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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

6 natural treatments to get your glow on

The Wild Moon Ritual at Earth and Skin (image supplied)

Summer is almost over and it’s safe to say that we have spent way too much time in the sun (as usual). Which means our skin has taken a bit of a battering and it’s time to give it some love.

In honour of that, we’ve found six of the best natural treatments from around the Gold Coast to help you get your glow after all that summer salt, sand and sunshine.

An Earth and Skin Experience
Ideal for newcomers to organic skincare, the Earth and Skin Experience consists of a Mini Earth Massage to ease the (no doubt ever-present) tension in your back, neck and shoulders followed by a customised Refresh Facial using organic skincare and a Jade stone facial massage. If you’re an old hand at the organic skincare thing, there are MANY incredible treatments available, including some for the fellas.
Where: Earth and Skin, 2 Regency Place, Mudgeeraba

Acupuncture at Nüwa Natural Health
A traditionally eastern medicine treatment, acupuncture has taken the western world by storm. It works by balancing the energy systems within the body, enhancing relaxation and increasing energy. The name Nüwa is derived from the goddess of ancient Chinese Mythology best known for creating mankind and repairing the pillars of heaven. Put simply, it’s a necessary personal investment.
Where: Nüwa Natural Health, 4/784 Pacific Parade, Currumbin

Manicure and Pedicure at ERVA
Is there anything more relaxing than a manicure slash pedicure complete with a luxe massage and the prettiest nails at the end? We think not. At ERVA you can expect exactly that without the use of toxic products and with the addition of experiencing one of the most beautiful, love-infused treatments of your life. The team at ERVA are the best there is and no matter which treatment you choose, you’ll walk out feeling like you’re floating on a cloud.
Where: ERVA Nail Spa, 3 Park Avenue, Burleigh Heads

ERVA Nail Spa (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)

Organic Infusion at endota spa
endota is an oldie but a goodie with several locations across the Coast. They have a few standout treatments but the Organic Infusion is their signature facial created to relax and rejuvenate. Using certified organic skincare, containing powerful botanicals and antioxidants infused using jade rollers to give you a clear complexion and restore calm. Skin is nourished. Mind is nurtured. The end.
Where: endota spa, Shop 1, Oracle South 17 Elizabeth Ave, Broadbeach

A head spa treatment at éva organic hair and beauty salon
This beautiful little salon in Palm Beach is turning heads for all the right reasons. Using only natural, organic, cruelty free and vegan friendly products éva organic hear and beauty salon came about after owner Indre starting looking into the cause of reactions to common hair products. On top of your regular cut and colour try the Head Spa Treatment which includes the main reason everyone goes to the hairdresser, a heavenly head massage.
Where: éva organic, Suite 2 / 1154 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

Reiki at Earth Energy Medicine
You may not have heard of this one but Reiki is becoming popular amongst those willing to try something a little bit different. The ancient Japanese technique is used for stress reduction and relaxation while healing the body on all levels; physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. It’s known as the art of gentle hands on healing and it’s actually quite an interesting experience if you keep an open mind. Give it a try, you only live once right?
Where: Earth Energy Medicine, 7 Correa Court, Elanora

Words by Kirra Smith

Endota Spa (image supplied)
Endota Spa (image supplied)

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

7 wineries within short driving distances of the Gold Coast

Cedar Creek Estates

Wine is a beautiful thing: loved the world over and the perfect accompaniment to the next best thing in the world — cheese. Happily, the Gold Coast Hinterland is home to several world-class wineries, all of which are around an hour or less drive away. Pack your picnic blanket and make space in your boot for a case or two; here are the best cellar doors to take a sip at.

Cedar Creek Estate
With a tree-lined entryway and lush green surroundings, Cedar Creek is all your charming winery dreams come true. From Sauvignon Blanc to Shiraz and Moscato to Muscat, their impressive wine list is unrivaled, and you can do a winery tour with all the crew for a cracking time. Cedar Creek Estate also boasts the Arthur Hamblin Art Gallery, if sipping wine overlooking vineyards doesn’t fill your cultural cup entirely.
Where: 104-144 Hartley Road, North Tamborine

Witches Falls Winery
A self-proclaimed small but bold winery, Witches Falls are passionate about big tastes. Not only do owners Jon and Kim love the end product, but they’re also pretty keen on the growing, making and matching aspects of the fruity liquid. The three distinct ranges – Granite BeltWild Ferment and Prophecy – can be tasted for $10 per person, including six tastings. And be sure to try their fantastic cheese board when you go!
Where: 79 Main Western Road, North Tamborine

Witches Falls Winery

Sirromet Wines
Passionate about sustainable wine production, Sirromet Wines state-of-the-art, family-run facilities can be found in picturesque Mt Cotton. From the award-winning 2014 Signature Collection Shiraz Viognier and 2012 Saint Jude’s Merlot to a fresh Vineyard Selection Rose, you’ll be spoilt for choice at the Sirromet cellar door. Tastings run every day for just $5 per person, and you can also choose to do a behind-the-scenes tour of the vineyard. Plus, there’s a nine-hole golf course too — before or after wine, it’s up to you.
Where: 850 Mount Cotton Road, Mount Cotton

Canungra Valley Vineyards
A picture-perfect location, O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyard is a boutique vineyard and historic Queenslander homestead dedicated to fine food and fine wine. Enjoy a wine tasting, stay for lunch or purchase a gourmet picnic basket and stretch out by Canungra Creek with a bottle of bubbles. Take the kids who can also run around and take the resident alpacas for a walk.
Where: 852 Lamington National Park Road, Canungra

Mount Nathan Winery
Mount Nathan Winery is a progression of the Gibson family’s involvement in the wine industry over generations. After developing a unique range of honey-based products in Cessnock, the winery was born. Award-winning wines include the Bubbly Brut – a not too dry and not too sweet sparkling – and the Autumn White – made up of late-picked grapes with explosions of fruit. If you’re visiting, wine tastings are direct from the barrel. Doesn’t get more authentic!
Where: 220 Clagiraba Road, Mount Nathan

Sirromet Wines

Sarabah Estate Vineyard
Further along the Canungra Valley, before you begin to make your steep ascent up to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, is this enchanted and sun-soaked vineyard and cellar door. The folks here wear many hats as viticulturists, alpacas herders, cheesemakers and gardeners: meaning there is plenty to see, do, eat, and drink! Weekends see their Chalet Bistro open for delicious lunches and the Smoke & Vine Bar is perfect for a stone-baked pizza — and of course a glass of wine (our pick being their 2018 organic shiraz).
Where: 46 Rymera Road, Sarabah

The Overflow Estate 1895
Situated a little past Beaudesert, this ten-year-old vineyard is a spectacular feast for the eyes. Jutting out on a small arm into Lake Wyaralong, you may be forgiven for thinking you’ve come across a place of fairy tales, but alas, you haven’t; this is a place of delicious food and fine wine! Expect some delectable menu choices from their weekend seasonal menu from The Two French Chefs, and their gourmet cafe with antipasto and grazing boards aplenty runs Wednesdays to Fridays. Hardy Spanish and Italian varietals flourish here, so be sure to try the wine for a taste of Europe without the jetlag.
Where: 1660 Beaudesert – Boonah Road, Beaudesert

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

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