Travel | One comment
By: Zdenko Kahlina
Gold Coast Hinterland – Mount Tamborine
The “Green behind the Gold” is the term given to the lush hinterland that sweeps up from the golden beaches of the Gold Coast to mountains, plateaus, gorges and valleys that remain at peace with nature. They contain a storehouse of environmental treasures now fully protected in vast swathes of pristine country under the banner of World Heritage Listing as the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia (formerly known as the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves).
Mount Tamborine is in Queensland hinterlands
Just 30 minutes inland from the Gold Coast beaches is the Hinterland which has sub tropical rainforest hills and mountains. This lush mountain plateau offers breathtaking views of the Hinterland ranges and the Gold Coast. It is a world of subtropical rainforests, waterfalls and associated wilderness. It was raining in Broadbeach since our arrival (three days in a row!!) and by now it was time to head inland instead to the beaches.
The drive up to the hinterlands from Broadbeach takes you by the Surfers Paradise, and through the small towns of Benowa, Carrara and Nerang in the north/west direction. The road will lead you out past an area of acreage properties and then up the mountain to Tamborine Village where you’ll probably want to spend some time. Head over to North Tamborine and you’ll see signs pointing to various bushwalks and National Parks. There are plenty of short strolls around the mountain into gorgeous rainforests. If you’re hungry grab some morning tea at a coffee house and then head over to Eagle Heights and back down the Mountain to Nerang. You should arrive in Nerang at about midday. There’ll be a bit of traffic if you leave on a Saturday morning, but nothing that would compare to a major city.
Further on as we drove up to the top of Green Mountain we found Mountview Alpaca Farm which has a real estate office, coffee shop and gift store selling a range of clothing made from the soft wool of the Alpaca. The coffee shop at Mountview Alpaca Farm has a great view through the mountains down over the valley. On a sunny day that is! But when we were there, clouds were very low and it was raining heavily.
The coffee shop at the Tamborine mountain
There are a number of large National Parks that make up the hinterland. Tamborine National Park, Lamington National Park and Springbrook National Park are protected lands to ensure the fauna and flora are protected.
The hinterlands are made up of an extinct volcanic range which formed the peaks and valleys. There are plenty of things to do in the hinterlands including canopy walks through the tropical rainforest, bird feeding, visiting wineries and visiting the hundreds of arts and craft stores throughout the small villages and towns found in the Hinterland. Because of the falling rain we couldn’t do many of those things.
The area does produce crops on a small scale and there are plenty of roadside stalls to purchase the kiwifruit, passion fruit, avocados, rhubarb, apples and mangoes. If you like walking trails there are many and varied to choose from. If like me you prefer a less energetic way to get the most from your visit, there is a Trolley car style tourist operation offering a variety of tours in sit down comfort. The system features a hop on-hop off route that allows you to see as much or as little as you wish. It’s a great idea. When you do hop off you can be refreshed in any manner of ways in any number of places as coffee shops abound, and if you care to, take advantage of the wine tasting. Yup, they have grapes even up here.
When we were there, it was raining all day long
There is quite a diverse range of wildlife found throughout the Hinterland including kangaroos, wallabies, platypus, wombats and a range of tropical birds like the Australian King Parrot, Crimson Rosella and Albert’s lyrebird. There are also some interested insects including the glowworms.
There are a number of impressive waterfalls throughout the hinterlands including Purlingbrook Falls at Springbrook, Twinfalls Canyon, Cameron Falls and Cedar Creek Falls. The easiest of the waterfalls to visit is Curtis Falls located within Tamborine National Park Joalah Section. That’s exactly what we did, because on a rainy day like this, we didn’t want to end up walking for a long time.
The Curtis Falls
The Curtis Falls
The Curtis Falls is a 10 minute drive from the Mount Tamborine village, then a short walk through the wet eucalypt forest. The round trip walk takes only around 30 minutes.
The Curtis Falls in Joalah Section of Mount Tamborine is one of the many walking tracks in Tamborine National Park. Near the beginning of the trail is a parking area, which also had two restrooms. The walking trail is quite short, only 1.5 km which consists of descending steps in the middle of the rainforest trees. The end of the trail is the pool below the water falls, which can be viewed from a fenced platform. No direct access allowed to the water area.
