How to spend a family weekend in Mount Tamborine
Less than one hour’s drive from Brisbane is Mount Tamborine, a lush, scenic getaway with dozens of outdoor adventure opportunities for families. Whether you’re after a relaxed weekend spent sampling the local produce and shopping for locally crafted wares, or an action-packed couple of days climbing high ropes courses and trekking mountains, Mount Tamborine is the perfect location for all seasons.
These are some of our recommendations for places to stay, eat and explore in Mount Tamborine and the Gold Coast Hinterland.
NOTE: Due to current restrictions, we highly recommend you visit each location’s website to check what may or may not be available during the time of your visit. Most accommodation and dining facilities are not running to full capacity at the moment and some are unable to provide the full range of services they usually would offer. Bookings are also a must.
Where To Stay In Mount Tamborine
Cedar Creek Lodges
639 Tamborine Mountain Road (Cnr Cedar Creek Falls Rd & Tamborine Mountain Rd), Tamborine Mountain QLD 4272
Located at Thunderbird Park, Cedar Creek Lodges offers a range of accommodation options for families. And, with so many things to do on-site, you could easily park the car and spend a fun-filled weekend in this one location alone!
From self-contained lodges to suites within their larger ‘Hillside Lodges’, Cedar Creek Lodges provides a relaxing getaway surrounded by nature. Fireplaces, outdoor fire pits and self-catering facilities are also all included in the self-contained lodges.
The Thunderbird Park property also features caravan and camping facilities, as well as bunkhouses and bush lodges of their own. You can read our review of Thunderbird Park Camping here.
On the property, there are an array of activities to enjoy within walking distance of the accommodation, including a TreeTop Challenge, the Thunderbird Park Crystal Egg Mine, Adventure Minigolf, outdoor Laser Skirmish and horse riding. Within walking distance are the Cedar Creek Falls and Rockpools—a stunning waterfall and cascades reached via a short 20-minute scenic bushwalk.
Cedar Creek Lodges Rainforest Restaurant & Lounge Bar caters to guests and visitors with a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. The Terrace Kiosk provides healthy snacks, light meals, pizzas and drinks.
TIP: After a long day adventuring, organise to have an in-room food platter delivered for dinner (available Sunday to Wednesday evenings). Soup of the day can also be added to warm you up from the inside. See pic below, under ‘Rainforest Restaurant & Lounge Bar’, for an idea of what to expect.
Find out more at www.cedarcreeklodges.com.au.
Where To Eat In Mount Tamborine
The Polish Place
333 Main Western Rd, Tamborine Mountain QLD 4272
A trip to Mount Tamborine simply must include a stop at The Polish Place. Offering authentic Polish food served by friendly and accommodating staff in traditional dress, visitors can enjoy a meal inside by the fireplace or outdoors on the decks to take in the breathtaking scenery. While the menu is small, the food (with ingredients sourced both locally and imported from Poland) is impressive. Featuring dishes such as Bigos, Pierogi, Pork Hock and the famous Roast Duck for Two with Cherries, it’s easy to see why The Polish Place is an award-winning restaurant.
TIP: The local rainbow lorikeets know this is the place to be, so expect a visit from them if you sit outside (and the opportunity to pose for a photo with these cheeky visitors!).
Find out more at www.polishplace.com.au/restaurant. Accommodation is also available on-site.
Fox & Hounds Country Inn
7 Elevation Dr, Wongawallan QLD 4210
Around a 15 minute drive from Mount Tamborine, Fox & Hounds Country Inn in Wongawallan is worth the slight detour. This genuine English pub features four themed rooms (English, Irish, Tudor and Scottish), is deliciously cosy in winter and is jam-packed with British memorabilia. With a menu including traditional English food such as Beef and Guinness Pie, Toad in the Hole, Yorkshire Puddings and roasts on weekends, this is hearty, soul-warming food. The meals are generous and there’s also a dedicated kids’ menu to cater to the littlies.
TIP: Be sure to allow some time to look around and take some photos. You might even be lucky enough to get a pic with the red double-decker bus in the carpark!
Find out more at www.foxandhounds.net.au. Accommodation is also available on-site.
The Mountain Brew Coffee
TIP: Grab some takeaway toasties and some chips for your lunch on the go!
Find out more at www.facebook.com/TheMountainBrewCoffee.
Rainforest Restaurant & Lounge Bar
Cedar Creek Lodges, 639 Tamborine Mountain Rd (Cnr Cedar Creek Falls Rd & Tamborine Mountain Rd), Tamborine Mountain QLD 4272
As mentioned earlier, the Rainforest Restaurant & Lounge Bar, on-site at Cedar Creek Lodges/Thunderbird Park, serves up delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners to both guests and visitors alike. Surrounded by tranquil rainforest, the restaurant serves mouth-watering meals that combine local produce, alongside an array of international, Australian and regional wines and liqueurs. Lunch and dinner serve on particular days only, and breakfast is currently being served a-la-carte to staying guests only, so be sure to check the website (and book) before you arrive.
TIP: while currently on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions, Cedar Creek’s famous ‘Breakfast with the Birds Buffet’ is a unique experience to add to your Mount Tamborine bucket list!
Find out more at www.cedarcreeklodges.com.au/mount-tamborine-restaurant.
Three Little Pigs Bar & Bistro
13 Main St, Tamborine Mountain QLD 4272
If you’re looking for a special meal to top off your weekend adventures in Mount Tamborine, then make a booking at the Three Little Pigs. Promising to serve up farm-fed, humanly raised beef, locally-grown, organic toppings and cheeses produced from organic goat and cow milk, Three Little Pigs is a fine dining experience. That said, they also welcome visiting families with their kids’ menu package (including a main meal, drink and ice cream dessert). Bookings are recommended, with the restaurant open for lunch five days (Wednesday to Sunday) and dinner from Wednesday to Saturday.
