From ancient rainforest wonderlands and storybook villages to adrenaline-fueled attractions, the Gold Coast hinterland’s wonders have long been luring tourists off the beach for an escape with a difference.
And now with a growing community of artisanal producers – from boutique wineries and craft breweries to local cheese makers and coffee growers – the hinterland and its surrounds has become one of the hottest places to hang for locals and tourists alike.
In fact, South-East Queensland’s Scenic Rim region (stretching from the Gold Coast hinterland inland to the Great Dividing Range) was recently named by Lonely Planet as one of the globe’s Top Ten Regions to visit in 2022.
If you’re keen to explore what the hinterland has to offer, the ideal place to begin your journey is Endeavour Foundation’s $1.4 million New Year Prize Home at Maudsland.
This home is perfectly positioned for those that love a bit of surf and turf (in the shape of rolling green hills, that is). Just 25 minutes from the golden sands of the GC’s Main Beach, the home is also just 25 minutes from the delights of Mount Tamborine and a long list of wonderful hinterland highlights. So, what are you waiting for?
If you’re just getting into the hiking trend, Natural Bridge in the western section of Springbrook National Park is a great place to start and whet your appetite for rainforest adventures. This amazing, naturally made ‘bridge’ has been formed by the force of the waterfall over the basalt cave below. To see the bridge, follow the easy one-kilometre circuit trail.
Covering a vast 20,590 hectares, Lamington National Park received World Heritage status in 1994 as part of Australia’s ancient Gondwana Rainforests.
Like the coconut on a lamington, the name ‘O’Reilly’ has been an integral part of Lamington National Park for over a century. Today, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat sits atop the range with panoramic views and is the starting point for a number of spectacularly beautiful rainforest walks including the famous Tree Top Walk. Suspended 16 metres above the ground, this series of interconnected suspension bridges takes you on an unforgettable journey through the rainforest canopy.
North-East of O-Reilly’s, Binna Burra Mountain Lodge provides another base for exploring more of the parks hiking trails. Having rebuilt after the devastation of the 2019 Black Summer bushfires, the lodge is committed to offering a sustainable, nature-based experience and is a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
This famous Mount Tamborine shopping strip is a treasure-trove of cafés, fashion boutiques, handmade crafts and of course art galleries. Fun fact: This famous strip also has the highest concentration of lolly and fudge shops you’ll find anywhere on the tourist trails. You’ll find the Gallery Walk along Long Road, in Tamborine Mountain.
A favourite with mini minors (or should that be miners?), Thunderbird Park is home to the world’s largest thunder egg mine. Here you can fossick for treasures buried in the prehistoric volcanic lava. This very rich thunderegg deposit has only had 10% of the total deposit dug up and claimed, which means there’s plenty left for you to discover.
For the adrenaline junkies out there, Thunderbird Park is also home to Australia’s largest zipline and high ropes attraction with more than 100 challenges including 11 huge flying foxes and Tarzan swings. If that’s not enough, the most extreme option on offer at the park is the Canyon Flyer Tour, including seven ziplines where you’ll be zooming at up to 70kms per hour at heights of up to 60 meters.
With breathtaking views over the Scenic Rim and the Great Dividing Ranges, this famous lookout is the perfect spot for a romantic picnic. If you’re lucky, and the conditions are right, you’ll also be entertained by the hang gliders taking the leap off the mountainside right before your eyes. Maybe one day it could be you?
This 1.5km walk takes you through the forest floor and then skyward along 300 metres of high-tech steel bridges including a 40-metre cantilever bridge that hovers 30-metres above the rainforest below. While you’re there you can brush up on your knowledge of local native flora and fauna in the eco gallery before hitting the café and gift shop.
Located on Tamborine Mountain, Witches Falls Winery is one of Queensland’s finest wineries and largest wine producers. Releasing their inaugural vintage in 2004, Witches Falls has carefully blended traditional methods with modern, advanced techniques, to produce a character-filled, high-quality drop. If you’re not prepared to take our word for it, the proof is in the tasting.
A wine tasting experience at Witches Falls cost $10 and includes six pours, allowing you to choose your favourites from the available range. A tasting host will guide you through the wines and provide tasting notes if you are keen to learn more or refine your tasting skills.
Do you really know where your espresso comes from? Have you ever seen a coffee tree in the flesh? (Yes, it grows on trees.) Do you know what a fresh coffee bean looks like? At Tamborine Mountain Coffee, you can take a tour of micro-lot plantation and discover exactly what goes into your flat white from crop to cup. There’s no need to book – just turn up for the 12pm tour from Tuesday to Saturday. ($10 per person). And if your interest is piqued, you can flow right into a brewing class at 1pm and learn how to bring out the best in your coffee. Of course, after all of that, you’re going to need a coffee.
From 7am to noon every Sunday, local growers gather in the Green Shed at the Tamborine Mountain Showground to sell their certified and non-certified organic produce. You’ll also be able to stock up on local honey, coffee, jams, preserves, herbs and plants. Set the alarm for an early start. It’s going to be a big day.