The walking trail is quite short
The wet eucalypt forest
This is one amazing tree
The uniqueness of the Rainforests and Eucalyptus forests that make up the Tamborine Plateau.
The Eucalyptus forests trees
At the end of the trail, there was an impressive view of the falls and surrounding columnar basalt rock face. Swimming is prohibited at the falls. A restricted access area below Curtis Falls protects an important glow-worm colony.
By the pool below the water falls
The track continues from the falls, along a piccabeen palm-fringed creek to a giant strangler fig. Beyond this strangler fig, the lower Joalah track is closed for the safety reasons (due to rockfalls).
With Gold Coast located within an hour’s drive from this site, visitors have easy access to many popular attractions in the area. Tamborine Mountain Botanical Gardens are not-to-be-missed while in the mountain.
Driving through the rainforest
Wineries in the Hinterland
There are a number of wineries throughout the Hinterland with their cellar doors open to try their range of wines. Also the wineries have retails stores at Mount Tamborine for wine tasting. Wineries include O’Reilly’s Wines located in the Canungra Valley.
Marks & Gardner Gallery
During the ride, we stopped at the ‘Secret Garden’, because of its intrigue name. The gallery and café are located on the left side of the road. The Secret Garden Veranda Cafe is located on the rear deck, overlooking expansive gardens and lawns. Light lunches, coffee and cakes are served from Wednesday to Sunday 9 am to 4 pm.
Marks & Gardner Gallery @ Secret Garden
Set in five acres of rolling lawns central to wineries and national parks, “Marks & Gardner Gallery @ Secret Garden” is a unique destination for serious art and booklovers. The innovative exhibition program changes every 5 weeks and presents exhibitions by contemporary painters, sculptors, printmakers, jewellers & designers , together with focus exhibitions including original illustrations from children’s books and a biannual ceramic exhibition.
Secret Garden Bookshop specializes in Australian children’s books from birth to teen. The Bookshop also stocks an eclectic range of books for adults from literature to specialty themes. Regular book launches and workshops are held with authors and illustrators throughout the year and provide a unique opportunity to meet some of our well known Australian authors/illustrators.
Our small group in the ‘Secret Garden’
About Mount Tamborine
Located to the west of Surfers Paradise and less than one hours drive from either there or from Brisbane Central, Mt Tamborine is a place of beauty, never-ending views and a haven of markets, cafe’s and stalls.
In recent years it has become popular with visitors and many new Spa’s and Retreats have opened. Songbird’s Rainforest Retreat combines all of the natural elements of the area with tranquil settings, organic cooking and luxurious accommodation. So popular in fact is their restaurant that weekends require bookings well in advance as many of the regions locals choose this as an ideal getaway.
The population of Mt Tamborine has boomed in recent years as along with the rest of the Gold Coast, property has been sort out by southern state residents looking to make the sea change.
Avocados – Food of the Gods!
Tamborine Mountain Avocadoes – Food of the Gods!
Tamborine Mountain is known Australia wide for its plentiful, magnificent avocadoes that can be bought at the road side honesty stalls. When driving through the mountain, you’ll suddenly see the stand with avocadoes on the side of the road. There is nobody watching them. It’s all about trust. You pick your avocadoes and live $2 for each one you take with you.
Avocados for sale at the road side honesty stalls
Self-serve with Avocados
They are available all year round, depending on the variety. At the moment the rough pebbly purple, black skinned Hass are in season: they have creamiest flesh of all the varieties. Split and consumed with nothing more than a good squeeze of lemon or lime juice or a flick of best olive oil and balsamic vinegar, flecks of sea salt and ground black pepper, it offers a sensuous solitary eating experience.
The flesh is smooth and creamy and the flavour nutty and rich. With a glass of chilled Witches Falls Verdelho it is a perfect little meal. Certainly greater more glamorous embellishments can be used, for the avocado is happy partner to all kinds of different flavour profiles – prawns, tomatoes, chillies, garlic, smoked chicken, crisp fried prosciutto or bacon to name but a few.
Return to the Gold Coast
Once we’ve been done for the day, we followed the signs to the Pacific Highway and Brisbane. We followed the road 90 through towns Mount Nathan, Clagiraba and Canungra. Once on the Pacific Highway (M1) make a right turn and head towards Surfers paradise again.
Tambourine Mountain was an interesting change from the Gold Coast in many ways.