Road Trippin’: Gold Coast Hinterlands

From the surfer-chic eloquence of Noosa we followed our noses south to Brisbane. If you speak to anyone who has been to Brisbane they will tell you it is far from exciting (having been there before I was inclined to agree). For this reason we literally passed through the city, only stopping to walk around for an hour or so and to purchase one of our camping essentials… wine! From Brisbane we had ear-marked a campground / field round the back of a pub, near a place called Ipswich, where we would take shelter for the night. We battled the rush hour traffic to vacate the city and drove for an hour or two towards the Gold Coast Hinterlands to make camp.

When we arrived the weather was fucking atrocious, the type of rain you only find in tropical countries… absolutely shitting it down. We sheltered in the pub, with a tasty local beer, sitting with an interesting group of locals, whilst watching an even more interesting documentary on a social-benefit-scrounging UFO believers group from South Australia. Hilarious stuff and a great way to pass the time.

We finally made camp when the rain died down (a bit) and whilst cooking dinner under our make shift tarpaulin shelter, we planned our next day’s route. We had selected this campsite for it’s close proximity to the Gold Coast Hinterlands and Lamington National Park, and that it was free (of course), however when planning our route it became apparent we would actually have to circle the whole Hinterlands mountain ranges to be able to enter on the only passable roads into Lamington. This means our journey had gone from what I thought would be a casual half an hour or so to more like 3 hours. Smashing. Piss poor pre-planning right there.

Never-mind, on our way in to the ranges the following morning we had a bit of local radio to entertain us, with one notable story about a local entrepreneur who had started a business loaning goats out to assist with the gardening and cultivation of overgrown grassland areas and residential gardens. Only in Australia. The final hour of the drive up to the Green Mountain region of the Hinterlands was along a very wet, very windy road, littered with the previous nights rock-falls, only to reach the top and find that the majority of the walks were closed due to fallen trees. The only walk available to us was a short 2km return through the rainforest along a slippery boardwalk, which included a tree that had been rigged up so you could climb it, which we did, all the way to the top, only to get caught in a huge gust of wind, shit pants a bit and make a fast return back down the tree. As the tree creaked and swayed it was pretty fucking terrifying!

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Well Green Mountain was a no go, so off we went to find a new campsite, and look into new options for the following day. We arrived in Cunungra and set up camp in the local Sharpes Park for the nominal fee of just $8 per person.

The weather was still awful on the next day, but never ones to be too deterred by a little bit of rain (we are British after all; rain should be part of daily life), we made tracks up to the Binna Burra region of the Lamington National Park and Hinterlands to see if the weather would be more gracious to us today. It was not. It just rained and rained. We decided to just go for it anyway. We walked a difficult 8km along the Queensland/New South Wales Border Track in pissing wet rainforest, only to find that a newly fallen tree had completely blocked the path. The only option to about turn and head back the way we came, hopping across fast flowing creeks, rounding deep puddles and vaulting broken branches all the way back to Binna Burra car park. We got absolutely drenched (I think there is a point when waterproof clothing ceases to be waterproof) and we both got destroyed by leaches. Fun day out. Next stop… off to the laundrette to dry out sodden clothes and back to the pub to drown our sorrows.

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For our final day in the Hinterlands we left the Lamington National Park area and drove off into the stunning Springbrook National Park. Finally the weather was actually good (in comparison), which left us in pretty good spirits considering the wash out from the previous two days. We decided to take it a bit easy today, so opted for only a couple of short walks and to drive ourselves around the park and explore some of the incredible waterfalls and beautiful lookouts. We visited the 5 Must See Places, with our favourites being:

  • Best Of All Lookout – Extremely strong name, but as it turns out this was on the only area of the part national park that was smothered in cloud and actually proved the worst of all lookouts. As the clouds shift we caught glimpses of the view that could’ve been, so I’m sure that on a good day it would be spectacular.
  • Purling Brook Falls – Probably the most impressive falls I have ever seen. The sun, coupled with the spray from the huge drop created a permanent rainbow at the bottom of the falls… magical.

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  • Canyon Lookout – Low enough in the national park to not be swamped by clouds, this lookout gave emphatic views across to Twin Falls, multiple mountain peaks and across to the sprawling cities on the coast.

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Satisfied with our eventual success in the Gold Coast Hinterlands we continued on to Byron Bay were I had managed to wangle us 3 complimentary nights staying at Backpackers Inn On The Beach.

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