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Patriot Campers

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.

Off road?
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.

JUSTIN’S FAVOURITES
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

The 9 best Gold Coast camping spots

Nightfall Wilderness Park (image supplied)

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.

Bigriggen Park
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. 

The Settlement
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.

South Stradbroke Island via Tourism & Events Queensland

Binna Burra
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. 

Thunderbird Park
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

Thunderbird Park (image supplied)

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.

Canungra
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.

O’Reilly’s Campground
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

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

8 local spots to escape into nature

Burleigh Hill (Image: © 2019 Kirra Smith Photography)

Life hey, sometimes it’s rainbows and lollipops and sometimes it’s reality TV binging and becoming way too acquainted with Ben & Jerry (tell ‘em we say hi).

In our (extremely well researched) opinion, escaping your day-to-day life every once in awhile is key for a reality check and attitude reset. Particularly if you’re able to get outside and treat your senses to some sweet natural goodness.

As you may have guessed, we’ve found a few spots (yes we know there are more) you can do exactly that and BONUS, they’re right on your doorstep. Happy escapism friends.

Burleigh Hill
No not on a Sunday arvo with an esky full of beers and your way-too-dressed-up-for-grass-sitting squad. We’re talking a walk around the headland and up to the top of the actual hill itself (who knew right). From there you can bask in the beauty of the epic views and think about exactly how lucky you are to live on the Gold Coast. Beers are acceptable afterwards if you must.
Where: Burleigh Hill (you probs won’t miss it)

Picnic Rock
Ahh, sweet rocky serenity. Seriously though, this place is the goods if you’re keen for some alone time in a world heritage listed rainforest with incredible views (yes, hi). Wear your walking shoes because it’s a 3.5km walk through the rainforest to get there but once you do, perch yourself up on the rock with a ham and salad sandwich and marvel at the magic of mama nature.
Where: Drive to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat (Canungra) then take the Border Track until you see the Picnic Rock turn off

Gold Coast Botanic Gardens (image supplied)

Gold Coast Botanic Gardens
It’s not a place we locals often visit but it should be if you’re in need of a quick nature hit without having to travel too far. There’s 31 hectares of uninterrupted greenness to wander about in plus there’s a sensory garden so you can get up close and personal with the plants. Oh, and there’s a butterfly garden AND a rose garden and if you don’t leave feeling all chilled out and in love with life we will eat our hats.
Where: 230 Ashmore Road, Benowa

Coombabah Lakelands Conservation Area
So it seems there are some absolutely stunning wetlands to the north of our delightful city and we’re sorry we haven’t brought this to your attention sooner. There are over 1,200 hectares (that’s big for those playing at home) of wetlands, eucalypt forest, salt marshs and mangrove habitats and you can just go on in there and wander around. Get up close and personal with native wildlife, go for a trail run or simply just sit back and watch the birds. Mind blown.
Where: Shelter Road, Coombabah

The Wishing Tree Track
Not sure about you, but the name of this track takes us back to our whimsical childhoods and that’s pure escapism if ever we saw it. Anywho, the adventure to the wishing tree itself is all downhill (lovely, until you gotta go back up again) and there’s all kinds of native delights to discover. Once you’ve found the tree you can keep going into Glow Worm Gully (stop it) or just chill there and make some wishes. Bye.
Where: At the Green Mountains below O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, Canungra

Currumbin Rock Pools (Image by Oksana Simakina)

Currumbin Rock Pools
A well known spot amongst Gold Coast locals is Currumbin Rock Pools, about ten minutes west of the Gold Coast Hwy on Currumbin Creek Rd. It’s the perfect place for a family picnic, a relax in the tiny rapids or a dip in the waterhole. Watch out for kids big and small jumping from the rocks above and be sure to take your camera to secure some sweet snaps.
Where: Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Valley

Warringa Pool
Oh hey no biggie but we found heaven and it comes in the shape of a pool of water at Springbrook. It’s a peaceful little swimming hole sheltered deep in a rainforest gully with views up and down the valley and honestly, when can we move in. You’ll also find a couple of other rock pools to try out should you get sick of Warringa (you won’t) and how good is fresh water.
Where: From the Settlement day-use area in Springbrook National Park, take the path to the Purling Brook Falls lookout

