Tamborine Mountain is the ideal self-drive short-term destination for anyone from the Gold Coast or Northern NSW and greater Brisbane – it is only between half to an hour drive away, and visitors are rewarded with an abundance of fresh air, unspoilt rainforest greenery, National Parks and waterfalls offering tranquility, peace and relaxation.
There are so many great stops on Tamborine Mountain; to fit them all into just one day is simply impossible. Try one of the suggested day-drives shown here, designed to give you a variety of activities and experiences, there is “Something for Everyone!”
DRIVE 1 – HEADING UP FROM OXENFORD / M1
When heading up to Tamborine Mountain using the 95 you will see on your left one of the most well-known attractions on Tamborine Mountain – the “Eagle Heights Mountain Resort”. Once owned by famous actor Mel Gibson (you can still see his former swimming pool in the centre of the main bar area, it’s the carpeted area!) the resort offers breathtaking views to the Gold Coast, a beer garden, restaurant and much more. An ideal first stop on your way to explore Tamborine Mountain!
10am – Gallery Walk
Keep heading up the mountain and at the very top you will come to a roundabout – turn right and you have found the next iconic Tamborine Mountain attraction – “Gallery Walk”. All coffee shops, galleries and other retail outlets have opened their doors, so why not start your day off with a visit to “Granny Mac’s Store” – offering the best fudge on the mountain, heaps of lollies, choccies and of course a great cup of coffee! Pick up the “Discover Tamborine Mountain” visitor map guide on display on the verandah. After this treat, take a few minutes to stroll up and down “Gallery Walk” and explore the vast variety of shopping outlets with a difference – no hardware stores or shopping malls here, just lots of exciting smaller cottage industry type shops offering something exciting for everyone!
11am – Jasmin Organics
Just a little further down “Long Road” you will find another hidden gem of Tamborine Mountain – Take a tour of the factory and learn what “organic” really means, see where “Jasmin Certified Organic Products” are made and how essential oils are distilled. Check out their beauty retail shop and try the award winning skincare range. Admire the manicured park-like gardens and fruit orchards, relax and meander, stay a while and rejuvenate.
12 Noon – Curtis Falls Waterfall
Turn left when leaving Jasmin, and left again at the roundabout, heading down Eagle Heights Road. Park at “Curtis Falls Corner”, an iconic and idyllic spot and the start of the short walk down to famous “Curtis Falls”. The walk starts on the right hand side of “TM Teapots”, the return trip will take you about an hour all up, allowing plenty of time to admire the beautiful “Curtis Falls” waterfall.
1pm – Curtis Falls Corner
Before hopping back into your car, check out the amazing “Curtis Falls Lolly Shop” and “TM Teapots”, and call in at “Curtis Falls Cafe” for a delicious light lunch that won’t break the budget! Enjoy a truly fantastic cuppa right on top of the falls, and for dessert grab an icecream from the lolly shop.
2pm – TM Rainforest Skywalk
Head downhill towards Tamborine Village until you reach the turn-off on your right to the amazing “Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk”. This elevated walkway soars up to 30 meters above the ground, and walkers can explore the rainforest canopy, see “Cedar Creek”, admire the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly and stroll through the ancient rainforest.
3.15pm – Witches Falls Winery
Head back up the mountain passing through North Tamborine until you reach the famous “Witches Falls Winery” on your right – the only working winery on the mountain, meaning that wines are made right here! The friendly and knowledgeable staff will guide you through your wine tasting, and through the huge glass windows behind the counter you will be able to see the wine making facilities. Oh, yes – you can buy their wines here, too!
4pm – Hang Gliders
Follow “Main Western Road” heading south until you reach the “Hang Gliders” on your right. This patch of cleared escarpment is often used as a hang gliding launch pad, but it also offers fantastic inland views, especially later in the afternoon, often rewarding visitors with breathtaking sunsets.
Take care when returning home, and come back soon to discover more of Tamborine Mountain!
DRIVE 2 – HEADING UP FROM OXENFORD / M1
10am – Gallery Walk
Start your day with a great brekky and cuppa from one of the many cafes on “Gallery Walk”, tempting you with all sorts of tasty treats. Than explore “Gallery Walk” – a vast variety of exciting cottage industry type outlets offering things with a difference.
Fairies and Fantasy, Die Cast Model Cars, Soaps and Scents, Fudge and Tea, Art and Collectables, Fashion and Pre-Loved, Vintage and Kitsch – it’s all here for you to shop til you drop!
11am – Botanic Gardens
Go straight through the upper roundabout of “Gallery Walk” following Long Road – on this stretch of the road you will see a typical example of how Tamborine Mountain manages to combine human transport needs with mother nature…the tree in the middle of the road was deemed to be too important to simply chop it down – well, were there is a will, there is a road! At the bottom of the road turn right into Forsythia Drive. The Tamborine Mountain Botanic Gardens are well worth a visit – well maintained and most loved by locals and visitors alike. Take an hour or so to explore the many features such as the Japanese garden, the lake, and the wisteria walk and cherry tree walk, to mention just a few. Also a popular picnic spot with plenty of room for the kids to run around.
