So we’re allowed to travel again, what a treat. Not across the world as we once could but luckily for us, we live in the very best country there is and there’s plenty of magic to explore right here in our own backyard.
Particularly on the Gold Coast, the land of beautiful beaches, five-star eats and all of the fun activities. It’s the perfect spot for a holiday really. Speaking of holidays, you know what’s a fun way to holiday? Caravanning #vanlife. Or, if that’s not your thing, in a holiday park surrounded by other good time people and all of the amenities right at your doorstep.
Not to mention you’re out in the fresh air, the kids can make holiday friends AND you can sit outside and watch the sun set with a glass of wine in hand every single eve.
Speaking of holiday parks, we made a list. Since we’re allowed to visit them again, here’s a few of our favourites on the Coast with a couple of special deals thrown in to encourage you to get on down here and experience all the delightful things we have to share.
Nobby Beach Holiday Village
Nobby Beach, the land of golden sunrises and sunsets, where the locals drink coffee in a plethora of cafes and restaurants and families come together beachside and poolside after being separated for so long. From the 1st June 2020*, Nobby Beach Holiday Village re-opens its doors to QLD tourists within a 250km radius and to celebrate, they are treating you to a “LOCALS ONLY” special with up to 44% off selected accommodation and up to 4 KIDS FREE*. With hygiene and social distancing measures in place, heated pools, a MEGA 35m water slide, an undercover playground and school holiday entertainment, we encourage you to holiday here this year – NO PASSPORT NEEDED! Sign us up. Head here to get involved.
Where: 2200 Gold Coast Highway, Miami
GC Caravan for Hire
GC Caravan For Hire is the largest caravan hire company based on the Gold Coast and one of the largest in Queensland. They have a modern fleet of 16 Caravans that cater for couples through to large families, and even some for those that want to take away some of their larger toys. They range in size from 16ft to 23ft with a caravan suitable for almost every vehicle. They also offer a setup and pack down service for those that don’t want to tow a caravan, but still want to enjoy the experience. Prices start from $95 per calendar day, and they offer very flexible pickup and return times, with a minimum two day hire, so you only pay for what you need. All vans are fully equipped with cooking equipment and utensils, and even a Nespresso Coffee Machine, all you need to pack is your food, clothes and bedding. Throughout the June and July school holidays you can book at Off Peak Rates and you’ll get a further 10% off all hires when you mention Inside Gold Coast. Book here.
Big 4 Gold Coast Holiday Park
Team BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park are ready to welcome you back with eased restrictions now so you can getaway…at long last. Their happy team has been working hard to make your next visit a great one. Checking-in will be a breeze with the ‘tap on in’ contactless driveway service so you don’t even have to leave your car. They have deep cleaned everything; painted and upgraded a bunch of cosy cabins and polished, painted and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. Feeling peckish? In addition to their poolside service, they’ve used Master Chef-style creativity to reinvent their Nibbles Café menu and can deliver to your cabin or site. The team is ready to make sure you have a great time when you come back. Getaway and have some fun, enjoy the open space and the open air. Freedom at last. There are plenty of HOT DEALS to be had with some running throughout the June and July school holiday period, right up until September 17th 2020. Check them out here.
Where: 66-86 Siganto Drive, Helensvale
There you have it friends, a few sweet options should you be planning a little trip to the Gold Coast (which you should be) now we’re allowed to venture a bit further afield.
Founder of Patriot Campers and Gold Coast local, Justin Montesalvo, talks about the impressive camper trailers that’ll make your outdoor experience that much more enjoyable.
If someone were to walk into Patriot Campers, what would they find?
Patriot Campers produce the best family touring and camping products in the country. Our Camper trailer range is our core business but we also produce top end tow vehicles based on the Landcruiser 79 and 200 series.
What was your motivation behind starting Patriot Campers?
We struggled for years to find a camper trailer that would accomodate the entire family without towing massive weight and lengths that all of our now competitors produce. We already had a business with state of the art sheetmetal equipment and engineers, we focused on producing an extremely compact and lightweight design with all the mod cons.
What’s the most important thing first time buyers should take into consideration?
Really working out what style of camping suits you makes all the difference when deciding on a camper trailer. Are you into touring, moving night after night or long stays at a favourite destination? This should be the major factor considered when buying or optioning a camper.
Best Patriot Campers product?
Our number 1 seller is our X1. We have won the Australian Camper Trailer of the Year the past 3 years in a row and are competing this month for our 4th title.
Why Patriot Campers? What makes it different to the others?
Patriot Campers has won the Australian Camper Trailer of the Year the past 3 years in a row. We manufacture using technologies and materials that are state of the art. Our designs just work, we practice what we preach and are constantly refining our designs based on real life use through our RnD.
