Best things to do in the Gold Coast Hinterland

Are you planning a trip to the Gold Coast Hinterland? This article covers the best things to do in the Gold Coast Hinterland, including tourist attractions, activities and places to visit.

The Queensland Travel Guide acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which the Gold Coast is situated, the people of the Yugambeh language. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continued spiritual and cultural connections to Country. Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.

There are many things to do in the Gold Coast Hinterland, particularly if you love the great outdoors. From hiking and wildlife spotting to wine tasting, enjoying gourmet foods and exploring quaint shops, you will find plenty to keep you occupied.

One of the best things to do the Gold Coast Hinterland offers is to explore its beautiful rainforests. The parks have various walking trails, from short boardwalk strolls to challenging day hikes, where you’ll see a wide range of flora and fauna, cascading waterfalls, and wildlife.

Other Gold Coast Hinterland things to do include visiting local wineries and galleries, tasting local produce, walking above the rainforest canopy, and even visiting the glow worm caves where visitors can see the bioluminescent insects.

You’ll also find a wide range of options when it comes to accommodation. Gold Coast Hinterland is an ideal couple’s getaway destination, but it’s equally great for families or friends looking to get away from distractions to enjoy the great outdoors. 

There are Gold Coast Hinterland resorts that have friendly bed and breakfasts and cosy cabins with log fires (perfect for winter romantic getaways!) Gold Coast Hinterland is a destination to enjoy at any time of the year. 

If you’re considering which Gold Coast Hinterland activities to do, this guide is the perfect place to start. In it, we cover a broad range of activities, including the best places to see in the Gold Coast Hinterland and the places to visit. Gold Coast Hinterland has some incredible attractions, and this guide covers all the essential information, such as locations, opening hours and ticket prices.

So, let’s get into it and help you discover the best things to do in the Gold Coast Hinterland.

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Before we get started on all the tourist attractions Gold Coast Hinterland offers, check out the map below to help plan your itinerary. This map shows the location of all the things to do around the Gold Coast Hinterland that are covered in this guide.

I recommend you first make a list of all your must-do Gold Coast Hinterland activities and then use this map to plan your day-to-day itinerary so you won’t have to travel back and forth all over town.

Below, we cover the top places and activities Gold Coast Hinterland offers visitors.

1 Go for a rainforest hike

While visiting the Gold Coast Hinterland, the National Parks are among the best places to see! Gold Coast Hinterland National Parks have fabulous tracks to explore with waterfalls, water holes, wildlife and incredible views.  

National Parks include Tamborine Mountain, Lamington National Park and Springbrook National Park (more on these parks below) and some of the more popular hikes are the short walk to Cedar Creek Falls, Natural Bridge, Twin Falls Circuit,  Morans Falls and Picnic Rock and Elabana Falls.

Whether you’re looking for an accessible boardwalk to explore, a tumbling waterfall or an off-the-beaten-track hiking trail deep in the forest, there are hikes to suit all abilities and ages in the Gold Coast Hinterland. 

2 Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk

Image credit thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland

The Tamborine Mountain Skywalk is among the best Gold Coast Hinterland tourist attractions. Set in 30 acres of pristine, sub-tropical rainforest, it offers a unique perspective of the lush environment by taking you into the rainforest canopy.

Visitors will enjoy strolling along the easy and accessible 1.5 km walkway along the rainforest floor and the 300 metres of high-tech steel bridges elevated amongst the trees.

The highlight of the Skywalk is the 40-metre cantilever bridge, which towers 30 metres above the creek and rainforest below. Being so high up in the treetops surrounded by wildlife is a magical experience. 

In addition to the Skywalk, the attraction features an Eco Gallery, which displays information about the rich flora and fauna of the local Australian rainforest and includes some information about the area’s indigenous history. 

Location: 333 Geissmann Dr, Tamborine Mountain
Hours: Daily from 9.30 am to 5 pm (last entry 4 pm)
Cost: $19.50 Adults | $9.50 Kids | $44 Family (2A+1C) | $49 Family (2A+2C) 

3 Gold Coast Hinterland Markets

Hinterland markets are filled with local produce, and some specialise in handmade goods, so it’s a great opportunity to pick up souvenirs, food for a picnic or goodies to enjoy in your holiday house! Gold Coast Hinterland markets take place across the region, and there are plenty to choose from.  

