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Tamborine Mountain, QLD

A region comprising three towns and many small sections of a national park overlooking the Gold Coast

Perched on the edge of the escarpment behind the city of the Gold Coast, Tamborine Mountain is a rare geological formation - a mountain created by outpouring of lava from Mount Warning. It is also a collective term for the small villages - Mount Tamborine, North Tamborine and Eagle Heights - which stretch along the 8 km ridge of the mountain range.
The attractions of the district are the dramatic views which exist on both sides of the ranges (particularly the views across to the Gold Coast); the number of small national parks characterised by rainforest areas with quiet streams and attractive waterfalls which provide excellent bushwalks; and the many craft and antique shops, galleries, wineries, tea rooms and restaurants which have made the area popular with tourists. The rich, red volcanic soils have seen wineries emerge as well as the successful growing of kiwi fruit, avocadoes, rhubarb and macadamia nuts. The area experiences a rainfall of 1550 mm per annum. During the summer months the cooler mountain air is a magnet for people from the coast.


Mount Tamborine is located 82 km from Brisbane via the Pacific Motorway and the Beaudesert-Nerang Road.


Origin of Name

It is claimed that the name is taken from "tamborine" which was the Yugambeh word for the area. It was sometimes spelt as "tchambreem" and "jambreen".


Things to See and Do

The View
One of the main reasons for visiting Tamborine Mountain is to marvel at the remarkable and unique views of the Gold Coast. Perched some 500 metres above the hinterland, and with only low rolling hills below, it has superb views of the vast, high rise buildings of Surfers Paradise and Southport which look like the jagged teeth of a saw as they sit just below the horizon on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. This is one of those rare views. It places the high rise development of the Gold Coast in a larger context and, as such, is unforgettable. Whether you admire or are horrified by the development depends on your personal perspective.

Gallery Walk at Eagle Heights
At Eagle Heights there is a section of the Long Road known simply as "Gallery Walk". Its commercialism is a comment on the tourism of Mount Tamborine. A row of shops offer homemade crafts, soaps, organic produce, fudge, Australian bushcraft, natural produce, clothing shops and galleries. Visitors can enjoy everything from boutique coffee to Devonshire tea, cakes, snacks and elegant dining in the bars, restaurants and cafes which line the street.

Tamborine National Park
Tamborine National Park, which has been expanding since Witches Falls was declared parkland in 1908, covers 1160 ha on Tamborine Plateau and around its foothills. The plateau is 8 km long, 5 km wide, rises to an altitude of 525 metres and was formed some 23 million years ago. The remnants of its volcanic activity include basalt columns, cliffs and rocky outcrops. The area has 14 separate reserves. There are a number of beautiful picnic areas as well as scenic drives and many bushwalks to lookouts, gorges, cliffs, waterfalls and through rainforest areas, wet eucalypt forest, open forest and woodlands.
Wildlife in the park includes the rare Albert's lyrebird, Australian brush turkeys, lorikeets, whip birds, pademelons, the wonderfully named noisy pitta and bower birds. The main areas to visit in the park are Joalah, Cedar Creek, The Knoll, MacDonald Park, Palm Grove and Witches Falls. All have picnic facilities and walking tracks. Most have toilets and barbecues.
There is a useful, downloadable map of the seven separate sections which make up the Tamborine National Park. It can be downloaded at http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/tamborine/pdf/tamborine-locality-map.pdf.

Walking Tracks in Tamborine National Park
There is a useful set of six simple maps of the main walks in the National Park which can be downloaded at http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/tamborine/pdf/tamborine-locality-map.pdf. For specific descriptions of the walks check out http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/tamborine/about.html#features.

MacDonald Section
Located at Wongawallan Road, Eagle Heights, adjacent the Tamborine Mountain Botanic Gardens and the Heritage Centre, the MacDonald Park section was named after Jessie MacDonald who donated the area in 1933. It has a rainforest circuit (1.4 km return) characterised by strangler figs and groves of piccabeen palms. It has picnic tables but no barbecue facilities.

Witches Falls Section
Located on the Main Western Road, the Witches Falls section became Queensland's first national park in 1908. The main walk is the Witches Falls Circuit (3.1 km return, around 1 hour) which zigzags down a steep slope through open forest into rainforest with cycad groves, seasonal lagoons, enormous strangler figs and palm groves, en route to the falls. There is a section - the Witches Chase Track - which branches off and leads to the lookout over the falls. The falls only flow after recent rain. The picnic area includes barbecues.

Cedar Creek Section
Located via Cedar Creek Falls Road are the Cedar Creek tracks (one is 500 m return, the other 900 m return) which take visitors to the lookout and the rock pools below the falls and allow for the exploration of the creek's cascades, rock pools and plant communities including open and dry rainforest and hoop pines. The falls tumble into a gully. There is a good picnic area with barbecue facilities.

