I had my first glimpse of the Gold Coast Hinterland when I was up in the air, lost in the clouds, floating in the mist inside a comfortable hot air balloon ride. It was the wee hours of the morning and the sun was just rising from the clouds. As we soared higher and the mist swept the landscape, I got a glimpse of the world Down Under. I was in Gold Coast, the six largest city in Australia and the second in Queensland and I was lost for a moment in the dreamy landscape . The beaches of Gold Coast are synonymous with the city as they are thronged by surfers from all over the world. But beyond the oceans the town seems to have many secrets tucked away as there are several Gold Coast Hinterland attractions. I realized that there were many things to do in Gold Coast Hinterland , like exploring a landscape which was formed 23 million years ago.
The sun, sand and the sea is what Gold Coast is synonymous for but this little strip of land, known for its most expensive real estate, which also gave it the name is also known for its dense national parks and rainforests with waterfalls gushing out of caverns.The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, as they are called are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are ancient forests with gorges, caves, creeks and caverns. Gondwana was a supercontinent from the prehistoric times and the unspoilt forests here are remnants of the natural heritage as fossils from the era have been found here. A rich biodiversity hotspot, there are several endemic birds and animals here, besides ancient trees. Gondwana Rainforests are located in Tasmania and along the Located along the Queensland – New South Wales border.
The Gold Coast Hinterland includes these national parks, mountains and forests that beckon many a traveller. The Lamington National Park, Springbrook National Park,Mount Tamborine, a remnant of the ancient and giant Tweed Volcano are some of the destinations with scenic views and visiting these Gold Coast Hinterland Attractions should be on your itinerary. The mountains and valleys are also home to vineyards and distilleries while the charming villages in the hills treat you to some gourmet dishes prepared with local produce while you can shop in some of the quaint artisan galleries.
There are many things to do in Gold Coast Hinterland and I could spend an entire week only here. We were however short on time and so we could only go on a day trip to the Springbrook National Park in the Gold Coast Hinterland. Losing ourselves in the pristine world of nature, we went on several Springbrook National park walks. Spread over 15000 acres, a day is not enough to explore the protected national park that is part of the Scenic Rim and the Gondwana Rainforests. Formed by an extinct volcano millions of years ago, Springbrook National Park is one of the Gold Coast Hinterland Attractions . Standing there I realized that I was looking at a landscape of forests and mountains that were formed 23 million years ago.
The Gold Coast Adventure took us through walking trails, breathtaking lookouts and hidden waterfalls. There are four sections to Springbrook National Park that includes Natural Bridge, Springbrook Plateau, Numinbah and Mount Cougal . It is the Springbrook National Park Natural Bridge that is more fascinating though. There are several Springbrook national park waterfalls also that greet the trekkers and it is one of the top things to do in Gold Coast hinterland
Our first halt was at the Natural Bridge Springbrook . Walking through a dense forest, we arrived at the wild rock formation which seemed like a dark cave formed with basalt. The naturally formed arch is formed over Cave Creek and it was believed to have been created by the force of the waterfall that gushed through the cave. Standing there and overwhelmed by the natural architectural skill of cave, I saw the creek flowing through the cave, deafened by the force of nature. Springbrook National Park Natural Bridge is one of the top things to do in Gold Coast Hinterland and it is the haunt of colourful glow worms in the night
We continued towards the National Park, stopping by to admire the lookouts while watching more waterfalls and admiring more views. There were four views in all and the trails got darker as the forests converged on us. Even the forest floor came alive with little patches of green. We saw strangler figs, fern groves and entwined vines. But I was just in awe looking at the thick forests with giant boulders. Tall and giant Antarctic beech trees , a remnant of the ancient Gondwana Forests stand out in the dense green cover.
The rainforests seemed so enchanted that I lost myself in the dark and mysterious shadows, the entwined creepers and branches, the calls of the birds, the floating mist and clouds over the views and the lusty breeze sweeping me into another world. Mighty mountains and valleys, forests and waterfalls greeted us from different lookouts. At night, there were Springbrook National Park tours to see glow worms and bats, fireflies and colourful fungi and I wished I could come back or stay over to experience these nocturnal moments.
Springbrook National Park was once inhabited by the Yugambeh, the Indigenous Australian tribe of people who worshipped the “kaban” or rainforest as they called their terrain. It is believed that rock shelters and rock art besides stone artefacts were found here. They lived a sustainable life, nurturing the land that they called home. ‘Nyah-nyah ngalingah kurul kaban or ‘Take care of our wilderness” they say.
Springbrook National Park is considered one of the Q150Icons of Queensland as a Natural attraction and I could see why. I was lost in a world filled with dense green cover with ancient trees and endemic birds and animals for company and had no wish to return to the city and civilization. Given a choice I would have loved to explore more of the Gold Coast hinterland and head to other national parks like or experience some Gold Coast Adventure at Tamborine. The Springbrook National park walks take you right into the heart of the rainforests. Trekking and nature enthusiasts even head on the three days Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk connecting the Lamington and Springbrook plateaus which is a walking trail of 54 kilometres. But for the lazy, slow travellers like me, there is also wine tasting, bird watching and bushwalking as well which are some of the things to do in Gold Coast Hinterland.
As we headed back to the Gold Coast I realized that I would spend more time in the lap of nature than in a bustling city. So what kind of traveller are you – would you prefer rustic and natural experiences or do you like the vibrant bustling city ?