Here are the details of some of the more popular hinterland markets.

Tamborine Mountain Country Markets: 

Offers a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, local products like cheese, plants, flowers, and coffee, along with plenty of food vendors to fill your belly. There’s also entertainment for the kids, like a jumping castle and pony and car rides.

386 – 398 Main Western Road, Tamborine Mountain | Second Sunday of the month from 7.30 am to 1.30 pm

Tamborine Mountain State School Markets

These village markets are local flea markets with various fresh produce and bargains. 

Cnr Curtis and Long Roads, Tamborine Mountain | Last Sunday of the month from 7 am to 1 pm

Local Producers’ Market

This market specialises in fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, plants, honey, and other local produce.

In the ‘Green Shed’ at Tamborine Mountain Showgrounds | Every Sunday from 7 am to 12 noon

Makers’ Market on the Mountain

This small market focuses on handmade goods and supports local artists in the region.

6 – 8 Knoll Rd, Tamborine Mountain | First Sunday of the month from 8 am to 1 pm

Boonah Country Markets

Find handmade goods, buy food directly from the producers and enjoy yummy treats as you shop. 

Springleigh Park, Boonah | Second and fourth Saturday every month from 7 am until 12 noon

Canungra Village Markets

This community-based market includes food and music as well as handmade goods and car boot sale stalls. 

Moriarty Park, Monarch Drive | Second Sunday of the month from 8 am to 1 pm

Beechmont Markets

These country markets offer fantastic views as well as local produce and homemade goods.

1835 Beechmont Road, Beechmont | Third Sunday of the month from 8 am to 1 pm

4 Visit a winery or distillery

Image credit thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland

If you love a glass of wine, one of the best things to do in the Gold Coast Hinterland is to visit a winery (or two or three…)

The region is home to award-winning boutique wineries and breweries so you won’t be short on options. It’s a great opportunity for couples looking for a fun day out – wine tasting together is one of the most romantic things to do in the Gold Coast Hinterland!

There are a range of tours that incorporate wine tasting. This is a great idea, so you don’t need to nominate a designated driver. Check out what’s available here. 

Here are a few of the top wineries to consider visiting:

Hampton Estate Wines: 52 Bartle Rd, Tamborine Mountain – Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm for wine tasting – bookings essential | Restaurant open for lunch Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 2.30 pm

Mt Tamborine Vineyard and Winery: 128 Long Rd, Tamborine Mountain – Open daily from 9 am to 4 pm | Restaurant on site

Cedar Creek Estate: 104 Hartley Rd, Tamborine Mountain – Wine centre open daily from Monday to Friday, 10 am to 3 pm and til 4 pm on weekends

Castle Glen Winery Brewery & Distillery: 138 Long Road, Tamborine Mountain – Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm

Fortitude Beer Brewing Company: 165 Long Rd, Tamborine Mountain – Open from 11 am to 3 pm Monday to Thursday and 11 am to 5 pm Friday to Sunday

Tamborine Mountain Distillery: 10 Macdonnell Rd, Tamborine Mountain – Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm

Witches Falls: 79 Main Western Rd, Tamborine Mountain – Open Sunday to Friday from 10 am to 5 pm |  Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm

Canungra Valley Vineyard: 852 Lamington National Park Rd, Canungra – Open daily from 10 am to 4 pm 

Sarabah Estate Vineyard: 46 Rymera Rd, Sarabah – Open Friday from 10 am to 5 pm | Saturday from 10 am to 8 pm | Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm

5 See glow worms

You can see glowworms in the Gold Coast Hinterland at not just one location but also various places.  The three main options are Mount Tamborine Glow Worm Caves (artificial and a great choice if you travel with kids), O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and Springbrook National Park.

Visiting the Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves at the Cedar Creek Estate is a great attraction for all ages. Unlike most glow worm tours, which take you into the rainforest late at night (which can be challenging with little ones!), this attraction is fully accessible and can be visited at any time of the day. 

Location of Mount Tamborine Glow Worm Caves: Cedar Creek Estate, Cnr Long and Hartley Road, 104 – 144 Hartley Road, North Tamborine
Hours: Daily 10 am to 4 pm
Cost: $19 Adults | $14 Child | Under 4 and under free

The two main places to see glow worms in their natural environment in the Gold Coast Hinterland are in the two national parks. 

