There’s more to the Gold Coast than Surfers Paradise. Find out all about the Gold Coast hinterland’s most impressive attractions.
When you think of the Gold Coast, what do you picture? Surfers Paradise’s clubs and towering high-rises, strung along traffic-packed boulevards? The sand and the surf, glittering under a hot Aussie sun? That coastal lifestyle, where everyone seems to be wearing thongs and XXXX Golds are more popular than water?
The truth is, there’s so much more to the Goldie than just beaches, clubs and pubs. If you’re looking to spend a few days or few weeks in south-east Queensland, exploring the Gold Coast hinterland is an absolute must.
Suburbs like Coomera and Oxenford front the alpine beauty of Mount Tamborine, where visitors can experience a European atmosphere and stunning, panoramic views.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking to wine and dine your partner or scream your lungs out with the kids – there’s something for everyone.
The Gold Coast Hinterland’s Best Attractions
1. Entertainment Road
If you’re looking for speed, fun and great storytelling all rolled into one location, you need to check out Entertainment Road.
Home to a series of massive theme parks – Movie World, Wet ’n’ Wild, Australian Outback Spectacular and Topgolf Gold Coast – this iconic strip of the Gold Coast has been entertaining families for decades, and now it’s your turn.
Just pick your theme park, turn up early to avoid the crowds, and start enjoying experiences ranging from water slides and rollercoasters to equestrian acrobatics and titanium drivers.
Our Tip: Get there early, or get there late. Don’t arrive during peak hours or you’ll be stuck in a traffic-jam of visitors at the entry gates.
2. Dreamworld and Whitewater World
Just one stop up the Pacific Motorway from Entertainment Drive, the Dreamworld/Whitewater World complex is another great way for you and the family to spend a day.
As Australia’s largest theme park, Dreamworld is home to over 40 rides and attractions, including 5 rollercoasters and an on-site zoo! If you’re visiting in summer, cool off afterwards with a slippery ride down the Triple Vortex.
Our Tip: If you think you might spend more than one day here, purchase a 3-day ticket online to save money.
3. Gold Coast Wake Park
Whoah, dude! If you like the idea of skateboarding on water, this one’s for you. Strap on a helmet, tie your feet to your board, and then do some mad tricks as you get towed behind a speedboat.
With a variety of ramps, and equipment for all age groups and ability levels, the GC Wake Park is the perfect way to spend a summer’s day on the Coast.
Our Tip: For a genuine Aussie experience, have lunch at Coomera Lodge Hotel. There’s few places that capture the Coomera spirit better than this restaurant/pub.
4. Thunderbird Park
With a line-up of activities like zip-lining, treetop climbing, laser skirmish, mini golf, mineral fossicking, horse-riding and hiking, Thunderbird Park is the ultimate Gold Coast hinterland attraction.
Embrace the outdoorsy spirit of Australia by trotting through bushland on the back of a stallion, or screech in terror as you fly across a canyon.
Whether you’re big or small, there’s enough here to keep you entertained for the whole day.
Our Tip: Make an early-morning booking for the high ropes course. You’ll avoid the crowds, and be able to complete most of the courses before it really starts to get hot.
5. Gallery Walk
Bring out your inner artisan with a stroll down Gallery Walk, Mount Tamborine’s tourism epicentre.
Boutique cafés and restaurants nestle beside fudge shops, Eastern mystics and German cuckoo clocks. There’s no better way to get introduced to Tambo’s old-timey quirkiness than with a stroll down this iconic road.
Our Tip: Head down to Eagles Retreat Place, just a few minutes’ drive away, to get absolutely breathtaking views of the Gold Coast and the Pacific Ocean.
6. Tea & Niceties
If you’re an avid Downtown Abbey viewer who fantasises about high teas and fancy dresses, Tea & Niceties should be your first choice for a hinterland lunch.
This charming tea house regularly hosts weddings and other events, and is famous for its English-style scones and loose-leaf teas. Visit on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday between 10am and 2pm for a delightfully British high tea.
Our Tip: After you’ve finished dining, go for a relaxing walk to Curtis Falls. The track starts right next to Tea & Niceties, and remains relatively cool even through summer.
7. Tamborine Mountain Coffee Plantation
Chances are that if you work, you’re a coffee addict. Satisfy your cravings with a trip to the Tamborine Mountain Coffee Plantation.
This boutique micro-plantation hand-picks and roasts their beans in house, meaning you’ll be trying coffee that’s quite literally fresh off the farm. If you fall in love with their delicious blends, make sure you buy a bag of coffee to take back home with you.
Our Tip: If you normally have milk with your coffee, take the opportunity to drink it black. The flavour of the beans won’t be diluted, so you’ll get the full, smooth richness that the Plantation is known for.
8. Witches Falls
This tiny winery is emblematic of Tamborine’s wild, adventurous spirit. With their Granite Belt, Wild Ferment and Prophecy ranges, they’ve carved out a reputation in Queensland’s viticultural scene.
It doesn’t matter if you’re craving a Verdelho to go with your stir-fried prawns, or the powerful elegance of a glass of Sangiovese – Witches Falls have got you covered. Take a tour of the winery, and leave with a bottle or three tucked under your arm.
Our Tip: If you’re visiting in summer, try their Wild Ferment Verdelho. If you’re visiting in winter, go for their Prophecy Syrah instead.
9. Witches Chase Cheese Co.
A family-run business, Witches Chase Cheese Co. is a wildly-popular complement to Gallery Walk. Visit during the weekend, and you’ll see their large car-park stocked with cars. Try their Black Max cheddar, goat’s fetta or award-winning L.I washed rind; they also offer a range of dips and patés for the discerning diner.
Our Tip: Instead of eating out, have a delicious dinner at your Hope Harbour accommodation by composing a charcuterie board. Stock up on Witches Chase cheeses and dips, pick up some nice salamis at the Hope Island Coles on the way home, and pair it with some Witches Falls wine.
10. Tamborine Mountain Distillery
With spectacular views and an old-timey ambience, the Tamborine Mountain Distillery has won over 300 awards in both national and international competitions – in fact, it’s the most-awarded distillery in Australia.
Try their various flavoured liqueurs, remember your teenage years with a shot of vodka, or sample Australia’s finest paint-stripper absinthe. This is one Gold Coast hinterland attraction you definitely don’t want to skip.
11. Lamington National Park
This ancient stretch of bushland is one of Queensland’s best hiking zones. With the famous Border Track snaking from Binna Burra to the Green Mountains, it’s easy to spend a whole day trekking beneath ancient gum trees and through forest-shrouded valleys.
The park is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, famous for its geological history and natural diversity.
Our Tip: Take a camera (or your iPhone). Although a lot of the Border Track is under the forest canopy, you will come across more than a few incredible views.
12. Glow Worm Caves
Although the Glow Worm Caves on Tamborine aren’t naturally-occurring, seeing thousands of eerie, pale-blue lights painting the ceiling is still pretty special.
Remember that you need to just appreciate the moment and not take photos, as the light from cameras and phones negatively impacts the worms. Afterwards, enjoy a meal and a glass of red at Cedar Creek Estate, one of the Mountain’s premier wineries.
Our Tip: If you’re visiting in summer, cool off with a dip in Cedar Creek Falls.