Hinze Dam
Yes we understand that a dam is a manmade structure but it can still be found in the midst of nature up Springbrook way so here it is on the list. Hinze Dam is a big old thing so you can cruise around and find a spot to chill that tickles your fancy. We particularly like the dark, dense trees that grow directly out of the water – perfect for pics – and if you get right down near the water you can (and should) go on a mini frog hunt. Tried and tested good times. You can also grab a cuppa and a tasty treat from View Cafe while you’re there.
Where: Advancetown Road, Advancetown

Words by Kirra Smith

Hinze Dam (Image via View Cafe)

10 of the best Gold Coast picnic spots

The times they are a-changing Gold Coasters (again, yes). We are now allowed to venture out of our homes with those we have been spending ALL OF THE TIME with for a picnic. How nice. While we’re still practicing all of the social distancing precautions, it’s good to be able to sit down somewhere that isn’t the backyard for a spot of cheese and biccies.

To celebrate that, here’s a list of 10 pretty spots to throw down a blanket on the Gold Coast.

Hinze Dam, Advancetown
This underrated hinterland destination will be your new favourite picnic spot. There are several parks that surround Hinze Dam, so take in the stunning scenery, sip on a cold glass of bubbly and generally enjoy the company of family and friends. There’s a BBQ area, kids playground and even a small cafe in case you need fresh supplies. Make sure if you’re taking the pooch to one of the designated areas, they’re kept on a leash to preserve the wildlife.

Cedar Creek Falls, Mt Tamborine
Mt Tamborine is picnic paradise and has more picnic areas than a year has days, Cedar Creek Falls being by far one of the best. Driving up the winding roads and taking in the scenic beauty is almost enough entertainment, but that’s not all. Cedar Creek Falls are located just metres from three waterfalls and countless walking tracks, making it the perfect place to spend your next Sunday.

Macintosh Island, Surfers Paradise
This little oasis nestled in Surfers Paradise (most commonly used for getting around the GC600 every year) is great for picnic dates of all sorts. The tranquil setting with cascading water running through the park is home to many birds, so don’t forget your stale bread. There’s also that super fun bridge previously built for the Indy in 2007.

Burleigh Hill

Gold Coast Regional Botanical Gardens, Benowa
Hard to believe that this beautiful little piece of paradise is just a mere 10 minute drive from Surfers Paradise. Take the whole family or soak up some solo serenity, it’s the perfect setting for both and anything in between. There’s even a butterfly garden for your gazing pleasure.

Cascade Gardens, Broadbeach
Cascade Gardens can be found between Surfers and Broadbeach and there are plenty of barbecue and undercover picnic shelters. This peaceful riverside sanctuary is the perfect date spot and with a huge area to run around, it’s also popular for families wanting to keep the kids entertained for hours (hopefully not on a date).

Ed Hardy Park, Miami
Next to North Burleigh Surf Club the park offers great people watching and a few BBQ areas perfect for that Sunday arvo picnic with the gang. Walk up Miami Hill and take in the views or have a sneaky swim in the ocean. There’s a takeaway bottle shop across the road if you need to stock up on sips.

Burleigh Hill, Burleigh
In unsurprising news, Burleigh Hill is probably the most popular picnic spot on the Coast. You can’t beat the Insta-worthy views overlooking the Surfers Paradise skyline. If you want to get a good spot on a Sunday get there early `cause the whole Gold Coast likes to unite here to see and be seen – at a safe distance obviously.

Tallebudgera Creek

Tallebudgera Creek, Tallebudgera
The battle between which side to choose continues. But no matter which is your go-to, Talle Creek won’t disappoint as favourite picnic spot. The calm creek waters are perfect for a little splash before devouring your mobile buffet. Beware the hungry bush turkeys!

Long Tan Park, Currumbin Valley
Not many people know about this pretty but somewhat hidden picnic spot in Currumbin Valley. It’s the perfect spot to get away, relax by the creek and pop in for a dip. There are no toilets or BBQ stations and uninhibited nature is purely the theme here, so go prepared. Drive along Currumbin Creek Road and take a right turn at Bains Road, the park is situated just over the bridge.

Kirra Lookout, Coolangatta
Kirra Lookout is the Burleigh Hill of Coolangatta, just not as busy and with more parking opportunities (we like the sound of that). You can either drive or walk up, but be warned, it’s quite steep, you’ll burn off your picnic before you make it to the top. Enjoy the view whilst nibbling on some crackers and sipping on an icy cold one, it’s pretty special!

Words by Kirra Smith

Kirra Lookout
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