To see the glow worms at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, you can book an evening glow worm tour directly with O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat if you stay at the resort. They will walk you into the forest at night by torchlight to see the incredible glow worms on display. 

Springbrook National Park offers another option to go deep into the Gondwana rainforest at night to see these creatures lighting up an ancient cave.

Click here for more information.

Image credit thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland

One of the best things to do in the Hinterland is to browse the charming shops and the best place to do this is on Gallery Walk at Tamborine Mountain.

There are around 70 stores housed in cute little cottages along one stretch of road—it’s a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, no matter the weather. The shops sell various local products, crafts, jewellery, clothes, wine, liqueurs, and specialty goods.

Immerse yourself in village life and take home a unique, one-of-a-kind treasure. Stop for a cake or meal at one of the cafes. Potter around and let the afternoon slip by. There are so many fascinating shops you’ll want to allow plenty of time to explore, as Gallery Walk is one of the best things to do in the Gold Coast Hinterland! 

Location: Long Road, Tamborine Mountain 

Hours: Shop opening hours vary 

Cost: Free (although we can’t promise you won’t buy lots of things!)

7 O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat

A great place to stay while visiting Lamington National Park is O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat – but you can also stop in for a day visit. The century-old ecotourism retreat has really made its mark in the area and for good reason. 

O’Reilly’s is home to some excellent guided wildlife walks that are perfect for nature lovers. The retreat also provides segway, bike, glow worm tours, and more.

The popular Tree Top Walk is a great way to enjoy the region’s rainforest views while getting a little adrenaline rush from 16-30 metres above the ground. As you meander around the walkway and nine suspension bridges, you’ll get a brilliant bird’ s-eye view of the forest.

If you don’t want to drive up the winding road to O’Reilly’s, you can visit O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat as part of a day tour. Click here to find out what’s available.

If you have time, it’s worth staying at the resort, though. O’Reilly’s is perfect for romantic getaways! Gold Coast Hinterland stays for couples don’t come much more idyllic than this, with the infinity pool, the incredible day spa, and the option of your own private hot tub on the deck of your villa. Click here to book.

O’Reilly’s is also a great place for families looking to reconnect or groups of friends looking to get away from it all. It really is a stay that suits everyone. 

Location: Lamington National Park Road, Canungra

Hours: Open for day visitors as well as guests, view tours and experiences on their website
Cost: A range of free and paid activities are available

8 Spa day

As mentioned above, a fabulous place for a spa day is O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, where you can look out across the infinity pool and enjoy breathtaking views as you enjoy your spa treatments. 

It’s not the only day spa option in the Gold Coast Hinterland though! On Eagle Wings Mountain Retreat and Spa offers day packages, as do Getaway Day Spa and Escarpment Retreat. Many resorts also offer spa treatments and massages, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities for pampering during your Gold Coast Hinterland stay. 

9 Tamborine Mountains Botanic Gardens

Experience the beauty of Tamborine Mountain Botanic Gardens, one of the best things to do in the Gold Coast Hinterland.

The glorious Botanic Gardens are a great place to spend a few hours amongst the trees, plants, and walking tracks. You can explore the distinct sections, such as the Japanese, Azalea, Camellia, and Rose gardens, or just sit back on a blanket and relax while watching the world go by.

The tranquil lake is the perfect spot for a picnic, and the pretty bridge over the water is the ideal place to play Pooh sticks. 

Location: 25 Forsythia Drive, Tamborine Mountain

Hours: Daily from dawn until dusk

Cost: Free, but donations accepted 

10 Thunderbird Park

Thunderbird Park is a beautiful nature reserve, rich with wildlife and offers a wide range of fun activities for visitors of all ages. It’s definitely a great addition to your Gold Coast Hinterland itinerary if you’re travelling with kids.

One of the top attractions at Thunderbird Park is the TreeTop Challenge. This thrilling adventure course takes you on a high-flying journey through the treetops, with ziplines, suspended bridges, and other challenging obstacles to conquer. The course is suitable for all levels of fitness and experience, and it’s a great way to get your adrenaline pumping while taking in the stunning views.

