The Gold Coast isn’t all just the glitz and glamour of Surfer’s Paradise. A short drive away from the beach reveals a tropical oasis perfect for romantic hideaways and eco escapes.
Springbrook National Park
+61 7 5594 9933.
With lush World Heritage listed rainforests and a rich indigenous history, Springbrook National Park is one of the Gold Coast Hinterland’s true gems, with ancient trees, countless walking trails - including one up Mount Cougal, which is worth trekking for the sweeping coastal views - and the tumbling Purlingbrook falls. Aside from its natural beauty, there’s plenty to do in the park, from bird watching and picnicking to exploring Natural Bridge, a unique waterfall that cascades into a basalt cave. By night, Natural Bridge is illuminated by thousands of twinkling glow worms. Nocturnal guided tours operate nightly, and take visitors deep into the cave.
Studded with cosy cafes, quaint shops and luxurious day spas, Tamborine Mountain is the Hinterland’s most popular tourist region, and its striking beauty makes it the perfect backdrop for weddings and romantic getaways. The village sits on the edge of what was once the volatile Mount Warning volcano, and is brimming with things to do, see and eat.
Don’t miss the spectacular Rainforest Skywalk, stroll the Gallery Walk through the main township and tuck in to local avocados, macadamia nuts and the mountain’s signature handmade fudge. For families, Thunderbird Park (a stone’s throw from the village) boasts the world’s largest mine of Thundereggs, which the kids can fossick for.
Lamington National Park
From the picturesque Green Mountains and Moran’s Falls to bushwalking trails and birdwatching, Lamington National Park is another World Heritage Listed treasure and a must-visit for nature lovers. The famous O’Reillys resort is smack bang in the centre of the park and has an intriguing 90 year history. Still owned and operated by the O’Reilly family, who happily share their knowledge of the area, its Aboriginal history and flora and fauna. The resort is also home to the iconic Treetop Walk, made up of nine suspension bridges strung 30 metres above the ground.
Hot Air Ballooning
+61 1300 766 877
For a bird’s eye view of the sprawling Hinterland, take a scenic flight high above the treetops in a chartered hot air balloon. Operated by Hot Air Gold Coast, the Hinterland flight takes early risers above the rolling hills as the sun comes up, before floating over Mount Tamborine and Lamington National Park. Once you’ve soaked up the views, which extend all the way out to the glittering Pacific Ocean, recharge with a decadent champagne breakfast at O’Reilly’s Grand Homestead.
Wine Tasting on Tamborine Mountain
+61 407 077 856
A burgeoning wine region, the Gold Coast Hinterland is home to oodles of wineries, from boutique operations to the grand O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards, which double as a venue for live jazz on Sunday afternoons. Most wineries are clustered around North Tamborine, including the Tamborine Mountain Distillery, The Witches Falls Winery and Heritage Walls. All are easily visited independently, though Tamborine Wine Tours takes groups to some of best cellar doors and the guided trip includes artisan cheese platters and sweets from local producers.