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3 mind-blowing ideas to make Valentine’s Day a success

Disclaimer: the following content is unsuitable for those under 18 years of age.

Juliet Allen, the Gold Coast’s resident Sexologist, has shared her top tips for Valentine’s Day. But even beyond Cupid’s special day, when it comes to sexual healing, Juliet can change your life.

Here’s how.

Okay, give them to us, what are your top tips for Valentine’s Day?
My top tip is not to get to hung up on it having to be an extravagant day and instead make it your intention to be connected with your partner/lover every day.

Imagine if every day was a special day. If we took the time to truly see our beloved and be present with them, that’s what we all truly want and desire, not the love heart teddies and roses.

If you’re reading this and thinking “I still want to celebrate’, I encourage you to spend the day TRULY connecting with your beloved, listening to them, turning off your phone and being present and loving. There’s no better gift than a lover who is authentically present and wanting to connect.

So how should couple’s heat things up on Valentine’s Day?
•    New couples: Do something fun – go swimming naked in the ocean together, hang at a nude beach…enjoy sex in nature. Take risks.
•   Long term couples: Grab a five star hotel room for the night – get away from your every day routine and spend the night making love and ordering room service.

How does a healthy sex life improve relationships?
Sex connects us and intimacy is an opportunity to connect at all our centres; our sex centre, our heart centre and our consciousness. Connecting with our partners via sex is essential for the longevity of a relationship.

Why is it important for people to embrace their sexuality?
Our sexual energy is our life force energy! It’s inside us all and if we push it down we become sick and repressed. To embrace our sexuality is empowering and has an amazing impact on our overall health and happiness.

What are some simple things we should practice regularly at home?
Self-pleasure is essential for everyone. Also self-love and presence with ourselves and with our partners.

How did you come to be a Sexologist and Sexuality Coach?
I studied psychology as my undergrad and then years later I wanted to go back to Uni and study something I was truly passionate about. I came to the conclusion that my biggest passion was sex, so I studied a Masters in Sexology. Best career move ever!

How do you help?
I help singles and couples to feel sexually empowered and happy in their relationships. People come to me because they’re seeking deeper connection and intimacy, or they want super hot, amazing sex, or they simply want to feel more empowered within themselves as a sexual being.

Why should people work with you?
Everyone, at some stage in their lives, will come across hurdles in their sex lives and relationships. When that happens the best way to deal with those challenges is to talk to a professional. People should work with me because I talk about and help people with sex and relationships for a living. I love what I do, plus I ‘walk the talk’, so to speak.

I get what it’s like to have these challenges because I’m like every other person, I’ve had my fair share of things to work through and I now feel empowered and whole as a sexual woman. I’m fun, straight to the point and real.

Do you only work with couples?
No, I work with couples and singles of all sexual and gender identities.

You’re also a Tantra Practitioner; can you explain what tantra is and why we should try it?
Tantra is choosing with awareness what brings us joy. It’s living a life full of ecstatic experiences, including ecstatic sex. It’s about finding inner peace and inner union as individuals, and then coming together with others to experience connection and intimacy. Tantra has transformed my life.

6 romantic spots for a local winter weekend escape

Cedar Creek Lodges glamping (image supplied)
Cedar Creek Lodges glamping (image supplied)

Is there anything more romantic than spending a weekend tucked away with your nearest and dearest? Picture the scene: you’re both mountainside snuggled up in front of a crackling fire, glass of red wine in hand and soft jazz caressing your ears. Sounds almost too good to be true? It’s all yours for the taking though, come the impending — albeit short — winter ahead! So it’s time to pull out that roll neck jumper (that, let’s face it, hasn’t been used much) and get planning! To help you along the way, we’ve found the six most romantic cabins and mountain lodges for you, right at our doorstep in the Hinterland.

Cedar Creek Lodges
A mere 40-minute drive from Surfers Paradise, but once you arrive you will feel like you’ve entered an entirely whole new world. Welcome to stunning Tamborine Mountain! Cedar Creek Lodges provide you with a full range of options. The 2, 3 or 4 bedroom self-contatined lodges are situated on your own private section of the gurgling and beautiful Cedar Creek — the perfect romantic getaway to immerse yourself in nature! But if glamping is more your style, look no further than their brand new Lotus Tents taking glamping to the next level with an ensuite allowing you to shower under the stars. The adjacent Thunderbird Park also offers horseback riding for the more adventurous romantics among you. We’re confident when it comes time to check out; you won’t want to leave.

