Camping at Thunderbird Park, Tambourine Mountain

Every six months or so, I feel an intense longing to be outdoors — to sit around a campfire, sleep in a tent, and wake up in the fresh air with a stove-made cup of tea. Must be my Girl Guiding years deeply ingrained into me. Even if it’s just for one night, the experience completely re-sets me, and the opportunity to explore somewhere new is a bonus.

Previously mentioned in my Toukley blog post, another thing I love about camping is how affordable it is. Once you’ve built up the equipment you need (which doesn’t have to be expensive or lots of items when you’re starting out), you can quickly pack up and go — the world is your oyster! While our 4-man tent bought in 2016 is still going strong, I knew the next camping adventure was going to look a little different with a large dog (Albus) and four-month-old baby (Ruby) in tow. And ever since I peeked at those glamping tents at 1770 Eco Camp, I couldn’t shake that we needed a bell tent for more space. Plus, they look very cool.

With this new addition to the old camping collection, we packed up the car and headed to Thunderbird Park in Tamborine Mountain. This campsite is extremely family-friendly, dog friendly, set in a lovely scenic location, and isn’t too far from Brisbane at just an hour’s drive. After lunch at Tamborine Mountain Coffee Plantation (PSA: with plenty of outdoor seating, it’s very dog friendly AND they have Black Hops Ginger Cider), we arrived early afternoon. Fortunately, Ruby napped in the car through most of the set-up and was content watching us for the rest.

That afternoon we wandered on a 15-minute walk over to Cedar Creek Falls lookout where you’ll find stunning views over the open canyon, waterfall, and rock pools. There’s a flat bitumen track to get there making it easily accessible for prams and wheelchairs. Up above, there are tables and barbecues beside the creek so you can enjoy a picnic before venturing further along the track, which continues down into the gorge, zigzagging through eucalypt forest and dry rainforest before reaching three rock pools where you can take a dip in the refreshing water.

Ruby’s first waterfall was ticked off that day, followed by her first campfire and tent sleep. Such a lucky baby. The following day, we stayed on-site and were pleasantly surprised to find a portion of Cedar Creek flowing through the property which has created natural, cascading rock pools to explore (only available to Thunderbird campers and lodge guests). Lined by subtropical rainforest and open woodlands, it’s a beautiful, easy bushwalk, and as we went early, we were the only people there.

Overall, it was a great first camping trip with a little one along for the ride as she went with the flow and enjoyed being out in nature with plenty to look at. My only con is I left my runners (trainers) in the communal bathroom and only realised when I got home! They were never found so I’m assuming they got pinched sadly. Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to pulling out the bell tent again soon in another new location to explore.

View short video here:

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