Tamborine Mountain, the first mountain rearing its head behind Queensland’s glitzy Gold Coast, hosts the oldest national park in Queensland and the third oldest in the world.
A mere 36 kilometres from the heart of Southport and 80km south from Brisbane it is easily accessible but once there, feels like you are a million miles away.
Things to do
Take a walk
There are 14 sections of the Tamborine National Park with a variety of walking tracks from short strolls to longer hikes. The Witches Falls section was the first declared in 1908.
Tamborine Mountain protects 85 per cent of all animal species and 65 per cent of all plant species found in the Gold Coast City area – many of them endangered and rare like the Richmond birdwing butterfly, Albert’s Lyrebird and one of the world’s largest skinks, the land mullet.
Curtis Falls, a shorter walk in the Jolah section, is always flowing and is home to glow worms.
The Cedar Creek walking track as far as the lookout is suitable for assisted wheelchair access.
Visit the Botanic Garden
A true hidden treasure of the mountain is the Tamborine Mountain Botanic Gardens lovingly nurtured by the locals. Perfect for a picnic or leisurely walk, you will see a diversity of plants through a range of gardens from rainforest, orchids, perennials to Japanese. The sculptures along the way and the cute stone bridge are not to be missed.
No matter what your taste, the mountain has plenty of one-off shopping experiences. Wander up and down Gallery Walk, the tourist strip, or visit Main Street and meet a local. Markets are held every second Sunday and there are antique shops, artist studios and many roadside stalls where the locals sell their home-grown fresh produce.
If you like to get the adrenaline pumping try a treetop challenge or Zipline at Thunderbird Park or maybe a tandem hang glide across one of the world’s largest calderas.
The precious volcanic soil on Tamborine Mountain yields some of the finest produce, meaning a good meal is usually not hard to find. With the sea so close, seafood lovers will be very happy with the array of choice. Along the plateau, there are a variety of restaurants and cafes with award-winning chefs conjuring up another divine meal.
Taste a drop
The mountain is home to award-winning distilleries and cellar doors. Try a fine wine, a hand-crafted beer or a locally produced pleasant liquor with vodka and schnapps sometimes featuring native flowers and produce.
There are several choices for luxury accommodation, including Songbirds Rainforest Retreat, Cedar Creek Lodges and Pethers Rainforest Retreat are some of the best. Songbirds features an award-winning restaurant and a wonderful spa, which always adds to your short break or week away from the world.
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