Getting out and about and exploring the great outdoors isn’t just good for the soul but it’s been proven to aid both mental and physical health.
Graced with beautiful weather year-round, there’s no better place to immerse yourself in the great outdoors than on the Gold Coast. From wineries and retreats that call the lush World Heritage-listed rainforest home to a dedicated street of eclectic shops atop a mountain and a magical waterfall accessible in just 30 minutes on foot, you’ll certainly be back for more.
So grab a cuppa and read on for your 3-day itinerary to explore the green behind the gold.
DAY ONE: SURFERS PARADISE TO CANUNGRA
Enjoy a creek-side picnic at Canungra Valley Vineyards
If heading to the countryside to taste locally made wines, feeding an alpaca and relaxing creekside isn’t the perfect afternoon celebrating the simple pleasures in life, then we don’t know what is!
In just under an hours’ drive from the shores of Surfers Paradise, you’ll find the gorgeous O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards. Stretched along the banks of Canungra Creek, its lush picturesque grounds are host to the historic homestead ‘Killowen’ and most recently, The Mountainview Alpaca Farm.
Located in the homestead, enjoy lunch at the Vintage Restaurant and wine tasting at the bar or opt to indulge in a gourmet breakfast, BBQ or antipasto Homestead Picnic on the lawn by the creek. In the same vicinity, you’ll also see the cute and cuddly bunch of resident alpacas ready to be fed or taken for an on-leash wander through the vines with you.
Experience an unforgettable sunset at O’Reilly’s
The next stop on your self-drive road trip is sister property, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, just 45 minutes from Canungra Valley Vineyards. Book one of the 48 self-contained villas to experience magnificent views of the western McPherson Ranges and wider Scenic Rim region not to mention unforgettable sunsets right from your villa door. Better still, head to O’Reilly’s stunning Moonlight Crag deck (understandably popular for weddings and even proposals) for the best sunset seat in the house.
Stay the following day to experience a guided bird walk or pack a picnic and head out to one of the many waterfalls via 160kms of nature trails that surround the property. For relaxation enjoyed indoors, head straight to the Lost World Day Spa. Here you can put your feet up and be treated to everything from facials and full body massages to a unique vinotherapy session. And just as the name suggests, you’ll be soaked in a handcrafted timber bath, using anti-aging properties of locally made wines from Canungra Valley Vineyards.
DAY TWO: CANUNGRA TO TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN
Follow the Gallery Walk and explore the diverse main street offering
Heading back down the winding mountain road from O’Reilly’s and on route for about an hour and 40 minutes, make a stop at Long Road on Tamborine Mountain. Park the car at either end of Long Street (Eagle Heights Road or Wongawallan Road) and start the popular ‘Gallery Walk’ to browse the near 60 local stores and culinary delights dotted along the way.
Taste mouthwatering fudge and flavoured macadamias at Granny Macs, indulge in beautifully crafted cheese at Witches Chase Cheese Co, sample liqueurs, spirits and old-world charm at Tamborine Mountain Distillery shop the latest fashion trends at Whispers Fashion House and finish off with a pint at Fortitude Brewing Co.
Journey through the rainforest to the picturesque Curtis Falls
After you’re all shopped out, store your shopping treasures back in the car and head to the Curtis Falls Walking Track, located just two streets over from Long Road.
This easy 30-minute family-friendly walk (1.1km track) to the breathtaking Curtis Falls is certainly one you won’t want to miss. Depending on the time of year and amount of rainfall, cascading water over the rock formation to the pools below will leave you marvelling at mother nature and marking this spot as yet another on your ‘places to return to’ list.
Relish world-class dining at Songbirds Rainforest Retreat
For another night nestled in the tranquil rainforest, head just 5 minutes down the road to Songbirds Rainforest Retreat. In your private 60sqm two-person rainforest chalet or four-person 169sqm executive villa, experience all a retreat has to offer plus (to every foodie’s dream) a fine-dining experience by acclaimed Michelin-star chef, Meyjitte Boughenout in the Songbirds Restaurant.
Think short ribs and heirloom tomatoes in a six-course degustation or from the à la carte menu, pumpkin gnocchi infused with seasonal greens hand-picked from the restaurant’s own veggie garden, paired with a wine list of over 90 local and international varieties – it’s a yes from us!
DAY THREE: TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN TO SURFERS PARADISE
Taste local wines atop the mountain
For day three of your outdoor, nature-loving inspired road trip, we couldn’t go past wine havens, Witches Falls Winery and Cedar Creek Estate.
At just 5 minutes drive down the road (3.3kms) from Songbirds, the small yet uniquely bold boutique winery, Witches Falls awaits. Specialising in the production of three distinct wine varieties, poured to perfection at the cellar door for wine tastings or over a DIY cheese platter curated from their range of locally made Jambreen cheeses, you’re set for one delightful afternoon. There’s also the option of bringing your own picnic to enjoy in the surrounding gardens with your choice of Witches Falls wine.
Just 6 minutes drive from Songbirds and nestled off the beaten track is the beautiful Cedar Creek Estate Vineyard and Winery. From the second you head up the tree-lined driveway to the moment you’re sipping wine over lunch in the delightful garden setting, you’ll understand why so many couples choose this romantic venue to tie the knot. Top off the afternoon at this 22-acre property by experiencing the boutique wines and port on offer in the cellar door or venture along the boardwalk through the rainforest on a guided glow worm cave tour!
Enjoy Tamborine Mountain Polish Style
Before making tracks back to the iconic shores of Surfers Paradise and surrounds, stop into The Polish Place for a one-of-a-kind culinary (late lunch or early dinner) experience. The extensive Polish menu offers a range of poultry options including chicken in creamy dill sauce, pork hock on the bone and their signature dish, roast duck for two, as well as sweet apple, peach and apricot packed desserts. Dining on the deck is also a treat with magnificent 180-degree views to the west, overlooking the lush landscape of the Great Dividing Range.
Not ready to leave? Check into one of the beautiful fully self-contained cottage escapes for two and reminisce about the trip that was!
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
Destination Gold Coast acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region.
We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout Southeast Queensland.