Thunderbird Park also offers a range of bushwalking trails. These scenic paths wind through the park’s lush rainforest, with plenty of opportunities to spot native wildlife and enjoy the stunning scenery. For a more guided experience, you can also join a guided tour with one of the park’s knowledgeable staff members.

Another popular attraction at Thunderbird Park is the rock pools. These beautiful natural pools are perfect for swimming and relaxing, and they’re a great way to cool off on a hot day. 

The park also offers a range of other activities, including mini golf, horse riding, fossicking, laser skirmish and more, making it the perfect destination for a fun-filled day out with family or friends. 

You can also stay at the park, so it’s ideal if you’re looking for a weekend of outdoor activities.  Read our guide on glamping at Thunderbird Park here or find out about other accommodation options here

Location: Thunderbird Park, Corner Tamborine Mountain Rd & Cedar Creek Falls Rd, Tamborine Mountain

Hours: Open daily, although times vary depending on activity

Cost: Prices vary depending on the activity

11 Enjoy a picnic

Image credit thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland

You won’t be short of places to enjoy a picnic in the Gold Coast Hinterland, as there are endless options. 

Here are some of our favourite picnic spots in the Gold Coast Hinterland 

  • Cedar Creek Falls – Cedar Creek Falls Road, Tamborine: With wide open grassy spaces and amenities like BBQs and toilets, this park at the start of the walking track is ideal for picnics. 
  • The Knoll – Knoll Road, Tamborine: This beautiful picnic spot at the start of the Sandy Creek circuit boasts scenic views and amenities like BBQs and toilets. 
  • Purling Brook Falls – Forestry Rd, Springbrook: Enjoy the substantial picnic facilities before taking the track through the World Heritage-listed Gondwana rainforest to the spectacular waterfalls.  
  • Canyon Lookout – Springbrook: This picnic spot offers views of the beautiful Rainbow Falls and gives you access to a range of walking trails (including the Twin Falls circuit).
  • Canungra Valley Vineyard – 852 Lamington National Park Rd, Canungra: Book a gourmet picnic basket and sit beside the creek in a serene setting. 
  • Binna Burra – Binna Burra Rd, Lamington: Surround yourself with wildlife and nature at this picnic spot (choose between the upper or lower day-use area), then head into the park to explore the various pathways. 

Hours: Always open

Cost: Free (not counting the cost of all the delicious local produce you will want to take with you!)   

12 Enjoy gourmet food tasting

Image credit thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland

There are some amazing food producers in the Gold Coast Hinterland, so you won’t go hungry during your stay. Tasting the locally made food will be a real highlight of your time in the Gold Coast Hinterland.

Here are a few of the food producers worth visiting:  

Witches Chase Cheese Company: 165 – 185 Long Road, North Tamborine | Open daily; times vary 

Mount Tamborine Coffee Plantation: 64 Alpine Terrace, Tamborine Mountain |Restaurant open Friday to Sunday for afternoon drinks and tapas or pizzas until 7 pm | Thursday to Monday for breakfast and lunch | Plantation Tours run Thursdays and Saturdays at noon | Plantation Tours $10 per person 

Granny Macs: 139 Long Rd, Gallery Walk |Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

Fudge Heaven: 130 Long Rd, Eagle Heights | Weekdays from 10 am to 4 pm, Weekends from 9 am to 5 pm

13 Hang gliding or paragliding

If you’ve watched the hang gliders launching into the air and soaring in the blue sky of the stunning Tamborine landscape, you might want to try a tandem hang glide or tandem paraglide yourself!

To explain the difference, while both options are motor-free, hang gliders are more streamlined and are capable of faster speeds with their triangular kite and A-frame. You fly them in a horizontal position. Paragliders have an ellipse-shaped wing (more like a parachute-style) and no frame, and you fly them in a seated position.

Several operators offer hang gliding and paragliding experiences, including Oz Paragliding and Hang Gliding.

14 Hot air balloon flight

Image credit thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland

What better place to take a sunrise balloon flight than over the Gold Coast Hinterland? You will never forget this experience as you drift over the lush, green landscape and see the coast from a new vantage point.

Click here to find out what is available. 

15 Forest horse ride

The Gold Coast Hinterland is a beautiful place to go for a trail ride in the forest. Gold Coast Equestrian Centre offers group and private trail rides that begin with a lesson in the arena before you explore the beautiful 50-acre property. 

