Tamborine Mountain, or is it Mount Tamborine? It’s Tamborine Mountain and the suburbs of North Tamborine, Mount Tamborine and Eagle Heights form this beautiful mountain locality. Tamborine Mountain is home to Queensland’s oldest national park and the third oldest national park in the world.
Tamborine Mountain is the southern end of the Mount Warning central magma plug of a once fiery shield volcano. After furious explosions around 20 million years ago, the landscape was coated in rich volcanic earth. The biggest erosion caldera in the southern hemisphere – one of the largest in the world – was formed. It remains possibly the best preserved shield volcano in the southern hemisphere.
Welcome to my home.
Only an hour’s drive south of Brisbane and 30 to 40-minute drive from the Gold Coast, Tamborine Mountain is filled with natural and man-made treasures. Here are a few of my favourites.
Tamborine Mountain National Park is made up of 14 sections. The Witches Falls section was declared in 1908. Curtis Falls is in the Jolah section close to the main tourist attractions and is the easiest walk to any waterfall.
It’s also the only waterfall that can be viewed from the bottom of the falls and is fed by Cedar Creek, a permanent running creek, so it’s always flowing.
The 1.1km walk return walk down to the falls and Cedar Creek is a Class 3 track with steps. After visiting the falls take the Lower Creek circuit across Cedar Creek. This is an awesome area to see fungi and giant strangler figs.
The park harbours an extraordinary natural environment with an abundance of animals and plants. According to the Queensland Environment and Protection Agency, 85 percent of fauna and 65 percent of flora in the Gold Coast City area can be found within the park. It’s home to the rare Albert’s lyrebird, one of the world’s largest skinks, the land mullet and the Richmond birdwing butterfly.
The falls are host to a very special glow-worm colony. For this reason access to the falls and rock pool is prohibited – fines do apply. You still get a great view and plenty of photo opportunities from the viewing area.
The best place to park is in Dapsang Drive off Eagle Heights Road. Or you can access the walk from Curtis Corner at the T-junction of Eagle Heights Road and Giessmann Drive, which has eateries and a few tourist shops.
2-Tamborine Mountain markets
Tamborine Mountain hosts two markets. The Tamborine Country Market is held every second Sunday at the Tamborine Mountain Show Grounds at the roundabout of Main Western Road and Bartle Road. The Tamborine Mountain School Markets are held on the last Sunday of each month in the car park opposite the state school on Long Road.
The markets have food stalls, locally made wares, fresh fruit and vegetables, plants and an array of regionally produced goodies. The Tamborine Country Market is renown more for its artisan wares while the School Markets are brilliant for their assortment of second hand wares – bargains for antique hunters are often to be found.
3-The Green Shed
Located at the showgrounds, The Green Shed, is where the locals from across the mountain bring their surplus fruit and vegetables, flowers, honey, herbs and plants to sell. Most are organically grown and of high quality and freshly picked.
Its open from 7am to noon every Sunday and the range on offer does depend on the season. Organised through the Tamborine Mountain Local Producers Association Inc., it’s a non-profit venture.
It’s one of those little secrets not many visitors hear about but it’s perfect for stocking up for your week’s fresh supplies.
4-Tamborine Mountain Botanic Gardens
The Tamborine Mountain Botanic Gardens are another of the mountain’s treasures. Located off Forsythia Drive (off Long Road) they are open every day during daylight hours and admission is free.
Walkways lead to specialised gardens, such as a Japanese Garden, rainforest section with a beautiful palm grove, a rose garden, orchid house and wisteria walk. A lake with a pretty stone bridge forms a central feature to the gardens. No matter what time of the year you visit, there is always something flowering.
Bring a picnic basket and rug as the gardens are fantastic providing fun and interesting things to see and do for all ages. Check out the birds currently nesting in one of the sculptures in the lake. Facilities include covered pavilion with picnic tables and toilets. There are no BBQ facilities and dogs are not allowed in the gardens.
Maintained by the volunteers of the Garden Club their main event each year is called Springtime on the Mountain, held annually in September. Along with activities in the gardens themselves there are trails organised for you to visit private gardens across the mountain. Passes are reasonably priced at $20 and free for children.
5-Esme Lahey Environmental Park
This is one treasure you won’t find on most tourist brochures and one I love because it’s dog friendly! The small park is remnant rainforest being regenerated by the Tamborine Mountain Landcare and there is an area for off-street parking from the Licuala Drive entry.
A paved track suitable for prams and wheelchairs leads you around this small protected reserve and there are few interpretive signs identifying plants and key elements. You will often see land mullets and frogs, if you look closely, and meet locals, like me, walking this peaceful track.
If the mountain has had recent rain, keep an eye out for the red-eyed green tree frogs. They come down from the forest canopy after rain to breed. At night in the park, the chorus of males calling for a mate is very loud and makes them easier to find. Don’t forget the insect repellent as the mosquitoes can be friendly.
There is much more to see on your visit to Tamborine Mountain and I hope you enjoy these tips from my back yard.