Take a walk on the quiet side and enjoy a day away from the maddening crowds on the Gold Coast.
For most, a holiday on the Gold Coast is filled with sun, surf, sand and theme parks. The smell of suntan lotion and the endless queues at Dreamworld, Movie World or whichever world you are visiting on the day. If it all starts to get a little same-same or, if like me, as soon as you board the Tower of Terror your eyes start to well, your heart begins to race and your mind goes into overdrive imagining various scenarios involving your death from theme park ride misadventure - take heart. There is an alternative, and it is not much further afield than the those terrifying 'worlds'.
Heading north on the Gold Coast Motorway, taking the Oxenford turnoff and heading upwards sees us in the Gold Coast Hinterland, on stunning Mount Tamborine 30 minutes later.
Our first stop for the day is the Skywalk, for a self-guided walk above the canopies of the rainforest across an elevated bridge, and then down to the forest floor to the tumbling Cedar Creek. The creek gurgles quietly as we pause beside it and admire the many different trees with the vines winding around their trunks, which could easily be mistaken for man-made sculptures. On the climb back towards the Butterfly Outlook we venture out on to the Cantilever which stands 30 metres above the ground. Although it provides incredible views across the valley and rainforest, it is not for the faint-hearted as it sways quite dramatically - especially when deliberately rocked by my two teenage sons! Entry costs $16.50 for Seniors Card holders, and it is a must if you have an avid interest in flora and fauna.
Browsing along the Gallery Walk on Long Road in Eagle Heights is a smorgasbord for the senses. The shops along the way are chock-full of treats to tantalise - beautiful paintings, sculptures and pottery for the eyes; decadent fudges, local cheeses, wines and beers for the tastebuds; along with the many mouthwatering smells wafting from the cafés and restaurants along the way; as well as the vibrant colours and textures of the clothing and jewellery on offer.
Our best find of the day, voted unanimously by the entire family, is Cafe Bravo where we stop for lunch. With its Mediterranean setting of blue and white furnishings and positioning amongst olive trees in the courtyard, it provides a welcome shelter from the sun. The Bravo Boss burger filled with a steak fillet and fried onion rings is declared the winner. Although both the Southern Chicken burger and tasting plate of breads, dips, meats, olives, cheeses and other tapas offerings come in an close equal second. Overall the meals have great flavours and are generous servings.
There are numerous spots to stop along the road down the mountain from where you can take in the views over Surfers Paradise. I'd love to stay and explore a little more but unfortunately we have a date in another 'world' - sigh!
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