TIP: We’re still dreaming about the Sticky Pork and Rice and the juicy, tender Calamari—they’re a must-try!
Find out more at www.three-little-pigs.com.au.
Things To Do In Mount Tamborine
Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk
333 Geissmann Dr, Tamborine Mountain QLD 4272
Suspended high amongst the trees in Mount Tamborine, the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk leads visitors on a stroll through the rainforest canopy via steel bridges and along a dirt walking track out to a lovely series of Cedar Creek cascades. Close to the end of the trail, a 40m cantilever bridge hovers dramatically some 30m above the creek and rainforest below.
Throughout the walk, informative signage points out the sights and the incredible rainforest flora. To add to the experience, the Rainforest Eco Gallery at the beginning and end of the circuit features displays offering further information about the local rainforest animals, birds and reptiles that populate the area. There is also a gift and souvenir shop that features Australiana themed gifts, books and more.
The 1.5km circuit takes about 45 minutes to complete at a leisurely pace and is accessible by bigger-wheeled prams (although there are a few stairs along the way you will need to navigate). The first section of Skywalk is wheelchair-accessible.
TIP: Are you afraid of heights?? While the walking bridge section of the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk does sway slightly, there are plenty of railings to grip tightly. The cantilever viewing platform has a lot more movement, so fair warning to those not so confident with heights!
Find out more at www.rainforestskywalk.com.au.
TreeTop Challenge at Thunderbird Park
Thunderbird Park, 639 Tamborine Mountain Rd (Cnr Cedar Creek Falls Rd & Tamborine Mountain Rd), Tamborine Mountain QLD 4272
For those aged seven years and over, the TreeTop Challenge at Thunderbird Park is a unique way to experience the natural beauty of Mount Tamborine. Through a series of platforms, flying foxes, rope bridges and more, the challenge could easily provide an entire day’s worth of entertainment for families.
All participants take part in a safety instruction session before beginning any of the courses. The session includes a demonstration of the types of attachments they will have to negotiate with their hooks and harnesses along the way, how to negotiate the different types of challenges safely and some hands-on practice trying the various attachments for themselves.
The beginning of the course is the real ‘make or break’ point, featuring a high climb to a timber platform, followed by a thrilling flying fox soar through the trees—if you can get past your fears at this point, then you’ll be set for the rest of the course! From there, the differing levels of courses (each designed for varying experience and comfort levels) take participants through multiple high wire challenges including timber climbing platforms and ladders, wobbly bridges, additional flying foxes, rope nets and more. It’s an adrenaline-packed activity that gives a fantastic sense of achievement when completed and something to challenge the confidence of all family members.
Minimum height is 160cm to the middle of the palm with the palms stretched vertically above the head and feet flat on the floor. Weight is to be no more than 120kg. The harness diameter is 110cm.
TIP: The harnesses also feature a pouch to hold a water bottle, so the kids will seldom have to come down! Booking is a must.
Find out more at www.thunderbirdpark.com/treetop-challenge.
Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves
Cedar Creek Estate, 104-144 Hartley Rd, Tamborine Mountain QLD 4272
Aiming to conserve the precious glow worm colonies of the east coast of Australia and parts of New Zealand, the purpose-built Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves is a unique experience. Located on what was an old dairy farm, the area surrounding the caves has been re-vegetated to make the most of the trickling Cedar Creek running through the property, creating a lush rainforest section that now sees many species of wildlife pass through daily.
A visit to the Glow Worm Caves begins with a stroll over the creek and through the rainforest. Visitors are introduced to the history of the area and a bit of background knowledge regarding glow worms. The tour then enters the first part of the cave, where participants’ eyes have a chance to adjust to the darkness and an informative video explains the fascinating ecology of the glow worm.
Wandering into the glow worm habitat itself, one could easily be excused for believing they were seeing strings of fairy lights hanging from the cave walls. It takes a few seconds to realise that these glowing lights are the infamous glow worms with their bright bottoms twinkling in the dark. The tour guide’s narration is a big part of the experience, and the details learnt about the feeding, growth and reproductive cycle of these tiny creatures while gazing at them in wonder makes this for an engaging, educational experience.
The glow-worm cave tour takes around 30 minutes. It’s a peaceful setting and, once outside the caves, visitors are welcome to stroll across to the frog habitat, browse the Cedar Creek Estate winery’s cellar door selection and art gallery, or just sit in the gardens soaking up the sunshine.
TIP: No photos can be taken inside the cave for risk of disturbing the sensitive glow worms, however, the gift shop on site has lots of postcards, books and other merchandise to browse and buy.
Find out more at www.glowwormcavetamborinemountain.com.au.
Bushwalking And Chasing Waterfalls
There’s a massive amount of natural beauty on the Gold Coast just waiting to be discovered, with dozens of walking trails passing through ancient, Jurassic-era Gondwana rainforest to encounter the pinnacle of picturesque outlooks—a cascading waterfall.
With three main national parks in close vicinity to Mount Tamborine itself (Springbrook, Lamington and Mount Tamborine), even a short drive will take you to any number of local walking trails.
TIP: Check out the Brisbane Kids’ article on Chasing Waterfalls in the Gold Coast Hinterland for a full breakdown of waterfalls you must visit while spending a weekend in Mount Tamborine.
Brisbane Kids thanks Destination Gold Coast for sponsoring our writer and her family on their trip to Mount Tamborine. Costs were covered. All the opinions stated in this review are true, honest and genuine with the sole aim of providing enough information for families to make an informed decision about future holidays to this incredible local leisure destination.
For exclusive deals and trip ideas for your next adventure on the Gold Coast, please head to www.destinationgoldcoast.com.