12 Noon – Lunch at “Spice of Life”
Head over to North Tamborine and call in at “Spice of Life” for lunch and other delicious treats. This is an institution on Tamborine Mountain, frequented by both locals and tourists. The iconic building is impossible to overlook, and visitors are always welcome to call in and refuel for the afternoon’s activities!
12.45pm – TM Distillery
At the SHELL service station turn right into “Beacon Road”, and you will soon discover the “Tamborine Mountain Distillery”. Drive right in and say “hello” to owner Michael, soak up the European village atmosphere, try some of his amazing top quality liqueurs, vodkas, schnapps, eaux de vie and liqueur chocolates – a stop not be missed.
1.45pm – Thunderbird Park
Track back on “Beacon Road” and turn left at the “T” intersection, and follow this road for about 5kms through beautiful rainforest and unspoilt scenery, until you reach “Thunderbird Park”. Whilst it is impossible to fit in ALL the activities you will find at “Thunderbird Park” you can still choose one or two – a high ropes course, Thunderegg fossicking, laser skirmish, horse riding to name just a few. Grab a wood fired pizza and a great cuppa from the Terrace Kiosk on site afterwards.
3.45pm – Cedar Creek Falls
Another jewel of Tamborine Mountain – “Cedar Creek Falls” is the only swimming hole on Tamborine Mountain, and the actual waterfalls are spectacular all year round. There are great views from the top, and a short stroll leads all the way down to the waterfall, which cascades over rock slides into several rock pools. The late afternoon provides great lighting for the photographer in all of us.
4.30pm – Time to head back home – drive safely and we hope to welcome you back soon!
DRIVE 3 – HEADING UP FROM NERANG USING HENRI ROBERT DRIVE
9am – Nerang, Gold Coast
The most direct way up to Tamborine Mountain from the Central and Southern Gold Coast is heading inland from Nerang, first following the signs towards Canungra, but then turning right towards Tamborine Mountain using “Henri Roberts Drive”. This somewhat steeper access road is an experience in itself – after the first rise the road flattens out and follows a shelf, than the second climb to Mount Tamborine begins. Frequently, this drive offers great views to the Gold Coast. Choose a lower gear when climbing, take care and you will be up on the top of Tamborine Mountain before you can say “WOW – that was steep”! The first point of interest is the “Tamborine Mountain Golf Course” on your left. Lush green fairways and excellent greens provide an enjoyable challenge for all standards of golfers.
10am – St Bernards Shopping Centre
Soon after the Golf Course call in at the “Taste Buddies Takeaway” on your right – have a drink, grab a snack, pick up a copy of the “Discover TM Visitor Guide and Map Booklet” and relax a while on the large covered verandah.
10.45am – St Bernards Hotel
Just a stone’s throw away you will find one of the oldest and most renowned icons on Tamborine Mountain – the “St Bernards Hotel”. Steeped in tradition, it houses an excellent restaurant and bar, offers great views into Guanaba Gorge and of course Leo and Molly, the two resident St Bernards will always be around to welcome you!
11.30am – Mt Coffee Plantation
On weekdays a visit to the “MT Coffee Plantation” and roastery is a must. An institution for both locals and visitors alike, the coffee served here is of world class standard! Owners Maria and Kees specialise in organic high quality coffee, and everything that goes with it! Enjoy a light lunch, and – uhm – did we mention the coffee here is REALLY, REALLY good?
12.15pm – Hang Gliders
Keep heading up North using the 95, you will soon see a cleared section of the escarpment on your left called “The Hang Gliders”. As the name indicates, it is a popular spot for hang gliders to take off (weather permitting) but also offers sensational views inland. Definitely worth stopping and taking in the scenery.
12.30 – Rotary Lookout
Just a little further up you will see another popular lookout on your left – the “Rotary Lookout”. Equipped with coin operated binoculars and seating, it is enjoyed by young and old all year round.
Your next stop is yet another icon on Tamborine Mountain – the “Witches Falls National Park”. There is plenty of parking on the left, and the walk to the waterfall is a most enjoyable experience taking about 1 ½ hour return. The walk leads through magnificent rainforest to the falls, noting that they are at their most spectacular after heavy rains. The air is fresh, there is plenty of wildlife and to bring a camera is a must!
3.00pm – Glow Worm Caves
YES – you can see the “real thing” during the day! Thousands of REAL glow worms inhabit a magic man-made cave with tours starting every half an hour. Last tour leaves at 4pm.
Take the long way home… Take your time when heading back to the Gold Coast – to complete a little sightseeing loop, keep heading up North always following the 95, until you reach a right turn-off towards “Eagle Heights” and “Gallery Walk” – you will soon reach a roundabout, turn left, may be stop and check a few of the stores, many of which will still be open. Do a “u” turn at the upper roundabout of “Gallery Walk”, and head back the way you came up.
On your way back, check the sunset at the lookouts on your right – very likely another “photo opportunity”!
Well, and soon after this peaceful end of the day it is time to head back home – we hope you enjoyed your day, and that you will be back very soon. There are lots of exciting accommodation options on Tamborine Mountain, and there is just so much more to see and to do!