MOUNT TAMBORINE - A TROPICAL PARADISE
Jump in the car and head just one-hour south of Brisbane to find the tranquil natural beauty of Mount Tamborine. The rich rainforest areas are a labyrinth of bushwalking paths and hiking trails, surrounded by eco-friendly glamping, caravan and tent camp sites, cabins and bed-and-breakfast style accommodation options. Venture into Queensland's first official National Park for a day of trail walking, stopping for a swim in the crystal clear rock pools at the base of Cedar Creek Falls.
Point your binoculars into the forest canopy to reveal amazing birdlife including tawny frog mouths, parrots and lorikeets, whipbirds, bowerbirds and as an abundance of butterflies. Be serenaded by both the feathered and reptilian songs,especially during summer rainy season when the green tree frogs vocal stylings reach cacophonous proportions. Stealthy trail walkers may spot a shy platypus, cheeky brushtail or ringtail possums, bandicoots, wallabies or koalas too.
At night, camp at the edge of the rainforest for some stargazing, or head to one of the many lookouts and take in the glittering view of the Gold Coast hi-rises twinkling in the distance. Mt Tamborine has all the appeal of a tropical holiday without the travel time.
WHERE TO STAY
Camping, glamping, cabins, huts, eco-lodges, bed and breakfasts, hotels and resorts - Tamborine Mountain has the full array of accommodation options to choose from.
A popular option for families is to camp on the edge of the Cedar Creek Rainforest, within Thunderbird Park, which offers caravan and tent sites as well as cabin accommodation. All sites include a fire pit for true campfire cooking and well-maintained shared amenities. For something a little more romantic, the fully equipped Safari Tents at Tamborine Mountain Caravan and Camping Park offer a full-sized bed, BBQ and mini verandah on which to enjoy the tropical surrounds.
GOOD TO KNOW
The three small villages that make up the Mount Tamborine postcode are bursting with artisan craftspeople and it's a popular weekend getaway destination for families and couples, while the annual Tour de Tamborine sports festival draws hundreds of walkers, runners and cyclists to its starting lines each November. Before embarking on a full day of walking, hiking or energetic activities, be sure to think about all the conditions you may encounter. It can get cool very quickly up on the mountain, so pack or dress in layers that can be added or removed as the temperature changes. In a rainforest, you will likely encounter creeks, waterfalls and other slippery terrain, so wear supportive, non-slip walking shoes and bring a change of socks. Campers and hikers need to look out for members of the Mountain’s healthy snake population; and the giant earthworm which is also the star attraction of nearby Thunderbird Park's underground caving adventures.
A comfortable backpack to carry all your essentials - water bottle, camera, sunscreen, insect repellant, swimmers, towel and a hat is also essential. Don’t forget food too - you’ll burn up lots of calories going up and down the steep inclines to be found in the Tamborine area. Be sure to lather up with insect repellant and sunscreen before you head out for the day – while the rainforest walks are shady, there are plenty of insects to 'bug' you, and the tree canopy is not effective against UV rays. It’s also a good idea to bring a basic first aid kit and carry a mobile phone for emergencies. Keep your phone in your bag though - pop it in plastic ziplock bag to protect against leaking water bottle spills and mis-steps into flowing creeks. There are few rubbish bins on site in the National Park picnic areas and none along the bushwalking trails, so always collect your rubbish as you leave, preventing litter that can harm the local wildlife.
Even rainforests are at the mercy of bushfires. The QFRS website published details of the planned back burning activities, as well as the fire risk during bushfire season. Remember to never light a fire for your BBQ or at a picnic site on days of high or extreme fire danger.