WHILE IT’S CALLED TAMBORINE “MOUNTAIN” IT ISN’T EXACTLY THAT. IN FACT, THIS GOLD COAST HINTERLAND TOURIST SPOT IS ACTUALLY A ‘PLATEAU’ – 8KM LONG, 4KM WIDE, 500M ABOVE SEA LEVEL AND BOASTING 360-DEGREE VIEWS.
A day out to Tamborine is not just about the destination – the journey is equally as interesting. Driving up the mountain, you will stretch your rally-car steering muscle with hairpin turns, tight lanes and ear-popping climbs but the views are ah-mazing. Halfway up the mountain (as you approach from the north), be sure to look out for a somewhat hidden rocky outcrop perched precariously above the roadway and shaped like a piano. Locals ensure the piano’s ‘keys’ are always painted to perfection. While contemplating why Mother Nature decided to plop a perfectly smooth, piano-shaped rock on the side of a mountain, spend a minute to also think how the hell someone climbs up there regularly to keep it painted?!
Horse riding, bird watching, glow worm tours, thunder-egg fossicking, fishing, walks and more are all a part of the Tamborine Mountain experience. The other thing you must do while on the mountain is pull up a piece of grass and watch the local hang gliders – they take off from the western side of the mountain most weekends.
Gallery Walk is Tamborine Mountain’s most famous shopping strip. It’s an intriguing mix of shops and eateries. Like bookends on the famous strip, you can’t miss a stop at Flights of Fancy fairy shop at one end and Crystal Mountain crystal shop at the other end. In between, you’ll find everything from genuine European cuckoo clocks and original art pieces to delicious fudge and wine. Tamborine Mountain markets are another drawcard for this area on various set days of the month.
Skywalk’s spectacular elevated walkway puts visitors up in the rainforest canopy with the wildlife. You can explore the mountain park from the dizzying heights of the Skywalk (think 300m of high-tech steel bridges through the highest points of the upper canopy as well as a 40m cantilever bridge that soars a breathtaking 30m above the creek and rainforest below) as well as from the cool rainforest floor.
For foodies, there are award-winning boutique wineries, breweries and distilleries, a cheese factory as well as a decent supply of fudge and chocolate shops. Another secret eating spot, requiring a little local knowledge, is Birchgrove Nursery. If you can drag yourself away from the fragrant roses and other floral wonders in the nursery, lunch is sorted in the nursery’s Café Alpine. And here’s a hot tip – in the cooler months, make sure you nab the table inside, in front of the wood-burning fire. Bliss.