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Published April 17th 2013
Every now and again you feel the need to get up and go, a desire to re-charge the batteries and enjoy a change of scenery. Planning a weekend escape is almost as good as the escape itself. In South-East Queensland we are spoilt for choice. As long as you have wheels to get you there and the desire to go, adventure or relaxation - whatever you choose - awaits.
To celebrate my up-coming birthday, I felt like a bush change and decided on Mt Tamborine. Although only a 50 minute drive from Brisbane, I had not been there in over 15 years. So what was Mt Tamborine's allure?
Nothing better than the Aussie bush to calm your senses, cooler mountain temperatures, bush walks for exercise (and to re-connect with nature), a few markets and craft shops to indulge the shopaholic within and a cheese factory and wineries to treat the palate. Throw in what was advertised as the ideal location for a romantic getaway, the accommodation (from the glossy adverts and Trip Advisor comments) would hopefully be the gourmet icing on a perfect weekend getaway.
Stopping to sample local wines at the Aussie Vineyards winery on Hartley Road, only to discover the wines aren't local to Tamborine. Despite the labels describing the wines with local names, the grapes and wines are from the Granite Belt region. (Semi-local, I guess!)
Visiting the Gallery Walk along Long Road to check the local shops - it seemed everyone else decided to do the same. I could not resist the handmade glass jewellery at The Glass Castle (my first distraction of the day). So many beautiful hand-made, one-off pieces of dichroic glass. Not wanting to bore my friend for too long in a jewellery store, we shifted gear to one of the many fudge shops in the street and selected (after sampling) a couple of calorific pieces of fudge from Granny Mac's Fudge Store and Cafe.
Heading up the street to the cheese factory/brewery (more like a store than a factory), we sampled a few interesting cheese combinations and some to die for gourmet yoghurt. We invested some more cash in the local community and it was time to check into the romantic getaway.
Witches Falls Cottages, a quick turn off Main Western Road are on the Witches Falls section of Tamborine National Park (reputedly the third oldest in the world.) There are five concealed cottages each one nestled into a secluded section of the gardens. Their marketing blurb boasts each cottage offers a cosy fireplace and double spa in a split level room. They were not boasting. Our cottage was comfortably fitted out, complete with kitchenette and private courtyard, including a gas Bar b q. A perfect place to disappear from the world and cocoon yourself in comfort and enjoy the surrounding serenity. I loved the sound of the wind gently blowing through the leaves of trees and the sparkling star display at night - always a special treat when out "bush".
Possibly a little over-excited about being able to light a pot-belly fireplace in early April, a walk in the fresh cool air was required. A stroll across Main Western Road leads to the start of the 20 minute hike down to Witches Falls on the Witches Chase hiking tack - an accessible and easy walk through rain forest. For the hiker wanting a more challenging trek, it was disappointing to find the Witches Falls Circuit and Chase Track blocked off, due no doubt to the recent rains causing a few landslides. (Found the same for Curtis Falls the next day - the Full Circuit - was also closed.)
With the sun quickly disappearing we ascended hastily to grab a glimpse of the 'spectacular' sunset over the Dividing Range (highly recommended by our host David.) Breaking into a sweat to get there before the sun dipped, we realised it was the Rotary Lookout (further up the road) that provides the uninterrupted views. Despite the tree line hampering our outlook, we witnessed an impressive sunset.
Our breakfast hamper was promptly dropped off at 8am and we couldn't resist the aroma of freshly baked bread, smearing it with butter and Vegemite and devouring it whilst it was warm. Under the watchful eye of an interested kookaburra, (read a tip in the cottage guest book to look out for these thieves - keen on sausages), we indulged in yet more food.
Sadly (and way too soon) it was time to check out. My personal recommendation: one night is not enough, but for a B and B, Witches Falls Cottages falls into the more expensive category. If you are prepared to part with some cash, the indulgence is certainly worthwhile.
Mt Tamborine is a fabulous getaway destination and judging by how quiet the place was on the Monday, its all about a week-end getaway. If you enjoy craft and markets (check which Sundays of the month they are on) and don't mind paying commercial tourist prices, its the perfect place to escape to and re-charge. One night gives you a taste, two nights would allow you to indulge and really re-charge.
The Tamborine Park is found within the Gold Coast backwoods. There's no different place love it for obtaining back to nature. From enjoying the tranquil surrounds to nature photography, a visit to Mt Tambourine makes an excellent excursion from state capital. There are several nice walking tracks accessible for you to fancy the splendid scenery. Simply enable yourself time beyond regulation if you're walking with babies or taking images.
Mount Tamborine is a memorable destination for newly wedding couples weekend or the all family. With plenty of rainforest walks and waterfalls to take in, Mount Tamborine is one place you can come back to again and again.