Photo: Gold Coast Lamington National Park
When visiting places like Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, one would do well to take a drive or tour through the green fertile hinterlands. In complete contrast to the long sandy beaches, ocean blue and luxury hotels and resorts, you will find small villages to explore and sweeping lush green vistas.
The area has wonderful National Parks, including the stunning World Heritage Listed 50,000 acre Lamington National Park. Other scenic Gold Coast tourist spots include the Tamborine National Park and the Springbrook National Park.
Also in the hinterlands, is the important ecological Gondwana Rainforests World Heritage Site in Australia, including Main Range National Park, Lamington National Park, Springbrook National Park and the Girraween National Park.
Tamborine National Park is actually made up from three separate parks, including Witches Falls, great for families and kids, MacDonalds National Park (note spelling: not McDonalds National Park) and Joalah NP.
A 30-minute drive from the Gold Coast, Tamborine Mountain is a rainforest oasis nestled high on the range. It has attracted a community of interesting artists and their work captures the beauty of the area. Their artwork features an interesting blend of colour, texture and shape, and includes ceramics, designer silks, sculpture, painting and leather work.
Take the Gallery Walk located on Long Road, Eagle Heights. There is also a popular community market that is held from morning to afternoon on the second Sunday of each month.
Springbrook National Park has sweeping vistas of the Gold Coast, ancient trees, waterfalls and plenty of walking trails to explore. Take a hike to Natural Bridge - a waterfall with cool waters and a swimming spot below.
A enjoyable day out is to follow the Gold Coast Hinterland Wine Trail. You will find some fabulous boutique wineries and cellar door outlets between Tamborine, Canungra and Springbrook.
Birdlife at these National Parks include the impressive Alberts Lyrebird which can mimic the sound of nearly every other forest dweller and of late, the ringing sound of a mobile phone! Hello?
There are Crimson Rosellas and King Parrots which always delight visitors with cameras and those who wish they brought them, and the strikingly beautiful, yellow and black Regent Bowerbird, the favourite of noted British naturalist, Sir Richard Attenborough. At dawn and dusk, the pademelons (which are cute marsupials) come out into the open to nibble on the green grass.
At Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a National Trust Reserve, open since 1947. There you will find huge flocks of Rainbow Lorrikeets and plenty of other Australian birdlife as well as other Australian marsupials and mammals. Kangaroos, Wallabies,
Visit the Minjungbal Aboriginal Cultural Centre at South Tweed Heads to learn about local Aboriginal customs.The Cultural Centre has exhibits, displays and videos showing all aspects of Aboriginal life and lifestyle on the north coast of New South Wales.
Minjungbal Aboriginal Cultural Centre has tours which include dance displays and a bush tucker (food) talk. Explore the Aboriginal trail along the adjoining mangrove area.
Tweed Heads straddles the NSW and Queensland border. Which, since there is no daylight savings (summer time) in Queensland, can be fun at New Years. Experience the big New Years Celebrations at Surfers Paradise at 12pm, then head to South Tweed Heads to do it all again, at 12pm!
Enjoy one of a number of cruises to South Stradbroke Island Resort, Couran Cove, or to Sanctuary Cove. This allows visitors to enjoy the splendour of the Southport Broadwater.
There are a number of Ferry services that operate from Runaway Bay Marina to South Stradbroke Island. The short 20 minute ferry trip will take you to some of the Gold Coast’s most beautiful and unpopulated beaches. The island offers some wonderful up close and personal wildlife experiences with birdlife, wallabies and goannas.
4 Wheel Drive safaris is a good way to enjoy the lush rainforests and coastal areas, another, is to take a scenic flight, whether in a hot air balloon, helicopter, seaplane or even a Tiger Moth. Another different way, take a Harley-Davidson motor bike tour and farm resorts offering more traditional Australian experiences. On the water there is jet skiing, amphibious tours, game fishing, speedboat rides and boat hire.
Gold Coast Airport, located at Coolangatta, is the major domestic and international gateway to the region.
Further reading about the Gold Coast Queensland:
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