A rail ride is a great way to enjoy the stunning landscape and make memories. 

16 Mountview Alpaca Farm

Image credit thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland

A visit to Mountview Alpaca Farm is one of the best things to do around the Gold Coast Hinterland for families. The farm is conveniently located at the Canungra Valley Vineyard, so it’s a great idea to combine the two activities.

During your visit, you can meet, walk, and feed the alpacas—over 80 of these fluffy animals are on site! You can also learn how the farm trains some of its alpacas to be therapy animals, ready to spread woolly joy around local hospitals and aged care facilities.

There are a few experiences to choose from, such as meet-and-greets, luxe boho picnics and wheelchair-friendly cuddles. 

Location: 852 Lamington National Park Rd, Canungra

Hours: Monday to Friday from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm | Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm
Cost: A 30-minute alpaca experience: $24.50 Adults | $12.50 Kids (5 – 15 years)

17 Currumbin Rock Pools

A little inland from Currumbin Beach, you’ll find Currumbin Rock Pools. This is the perfect place to visit if you don’t want to head too far into the Hinterland but still want to experience a bit of the green behind the gold. 

The Currumbin Rock Pools follow the creek into the Currumbin Valley, where you find a beautiful swimming hole. Enjoy a picnic on the banks, paddle or jump on a swing rope; whatever you decide, you’ll enjoy a great day out. 

Location: Currumbin Creek Rd, Currumbin Valley
Hours: Always open

Cost: Free

18 Gold Coast War Museum

If you are interested in military history, the Gold Coast War Museum should be on your itinerary as it offers plenty of educational opportunities. It also houses The Collector’s Armoury (where you can buy replica military memorabilia) and Skirmish Gold Coast (if your family fancies a bit of paintballing action!). 

Location: 42 John Rogers Rd, Mudgeeraba
Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm
Cost: $10 Adults | $5 Kids (4 to 13 years) 

19 Visit a lookout

A trip to the Gold Coast Hinterland is incomplete without visiting at least one lookout because the views are out of this world.

Here are some of our favourite Gold Coast Hinterland lookouts: 

  • Hang Glider Launch and Lookout – 294-298 Main Western Rd, Tamborine Mountain: 
  • Knoll Park Lookout – Knoll Road, Tamborine Mountain: Enjoy breathtaking views of Flinders Peak and Brisbane – the perfect spot to cook an evening BBQ!
  • Best of All Lookouts – Springbrook National Park: Look out from the edge of the escarpment to enjoy spectacular views that reach as far as northern New South Wales. 
  • Canyon Lookout – Springbrook National Park: View the lush rainforest with the glistening Gold Coast high rises in the distance. 
  • Kamarun Lookout – LOT 496 Kamarun Lookout Rd, O’Reilly: Stop off on your way up to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat to enjoy the stunning 200-degree views of the hills and valleys. 

Location: Various

Hours: Most lookout points are always open

Cost: Free 

20 Binna Burra Tea House

Image credit thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland

If you’re looking for memorable things to do in the Gold Coast Hinterland, don’t miss a tasty meal at the Binna Burra Tea House. 

The tea house opens for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they have a wonderful menu packed with local produce and goodies. It’s known for its convenient shop and fabulous views across the Numinbah Valley, which you can enjoy during your meal.

The tea house is right across from Lamington National Park, and you can book a variety of guided walks from the tea house. Alternatively, stay overnight at one of the charming Binna Burra Lodges.

If you want to do something really special, book a two or 3-course dinner in the Binna Burra Conservatory. You can enjoy mountain views and a gorgeous hinterland sunset from the large windows. 

Location: 1069 Binna Burra Rd, Gold Coast

Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 7:30 am to 7:30 pm | Friday and Saturday, 7:30 am to 8:30 pm

Cost: Cafe open for breakfast, lunch and dinner | Cook your own meal at one of the BBQ points on the campsite – $60 for BBQ breakfast pack for two to $60 | Deluxe BBQ pack for two $60 

21 Tamborine National Park

Take a scenic escape to Tamborine National Park, where you can immerse yourself in the subtropical rainforest, visit scenic waterfalls, explore ancient woodlands, and discover an abundance of flora and fauna. 

This green oasis is a great base for your Gold Coast Hinterland stay, as there is so much to see and do in the area, with lots of outdoor attractions to keep you entertained. You can read our in-depth Tamborine Mountain travel guide here.

