Gold Coast HinterlandHoliday Destination
The Gold Coast Hinterland goes by a few names like The Green Behind The Gold and The Emerald City. So, you can imagine the terrain up here (just 30 minutes from the beach) is pretty green with lush subtropical rainforest and verdant farming land.
In spite of its proximity to the glitzy coastal strip, the Hinterland is a change of pace with tranquil mountain views and a calmer atmosphere. The mixture of the two ensures that visitors will have plenty of things to do from bushwalking to winery tours. It's the perfect place for a romantic getaway, fun-filled family trip or just a day away from the beach.
Things to do in the Hinterland
There are plenty of well-maintained bushwalking trails at Lamington National Park, a total of 160km in fact. Grab a map from the information centre and choose anything from a leisurely stroll up to the more arduous tracks for the more regular hikers. Along the way you'll find rugged mountain scenery, caves, waterfalls, rainforest, creeks and there's even a crayfish which only calls the Lamington Plateau home.
Springbrook National Park has a range of hiking tracks, perhaps the most popular of which is the one leading to the Natural Bridge. This beautiful geological feature has formed over millions of years of water tumbling through the roof of a basalt cave. Have a picnic there by day then after sunset take a nocturnal tour of the cave to see the delicate glow-worm colony and even fireflies and luminous fungi on summer nights.
O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, initially a guesthouse established some 90 years ago, has grown under several generations of the family and now offers a range of accommodation from mountain villas to on site camping. They also recently opened the Lost World Spa, facilitating rejuvenating therapies for both visitors and guests. There's a number of activities you can enjoy here like the Birds of Prey Show, Flying Fox Adventure, Segway Safari and each day countless birds come in to feed on seed available at the Gift Shop.
Horse lovers of all ages and riders of all levels will love taking a horse riding tour through the Numinbah Valley. Get in touch with nature and learn about the geography and history of the region for on top of your very own horse for the day. Follow a fully trained guide through 2500 acre cattle property past unspoit rainforest and river scenery.
Make the most of the lack of city lights and visit Springbrook Observatory. Viewings are available every night by booking (weather dependant) and an astronomer takes you for a tour of the stars and wonders of the night sky.
In the foothills of the scenic Lamington National park sits fifty acres of Sarabah Estate Vineyard, producing amazing Rosé and Cabernet Sauvignon among other elegant wines. The Winery is open for tastings with a quaint chalet and even under the stars dining options by appointment.
The scenic rainforest Skywalk is located in Mount Tamborine, taking you on a journey 1.5 kilometres high through the middle and upper rainforest canopy. With spectacular views of the surrounding hinterland, this stable steel structure will let you explore the rainforest from above, or you can venture down and follow the signs and paths to nearby rock pools, waterfalls, a butterfly lookout and local history enclosure.Buy Tickets
Explore the Gold Coast Hinterland in style on a full or halfday hummer safai. These exhilarating 4WD tours will take you off-road through extreme rainforest conditions in a brand new luxury H2 Hummer. Stop and check out the sights like waterfalls, hikes, enjoy a restaurant lunch and taste local wines. You can visit either OReilly's Lamington National Park, Springbrook, Tamborine Mountain or go on the Winery, Waterfalls and Lookouts tour.Book Online
Journey up into the Gold Coast Hinterland for an evening tour through an ancient national park and see the incredible glow worms come to life after the sun has disappeared behind the mountains. On this guided tour you'll be given a spotlight to help you navigate to Natural Bridge at Springbrook National Park where you'll hear fascinating commentary about these creatures and the park itself. Optional dinner & star gazing if weather is permitting.Book Online
Hot Air operates the best value hot air ballooning rides in Australia, perfect for your first time if you have never ballooned before! The Gold Coast offers a wealth of amazing views to take in. Experience the wonder and romance of ballooning over such picturesque scenery. Inflation locations are carefully chosen to ensure optimum take-offs for maximum enjoyment. Choose between a 30 minute or 60 minute ride including breakfast!Book Online
Go on a fully guided horse riding tour through tracks of unspoilt mountain, rainforest and river scenery on this 2500 acre property and farm in the heart of Numinbah Valley in the Gold Coast Hinterland. Saddle up and choose between a 2 or 3 hour horse riding adventure. You will love the selection of horses and the breathtaking scenery as you make your way through the lush landscape with a group.Book Online
These Gold Coast hinterland tours will let you experience this untouched gem that provides a refreshing, natural break from the normal expectations of glitz and glamour that is just waiting to be explored! Behind the Gold Coast's amazing beaches, city skyline and meandering waterways lies an impressive range of rolling hills and hinterland mountains. Check out our list of picks of Hinterland Tours.Book Online
The Canungra Valley Markets are held on the last Sunday on the month which are held in doors so that they can operate under any weather conditions. There's lots of stalls to discover here with farmers bringing in their fresh produce, arts and craft, artisanl foods and everything in between.
Every third Sunday the Beechmont Community Market welcomes shoppers to come peruse wares grown, made and designed by locals. There's an abundance of fresh fruit and vegies, cakes, cookies, jams, woodwork creations and even a stall for bikers!
Dancing Waters Cafe is located right next to the Purlingbrook Falls lookout and walking track and is known the whole Hinterland over for its hearty food made from the best local produce. Whether you are a carnivore, vegan, vegetarian, celiac, lactose intolerant or dairy free - you'll find a tasty treat to satisfy you!
O’Reilly’s Mountain Cafe & Gift Shop is a popular spot for a cup of tea and scone or a decadent meal from the full menu. Sit out on the balcony and enjoy the gorgeous view as you enjoy one of O'Reilly's own wines.
If you're a wine lover or wanting to escape the city, then a visit to any one of these vineyards should be a delight:
- Albert River Wines
- Aussie Vineyards
- Cedar Creek Estate
- O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards
- Heritage Wines
- Sarabah Estate Vineyard
- Witches Falls
Every year in November, O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat host Bird Week. It is the longest running birding program and in 2017 they celebrated their 40th anniversary. Bird lovers from around the glove come to the Lamington National Park to spot birds and rub shoulders with researchers, authors and photographers.
The Lamington Classic is a two day trail running event starting and ending at Binna Burra with a 3 minutes compulsory stop at O'Reilly's. It's a hostile race and only for the toughest runners out there. A version of the race has been running since 1970 and it remains a highlight on the marathon calendar.
The Canungra Pub is an iconic venue that has been keeping locals and visitors happy since 1937. Behind the white and black facade lies Settlers Restaurant which has fantastic menu full of chicken parmis and burgers, a gaming room with TAB and Keno facilities in the main bar, footy games on at the public bar and a massive beer garden. There's something on every night here whether it is live music and meat tray raffles on Friday night or Poker Night on a Monday.
Another favourite night time destination up in the Hinterland is a visit to the Glow Worm Caves at Springbrook National Park. Tours depart daily from 7pm and return around 10.30pm. Be mesmerised by the rainforest at night and enjoy the glowing worms. Don't forget to look up for an amazing sight as you star gaze away from the bright city lights.
Images courtesy Tourism & Events Queensland, Tourism Australia, Destination Gold Coast, Getty Images & Dancing Waters Cafe