Mt Tamborine is an ideal place to take the kids for a weekend adventure, with plenty to keep them occupied from horse rides to glow worm caves to the best fairy shop I have ever visited. Below are four excellent activities for kids and families that I highly recommend in this magical hinterland region not far south of Brisbane city.
Whether you have boys or girls, their imagination will definitely be inspired by the magic inside this lovingly created shop. From the bubbles that greet you as you enter, to the themed rooms to explore, this place is really exceptional. We spent a long time in "the illuminated forest" investigating the hollows of the glowing tree and the little people hidden inside. Then we moved on to the "ocean grotto" with all things mermaids, shells and dolphins to explore. Other themed areas filled with wonderful goodies to buy, were the "summer bower" , the "enchanted garden", the "frozen room" and "spider hollow". After all that fairytale fun, you'll need to visit one of the great cafes along Gallery Walk for some refreshments.
There is nothing like standing in a rainforest cave looking up at six thousand glow worms. This purpose built cave is only accessible during the day (10 am - 4pm), making it easy to visit with children and you can rest assured that the delicate rainforests that glow worms inhabit will not be trampled underfoot. I found our visit to the cave very informative and we all learnt a lot about the life cycle of glow worms, what they eat and we even got to see their silken "webs". We also visited Frog Hollow next door, where we were personally introduced to ten different species of rare and endangered native Australian frogs. The kids really enjoyed trying to spot the well camouflaged amphibians. We then spent a good hour hanging out at Wild Duck Lake Cafe, sipping tea and enjoying the crisp mountain air while the workers caught "dinner" for the glow worms in huge nets (which was also quite a sight to behold).
It is easy to spend the whole day at Thunderbird Park, as there are so many activities for kids (big or small). Begin at the Thunder Egg Mine, where you can fossick for your very own 200 million year old thunder egg and crack it open to see the amazing crystal formation inside. After that, you could join a guided trail ride through the rainforest or take the Tree Top Challenge, with eleven flying foxes and a self powered sky fall. There is also a designated Laser Skirmish area for those with energy to burn. We enjoyed sitting at the outdoor Terrace Kiosk where they serve light meals and wood fired pizzas to keep everyone going after all that excitement.
The best way to appreciate the rainforest is to walk both above it and right through it. The Rainforest Skywalk opened in 2009 and provides a great view of Cedar Creek and the surrounding forest. It has clear sign posts along the 40 minute circuit walk explaining about the evolution of the forest and about individual indigenous trees. The highlight for us was the 30 meter high cantilever bridge which actually hangs out over the tree tops and you really do get a bird's eye view of the valley from there. You can sit quietly among the treetops for lunch at the end of your walk in the Bird Wing Cafe and most young kids will love the fish tank and butterfly collection at the start of the walk.
Mt Tamborine has a lot to keep the kids entertained, and it is only about an hour's easy drive from Brisbane. There are plenty of gentle bushwalks and lookouts with stunning views over the Gold Coast and Pacific Ocean. Take a picnic or stay in a mountain cabin overnight, because I reckon this is a hinterland hideaway that the kids will enjoy too.