We’re absolutely blessed with our stunning hinterland here on the Gold Coast, and nestled amongst the rugged natural beauty and subtropical rainforest are two equally charming country towns – Canungra and Mount Tamborine. The best bit is, they’re only 20 minutes away from each other so you can plan a day trip and visit both of these lovely locations as you explore this stunning region of the Gold Coast. A drive up winding roads past roadside fruit stalls and green cathedrals of trees will deliver you to this hinterland haven. If you’re not familiar with these magical spots, we’ve curated the ultimate local’s guide to each destination so you can scope out the best things to eat, see and do.
O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyard
It’s not a trip to Canungra if you don’t pay a visit to O’Reilly’s Vineyard. Open seven days a week, you can do wine tastings, gorge on cheese boards and stone-baked pizzas or grab a tasty pre-packed picnic basket to enjoy on the 15-acre lush grounds. But whatever you do, don’t forget to check out the Mountview Alpaca Farm located on the property. The cuddly creatures are always up for a chat and feed.
Every country town worth their salt has an iconic cafe and in Canungra, the Outpost Cafe is it. Operating since 1946 and open seven days a week from 5:30am, here you’ll always find a friendly face serving one of their famous pies. There are 16 (not a typo) varieties on offer including lamb and rosemary, steak, bacon and Guinness and spicy buffalo to name a few. They also offer an all-day brekky menu, towering burgers, sweet treats and excellent coffee.
If you’re looking for somewhere to rest your head while in Canungra (or you just had one too many vinos at O’Reilly’s), check yourself into the Canungra Hotel. The charming English tudor-style building is home to 11 air conditioned guest rooms with all the mod cons you need. The best part? Your next tasty meal (either in the hotel’s bistro, leafy garden or deck) is just a few steps away. Pro tip: the lamb shank and seafood chowder are delicious.
Canungra Village Markets
Held on the second Sunday of each month at Moriarty Park from 8am, a trip to the Canungra Village Markets is a must do. Stalls run by local farmers, growers, crafters and cooks offer tasty fresh fruit and veg, artisan cheese and pastries, plus loads of amazing arts and crafts. There’s also live music and it’s dog friendly too – puppy pats for all!
ENJOY TAMBORINE TIPPLES
Tamborine Mountain Distillery
Kick your trip off with a visit to Tamborine Mountain Distillery where you’ll sip everything from Lilly Pilly Gin to Turkish Delight Liqueur from their award-winning range. Housed in an Elizbathean tudor style building, you can take your cocktails out onto the lush grounds and make like you’ve been transported to the English countryside.
If beer is more your bag then Fortitude Brewery is for you. The microbrewery boasts a stunning open-air beer garden from which you can sip one of their 15 tipples on tap – all of which are all brewed on site. They also serve a cracking good pizza and a range of bar snacks to go with your pale ale.
Witches Falls Winery
Wine-lovers, don’t think we forgot you. At Mount Tamborine they have not one but two wineries for you to check out. Witches Falls Winery combines old and new winemaking techniques which result in some seriously tasty vino. Head to their cellar door for a $10 tasting, where you’ll get the chance to sip six different wines. If you’re loving the wine (you definitely will) you can grab a bottle and have a picnic on the grounds or stay for a meal at their onsite restaurant.
Hampton Estate Wines
With a suite of 10 wines for you to try, book your spot at Hampton Estate Wines’ cellar door stat. You can either sip your way through their collection in the stunning main house, or you can make it alfresco by booking a table in the sunshine on The Green or the Glasshouse Deck. Yep, it’s as dreamy as it sounds. There’s also the option to stay onsite at the beautiful boutique cottages if you want to stay and play to wine and dine.
GET AMONGST NATURE
Curtis Falls & Cedar Creek Falls
In this region it’s essential you chase waterfalls, especially when they’re as stunning as Curtis Falls. Enjoy a magical walk through a eucalyptus forest before the foliage opens up to a lush waterfall. Keep your eyes peeled for basking turtles and platypi too. Cedar Creek Falls is another must-see spot. A dramatic gorge with several streaming falls, makes this the perfect place for a cooling dip.
Want to take your love of nature to new heights? Then Treetop Challenge – Australia’s largest zipline and high ropes adventure course—has your name written all over it. Zoom through the trees on seven different ziplines spanning 1.5kms, clocking up 70kms per hour and tackle over 120 different high ropes challenges!
Tamborine Rainforest SkyWalk
Slow it down afterwards with a stroll along the Tamborine Rainforest SkyWalk. Walking amongst the lush canopy 300 metres above with babbling creeks below—it’s pure magic. The entire walk is 1.5kms long and will take around 45 minutes.
Robert Sowter Park
If you’d rather keep your feet firmly on the ground while others do the adrenaline-pumping stuff, make your way to Robert Sowter Park. The popular lookout located on Main Western Road, offers up incredible views of the hinterland and it is the base for many hang gliders so you get some bonus hair-raising entertainment too.
Finally, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the Botanic Gardens. Boasting a diverse range of exotic and native flora, explore the tranquil Japanese garden and the many walks on offer. Pro tip: pack a picnic to enjoy in the postcard perfect surroundings.
FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT
Mount Tamborine’s Gallery Walk will take you on a tour of the region’s best boutiques and shops. Boasting over 70 specialty stores in just one block, follow this map, and work your way through arts and crafts, vintage stores, antiques, artisan jewellers and more.
Granny Macs Fudge Shop
A Mount Tamborine institution, you can’t pay this region a visit without stopping at Granny Macs Fudge Shop for a sweet treat. Making fresh fudge on site for over 20 years, there are 42 flavours for you to try, plus UK-style confectionery, licorice, preserves and loads of chocolate.
Mount Tamborine is home to an abundance of excellent community markets selling fresh local produce, plus arts and crafts. Our favourites include the Tamborine Mountain Country Markets taking place on the second Sunday of every month from 8:30am at the Tamborine Mountain Showgrounds and the Tamborine Mountain School Markets. You can check them out on the last Sunday of each month at the local school from 7am.
CHECK INTO THE DREAMIEST ACCOMMODATION
The Polish Place
For something a little bit different check into The Polish Place. Boasting luxury, self-contained cottages with double spas, wood fires and jaw-dropping views—this is the perfect place to base yourself during your visit to Mount Tamborine. Make sure you book dinner at the onsite restaurant for a true Polish experience.
Cedar Creek Lodges
Nestled amongst 114 hectares of subtropical rainforest, there’s so much to love about Cedar Creek Lodges. Choose between self-contained lodges, cosy cabins and private rooms, kitted out with all the modern luxuries you need to have a blissful stay. There’s also an excellent onsite restaurant, so you never have to leave your slice of paradise.
When it comes to accommodation at Thunderbird Park (a 112 hectare property full of woodlands and palm groves), the options are endless and perfect for all budgets. Choose between good old fashioned camping, glamping, cabins, bush lodges and solo rooms.
Dial up the romance at Songbirds—a truly special retreat set amongst the beautiful hinterland. The boutique accommodation is all about blissing out, think: private villas featuring spa baths and a fireplace, massages and beauty treatments on offer and an award-winning restaurant. What’s not to love?
As well as these spots, there’s so much more to discover in Canungra and Tamborine Mountain. Head for the hills and enjoy an adventure in the Gold Coast hinterland.
If you loved this blog, you might also enjoy Binna Burra: Natural Wonder.
Dreaming of a Gold Coast holiday? Subscribe to our email list below.