight-kilometres, your picnic can be next-level on Tamborine Mountain. Fill the car boot with cheese, fudge, cakes and bread at the Gallery walk, and then drive down any street to find roadside stalls brimming with organic fruits and vegetables, honey, and jams.
Much like a postcard, picnic spots can be found around every corner, but for a curated patch – try the The Mount Tamborine Botanic Gardens complete with tables, toilets and plenty of trails to wander. Another popular soft grassy knoll is the Rotary Lookout complete with a view of the spectacular Scenic Rim.
Stick around for sunset and watch if from the western escarpment at Rotary Lookout or Hang Gliders. The view over the landscape created when Mount Warning erupted over 23 millions years ago is spell-binding dusted in sunset. And when it is time to go home, expect glittering views of the Gold Coast as you make your way back towards the city.
For more things to do in the Gold Coast Hinterland, click here.