Our compact and lightweight designs ensure maximum off road ability by minimising the stress put on the tow vehicle. Our trailers come standard with high clearance independent suspension, mud terrain tyres and dual shock absorbers.
Are the Patriot Campers family friendly ? What are the creature comforts that are going to make the lady of your life think that this is a suitable item on Santa’s list?
Family is our focus, all our products revolve around family lifestyle. The trailers feature hot water, king size mattresses, plumbed sink, shower, living areas and even an option for a heated tent for maximum comfort.
Anything exciting that we can expect from Patriot Campers?
Every year we introduce a new model so yes, we are constantly coming up with new products, but we have to keep them top secret!
You’re not a Gold Coast local if you haven’t….spent a night on Stradbroke Island.
Camping spots on the Coast: North Stradbroke, Wave Break Island, Scenic Rim, Tweed Heads, Flanagan Reserve,
Gold Coast beaches: Wave Break Island, Stradbroke, Narrowneck
Gold Coast pubs: Northcliffe Surf Club
Camping pit stops: Manolas Brothers deli
By Amy Merridan
It’s been a year Gold Coasters and right now, any escape from the daily grind is a good escape. After a couple of seasons of complete overindulgence, cheap and cheerful is the go, so camping it is friends.
Luckily there are plenty of pretty places close by that will soothe your wanderlusting soul and BONUS, all you need is a tent, some two minute noodles and your very best sense of adventure.
Found on the spectacular Scenic Rim, Bigriggen Park is very family-friendly and you may also bring along your fur babies if they need a break from a life of sleeping and eating. It’s only about an hour and a half from the Coast so just far enough to feel like you’ve escaped the city and it’s 55 hectares of land so plenty of spot for hiking, exploring and generally just enjoying the serenity. There’s also fishing and watersports and the lake at Maroon Dam is not too far away.
Get there: Head out toward Beaudesert and follow the signs toward Rathdowney and onto Bigriggen from there.
Another immerse-yourself-in-nature gem, The Settlement is the only place you can camp in the Springbrook National Park. There’s no electricity or WiFi so you will certainly be escaping all the creature comforts you know and love (RIP Insta stories). Never fear though, you can amuse yourself by trekking to Purling Brook Falls and sizzling some snags at the BBQ area. Take a book or get involved in a good old-fashioned conversation.
Get there: Head towards Mudgeeraba and follow the signs to Springbrook then follow the signs to Carricks Rd.
Found in the Lamington National Park, it’s only an hour but it feels like a lifetime away. There are full shower and toilet facilities, a coin-operated washing machines/tumble dryers, barbeque stoves,hot plates and milk and ice available at the on-site Lamington Teahouse. It’s an eco-friendly spot and you can spend as much time as you please exploring the surrounding national park. There are stunning views of the hinterland and the Tweed region beyond and you can choose from two and four-man tent sites, unpowered and powered drive-on sites and two, four and six-bed permanent Safari Tents. So all the things.
Get there: Find it on Binna Burra Rd, out toward Beechmont.
Mount Barney Lodge Campground
Here you’ll get full creek frontage, a swimming hole, open campfires (love) and a kids holiday adventure program. How good. Mount Barney Lodge Campground is a grassy and shaded spot complete with stunning views of Mt Barney, which is just across the road should you wish to embark on a climbing adventure. You can drive directly onto shady, unpowered and grassed camp sites with designated fire circles. Camper trailers, motorhomes, RV’s and caravans are welcome. There is also a non-vehicle area that is suitable for tents and families with children.
Get there: Pop Upper Logan Rd into your GPS and head toward the big old mountain.
Adventure is the name of the game at Thunderbird Park with plenty of activities for the kids both big and small. Play laser skirmish in the jungle, tackle the high ropes course at TreeTop Challenge, boost the adrenaline with a thrilling ride on the Canyon Flyer, enjoy a horse trail ride or play a round on the championship mini golf course. See, adventure. It’s not a quiet camping adventure but it’s definitely a fun one.
Get there: Head on out to Mount Tamborine and you’ll find Thunderbird Park on the corner of Cedar Creek Falls andTamborine Mountain Roads
South Stradbroke Island
The wild southern sibling of far-more-populated North Stradbroke Island (name creativity is off the charts), South Straddy is always a good time. Getting there is an adventure in itself and the campground is surrounded by scrub so you’ll need to be self sufficient (you can’t drive on the island either). There are bathrooms and the like at Tipplers Kiosk so don’t despair but it’s definitely a down and dirty nature-lovers paradise.
Get there: By private boat or water taxi or hire a seaplane if you’re not short of a dollar.
Specifically the James Sharp Memorial Park can be found on the banks of the Coomera River. It’s a big old grassy area with plenty of blessed shade (how’s the heatwave) and enough river for swimming, fishing, canoeing and whatever else floats your boat. Oh AND, you can bring your doggo (or cat if you must) and open fires are permitted because these good people appreciate the magic of marshmallows. If you’ve got a family, this spot might be your best bet.
