Mt Tamborine is one of the most thriving and popular destinations in the Gold Coast Hinterland. A mere day trip from Brisbane or a short trip from the hustle and bustle of Surfers Paradise, Mt Tamborine provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy some fresh air and beautiful scenery. To help you plan your trip to this lovely Queensland destination, we have put together a Mt Tamborine travel guide to help you out.
MT TAMBORINE TRAVEL GUIDE
Mt Tamborine (also referred to as Mount Tamborine, Tamborine Mountain or even Mt Tambo by the locals), is around 70kms from Queensland’s capital city Brisbane, and 30kms from the Gold Coast. Like the rest of Queensland, the temperatures are mild in the colder months, rarely dropping below 20 degrees Celsius during the day, and can get quite hot during Summer and spring.
Mt Tamborine is known for the picturesque scenery, European influences and fresh mountain air. The perfect spot for a little cultural adventure, with art galleries, wineries and local designers galore.
To get to Mt Tamborine, your best option is to arrive in either Brisbane or Coolangatta Airports, then utilise the bus services. There are also bus services connecting areas of Tamborine Mountain. There are no train services to Mt Tamborine due to the high position, therefore hiring a car is another perfect option for visiting the area.
TRAVELLING WITH KIDS TO MT TAMBORINE
Mt Tamborine is a safe and welcoming destination for family travel with a variety of activities and attractions to suit travellers of all ages. While the usual safety precautions should be taken while travelling with kids anywhere, you will find it easy to enjoy Mt Tamborine with kids, with the laid back atmosphere and country town vibe.
There are lots of park areas and open spaces around Mt Tamborine for kids to stretch their legs and enjoy the great outdoors.
Australia overall is a perfect family travel destination with facilities and services to accommodate families almost everywhere. You will find basic amenities such as baby change tables and parent rooms in most shopping centres and public access buildings. It is also acceptable to breastfeed babies discreetly in most places.
Mt Tamborine supermarkets and chemists stock baby and toddler necessities such as nappies, wet wipes, formula and baby food. There is easy access to health care in case of emergencies or illness.
Strollers and prams are suitable for use in Mt Tamborine, with footpaths along most streets in the main part of town and ramp entrances to most buildings.
BEST ATTRACTIONS IN MT TAMBORINE
1. Thunderbird Park
Situated on the way up the mountain is the 112 hectare rainforest property is the ideal location for a family day out or an extended stay, with a variety of activities to occupy everyone. The Tree Top Challenge is the longest and highest adventure rope course. including 72 jungle games and 11 flying fox rides. Or there is trail riding, laser skirmish, walking tracks, volleyball courts, swimming pools and so much more.
Thunderbird Park is also home to the world’s largest thunderegg depository, making it a popular destination for fossicking. The kids will love having the chance to find their very own gem-stone filled thunderegg.
There is a range of accommodation on the site also, from basic cabins to more contemporary lodging, or simplistic camp sites and bunk houses.
If you are fine with heights, the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk is the perfect way to enjoy the scenery amongst the treetops. The 1.5km walk consists of suspended walkways through the rainforest canopy and will take you around 45 minutes at a leisurely pace to complete the walk. You will have the chance to enjoy flora and fauna up close, and there is even a 40 metre bridge above the creek, giving amazing sky high views. The Skywalk entry is right next to Cedar Creek and is suitable for all ages, including strollers, although be mindful there are a few stairs to navigate along the way. Children 5 and under a free. Find out more on the website.
3. Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves
If you want a quick and educational attraction while visiting Mt Tamborine, the Glow Worm Caves at Cedar Creek Estate is a great option. You can read about our recent visit here. You have the chance to walk through a manmade glow worm cave and see them light up the dark in their unique way. You will also learn some pretty cool stuff and even our 2.5 year old thought it was super cool… even in the dark. No prams are allowed in the cave, so if you are travelling with a baby, a carrier is perfect.
4. Hang Gliding, Skydiving or Hot Air Ballooning
A lot of Mt Tamborine attractions seem to include heights (but don’t worry, there’s plenty that don’t), so if you happen to love the views from above, and are a bit of a daredevil, you may want to try one of the popular ariel options in the area such as hang gliding or skydiving. Or if it is something a little more calm and romantic, a hot air balloon ride may be the perfect way to enjoy the views.
5. Crocodiles & Reptiles Show
Getting up close and personal with animals is an Australian tradition that is a must and you can enjoy seeing some of the scarier, snappier creatures at the Crocodile and Reptiles show at The Bearded Dragon Hotel, down the bottom of Mt Tamborine. You will see lizards, snakes, crocodiles, turtles and frogs and even have the chance to get a photo with one of the animals if you dare. The show visits The Bearded Dragon Hotel on Monday, Wednesday and Sundays. They also have regular cane toad racing on Sunday, if you want to try your luck at the bizarre ‘sport’.
6. Mt Tamborine Botanic Gardens
The Mt Tamborine Botanic Gardens is one of the most picturesque places in the area, with open grassy areas, and over 11 hectres of garden areas. There is a lake with a bridge and gazebos that are perfect for some shade and lunch, or a special occasion like a wedding. The gardens are our favourite spot for a picnic under a shady tree.
BEST PLACES TO SHOP IN MT TAMBORINE
1. Gallery Walk
All the action in Mt Tamborine happens along Gallery Walk, lined with boutique shops, wineries and handmade fudge shops, craft wares and beautiful clothing. Gallery Walk is a great place to head if you are looking for unique gift ideas or a place to enjoy a meal or afternoon tea at one of the many cafes. You can even pick yourself up some authentic German clocks at the German Cuckoo Clock Nest.
