The Gold Coast is a destination filled with busy shopping malls, sun-kissed beaches, high rise buildings and adrenaline-charged theme parks, right? Not entirely. There’s a hidden side to this holiday favourite – the lush hinterland. And it really deserves your attention.
Only a short drive from the beach, the high rises give way to an emerald expanse of rolling hills, ancient rainforest, hidden waterfalls and intriguing country towns. Plus a whole lot more!
Ready to experience this different side of the Gold Coast? Here’s all you need to know.
1. Nature is the star attraction
As you’ve probably gathered from the introduction above, natural beauty is one of the major draw cards of the region. The national parks here are astonishingly beautiful – they’re places where you can just slide on your walking boots, switch off your mobile phone, enjoy the fresh mountain air in your lungs and feel like you’ve gone back to a simpler, more carefree time.
Springbrook National Park, home of the world famous natural bridge waterfall and glow worm cave; Lamington National Park and its countless (amazing) walking trails; and the easily accessible Tamborine National Park are all worth taking time out to explore.
Visiting this enchanting neck of the woods can also be a transformational experience, giving you an opportunity to look within as well as out.
2. It’s also a foodie’s paradise
Want to balance out the natural delights with a few gourmet ones? You’re in luck! Food may be second on this list, but it’s anything but second best. Farm fresh roadside stalls, inviting cafes and restaurants, independent breweries and distilleries, several fantastic wineries with cellar doors… you name it, there’s a good chance someone is making it here in the hinterland.
We could devote an entire post to the food but, because we believe some of the best foodie memories happen when you’ve uncovered them yourself, we’ll just share a handful.
Witches Falls Winery, where you can also tuck into a delicious cheese platter while you enjoy the wines; O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards, an icon of the region; and Witches Chase Cheese Company and the Fortitude Brewery right next door should all be on your hit list.
Image credit: Witches Chase Cheese Company
3. There’s something for every age
The Gold Coast Hinterland is more than a one or two trick pony. There’s an adventurous side to the region too, as well as charming country towns with boutiques and galleries to explore.
Travelling with the grandkids in tow? Be sure to make a beeline for much-loved Thunderbird Park, home to the TreeTop Challenge, the largest zipline and high ropes attraction in Australia. There’s also the Mountview Alpaca Farm on the same property as O’Reilly’s in Canungra.
Whether a day, a night or a weekend, the Gold Coast Hinterland is worth discovering.
The Gold Coast Hinterland is around 40 minutes drive inland. The roads are windy but well maintained, and there are several lookout points along the way for you to enjoy the view.