Behind the glitter strip of Surfers Paradise hides the Gold Coast Hinterland. It’s a natural playground that South East Queensland locals would rather keep to themselves, but there’s plenty of lush rainforest views to go around.
Head out west from the golden sands of the Gold Coast’s famous beaches, to discover the ‘green behind the gold’. Encompassing Tamborine Mountain, Lamington National Park, waterfalls, charming towns and teeming wildlife, the Gold Coast Hinterland’s beauty attracts tourists, locals and investors alike.
Look to the mountains surrounding the Gold Coast, for natural wonders.
Locals love the short trek to the Best of All Lookout, lined with ancient Antarctic beech trees and leading to a view over lush Numinbah Valley.
If you love bushwalking trails, Lamington National Park offers 160 kilometres of them. After the hustle and bustle of the city, here you’ll bask beneath lush greenery and admire panoramic views, with the long call of Whip Birds and tinkling streams for company.
The Springbrook National Park is home to Natural Bridge, a geological wonder formed over millions of years. Trek the easy trail by day to watch water tumble through the cave below, or take a nocturnal tour to spot glow-worms and fireflies. Locals love the short walking path to the Best of All Lookout, lined with ancient Antarctic beech trees and leading to views over Numbinbah Valley, Mt Warning and Byron Bay to the south.
Mt Tamborine has long been a romantic weekend destination for Gold Coast locals, with craft shops, gourmet restaurants, wineries and the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk. The world’s third oldest National Park beguiles, with Witches Falls, Cedar Creek and bird-filled walking tracks. Home grown produce competes with award-winning cheeses, fudge shops, vineyards, a brewery and a distillery, to capture your taste buds. It’s a dream wedding destination too, with a range of boutique accommodation and function venues.
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Before heading up the mountain though, locals love to stop for a drink at the historic Canungra pub. It’s possible to spot platypus in the peaceful creek running through the centre of town and you’ll see evidence of a flourishing arts scene in shops and cafes. As a base for adventure activities, here you can also launch into hot air ballooning, hang gliding or horse riding.
Road trips throughout the region rival the country’s best and you’ll stumble upon quiet pockets of bliss, especially when you turn the GPS off for a bit. One of the prettiest drives departs from the quaint town of Mudgeeraba, up the winding passage to Springbrook.
Wooden bridges, hairpin turns and mist-coated trees await, along with cute tea houses in the Numinbah Valley. Keep driving to Murwillumbah and you’ll cross the border into New South Wales and a dramatic change in scenery, from rainforest to sugar cane fields.
After that, get ready for a quiet addiction to the Gold Coast Hinterland to take hold. It’s that kind of place.
Nicole Leigh West
Nicole Leigh West is the author of fiction novel, 'The Gypsy Trail' and an internationally recognised travel and lifestyle writer.
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