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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

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)
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)

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

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

Why you need to take a day trip to Mount Tamborine

Curtis Falls image by Queensland

So we’re allowed to venture up to 150 kilometres away but we live on the Gold Coast so we already live in paradise. We’re also very keen for an adventure and to see something a little bit different than what we’ve been looking at for the past two months. What are we to do?

How about a little day trip (or spend the whole weekend if you wish) to Mount Tamborine? An absolutely stunning spot that’s only about 45 minutes away and offers more good times than you can probably jam into just one day honestly.

Let’s discuss. The drive itself is lovely and relaxing, winding up the mountain into the lush greenery and watching the city recede behind you. Once there, you’ll find yourself in a sweet little mountaintop village, surrounded by rainforest and on chillier days, with a low fog descending from above.

Now there are so many things to do once you get there, starting with tea and scones obviously. The Gallery Café has long been a favourite with an impressive array of teas (we’re quite partial to the Devonshire variety) plus of course, some warm, fluffy, freshly baked scones to kick things off. If it’s a bit on the nippy side up there, you can snuggle by the fireplace and not even venture outside.

Lemon Lovers Gelato (image supplied)
Lemon Lovers Gelato (image supplied)

You should though because you’re next stop is one of the many rainforest walks around the place including the Curtis Falls Walk (a fave) which yes has a waterfall at the end and is just a little 2km round trip. The Sandy Creek Circuit is also a beauty with views out over the Scenic Rim and also at a not-too-taxing 2.6km round trip.

Once you’ve sweated a bit, pop over to Lemon Lovers Gelato (across the road from the entrance to Curtis Falls) for a refreshing treat – they have over 20 flavours to choose from – and if you’re in a treat yo’self mood, Australian Outback Opals is right there filled with sparkly goodies too. How good are opals.

Right, so now you might like to wander up and down The Gallery Walk in the village, there are lots of quirky shops to peek into including fashion, jewellery, arts and crafts, produce, cellar door outlets, chocolate, fudge and cafes. All the best things.

One absolute must-visit is Granny Mac’s Famous Fudges because not only can you take home some of the yummiest fudge in the world, in pretty much any flavour you can think of, you can also stock up on an array of your favourite lollies (including some you forgot existed) for the trip home.

For a late lunch you need to head to Cedar Creek Estate where you can grab a picnic basket and set up on the lawn. For just $85, you’ll get an antipasto plate, a cheese plate, salads and warm dishes, muffins and chocolate and a basket and throw rug that you can take home. Enjoy all that while overlooking the stunning surrounds and that’s pretty much the most relaxing time there is.

Once you’re done there, head to Fortitude Brewing for some locally brewed, takeaway beers to enjoy once you get back home and right next door you’ll find Witches Chase Cheese who offer a huge variety of delicious goodness (including French and Italian flavours) you’ll absolutely want to stock up on. If wine is more your thing, pop over to Witches Falls Winery to grab a few bottles to take home.

Hopefully you went on a big enough stroll to not feel too full because that’s a lot of eating and drinking. Our fave. Finish the day off by watching one of the most magical sunsets you’ll ever see from Rotary Lookout. Perfection

Of course you can stay overnight on Mount Tamborine and find plenty more fun things to fill your time but well worth a day trip if that’s all you have.

Happy getting away from home for a bit.

Words by Kirra Smith

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