When it comes to the Gold Coast, there’s more than sandy beaches and a vibrant dining scene to explore. You might have heard of the phrase ‘the green behind the gold’ which applies to the leafy hinterland beyond the coastline and is home to Numinbah Valley, world heritage-listed Lamington National Park, and Tamborine Mountain.
Until recently, my knowledge of Tamborine Mountain was based solely on a few scattered waterfall trips in my early 20’s, so when the opportunity came up at work to tag in on a production shoot there, I was more than happy to discover more.
Just an hour from Brisbane, Tamborine Mountain is famous for its former volcano, ancient rainforest, and waterfalls, accompanied by quaint villages and wineries to taste your way around. Starting the day at Tamborine Mountain Coffee Plantation, there’s over half an acre of outdoor dining spots to pick from, so you can enjoy a coffee and brunch in tranquility. Visitors can also learn about how coffee is grown and produced on its plantation tour — and make sure to grab a bag of ground coffee beans on your way out.
From here, we headed to TreeTop Challenge, Australia’s largest treetop high ropes adventure park. As we were here to film, the team there drove us straight up to the black course, and although I was helping behind the scenes on this shoot, I got to join in! I must have done the 120m flying fox about 10 times to get the shot right. Zero fear after the first one so we could sit back and enjoy gliding above the rainforest. Of course, I can’t go anywhere without injuring myself and managed to severely roll my ankle.
After all that adrenalin, it was time to head over to Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk for a 1.5km walk amongst 30 acres of rainforest beside the crystal clear rock-pools of Cedar Creek. With a combination of forest floor trails, and nearly 400m of bridges taking you above the creek, rainforest, and canopies below, it’s a good opportunity to explore the Tamborine Mountains nature from above on a safe and leisurely trail.
The next visit was to Witches Falls Winery, Queensland’s very first winery. It’s a beautiful location with plenty of greenery and all outdoor seating. Here you can take part in a $10pp wine tasting which includes six tasting pours, and you can grab a selection of cheese, chutneys, and crackers to go with it. They also do a great apple cider.
The last stop of the day was at O’Reilley’s Rainforest Retreat for an overnight stay. About an hour’s drive from the base of Tamborine Mountain in Lamington National Park, this award-winning mountain getaway offers beautiful accommodation overlooking the rainforest. Known for its guided bird walks and the famed Tree Top Walk, this is the place to stay if you’re looking for secluded luxury amongst nature. On arrival, we had just enough time to capture the sunset over the infinity pool which overlooks the Lost World Valley.
At this point, my rolled ankle was ginormous, bruised, and killing me but after a delicious three-course meal in the retreat’s restaurant, the kind waitstaff gave me a bag of ice to take back to my villa. Fortunately, it was feeling a lot better the next morning which is lucky as we had to shoot at the top of nearby Morans Falls. Located in the Greens Section of Lamington National Park, this spectacular waterfall plunges into Morans Creek Gorge. Worth the walk!
Back down to the base, we had two activities left, starting with the Tamborine Mountain Gallery Walk. With over 70 specialty shops along one road, you’ll find a bit of everything from chocolate and fudge shops to homeware, antiques, accessories, and cellar doors. It’s one of those places where you can have a good browse if you’re not looking for anything specific. The last stop on this shoot was Tamborine Mountain Distillery. Set in an Elizabethan Tudor style building, visitors can enjoy a unique tasting experience of its award-winning spirits and liqueurs. And that was a wrap! Here is the finished video:
While it’s a great opportunity to visit so many places, work is work isn’t it so you don’t get the chance to enjoy the destinations and experiences properly. To remedy this, I came back to Tamborine Mountain a couple of months later with my mum and sister to re-do the Tamborine Mountain Coffee Plantation, Skywalk, and Gallery Walk experiences. It was way more chilled this time around so I could soak it all in a lot better.
Afterward, Joe joined us as we headed 10 minutes up the road to the British Fox & Hounds Country Inn. I had never been before but been meaning to for years. With cosy booths and fireplaces, themed bars (George’s Bar and Paddy’s Bar), and weekend roasts, it’s like home from home. Unfortunately, the atmosphere was a bit dead (maybe due to Covid) and my Sunday roast was nice but reminiscent of school dinners. I’d happily go again though for the nostalgia and a beef and Guinness pie.
All in all, I’ve come along way in exploring more of Tamborine Mountain since those chasing waterfalls day. There is so much more to see and do there though – definitely one of my go-to recommendation places for visitors to Brisbane.