Binna Burra Mountain Lodges
You may recognise the name, as in the 2019 bushfires, most of the property was sadly lost to fires. But where there is a will, there is a way. Rising like a phoenix from the ashes, the newly rebuilt and renovated Binna Burra is an authentic heritage-listed lodge offering one of a few genuine Australian experiences in nature. Just imagine, the lodge has been welcoming guests since the early 1930s and still retains its original charm and character. They’ve also been listed in the top 10 eco-lodges and green hotels globally with their unique isolation. If you’re after the perfect escape from everyday life and a chance to get back to basics, leave your phone at home and look no further.

Binna Burra Mountain Lodges (image supplied)
Binna Burra Mountain Lodges (image supplied)

Witches Falls Cottages
Total privacy is the maxim at Witches Falls Cottages. Sip on a glass of wine (from nearby Witches Falls Winery, of course) in your private courtyard garden, relax in front of your cosy fireplace with a book, or just soak away in your own double sized spa bath and reconnect with that special someone. A traditional style breakfast is even part of your stay and delivered to the door — including fresh homemade bread — so you won’t have to leave your room if you don’t fancy it.

Edges Lodge
Another romantic Tamborine Mountain retreat is Edges Lodge, the faultless suggestion for a well-deserved getaway with your lover. Sweeping vistas of the Pacific Ocean and our Gold Coast skyline will have you captivated from the moment you arrive. The lodge itself is shared between three deluxe suites, but fear not, the large, sophisticated communal areas are more than enough for you to escape to and feel tranquil — or feel free to socialise if you want to. There is a long list of extras for you to enjoy, but our suggestion is you arrange a massage in the privacy of your room! Sign us up!

The Polish Place (image supplied)
The Polish Place (image supplied)

The Polish Place Cottages
Your romantic stay on Tamborine Mountain starts at these charming European-style chalets only an hour from the beach and surrounded by a myriad of walking trails, waterfalls, and wineries: a hidden gem — within an hour of arriving, you will feel any stress disappear as you take in the spectacular view overlooking the Scenic Rim! How does a cosy woodfire fireplace within a loft-style chalet with private balcony, double sized spa (in your lounge room no less) and full breakfast basket provided daily sound like to you? Idyllic, no? Well don’t forget that at The Polish Place, wildlife, lorikeets and birds come to say hi on your balcony. Add to this the amazing onsite restaurant serving up all your favourite Polish winter warmer dishes like their famous Roast Duck for two with cherries (trust us, order it!) accompanied by a couple of Polish beer or vodkas, you’ll be glad checkout isn’t till 12pm!

O’Reilly’s Safari Tents
If staying at the base of a world heritage listed rainforest is at the top of your list, you’ll be happy to know, you can do that only an hour from the surf. A the end of 2020, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat launched 17 safari tents within their new campground found at the Green Mountains Camping Area in Lamington National Park. The new world class ecotourism attraction is set amongst the rainforest of World Heritage Lamington National Park meaning you get to soak up the mountain magic in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Being right at the doorstep of O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat certainly has it’s advantages, you’ll have access to all the same experiences and adventures you love about O’Reilly’s including hikes, romantic rainforest picnics, visiting O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards for a tipple or two (where you can also now have a picnic with the alpacas!) or just kick back together and breathe in the fresh air.

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

O'Reilly's Campground, Image by Visit Scenic Rim, Susie Cunningham

Five ways to escape the Gold Coast this weekend

Springbrook National Park Hiking Trail close up of waterfall (image supplied)
Springbrook National Park Hiking Trail close up of waterfall (image supplied)

It’s been a long few months and although of course we are lucky to live in paradise, the escapism feels are real at this point in time.

Excitingly, we’re allowed to venture out of this city of ours from now on and even more excitingly, we don’t actually have to venture very far to experience something completely different from the norm.

And here are five ways to do exactly that.

