There’s a secret side to the Gold Coast – one not many people see. With its flashy buildings, theme parks and reputation for non-stop fun and consumerism heaven, it’s one of the top destinations for tourists in the country. And if you’re looking to splash some cash and enjoy the best Australia has to offer in roller-coasters, waterslides, go-karting, holograms, wax museums and the like, it’s the place for you! But if you happen to be looking for some more laid-back thrills or want to venture a bit further and see the real Australia, even just for a day, then read on. 

The Gold Coast Hinterland lies just 30 minutes inland of all the coastal action and is great for exploring. The area has large stands of rainforest and many beautiful walks. If you choose to visit Springbrook National Park you’ll experience part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. The Natural Bridge section offers a spectacular one kilometre walk through the rainforest. You’ll meander along a sparkling creek and down to a magnificent rock bridge which spills water from the creek above through a hole in its basalt form. You can descend under the overhang and see the water light up the dark as shafts of light enter the recess. A variety of native species call the park home, including koalas. Come by night with a guided tour and you’ll see glow-worms. You might also spot micro-bats or glow-in-the-dark fungi.

Mount Tamborine is also a must-see on your hinterland agenda. The air gets cooler as you ascent and the summit offers spectacular views. Don’t worry though! If you’re not quite ready to climb a mountain there are good roads all the way to the top. From here you can explore the rainforest on various walks, including the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk which takes you high up into the canopy. When it’s time for a little refreshment, Fortitude Brewing Co does a tasty pizza to accompany one of their craft beers.  
While the pace may be slower, there is so much to explore. If you love nature and picturesque little towns, a week won’t be long enough. 

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