Whether along its stunning coastline or in its lush hinterland, the Gold Coast is blessed with natural attractions that have long drawn visitors to the area. Although the iconic beach of Surfers Paradise is arguably its most emblematic natural draw, the Gold Coast’s subtropical hinterland is home to lush rainforest and magical waterfalls, offering the opportunity to experience true nature just a 45-minute drive away from the city centre.
Fondly known as ‘the green behind the gold’, the area can be enjoyed in the oasis of Tamborine National Park. Here, you can immerse yourself in the great outdoors and admire views across to the Gold Coast skyline, and perhaps even spot a wild platypus at Curtis Falls. Other captivating flora and fauna include the rare Albert’s lyrebird and towering, large red cedar trees. Elsewhere, Springbrook National Park hosts ‘The Best of All Lookouts’, for some jaw-dropping views that can be reached after trekking through a woodland of ancient Antarctic beech trees. For those keen to experience an encounter with local wildlife, the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a must-visit, with the opportunity to feed kangaroos and cuddle koalas within almost 30 hectares of natural rainforest.
Combine your interest in nature with rewarding insight into the Indigenous culture that lies at the heart of these lands. Indeed, the hinterland is the ideal place to connect with the traditional owners of this slice of Australia, the Yugambeh people. Burleigh Head National Park (The Dreaming Mountain) is another scenic natural reserve, whose formation is attributed by the local Kombumerri clan to a creation spirit named Jabreen. Be sure to pay a visit to the Aboriginal cultural centre nearby to explore a host of artefacts and book on to a variety of authentic Indigenous tours.
Back on the coast, bath-like waters, consistent surf, and adrenaline-inducing point breaks have cemented the Gold Coast’s status as a legendary surfer’s dream for decades, with some of the best spots including Burleigh Heads, Kirra Beach, Snapper Rocks, and of course, the appropriately named Surfers Paradise.
In recognition of the natural splendour of the area, tourism across the Gold Coast is undergoing a sustainable transformation with a growing choice of Ecotourism-certified retreats, such as the renowned wellness escape, Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat. Initiatives such as this embody the marriage between personal well-being, and a respect for the land and its produce – something that is continuing to develop as a hallmark of tourism across Queensland. This Ecotourism-certified retreat has recently introduced three new wellness suites, designed to provide a heightened level of personal restoration. Gwinganna also stands out as one of just two places across Australia where you can experience a Somadome – the world’s first tech-enabled private meditation pod.