Tamborine National Park is about much more than hiking opportunities – foodies, adventure seekers, art enthusiasts and wildlife lovers will all love the experiences available here. 

A range of operators offer tours to Tamborine National Park. Click here to see what’s available.

22 Springbrook National Park

If you love spectacular waterfalls, exciting hiking trails, lush rainforest views, and you enjoy wildlife spotting – then a visit to Springbrook National Park is a must. 

Springbrook is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, one of Queensland’s five World Heritage sites. It boasts ancient vegetation that dates back over 100 million years!

Visit the Natural Bridge rock formation and see the beautiful waterfall. If you visit at night, you’ll discover glowworms in their natural habitat (a very different experience from the artificial glowworm caves).

A range of operators offer tours to Springbrook National Park, including the glow worms – most of which pick up from Brisbane or the Gold Coast. Click here to see what’s available.

23 Lamington National Park

Covering 26 square kilometres of wild subtropical rainforest, exploring the World Heritage Lamington National Park is a must while visiting the Gold Coast hinterland.

The views across the Scenic Rim will blow you away, but venturing into the rainforest is seriously unforgettable. There is an extensive range of walking tracks through the bush – 320 km worth of trails, suitable for many fitness levels. Various paths weave past magical rockpools, lookouts and waterfalls. 

With incredible biodiversity, it’s a must-visit for wildlife enthusiasts. Look out for over 160 species of birdlife and a wide variety of reptiles, frogs, invertebrates, and mammals. 

Outside the park are some excellent wineries and restaurants to wind down – perfect for a relaxing weekend away from Brisbane or further afield.

You can even visit Lamington National Park as part of a day tour. Click here to find out what’s available. 

Location: Lamington National Park Road, Canungra

Hours: Always open
Cost: Free

24 O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyard

Image credit thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland

If you’re looking for the perfect setting for your next picnic, look no further than O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyard. 

The historic, onsite, 165-year-old homestead will even provide the picnic basket, pizza, or cheese board of your choice so you can tuck into a delicious lunch after enjoying a relaxing stroll through the pleasant vineyard grounds.

Aside from taking a picnic to enjoy the extensive grounds – we recommend taking your treats and sitting beside the banks of Canungra Creek while listening to local musicians – it goes without saying that a cellar door is a fabulous place for wine tastings, too.

A few hours at O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyard is the perfect way to spend time, whether on romantic dates, family affairs, or even with a group of friends.

Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for the local platypus in the creek while you’re there! 

Location: 852 Lamington National Park Rd, Canungra

Hours: 10 am to 4 pm daily
Cost: Picnic baskets are $80 for two adults (extra adults can be added for $40 per person, add kids for $15 per person) 

If you’re short on time or don’t have your own transport, or if you prefer to let somebody else drive the winding roads so you can enjoy the sights as you go, a group tour is often the best way to see the Gold Coast Hinterland highlights and the surrounding area.

Below, we’ve listed some of the best tours of the Gold Coast Hinterland.

Full-day Springbrook National Park Tour from the Gold Coast

Enjoy the full day exploring Springbrook National Park from your Gold Coast hotel. Take in the views of Mt Warning and the Numinbah Valley, and admire spectacular landmarks, including the Natural Bridge, Rainbow Falls and Goomoolahra Falls. 

You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the scenery from various lookouts along the way, and there will be plenty of flora and fauna to spot.

This is a great introduction to this stunning national park. 

Click here for information and to book your tour.

The best of Tamborine Mountain from the Gold Coast

Take a day tour to Tamborine Mountain from your Gold Coast hotel and you’ll be driven around all of the iconic sights. 

Embark on a rainforest walk to Curtis Falls, travel through Eucalyptus Forest, and explore the Tamborine Mountain Forest Skywalk, a network of forest floor trails, steel bridges and an amazing cantilevered bridge that soars 30 metres above the creek and rainforest below. 

It’s the perfect opportunity to explore the best of the Gold Coast Hinterland in a day. 

Click here for information and to book your tour.

O’Reilly’s and Lamington National Park from Gold Coast

If you want to make the best of the extraordinary Gold Coast Hinterland attractions but are low on time, then this combined tour from Surfers Paradise is a brilliant option.

