If you haven’t trekked up Tamborine Mountain in a while, make sure you put it on your weekend to-do list soon. Adventure awaits.
There’s something magical about Tamborine Mountain that draws my young children time after time. When I get them to sit down at the start of every school holiday and write me their holiday wish lists, a visit to Tamborine tops the list most seasons.
While it’s called Tamborine “Mountain” it isn’t exactly that. In fact, this Gold Coast Hinterland tourist spot is actually a plateau – 8km long, 4km wide, 500m above sea level and boasting 360-degree views.
A day out to Tamborine is not just about the destination – the journey is equally as interesting. Driving up the mountain, you will stretch your rally-car steering muscle with hairpin turns, tight lanes and ear-popping climbs but the views are ah-mazing. Half way up the mountain (as you approach from the north), be sure to look out for a somewhat hidden rocky outcrop perched precariously above the roadway and perfectly shaped like a piano. Locals ensure the piano’s ‘keys’ are always painted to perfection. While contemplating why Mother Nature decided to plop a perfectly smooth, piano-shaped rock on the side of a mountain, spend a minute to also think how the hell someone climbs up there regularly to keep it painted. Trust me – you’ll wonder!
The list of things to do once you get to the top of the mountain is long. We love wandering Gallery Walk with its intriguing mix of shops and eateries. Like book ends on the famous strip, you can’t miss a stop at Flights of Fancy fairy shop at one end and Crystal Mountain crystal shop at the other end. In between you’ll find everything from genuine European cuckoo clocks and original art pieces to delicious fudge and wine.
In the most recent school holidays we explored Skywalk for the first time. Skywalk’s spectacular elevated walkway puts visited up in the rainforest canopy with the wildlife. You can explore the mountain park from the dizzying heights of the Skywalk (think 300m of high-tech steel bridges through the highest points of the upper canopy as well as a 40m cantilever bridge that soars a breathtaking 30m above the creek and rainforest below) as well as from the cool rainforest floor. It was a visit that was equals parts educational, nerve-wracking, relaxing and enjoyable!
Another favourite spot for exploration and, well, the best hot chocolate and quiche around, is Birchgrove Nursery. If you can drag yourself away from the fragrant roses and other floral wonders in the nursery, lunch is sorted in the nursery’s Café Alpine. The giant striped marshmallows they serve with hot chocs are legendary in my family. I think the marshmallows themselves have even rated on my kids’ school holiday wish lists! And here’s a hot tip – in the cooler months, make sure you nab the table inside, in front of the log fire. Bliss.
Tamborine Mountain markets are another drawcard for this area, as is perching yourself at one of the grassy lookouts to watch the local hang gliders – they take off from the western side of the mountain most weekends. For foodies, there are award-winning boutique wineries, breweries and distilleries, a cheese factory and those fudge and chocolate shops. Horse riding, bird watching, glow worm tours, thunder-egg fossicking, fishing, walks and more are all a part of the Tamborine Mountain experience. And don’t forget to pack a pocketful of coins so you can throw some gold at the honesty boxes and take home farm-fresh avocados or rhubarb or whatever is in season from one of the street stalls at the many farms peppered across the mountain. This place really is about old-school, getting-back-to-nature experiences. Family perfection.