Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Gold Coast Hinterlands and Surrounding Areas

Yes another Jetstar sale, and another birthday weekend away. We brought tickets to Coolangatta $45 each way, and decided to do our first campervan adventure exploring the Gold Coast hinterland.
After a few trips now I find the website the best and easiest way to get the cheapest price on vehicles, $75 a day for a small basic campervan, perfect for what we needed, easy to drive and park. Arriving late at night on the Gold Coast we had booked a cheap room for the night. Another thing we have been discovering these days that Jetstar cheap flights seem to be early morning or later in evening, we are finding the later flights are generally running behind time and running late as per schedule, due to losing time throughout the day, we may need to start taking the early morning deals.

So our first morning we are up early and off to pick up the van. We were so excited the van was just perfect every thing included cooking utensils, eski, bedding, maps, we were on our way!!!
A quick stop at a supermarket to buy a few meals, and we were on our way.

Mount Tamborine was our first place of call, an easy drive with lots of signage to find our way. As we headed up the hill the scenery become relaxed, good bye to the hustle of the coast. The trip up the mountain was amusing, warning signs about the  steep incline up hill, we thought our little van wasn't going to make it as we crawled up the very steep mountain, reaching the top was awesome, the view of the coast amazing.

Driving through the beautiful village of Mt Tambourine its a lovely small community. We headed to the National Park a section called the Knoll, a great picnic area where we had some lunch along with a very friendly wild turkey.

After lunch we headed off for our first bushwalk, Sandy Creek circuit which leads to Cameron Falls, the Queensland rainforest is a lot different to what we are use to, was a real change and I loved exploring and taking in the quiet and peaceful surroundings. The falls at the end of the track were very average but the view of the valley below was amazing. Back at the van we were aware we need to find a place to camp for the night so we drove around and found a few options, then off for another walk to witches falls.

We had a few hours before the sunset and we headed down the track about 20min into walk we both stopped in our tracks as we heard a loud ruffle in the near by bush, looking at each other with nervous smiles we continued on again until we heard another noise closer to us. I freaked out a little bit, as the place was deserted and my imagination got the better of me!!.. I quickly stated lets turn around!!!My heart was racing as we heard more noises behind us as we hurried out of the bush. Its funny now looking back on this but the walk was a little creepy.

 We got back to the van and decided on a spot to camp for the night, across the road from an open space to watch our first Queensland sunset over the valley below, a quick feed of chicken stir fry and walked across the road to watch the end of the day set with a cold beer, what a great birthday for me!!!

The next morning we were up early, laughing at our first night attempt sleeping, yes first lesson in parking a van, make sure the ground is level although only on a slight angle we defiantly noticed it.
We headed off early to Cedar Creek section of National Park, a nice walk down along the Cedar Creek Track really easy and paved, then over to Joalah section to walk the Curtis Creek Track this was beautiful, lots of huge trees, very shaded and peaceful. We had arranged to catch up with a long time friend, so after walk we headed over to Eagle Heights to meet for lunch at the famous ?? pub.

The early afternoon we spend driving down to Lamington National Park, where our first stop was the Cave Circuit walk. This walk was a little intense walking down a huge number of steep stairs down a mountain, and this only means one thing we need to come back up. We came upon a open cave and beautiful sandstone wall, it was nice, so we kept walking the loop slowing winding back up the hill, we walked a couple of hours and finally made the top a little disappointed and the second half of walk.

At the top of hill was a camping ground, with showers and amenities, we debated to stay here or keep driving over to Springbrook as there was a lot of walks and sights over that area we wanted to see and do. As we had a few hours Springbrook it was!! We arrived and found a great parking place in a rest area, set up for the night, cooked an amazing meal and sat back with a couple of beers. The drive for the day was great easy and lots of amazing scenery we made a few stops along the way to get some great snaps.

The following day again up super early after a good night sleep, we headed over to the Natural  bridge, were we had the place to ourselves for a couple of hours, I understand why this is such a popular place totally peaceful and tranquil not sure we would of got the same experience if other people were there. After this we had a small problem, our petrol tank was low and the drive into the national park and out plus find a station we were a little concerned?? We decided to find a petrol station and stock up on supplies heading over to Byron Bay via Nimbin route 23.

This drive is one of the best drives I've driven,  the surroundings and beautiful landscapes I felt totally relaxed and just drifted through the day, stopping in a few small towns along the way. A long day driving but amazing. Byron was Byron!! Busy, lots of people, we were aware of the signage everywhere about no parking or camping in all areas. stopping and resting for a while enjoying the scenery,walking around light house and heading to Australians most eastern point.

We headed out of area heading back up coast. Stopping at a over crowded rest area we cooked a meal and deciding where to stay, as we were leaving the following day we kept driving and headed back to the Gold Coast where we booked a night at the Crown Towers for a night of luxury, it was so nice.
Our time on the Gold Coast was short but sweet, we walked into town for a early lunch, cleaned the van, and dropped back then headed back to airport for trip home. A cheap and fun long weekend.

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