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Gold Coast Hinterland
Beach, sand, shops and theme parks: These are words most people usually associate with the Gold Coast. However, if you explore a little further you will uncover an entirely different side to this hugely popular tourist destination.

Stray away from the coast (and the crowds) and you will enter a completely different world; a world of lush rainforests, incredible waterfalls, magical villages and unsurpassed scenic drives.

One of the most regarded areas of the Gold Coast hinterland is the beautiful Lamington National Park. The Green Mountains, O'Reilleys and Binna Burra are all stunning places to visit and boast fabulous walking tracks and stunning outlooks. Uncover a unique array of wildlife, including crimson rosellas, masked mountain frogs and the regent bowerbird while exploring the untouched rainforests and stunning natural attractions.

If nature and beauty is what you are after, Springbrook National Park will be right up your alley. Spend some time trekking along some of the great walking tracks here and marvel at the sheer size of Perling Brooks Falls and the stunning views from "Best-of-All" lookout.

The Natural Bridge is another undeniable highlight of the park, with its unusualness attracting visitors from far and wide. Naturally created over millions of years by water tumbling through the roof of a basalt cave, the Natural Bridge is a true sight to see and will inspire awe inside all of its visitors. After sunset, be sure to stick around to get a look at the amazing colony of glow-worms that call the cave here home. It is an experience not to be missed.

For those seeking a change of pace, a trip up to the beautiful Tamborine Mountain will be just what the doctor ordered. The charming little mountain village that resides up the top is bursting with culture and delicious treats, and an entire day could be spent browsing the many fascinating shops that can be found here.

Make a bee-line for the local distillery and sample some delicious liqueurs before heading over to the main street to dig into some fudge. Work off all that sugar with a walk through the beautiful botanic gardens or along one of the many walking tracks in the surrounding forests.

Continue your exploration of beautiful scenery with a drive to the Currumbin Valley. Scenic, green vistas stretch as far as the eye can see and a crystal clear river is ideal for swimming and fishing in. Spend an entire afternoon relaxing by the Currumbin Rockpool and extend it into the evening with a pleasant family BBQ.

Another great idea is to head to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary where you will find an impressive collection of unique birds and animals. Visitors can then challenge themselves on The Green Challenge high ropes adventure course, which boasts everything from giant flying foxes to a tarzan swing.

Beyond the beaches, the Gold Coast is an amazing place to visit. The hinterland is overflowing with incredible scenery and an endless array of natural attractions are just begging to be discovered.

Christine Barton

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