There are no large commercial shopping centres on Tamborine Mountain, however they have all the necessities, such as grocery stores, pharmacy, medical services and other essential services down the main street or in the North Tamborine shopping precinct.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN MT TAMBORINE
1. Masala Shanti
If Indian is your preference, Masala Shanti is rated the number 1 restaurant currently on TripAdviser on Mt Tamborine. Located in Eagle Heights, the food is good, the service is good and it is at the top of one end of Gallery Walk, across from the MT Brewery and in walking distance to many other great locations if you feel like a stroll after your meal.
2. Old Church Restaurant
If looking for something a little different, with that old fashioned heritage feel, the Old Church Restaurant delivers. Great food and service. It is also the perfect option for a romantic dinner with your loved one, popular for anniversary dinners and Valentines. Cuisine is modern Australian with a mix of other influences.
3. Clancy’s Irish Bar and Restaurant
If it’s simple, hearty pub meals you are after, Clancy delivers. Fast food service and nice meals. You can sit inside for a traditional Irish pub feel, or outside on the deck and enjoy the fresh mountain air. The car park is quite small, only fitting around 8-10 cars, but there is street parking also up the hill.
4. Drift Cafe – Lounge Bar & Restaurant
The perfect spot for a casual lunch or dinner, Drift Cafe is one of the newer dining options on Mt Tamborine and serves up well priced meals, that taste great and suit a variety of tastes. Enjoy a meal or simply sipping cocktails on the huge deck. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner most days of the week. Check the website for opening times.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN MT TAMBORINE
1. The Polish Place
If a room with a view is on the agenda, The Polish Place does not disappoint, with chalet style wooden accommodation cabins, sitting high on the mountain and overlooking the natural scenery. The rooms are a luxurious European style home away from home, with spa baths and fireplaces and cottage style decor.
The are a little on the higher price, but are the perfect romantic night away. Not so suited to family travel though. You can also duck across to the restaurant for some traditional style Polish cuisine, also on the higher end of meal prices and no kids menu unfortunately, but great views.
2. Cedar Creek Lodges
For the perfect family friendly accommodation in Mt Tamborine, look no further than Cedar Creek Lodges. With accommodation to suit different budgets, from share accommodation, cabins and lodges, to the more luxury style getaways, they have it all. And as an added bonus, it is located right next to all the great activities offered at Thunderbird Park. The perfect family holiday location.
3. Wallaby Ridge Retreat
If you have your own transport and are willing to travel a little further from the central Mt Tamborine hub, Wallaby Ridge Retreat is a lovely bed and breakfast accommodation for couples. With country style decoration and furnishings, each room has a view of wide open scenery and a small vineyard. But best of all is the outdoor spa that is a must at sunset as the wallabies come in every afternoon for a feed and visit. This is an escape for when you need some quiet time, minus the distractions of a city or technology (there’s no TV in the rooms… but there is a common area where you can view if you must).
SPECIAL EVENTS ON MT TAMBORINE
Mt Tamborine hosts an array of events, markets and festivals throughout the year, aimed at honouring arts, culture and history. There is always that holiday vibe when visiting Mt Tamborine.
1. Mountain Markets
Visitors come from afar each month to visit the Mt Tamborine Markets, which are run on the second Sunday each month at the Mt Tamborine showgrounds. They offer a variety of fares, from homemade foods, art and crafts, clothing and collectables. There are also food markets more frequently through the month.
2. Scarecrow Festival
Happening around mid October, the Scarecrow Festival gives the opportunity for locals and visitors to get a little creative. You will see over 200 scarecrows lined up in their various customs and made from a variety of materials. There is also other entertainment on during the festival, with music and street performances, making it a fun time to be visiting with kids.
3. Garterbelts & Gasoline Nostalgia Festival
Celebrating all things 1950s, with hot rods and 50s fashion, and an overall rockabilly vibe. The festival runs around late September/early October each year and has been running for the past 8 years. It takes place over various locations on Mt Tamborine and for 3 days and nights. There is country and blues music performances from Australian and overseas, burlesque performances and classes, and art exhibits.
BEST DAY TRIPS FROM MT TAMBORINE
1. Surfers Paradise and Beyond
The Gold Coast boats some of Australia’s most popular beaches all year round, with Surfers Paradise being a hub of activity any day of the year, and any season. Only a short drive from Mt Tamborine and the hinterland area, with so much on offer for families, couples and singles, or any group really. There are shops and fine dining, and abundance of family friendly attractions, such as Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Dracula’s Haunted House and a little further out, the Gold Coast theme parks, Seaworld, Dreamworld, Wet and Wild and Movieworld.
The Queensland capital offers shopping, dining, accommodation and all the things you’d expect of a not so huge capital city. Enjoy a family day at Southbank Parklands, or take in a performance at the Queensland Performing Arts Complex. An easy day trip to Brisbane and back. For more great day trips from Brisbane, you will find more ideas here.
OTHER MUST DO’S AT MT TAMBORINE
If you are a fan of local wine or beer, Mt Tamborine is a must. There are multiple wineries, including Cedar Creek Estate, Albert River Wines, Witches Falls and Heritage Estate. Some of these also offer dining options and the ability to enjoy free tastings.
The Fortitude Brewing Company is the perfect spot for a chilled out afternoon of sampling local beers and the amazing Witches Falls cheeses, with the cheese shop right there. Grab yourself one of their cheese platters to go with your beer, or a pizza from the Brewery and you are set.
There is also well known Tamborine Mountain Distillery, if spirits are more your thing.