You’ll start the day with a visit to Tamborine Mountain, where you’ll enjoy the beautiful Gallery Walk and panoramic lookouts. Next, you’ll take part in wine tasting at the picturesque O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards before enjoying the lush rainforest views from the Tree Top Walkway.

Your local guide will also give you a great insight into the history of Lamington National Park before you head back to the city. This will give you a great overview of the region. 

Click here for information and to book your tour.

While there is plenty to keep you occupied in Gold Coast Hinterland, if you’re keen, you can do some great day trips from the Gold Coast Hinterland. For most of these places, it’s recommended you stay at least a few days in each, but if you only have a day, then a day trip is possible.


Less than a 2-hour drive from the Gold Coast Hinterland, a day trip to Brisbane is possible for those wanting to visit the Queensland capital. Brisbane is laid back and vibrant, featuring everything from lush parklands and gardens to modern galleries and cosmopolitan waterfront dining. 

There are so many attractions to choose from in Brisbane. For culture seekers, there is the Queensland Museum, QAGOMA (The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art) and the National Maritime Museum. 

For wildlife lovers, there is Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. For lovers of gardens, there is Roma Street Parkland and the tranquil Southbank Parkland. There is the bridge climb, rock climbing and kayaking for thrill seekers. 

Lastly, you can’t beat a simple stroll along the river or a swim at the iconic Streets Beach. 

Click here for our full guide on things to do in Brisbane.

Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast is just north of Brisbane and has lots to offer all types of visitors in addition to gorgeous sunny beaches.

Kids will love the Australia Zoo with its world-famous wildlife warriors show that features birds swooping overhead, a crocodile feeding display and tons more. As well as all the incredible animal species to learn about, various play parks are dotted throughout the zoo, including a great water splash park for the kids to cool off whilst parents rest on the grass nearby. 

If you don’t feel like driving, you could book return transfers from Brisbane through a tour operator.

For adults and kids alike, the Sunshine Coast hinterland and Noosa are popular to explore, with a mix of quaint mountain villages, artsy markets and the world’s biggest ginger factory – you can’t say the Sunshine Coast isn’t unique! 

Queensland day tours can take you to all these on a small group tour.

Click here for our full guide on things to do on the Sunshine Coast.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay is a coastal town in New South Wales, about a 90-minute drive south of the Gold Coast. Known for its laid-back, bohemian atmosphere, Byron Bay is a popular tourist destination for those looking to relax and enjoy the area’s natural beauty and experience its vibrant arts and culture scene.

One of Byron Bay’s main attractions is its stunning beaches. The town is home to several, including Main Beach, Wategos Beach, and Clarkes Beach. These beaches are popular for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. 

The town has many walking trails, including the Cape Byron Walk, which offers panoramic coastline views and is a popular spot for whale watching (seasonal: July – October.)

In addition to its natural beauty, Byron Bay is known for its vibrant arts and culture scene. The town is home to several galleries, studios, and performance spaces, as well as several festivals and events throughout the year, like the Byron Bay Blues Festival (April) and Splendour in the Grass (July).

Byron Bay is a popular destination for foodies, with various dining options available, from casual cafes and restaurants serving local seafood and produce to fine-dining establishments offering gourmet dishes. The town is also home to many farmers’ markets and organic food stores, making it a great place to find locally-grown, fresh produce.

To explore Byron Bay, it’s best to drive yourself, but if you don’t have transport, you can join a tour like this one.

Looking for somewhere to stay in Gold Coast Hinterland? We recommend booking through They offer a wide range of room types and most have free cancellation, which is ideal for last-minute changes.

However, if you want our recommendation for a hotel, we’ve listed our top pick for a luxury hotel, family hotel, mid-range and budget hotel below.

Best Luxury Hotel: Pethers Rainforest Retreat

Pethers Rainforest Retreat is a luxurious adults-only resort that offers a secluded rainforest getaway. Set in five acres of private land, you’ll stay in one of ten large tree houses just a few minute’s drive from all of Tamborine’s attractions.

Accommodation is provided in tree houses with timber floors, a private spa big enough for two, a gas fire for those cooler hinterland winters, air conditioning, plush soft furnishings, an entertainment system, a dining area, a size bed and an incredible 5-metre windows with sliding doors out to the balcony where you can take in the sights and sounds of the forest.