Palm Grove Section
The Palm Grove section of the park is accessed via Palm Grove Avenue. The Palm Grove Circuit (2.6 km - takes about an hour) passes through a subtropical rainforest of strangler figs and palm groves. There are picnic facilities. Also departing from Palm Grove, and incorporating the Palm Grove Circuit, is the longer (4.5 km, 90 minutes) Jenyns Circuit which passes hoop pines and ancient cycads.

The Knoll Section
The Knoll section of the park is located to the north-west of North Tamborine and can be accessed from Knoll Road. It contains the Sandy Creek Circuit (2.6 km) which offers fine views over southern Brisbane; a lookout above the Cameron Falls; lush rainforest, open forest and the occasional black skink sunbathing on the rocks. There is a picnic area with gas barbecues at the car park.

Joalah Section
To the north of Witches Falls and Palm Grove is the Joalah section of the park which includes the 1.1 km Curtis Falls Walk (30 minutes return). It descends through a wet eucalypt forest to a rock pool at the base of the falls, offering fine views of the basalt rock face. Brush turkeys can be seen along the Lower Creek Circuit (2 km), which links up with the Curtis Falls Walk. Access is off Eagle Heights Road and Dapsang Drive. There are no picnic facilities.

Tamborine Mountain Heritage Centre
Located at 53 Wongawallan Road, Eagle Heights, the Tamborine Mountain Heritage Centre is an historic park consisting of heritage buildings from the local area which provide an insight into the life of the early settlers. The historic village includes a blacksmith shop, an historic slab cottage with antique fittings and furnishings, a 1930s general store with post office and barber's shop, and a quarter-scale model of an outdoor water wheel. There is also one of the first churches to be erected on the mountain. Called the Pioneer Hall it contains dioramas of the mountain's history as well as extensive displays of fashions from the early 1900s. The Centre is open on Sundays from 11.00 am to 3.00 pm. Check out http://www.tmhistory.com.au for more details and entry fees.

Located above the rainforest near Cedar Creek, is a 1.5 km sky walk above the Tamborine Mountain forests. It was opened in 2009. As the detailed website explains: "The entire walk totals 1.5 kms and is a combination of forest floor trails, 300 metres of high-tech steel bridges through the highest points of the upper canopy, and a 40 metre cantilever bridge that soars a breathtaking 30 metres above the creek and rainforest below." Check out http://rainforestskywalk.com.au which includes a 30 second video of the experience. It is located at 333 Geissmann Drive, North Tamborine.

Thunderbird Park
Thunderbird Park is a 112 ha tourist destination offering a range of activities in a scenic natural setting. Its website describes the range of activities: "Fossick for gemstone-filled thunder eggs formed when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Find treasure and meet Rockodile, Thunderbird Park’s rock expert. Take excitement to the top on our high ropes course Tree Top Challenge, Australia’s longest and highest adventure ropes course. Climb cable ladders, balance on rope bridges, catch a flying fox, crawl through tunnels, manoeuvre on suspended trunks or jump from great heights. Go horse trail riding, bush walking or play laser skirmish in an outstanding rainforest battlefield, themed with an authentic Kokoda village." Put simply it offers accommodation (caravans, camping and bunkhouse options), food and adventure activities including such mild activities as bushwalking and feeding the local birds. It is an unusual example of a destination which caters from day trippers and longer term visitors. Check out http://www.thunderbirdpark.com/thunderbird-park for prices

Tamborine Mountain Botanic Gardens
Located on Forsythia Drive off Long Road at Eagle Heights, the 11 ha Gardens, established in 1983 by the Tamborine Mountain Garden Club, are open during daylight hours and there is no entry fee. Special collections include azaleas, begonias, bromeliads, camellias, coleus, hydrangeas and wisterias. There is also a Japanese Garden, a Cherry Tree Walk and a Rainforest Walk. Check out http://tmbotanicgardens.org.au/ for additional information and a very useful map of the gardens. Not surprisingly, the gardens are particularly beautiful in spring.



* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was occupied by Bundjalung Aboriginal people. The local inhabitants were a subgroup known as the Wangerriburras.

* The first Europeans in the area were timber cutters looking for cedar and other rich timbers.

* A sawmill was built at Cedar Creek in the 1860s.

* A school was opened at Cedar Creek in 1874.

* In 1878 a settlement developed at Mount Tamborine. This was a result of the area being opened for selection. Only two families moved in.

* A waterwheel was built in Cedar Creek in 1888. It powered the sawmill owned by the Curtis Brothers.

* In 1908 Witches Falls was declared parkland. It was Queensland's first national park.

* The first general store was opened at North Tamborine in 1923.

* A road for tourists was opened in 1924.


Visitor Information

Tamborine Mountain Visitor Information Centre, Doughty Park, North Tamborine, at the intersection of Main Western Road and Geissman Drive, tel: (07) 5545 3200.


Useful Websites

The local council has a useful website - http://www.scenicrim.qld.gov.au/regioninfo/tamborinemtn.shtml - and the National Parks website http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/tamborine/about.html has a number of useful, downloadable maps of the area.

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