The Gold Coast is full of exciting and adventurous possibilities, filled with every activity, experience and landscape you can imagine - everything except snow, which is only a wish for a tropical city. The Gold Coast is a fortunate location in Australia, luckily built upon travellers' dreams, and home to anything a human might want to experience in their lifetime. It's safe to say, the Gold Coast is a hotspot for dreams to come true.
In fact, other than the roads, there's nothing that ISNT amazing - from panoramic lookouts in all corners of the city, community parklands, exciting theme-parks and towers, beautiful mountain terrains with crisp air and crystal waterfalls, forest goat tracks, and of course, the most popular of all, the beaches, with that white silk of sand, that squeaks when you run your feet through the dunes.
It's all so perfect
But there's a lot of beauty that isn't advertised in Travel magazines, and those wonderful little packages you get at the airport - there's a lot that you don't see of a town, if it's a place that is new to our eyes. Rather than visit the theme-parks like every other tourist, or swimming on the beach with 10,000 other beach-goers, why not try opening these secret doors to your next traveller experience?
1. Elabana Falls
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Elabana Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the area of the Gold Coast, and is worth the 4 hour walk through gorgeous rainforest terrain to get there - which is downhill the whole way (leaving an uphill trek on the way back, which again, is a million times worth it) I do recommend bringing lunch and a few friends whose company is joyful, because the walk will be a long one. The falls are located in Lamington National Park, which can be found on Google Maps; but, by following directions to O'Reilly's, using this map and asking around the area, the locations isn't hard to find.
WARNING: After rainy season, the water can be home to leeches - euck!
2. Natural Bridge
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Natural Bridge is just one of those freaks of nature - a beautiful and rare natural rock-and-water formation, built in the amazing Springbrook area. The bridge is roughly an hour drive from the Gold Coast, into the mountain, and directions can be found here. The walk is not as long as the one to Elabana Falls, blessed with steps and railings so you can take the younger kids with you (and if you've got a small child, it is suggested that you ditch the pram, and carry them, as the steps will make the hike difficult.
The path winds through the rainforest, and through to the open cave with a waterfall pouring in. Be sure to return at sunset, to be treated to an absolute great sight of glow worms. Beware of the tour groups flooding in about 7-10pm - the best view is just after sunset.
From January to March, in the small town of Allora (an hour from the Gold Coast) you can be subject to the gorgeous sight of a gigantic field of large sunflowers. The whole route takes you through some of the best parts of South Queensland, and is a 50km round-trip - the map can be found here.
Be sure to pack snacks and drinks for the trip from the Gold Coast, as restaurant options are minimal. However, once you've reached the field, it's a sight that you won't be able to stop taking photos of! Bring the kids, bring a date, or bring some close friends and take advantage of the picturesque opportunity for a photograph session. It's a perfect location for a breezy, clean-aired trip.
4. Minyon Falls
Source: Poyt448 - Peter Woodard / Wikimedia Commons
Yet another beautiful, only this time plunging, waterfall just inside the state of North NSW. The hour and a half drive from the Gold Coast is a long one, but totally worth it (and with a little companionship, can also be fun). Please note that it requires a one hour trek from the car park, and area called "Minyon Grass."
The majority of the walk is fairly easy, but the last 200 meters requires climbing over some large rocks which be difficult for some - watch for red arrows showing the way over them. Being able to view the plunging waterfalls, and creek pond beneath them, is an experience not to be forgotten. The hour drive, and the hour long walk can be made fun by taking note of the beautiful surrounds, rainforest trees and wildlife. Bring alone a picnic basket, and good company, as it's an adventure you wouldn't want to keep to yourself.
I will admit that yes, Tallebudgera Creek is not exactly hidden, but is most definitely beautiful. One of the most pretty places in the Gold Coast, and yes - one of the best [B]fishing spots[B].
Tallebudgera is an aboriginal name meaning "good fish" - and will only live up to that name. The creek is known is known for its beautiful, white sand and its sparkling turquoise water. This is the focal point for any visit to Tallebudgera where the lifestyle is all about camping, swimming, picnicking, and kayaking - the air is clean and the water is amazing.
I recommend bringing the children down for some crystal sandcastle-building, and a gorgeous, sunny swim. Bring a picnic, and even the dog as some exploring may lead to the discovering of an off-leash area. Will definitely recommend for all families visiting the Gold Coast.
As you can see, a lot of these locations do require some trekking, and a while of driving, but for the price of an amazing adventure and unforgettable traveling experience? It's nothing. These family friendly locations are perfect for building your mind-map of travelling treasures.