The resort is sumptuous and private, and there is plenty of space to relax and unwind in this boutique setting. Snuggle by the fire, enjoy a spa bath, or sip a bottle of bubbles as you gaze out at the forest. To help you relax, you can book a massage in your treehouse or on your deck overlooking the rainforest. 

The on-site restaurant is open from 11 am to 4.30 pm on weekdays (and open for a three-course dinner on Saturday nights and other special events – pre-booking is essential). 

If you’re looking for an adults-only, romantic retreat in the rainforest, this is it!

Click here for more information or to book

Best Family Hotel: O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat

O’Reillys Rainforest Retreat offers fantastic accommodation within Lamington National Park that is simply perfect for families. Not only is it located near many attractions, but you can enjoy many fun activities onsite, including complimentary guided bird walks and the Tree Top Walk. 

Every retreat room has a fridge and coffee facilities. Villas are air-conditioned with a full kitchen, TV, and BBQ on the deck, which overlooks the mountains or rainforest. Some villas include hot tubs on the deck with a view too. 

Best of all, you’ll find all the facilities you need onsite. Enjoy the rainforest views while swimming in the infinity pool, unwind in the hot tub, watch the little ones play in the kids’ room, or read a book beside the fireplace in the library. 

The onsite restaurant, O’Reilly’s Dining Room, serves wholesome, hearty meals, and the Rainforest Bar is the perfect spot to sit back and watch over the mountain views with a glass of wine. 

All in all, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat is a truly unique accommodation that is sure to be memorable. You and your family will talk about your stay here for years to come. 

Click here for more information or to book

Best Mid Range Hotel: The Polish Place

The Polish Place is a unique, award-winning resort with incredible 180-degree views towards the Great Dividing Range. 

These cozy European-style chalets include a kitchen with laundry facilities, incredible cathedral ceilings, and a loft-style bedroom. The views from the private balconies must be seen to be believed. 

Rooms include air conditioning, flat-screen TVs, coffee machines, fireplaces, free Wi-Fi, double-sized rainfall showers, and breakfast baskets delivered daily.

Guests will love the on-site Polish restaurant, which serves delicious Polish cuisine along with beers and vodkas. You can also have meals delivered to your room. 

You will spot plenty of wildlife to spot from your deck, including flocks of friendly rainbow lorikeets. At the end of the day, the Polish Place is the ultimate place to enjoy a drink at sunset.

This is an iconic Tamborine Mountain attraction. It’s one of the best places to stay Mount Tamborine has to offer and a great (and unexpected!) place to enjoy an authentic Polish experience in the Gold Coast hinterland!   

Click here for more information or to book

Best budget hotel: Binna Burra Campsite 

Binna Burra Campsite is a fantastic budget-friendly accommodation just a few miles from many local cafes, Lamington National Park and O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk.

Permanent safari camping tents have comfortable beds and can sleep up to six people. They also have USB charging ports, inside lighting, an outdoor table with chairs, and suite-style tents, including a private terrace and fire pit. Linen is not provided but can be booked if you’d rather not bring your own. 

Other campground facilities include a shared bathroom, free parking, an outdoor area with a terrace, fire pits, coin-operated laundry, and a barbecue. Guests also have access to the bar and coffee shop. During the day, you can eat at the restaurant and ask for packed lunches while exploring the area. 

If you aren’t into sleeping under canvas, book a stunning Sky Lodge with excellent mountain views. These award-winning apartments come at a higher price but will feel worth it when you’re relaxing in front of your private gas fireplace and watching the sunset from your spa bath or private balcony. 

Click here for information or to book safari tents at the Rainforest Campsite Or Click here for information or to book the Sky Lodges

Hopefully, this guide has given you lots of inspiration on things to do in Gold Coast Hinterland.

If you’re planning a trip to Gold Coast Hinterland, I highly recommend you check out our Gold Coast guide, which provides links to everything you need to know to plan your trip.

I’d also recommend you join our free Queensland Travel Guide Facebook community, where you can ask all your questions and find even more great trip suggestions.

If you’re heading to Gold Coast Hinterland, you might also be interested in the following nearby destinations:

  • Gold Coast
  • Sunshine Coast Hinterland (coming soon)
  • Scenic Rim (coming soon)