A Quick Guide to Tamborine Mountain

The first time I visited Tamborine Mountain, I was just 20 years old and traveling around Australia on a Contiki tour.

I will always remember my trip to Tamborine Mountain. The road to it from Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast was so windy. We’d had a big night out the previous day, with barely any sleep and way too much booze. My stomach was not coping at all with the twists and turns and I couldn’t wait to get there, leap out of the car and take a deep breath of fresh mountain air. What was actually quite a short trip felt like it took forever. But, when we finally arrived, I felt so much better; the views were stunning.

When we moved to Brisbane, I knew I needed to return to Tamborine Mountain. 

This little slice of heaven is just an hour away from Brisbane, so how could we not? It’s the perfect place for people who, like us, enjoy nature, hiking, wildlife, and wine. Read on to find out what to do in this incredible part of South East Queensland.

How to get to Tamborine Mountain?

From Brisbane:

Tamborine Mountain is about 80 kilometres south of Brisbane. Depending on the time you leave the city, it can take from just under an hour, up to an hour and a half or slightly more. At peak hour, things tend to get jam-packed on the M1 highway.

There are a couple of different routes you can take though, so load up Google Maps and see which way the app thinks looks the fastest. We ended up jumping off the motorway early and let it take us there via the backroads, which was also much more scenic!

From the Gold Coast:

Tamborine Mountain is about 40 minutes from the Gold Coast. Use the Pacific Motorway and take Exit 57 at Oxenford just after Movie World. Then, follow the signs up the mountain. It’s only a short 15-minute drive from Movie World and Dreamworld.

Hiking in the rainforest

What to do in Tamborine Mountain?

Take a hike in the rainforest

A walk in the rainforest is the best escape from a hot day. The shade provided by the tall, leafy trees is a welcome relief from the soaring temperatures that can be unbearable at the peak of summer, even up on the mountain. The lush, tropical rainforest is packed with Strangler Figs and towering Cedar trees. Some of them have roots so big that they will blow you away. Strangler vines take up residence in trees and their strong branches grow downwards into the soil. All of this makes for some great photo opportunities.

Curtis Falls
Short hikes:

Curtis Falls Track (1.1 kms return)

Cedar Creek falls Track (900m return)

Amazing old trees
Longer hikes:

Witches Falls Track (3.1kms loop)

Palm Grove Circuit (2.6 kms loop)

Lower Creek Circuit, Curtis Falls (2 kms loop)

The Sandy Creek Circuit (2.6 kms loop)

View from the Hang Gliders Launch

Check out the many viewpoints

There are several viewpoints on the mountain, providing spectacular views of the surroundings. For views across the national parks of the Scenic Rim, don’t miss the Hang Gliders Launch and the Rotary Lookout on the Main Western Road. For views over the Gold Coast skyline and Pacific Ocean, head to the Eagle Heights Resort.

Albert River Wines

Go wine tasting

Tamborine Mountain is home to a few wineries. So, knowing us, we had to check a few of them out for some tasting. While I won’t say the wines match those of say the Hunter Valley, surprisingly they weren’t too shabby. When we moved up here, I assumed that we’d struggle to find decent wineries. But there you go, I was wrong!

The Heritage Wines Cellar Door

We visited Albert River Wines and had a lovely relaxing lunch on their veranda, with some stunning views to go with their wine!

We also did some tasting at the Heritage Wines cellar door on the Gallery Walk. Their Fiano was very enjoyable.

The Glow Worms Cave

See glow worms

There aren’t too many places in the world where you can see glow worms, but you can on Tamborine Mountain, thanks to a conservation initiative located in the grounds of the Cedar Creek Estate.

Their 30-minute tour will take you through a purpose-built cave containing thousands of glow worms. Before entering, you first watch a 7-minute video explaining more about these little guys. You are then taken inside the cave where, with the help of a red light, you can check them out. As you enter the cave, you’ll see thousands of little lights all around you. Some are much brighter than others; those are the big females. Our tour guide told us stories of how glow worms eat their siblings to survive, since mum isn’t very helpful when it comes to rearing her babies! It was a very informative tour and having not seen glow worms before, I really enjoyed it.

Walking on the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk

Visit the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk

The Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk is just over a kilometre long and takes approximately 45-minutes to complete if you take your time. The walk takes you across a high-tech steel bridge and onto a cantilever pier that rises thirty metres above the creek and the rainforest below. From there, you have a great view over the rainforest canopy. As you walk through the forest, keep your eyes peeled for birdlife.

The Cuckoo Shop

Shop on the Gallery Walk

When you’ve spent enough time exploring all the wonders of the mountain, it’s time for some retail therapy! The Gallery Walk is the best place to do just that. Walk up and down the Gallery Walk, taking time along the way to check out all the little shops that line it.

Cuckoo clocks!
Fabulous choice at Chocolates on Gallery Walk

You’ll find crafts, local produce, wine, clothes, cafes and, my absolute favourite, the Cuckoo Clock shop. Even if you aren’t planning on buying a cuckoo clock, you just have to visit this store! I loved looking at all of the clocks, each of them slightly different. Lots of very impressive craftmanship went into making them. The building itself is worth the detour. For us, it was a little flashback to Germany.

Beer tasting paddle at Fortitude Brewing

Have a tasting paddle at the brewery

If wine isn’t your thing and you prefer beer (or if you like both!), head to Fortitude Brewing for a great selection of craft beers. Order a tasting paddle and try out five of their beers. Right next door is the Witches Chase Cheese Co., so why not get a little cheese platter to go with your beer? But if pizza is more what you’re craving, the brewery has that on their menu as well.

Check out the Botanic Gardens

The Tamborine Mountain Botanical Gardens is set across 11 hectares of land. It combines a wide variety of exotic and native flora. The glorious lake is the centrepiece of the gardens, along with a tranquil Japanese garden, a tropical rainforest walk, and many other delights.

Bring your picnic to eat at one of the picnic tables on site. Before or after your picnic, take a stroll along one of the walking trails around the gardens.

Where to stay in Tamborine Mountain?

Mountain Sanctuary B&B

Mountain Sanctuary B&B offers accommodation in Mount Tamborine, just a 7-minute stroll from the wineries and cafes along Gallery Walk. Click here to find out their prices.

The Polish Place

The Polish Place offers award-winning, self-contained chalets, set on the escarpment of Tamborine Mountain, with 180-degree views facing out towards The Great Dividing Range. Each of these European-style mountain chalets includes a fully equipped kitchen and laundry facilities. All have a dining area, private balcony, “cathedral ceilings” and a loft-style bedroom. Visit the restaurant for the main attraction, the crazy lorikeets! Click here to find out their prices.

Other Accommodation

If neither of those make sense for you, use HotelsCombined to search across all the top accommodation websites:

Where to eat in Tamborine Mountain?

The Tree House: This is a great place for coffee and breakfast on the Gallery Walk.

Hikory: The local’s favourite spot, Hickory specialises in American inspired BBQ (done the Aussie way) featuring slow-smoked meats, delicious sides and cocktails.

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