Get there: Drive to Nerang and follow the signs to Canungra then turn off onto Beechmont Rd toward Witheren.
Nightfall Wilderness Camp
Okay so this place definitely doesn’t qualify as camping but diversity is key right. Nightfall Wilderness Camp is a five star glamping (best word) experience found in the Lamington National Park and it is F A N C Y. There’s bathtubs, food cooked over coals, comfy beds and the prettiest of furnishings. Also, the crew at Nightfall are dedicated to ecotourism so they protect the local wildlife and watch the creeks water quality. It’s an absolutely beautiful place and you should definitely spend some hard earned pennies here.
Get there: Head out toward Canungra then Beaudesert and follow the signs to Lamington National Park.
The newest camping ground of the bunch is set within the lush World Heritage Lamington National Park at O’Reilly’s. Your camping facilities include an open space communal camp kitchen with stunning views overlooking the McPherson Range, a fire-pit and gathering area and an amenities building – with pathways and ramping to enable accessibility for all guests. There are 24 campsites featuring Altitude and Basecamp sites, but 17 powered safari tents are also available if that’s more your jam.
Get there: Head out toward Canungra, once you reach The Canungra Hotel, turn onto Kidston Street off the main road in Canungra (Nerang-Beaudesert Road) as it turns into Lamington National Park Road. If you pass O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards you’re heading the right way (may as well pick up a bottle too!).
Words by Kirra Smith
Hiking. It’s an acquired taste but if walking long distances for the sheer joy of it floats your boat, where better to indulge than the picturesque Gold Coast. Particularly at the height of summer.
There are many places to trek around outside the comfort of your Netflix binge zone and here are five of them (from a literal walk in the park to the mother of all hiking adventures, in that order). Don’t forget water bottles and snacks.
Apple Tree Park Tracks
Sounds delightful doesn’t it. The park itself is actually a possible starting point for entry onto The Great Walk but allows your tired bones a bit of respite if 54km of walking is slightly out of your comfort zone (yes, hi). You can pretty much walk as far as you like, for as long as you like and then turn around and walk back for a picnic in the park. Take healthy foods so your walk doesn’t feel like it’s in vain.
Start: On Springbrook Rd next to the Springbrook Mountain Chalets
No doubt you’ve (at least) seen snaps of the stunning little spot that is Natural Bridge. A literal rock bridge in the middle of the rainforest complete with a sparkly waterfall and so much beautiful greenery and fresh air and relaxing wilderness noises. It’s a stunner and a fairly cruisy downhill walk to get there (bit slippery on the bridge so watch your step) and through the trees. Obvs it’s uphill on the way back but you won’t even notice you’ll be so chilled out. Make sure you’ve got a camera to capture the magic.
Start: Follow the signs towards Springbrook and then you will see signs for Natural Bridge on Natural Bridge Rd
South Stradbroke Island
Saying you’ve circumnavigated something is, quite frankly, a dream that’s always been somewhat unattainable. Until now. It’s possible to walk the entire way around South Straddy and, while it might take you awhile (it’s 21km long and 2.5km wide) it’s well worth it for the breathtaking views. Walking from the western side to the east will only take you around an hour so that’s quite relaxing. All the way around will take you at least a day so ensure you pack provisions. Once you’re done you should definitely stop in at McLarens Landing (the pub) because a hard earned thirst needs a big cold beer.
Start: Take the ferry from Hope Island and start your walk from wherever your little heart desires
Toolona Creek Circuit
Keen for a day of walking? Neither, but there are some folks who might be. To those people we say, get on board the Toolona Creek Circuit. The first part will take you to Picnic Rock and along the Toolona Creek to the falls. From there you can detour to the lookout for a rest and gaze lovingly out at the Tweed Valley, Mt Warning, Byron Bay and Straddy (hi hiking friends). Sounds chill enough except the entire track will probably take you around seven hours too. Prepare before you go and if it gets too much, turn yourself around and head home. Good luck.
Start: Head to Canungra and follow the signs to Lamington Plateau, Green Mountain Car Park aka O’Reillys.
The Great Walk
Go hard or go home right. This one’s a doozy and you might want to carve out a good chunk of time for the 54km trek. It’s best to start at Lamington National Park and finish at Springbrook and they say to allow three days to complete the walk (sheer joy remember). You’ll skirt around the rim of the Tweed Volcano and pass through the ancient lands of the Yugambeh people. Maybe put in a bit of practice with the walks below before you set out on this little adventure, it ain’t for the faint hearted. Take plenty water, camping gear and ensure you’re equipped for all weather possibilities.
Start: From the Pacific Motorway, take the Nerang exit (exit 69 from the north, exit 71 from the south) and follow the signs to Lamington National Park.
Words by Kirra Smith