The typical Gold Coast holiday involves lots of sun, sand, sea and surf. Sometimes it’s good to have a change of pace, and that’s when it’s time to head for the beautiful 206km stretch of mountain ranges known as the Gold Coast hinterland (aka “the green behind the gold”). Just 30 minutes drive inland from the coast lies the elevated highlands of Mt Tamborine and the Lamington National Park , a 100,000 hectare World Heritage listed region of jaw dropping views , rainforests, an extensive network of hiking trails , the scent of native flowers and plants and a silence broken only by birdsong and cascading water .
This peaceful region is a must-see destination for any Gold Coast holiday maker and is an extremely popular destination for day trippers . Experiencing the hinterland can be the reason for making a Gold Coast car rental part of your holiday , but if not, there are numerous bus companies and tour operators with scheduled trips throughout the region.
Peaceful villages dot the landscape and are home to a population of creatives, many of whom sell their wares in arts and crafts shops and local markets. Roadside cafes and tea houses flank the narrow lanes and the perennial favourite of tea and scones will usually get most visitors to stop . The lush , rolling pastures have supported agriculture for generations and the region still supports a thriving farming community of banana plantations, dairy farming and beef production.
With the development of new, hardy grape cultivars and the trend for vineyards to be established in areas that were once unsuitable, the hinterland has seen the recent development of a boutique wine industry. Wine route tours are now part of the hinterland tourism scene and wine tasting, celler door sales and on-site restaurants now compete for the tourist dollar. There are harvest festivals, dinners , musical events and visiting chef promotions throughout the year. If you fancy a spot or three of wine tasting without the worries of the drive home , then try one of several available wine route tours .
One of the recommended driving routes involves a circuit starting at Coolangatta, south to Murwillumbah and then swing north through Crystal Creek, Chillingham, Numinbah, Natural Bridge, Nerang, Mudgeeraba and then back to the coast.
Another popular route involves taking a detour from Nerang, then travel west through Tamborine National Parks taking in Wilson’s Lookout, Thunderbird Park and Cedar Creek Falls before rejoining the highway at Beenleigh.
Down on the coast, nearly all Gold Coast accommodation is self catering, apartment style lodgings in high rise builings that hug the shore line . On the hinterland plateau, the style changes to lodge style suites providing peaceful tranquility with an appreciation of your surroundings plus a spot of pampering thrown in. Binna Burra Mountain Lodge, O’Reilleys Rainforest Retreat and Ruffles Lodge are some of the most popular accommodation providers in the region. There are other types of speciality accommodation that ranges from budget camp sites to upmarket villas.
So there you have it…. a brief introduction to some of the reasons that make the Gold Coast hinterland special and some reasons why it definitely needs to be part of your Gold Coast holiday plans.