The Mountain Ranges of the Gold Coast Hinterland

The Gold Coast is famed for its sprawling white-sand beaches and its plentiful swimming and surfing opportunities. But, head further inland, and you’re greeted by a breath-taking landscape characterised by jutting peaks and dipping valleys.

This area is known as the Gold Coast Hinterland, also named the green behind the gold, and it makes up a large part of southeast Queensland. Here, beaches are replaced by mountain views, and swimming and surfing are taken over by hiking, camping, and other mountain-based adventures.

In 1995, the government combined of the city, hinterland and the northern areas together, creating the seventh largest city in Australia and what we know today as the Gold Coast.

Known for its rainforests, mountain resorts, lookouts, and an eclectic selection of flora and fauna, the hinterland provides the perfect backdrop for the vibrant coastal strip.

The region surrounding the Gold Coast is made up of numerous mountain ranges, which we’ve laid out for you here.

1. The Tweed Range

The Tweed Range sprawls out to the west of the Tweed Volcano caldera rim, which makes up part of the spectacular Scenic Rim and the Great Dividing Range. Here, you can experience one of the region’s finest natural wonders in the caldera, and explore the stunning views from the mountain’s peak.

The range is covered by a carpet of rainforest, great for a trek through the lush greenery, stopping off at the creeks trickling through the area.  If you are in a driving mood, try out the 64-kilometre-long Tweed Range Scenic Drive. On your way, stop off at picturesque lookouts such as the Pinnacle and Blackbutts lookouts.

2. The Nimmel Range

This small mountain range is set in the heart of the hinterland, and is characterised by its most prominent peak, Mount Nimmel. Again, hiking is a popular activity in this intimate range, as there are plenty of spectacular views to soak up from the top.  If you are looking to pack up for the night, check out the campgrounds dispersed throughout the range, with either cabins or tent areas available. Make sure to only camp in official camp grounds, as arbitrary spots may need a permit, or the area could be unsafe.

Back in the 1990s, before construction of Springbrook Road, the goal to access the Springbrook mountain through the coast began. Two Pioneers tried to follow the ridges trail from the east to the west branches of Little Nerang Creek. However, on their journey, they found Nimmel Range, and realise it was smack bang in the way of your route. Later, the road was built to curve around the Mount Nimmel instead of through it. Springbrook Road is a heritage road and remains the only link from the mountain to the rest of Gold Coast.

3. Tamborine Mountain

Tamborine Mountain is one of the most popular peaks in the region and promises a whole host of adventurous activities for visitors to get stuck into. Around every twist and turn, there are new views to marvel at, an abundance of native wildlife, and plenty of unique activities that the mountain is renowned for, including arts and crafts, award-winning wineries, country markets, festivals, and upmarket restaurants.

Spot the native wildlife through the rainforest and into the caves. Inside the darkness, you will see thousands of glowing starts scattering the ceiling. These are not in fact stars, but glow worms! These creatures are only found in Australia and New Zealand and are famous for their natural blue/green light they admit. Join one of the local horse-riding tours, to meet a new furry friend while you marvel at the surrounding bushland. These horses are trained to follow the group, so even if you aren’t the most confident rider, you won’t stray far.

To really marvel at the incredible wildlife this place has to offer, visit the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk. The path is suspended high above the forest floor, letting you wander amongst the treetops. Only an hour out of your day is well worth the visit! See some exotic plant life at Mount Tamborine Botanic Gardens. The area, once a weed infested swamp has transformed into a natural wonderland, filled with colour trees and unique flowers. There are plant themed areas, including a Japanese garden as well as a tropical rainforest.

Mount Tamborine is renowned for its markets held throughout the year, each with a diverse range of products on offer. With organic veggies or local honey, arts and crafts, or homemade baked goods to soaps, you won’t leave these markets empty handed.

Tuck into the local food and wine! Dozens of festivals, restaurants, and street food invades the area, so stop off for a relaxing lunch on your day of adventure!

4. The McPherson Range

The McPherson Range forms a spur of the Great Dividing Range and spans out in an easterly direction from Wallangara to the sparkling expanse of the Pacific Ocean. This huge mountain range is one of the biggest in the region, and promises an eclectic range of landscapes for visitors to enjoy. Like the other peaks in the region, the mountains that make up the McPherson Range are popular hiking destinations peppered with stunning lookout points.

The range has countless national parks surrounding and within it, including the Lamington National Park, the Border Ranges, Mount Barney National Park as well as world heritage listed Gondwana Rainforest. Plunge into the falls trickling through the area, including Moran Falls or Elabana Falls.

The Gold Coast hinterland and its incredible ranges give visitors the perfect introduction to the spectacular beauty that lies just inland from the sprawling beaches and glittering coastline.

Discover the Gold Coast Hinterland on our Mount Tamborine Tour today.

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