Backpackers and Nature at its best
Within 30 minutes beyond the bustling coastal strip lies the Brisbane – Gold Coast hinterland where the city gives way to farmland, vineyards, quaint villages, sprawling National Parks and rainforest reserves.
The Hinterland is a change of pace where the variety of attractions allows visitors to be as active – hiking, horse riding, hot air ballooning & champagne breakfast, 4WD tours, hang gliding and abseiling – oridle – quaffing local wines, browsing handmade art and crafts, perusing market stalls, soaking up the natural scenery – as you like.
With so much to see and do the trick to choosing Hinterland accommodation is deciding which attractions interest you most to determine where you are best based during your stay.
To narrow it down, the areas of most interest are Canungra township, Springbrook National Park – including the Natural Bridge, Tamborine Mountain’s Gallery Walk, Tamborine National Park, the wineries trail and Lamington National Park, home to Binna Burra and O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat.
Those keen on bushwalking are best based in one of the national parks or a nearby B&B to get an early start on longer walks and remain within close range of a hot shower and hearty meal at the end of the day. Forsightseeing types, Mount Tamborine is a popular base from which to explore the best of the region while remaining in close proximity to shops and restaurants. Accommodation is dotted throughout the Hinterland, so when making inquiries be sure to ask how accessible the various attractions are.
When to visit
Each season offers its own charms in the Hinterland – summer is safer for campers as rainforest temperatures tend to be a deal cooler than the Coast. The rainforest canopy and cool mountain streams are a delightful respite during the hot and humid Queensland summers and a quieter alternative when beaches get busy. Crisp mountain air and clear blue skies prevail in winter when open fires and rich local reds in cosy mountain lodgings really come into their own.
What to do
The Gold Coast hinterland is bestowed with some of the best bushwalking trails in Australia – hundreds of kilometres of well-maintained tracks through some of the most beautiful country you could hope to see. The greatest collection of tracks is at Lamington – a total of 160km built in the 1930s – offering a variety of routes catering for those who may want a leisurely stroll or for super-fit trekkers who think nothing of a 22km walk through difficult country. Grab a map and make your own way or book onto a ranger guided tour to learn about local history, flora and fauna.
There are literally oodles of walking tracks throughout the Hinterland, but goldcoast.com.au’s pick of the bunch include:
- The canopy walkway suspended high among the trees at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat
- The Border Track bushwalk between Binna Burra and O’Reilly’s (experienced trekkers only)
- Another high-rise thrill at the Adventure Parc at Cedar Creek with a whole series of treetop walks
- The bushwalk through Joalah at Mt Tamborine, only a short distance from the tourist shopping hub of Gallery Walk
- The Best of All Lookouts at Springbrook (the name says it all)
O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat is a major attraction set deep in the heart of Lamington National Park. Established more than 90 years ago, the once humble guesthouse has steadily expanded under several generations of the O’Reilly family. O’Reilly’s is famous for Bernard O’Reilly’s amazing rescue mission of two survivors whose Stinson airliner crashed in dense rainforest in the McPherson Range in February 1937.
O’Reillys has a superb range of accommodation – from mountain villas through to camping for as little as $4.95 per adult per night. Sites are limited so it’s wise to check availability and book online before you go. In 2008 O’Reilly’s opened the Lost World Spa, with a swag of rejuvenating therapies on offer for guests and visitors.
Gallery Walk at Tamborine Mountain is a must-do on any Hinterland itinerary. As its name suggests, every inch along this street is jam-packed with galleries and craft shops selling everything from fine art through to kitsch clutter. Cafes, restaurants and coffee stops abound. Depending on your level of interest and appetite, Gallery Walk can take an hour or a day. Our tip for a happy visit? Leave the lads to sample local beers and demolish a cheese platter at Mount Tamborine Brewery and Witches Chase Cheese Factory, found at the top of Gallery Walk, and let the ladies take their sweet time exploring the shops below.
Mount Tamborine is also home to Adventure Parc, Australia’s first and largest ropes and adventure park, and Thunderbird Park where families can fossick for treasures in the World’s largest mine of Thundereggs.
Enjoying a drop or several of local wine is made easy by following the Gold Coast Wine Trail map. The wine and food circuit is in an area basically bounded by Nerang, Canungra, Tamborine and Oxenford. You can join and leave the tour at any convenient point.
The Tamborine Mountain Visitor Information Centre is a useful place to collect maps, tips and more information on attractions.
Types of Hinterland accommodation
- Bed and breakfast
- Mountain villas
- Rainforest lodges
- Camping and campervan sites
- Hotels and motels
- Farm stays