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Stay in a sweet safari tent at O’Reilly’s new rainforest campground

Opening on September 18th.

O'Reilly's Campground at Sunset (Image supplied)
O'Reilly's Campground at Sunset (Image supplied)

Staycations are the new overseas holiday for the foreseeable future and lucky for us Gold Coasters, we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Obviously we’re famous for our breathtaking beaches but the mountainous hinterland is just as beautiful and a little more peaceful too.

If you’re in the market for a little staycation right now and let’s face it who isn’t, we’ve got news for you. The team at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat are launching something very special on Friday 18th September and you’re going to want to book yourself in quick smart.

Found at the Green Mountains Camping Area in Lamington National Park, a new campground featuring 17 safari tents (two with disabled access), 24 campsites featuring Altitude and Basecamp sites and 21 campervan powered sites are opening for your delightful getaway pleasure.

As part of an exciting project between the Queensland Government and O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, the new world class ecotourism attraction is set amongst the rainforest of World Heritage Lamington National Park meaning you get to soak up that mountain magic in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

O'Reilly's Campground - Safari Tent Exterior (Image supplied)

Within the campgrounds, there’s a communal camp kitchen with stunning views overlooking the McPherson Range, a fire-pit and gathering area, an amenities building and a meeting room know as ‘The Hub’ – with pathways and ramps to enable accessibility for all guests.

It’s right on the doorstep of O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, meaning you’ll have access to all the same experiences and adventures you know and love about O’Reilly’s and Lamington including hikes, rainforest picnics, visiting O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards and generally just kicking back and breathing in the freshest of air.

As we said, the campground is opening on September 18th but you can book now via the website.

Get in quick though because if you’ve tried to plan a trip in the last few months, everybody’s doing it.

Dream come true, can’t wait to get up there.

LOCATION: 3582 Lamington National Park Road, Canungra

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

Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk

Beloved Mt Tamborine institution rises from the ashes

The Polish Place, Mt Tamborine (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)
Duck with cherries, The Polish Place, Mt Tamborine (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)

They say strength is born from adversity and that is certainly the case for the Sowter family, Mt Tamborine locals who lost their family home, restaurant and gallery in a devastating fire on New Years Eve of 2016.

The Polish Place was one of Tambo, and indeed the Gold Coast and surrounding areas’, most-loved restaurants due to their exceptional Polish menu, stunning hinterland views and everyone’s-part-of-the-family hospitality.

The restaurant and adjoining accommodation were built from scratch (and with a whole lot of love) by Phil and Ania Sowter in the early 1980’s and although the loss was obviously a devastating one, we bring you extremely good news.

The Polish Place
The Polish Place, Mt Tamborine (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)

The Polish Place is in the final stages of building and the brand new restaurant is set to open this week and we could not be more excited for the Sowter family and ourselves (and you), who now get to eat all of the Polish food, all of the time once again.

Before we get to the menu though, let’s chat scenery and as you’d know, having no doubt visited Mt Tamborine on many occasions, there are very few places that don’t offer breathtaking views and The Polish Place is no exception.

Overlooking the Scenic Rim (mountains as far as the eye can see) and with an outdoor area that’s home to countless colourful Rosella’s and filled with homegrown greenery, it’s one of the most relaxing spots we’ve ever encountered and you’ll probably have a hard time leaving to be honest.

Food at The Polish Place
The Polish Place (image supplied)

Now let’s talk Polish feasts and the very best advice we can give you is to arrive hungry and prepare yourself for some absolutely incredible flavours.

Ania has brought the most delicious homemade recipes from her native Poland and perfected them over the last 35(ish) years. The flavours are traditional, fresh and comforting and everything is made onsite.

The most popular dish, and the one The Polish Place has become famous for, is the Roast Duck for two with cherries. Those simple words don’t even begin to describe the love and life-changing flavours that make up this dish but you can expect soft, twice-cooked duck with not only cherries but apples baked inside and resulting in a sweet, mouthwatering dish that you’ll likely never forget.

The Polish Place, Mt Tamborine (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)
The Polish Place, Mt Tamborine (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)

Not only that though, we absolutely adored the Bigos (sauerkraut), Polish sausage, Pork Hock and a tomato soup with egg noodles that was the best we’ve ever tried.

There’s an extensive range of Polish beers, vodkas and local and Australian wines to complement the menu and everything can be enjoyed in front of the fire (season permitting) or out on the deck with the wildlife.

The Polish Place
The Polish Place (image supplied)

It’s been over two years in the making but the time has finally come to welcome The Polish Place back into the fold and once those doors do swing open, you better get in quick. Not a day has passed that the venue hasn’t received a call requesting an opening date.

Do yourself a favour and pay The Polish Place a visit ASAP, it’s famous for very good reason folks.

LOCATION: 333 Main Western Road, Mt Tamborine

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

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

5 Gold Coast hikes to get your blood pumping

Natural Bridge

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

Natural Bridge
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

Springbrook National Park (image by Sebastian Hans, unsplash)
Springbrook National Park (image by Sebastian Hans, unsplash)

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

South Stradbroke Island
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