Cruise around Springbrook National Park
Take a drive through Springbrook National Park for an ample fill of dreamy views, winding roads and fresh country air. If you head toward Purlingbrook Falls, at the top of Mt Cougal National Park, you’ll find Dancing Waters Café, the cutest little cottage overlooking the rainforest where you can enjoy a wholesome, healthy lunch or some cake and a steaming cup of coffee. The Purlingbrook Falls lookout is right next door for your token road trip snaps and if (read: when) you fall in love with the place stay overnight in the cosy cottage accommodation (there’s a claw foot bathtub for ultimate chill time).
Where: Dancing Waters Café, 33 Forestry Road, Springbrook

Soak up the serenity at Spiral Beach
Just past Duranbah Beach, Spiral is somewhat of a locals’ secret making it the perfect spot to enjoy some solitude. No matter the season, there is usually some sun to be had so pack up your umbrella, a good book and your best do-nothing vibes and prepare for sweet serenity. Spiral Beach is also the perfect place for snorkeling around these parts due to the abundance of colourful coral and magical marine life. Get in quick before the water gets too chilly.
Where: Around the Corner from D’bah Beach, near Coolangatta (see, secretive)

Mount a steed at Gold Coast Equestrian Centre
There’s something so peaceful about sitting atop a horse with the wind in your hair and a world of adventure at your fingertips. The Gold Coast Equestrian Centre is the perfect place to experience exactly that whether you’re a beginner or simply in need of an activity where all you have to do is sit back and be carted around. Located in Guanaba, just 15 minutes from Helensvale Shopping Centre, the property is 50 acres of beautiful bushland and offers trail rides along the river and an Olympic-sized dressage area for those who know what they’re doing.
Where: 212 Stewart Road, Guanaba

Have a beer at The Wallaby Hotel
The Wallaby Hotel in Mudgeeraba, is one of Queensland’s oldest and most rustic hotels. Heritage listed, it opened in 1884 and was a watering hole for both horses and patrons and became the centerpiece for the Mudgeeraba township. Today, it’s the perfect place to escape the city for an afternoon coldie, a spot of live music and delicious pub-style eats. Bonus; if you find you’re having too good a time to come home, you can always stay the night.
Where: 45 Railway Street, Mudgeeraba

Hike the Witches Chase Track at Mt Tamborine
For those with energy to spare after a long working week, the Witches Chase track is for you. It’s a moderately difficult track that’s about a two hour round trip. The track descends through rainforest to Witches Falls and continues along the cliff to Witches Chase, passing big, beautiful red cedar trees and through the eucalypt forest and of course, there’s plenty of wildlife to keep an eye out for. You’ll be famished once you’ve made it back so pack a picnic or some BBQ supplies and put your feet up and relax for awhile before you head home.
Where: The Witches Chase Track starts from the picnic area on Main Western Road, Mt Tamborine

Words by Kirra Smith

Witches Chase by Aussie Bushwalking

Hampton Estate Wines

Overlooking the Gold Coast skyline and atop a rolling green hill, Hampton Estate Wines is the epitome of charm and old world hospitality.

Located on Mt. Tamborine, surrounded by trees and boasting a beautiful open fireplace, Hampton Estate Wines is the perfect destination to escape the city for a relaxed, five-star lunch accompanied by one or two award winning wines.

New owners Peter and Karen Rea have completely transformed the majestic venue with the addition of an upstairs art gallery, live music on Sunday’s, an impressive new menu and dinner on Friday and Saturday nights.

Try award-winning wines including the Fiano, winner of the prestigious Gold State Award at a mid-morning wine tasting then make yourself at home in the elegant dining room for lunch.

Confit Duck Leg and Lamb Shanks are firm favourites and Peter will always recommend the best wine to accompany each dish.

Planning on getting hitched? Hampton Estate Wines onsite glass pavilion opens onto a spacious deck overlooking the luscious valley, it’s the perfect place to say ‘I do’. Peter plans on adding an additional cellar door downstairs within the next few months so guests will simply step out of the pavilion and up to the bar.

Only a quick 30 minute trip from the Gold Coast, visiting Hampton Estate Wines feels like receiving a warm bear hug. With the addition of delicious food and an abundance of wine of course.

What more could you need.

HOURS:  10am to 4pm weekdays and 10am until late weekends.

LOCATION: Corner Shelf and Bartle Roads, Mount Tamborine

Words and photos by Kirra Smith.

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