Living on the Gold Coast is a pretty sweet deal in summer—you can soak up the sun by the beach, take a dip in the waves, or unleash your inner thrillseeker at one of the coast’s multiple theme parks. But once the winter chill starts to creep in, it’s time to head inland, and check out what Queensland’s cooler regions have to offer.
The beauty of it is, you don’t have to head far—if you live on the Gold Coast, the Scenic Rim is just on your doorstep. Check out how you can explore the best of this thriving rural paradise, and still get back home in time for tea. Road trip, anyone?
Stop One: Canungra
Everyone knows the first thing you do before heading out on a day trip is fuel up. And no, we don’t mean the car. Start your journey off right with a trip to The Outpost Cafe, the shining star of the Scenic Rim’s pastry scene. Choose from a range of 12 mouthwatering meat pies (plus their special vego option), or pick up a classic Aussie sausage roll to warm you through. The pies at The Outpost are big, meaty, tasty and fresh, so come prepared for a meal unlike any other. Of course, you’ll need something to help you wash down all that fresh, flaky pastry, so be sure to pick up one of the cafe’s two special coffee blends; their very own Outpost Coffee mix, or the completely organic ORG. Either way, you’re promised a delicious dose of your daily caffeine hit (or, you know, thrice daily, if your caffeine cravings are as bad as ours).
Stop Two: Lamington National Park
Jump back in the car and set your GPS south, and in a quick 40 minutes you’ll be cruising on into Lamington National Park. Here you’ll explore ancient forests, raging waterfalls, and towering mountain peaks that tell the tale of the park’s 300 million year history. Start off your adventure with a gentle hike to Moran’s Falls, along a track flanked by booyongs, bird’s nest ferns and brush box flank that will give you but a taste of everything the park has to offer. Once you reach the lookout, you’ll be blown away by spectacular views of Moran’s Falls, whose waters plummet 80m to the valley below. The waterfall is certainly a sight to behold, but don’t stop there—there’s plenty more to explore. You won’t want to miss O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk, where you’ll appreciate the wonders of the rainforest canopy with the aid of nine suspension bridges raised 15m above ground. The walkway climbs to heights of 30m at its peak, giving you the chance to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the park and get up close and personal with its animal inhabitants.
Stop Three: Mountview Alpaca Farm
If you can somehow manage to pull yourself away from the breathtaking views that make up Lamington National Park, we promise you’ll be treated to an experience unlike any other. Head back the way you came and you’ll stumble across O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards, where you’ll find the Mountview Alpaca Farm, home to a herd of some furry (or should we say, fluffy) new friends who are available for walks (and picnics). Take a stroll with Snowball, enjoy a picnic with Pancake, or a treat Tim Tam to a walk around the property—whoever you choose, you know each alpaca is guaranteed to melt your heart.
Stop Four: The Overflow Estate 1885
After what will undoubtedly be a teary goodbye, you’ll be in dire need of a pick-me-up to get you through until your next alpaca adventure. Heading from one vineyard to another, make your final stop at The Overflow Estate 1895. You’ll need to book in advance for a table, so call up now to secure your spot, because this is one stop on your trip you won’t want to miss. The winery sits on the shores of the stunning Lake Wyaralong, giving guests incredible views out over the water as they pamper themselves with the taste of premium wine and platters of cheese. Sounds like a little slice of heaven, right? Or maybe that’s just the cheese…
Looking for more day trip inspo? Here’s how to have the ultimate road trip to Tambourine.
Image credit: Lochlainn Riordan