It’s an all too familiar situation: a friend from out of state/overseas turns up on the Gold Coast and within two weeks they’re flapping their wings about a manuscript of adventures you’ve never done. Cringe. And you, in a shameless scramble of self-defense, respond by establishing a loose connection to this one time you did something sort of similar but actually not at all similar in the foothills of Argentina’s Mount Mercedario. Double cringe.
Here are a few of our favourite Gold Coast nature adventures to save your future self from squirming.
Camp On North Stradbroke Island
After an hour’s drive north to Cleveland, you, your car, your tent and your hoard of companions can take the easy 45-minute ferry ride to Dunwich, North Stradbroke Island. Here you’ll be greeted by numerous camping sites and a playground of Zen and nature. Take walks by Myora Springs, eat breakfast in the company of kangaroos, and learn the way of the lands from a local Aboriginal guide. For the best views of the pristine Coral Sea, stroll the 1.2-kilometre North Gorge Walk. Two weeks here and you still won’t be ready to leave.
See The Sun Rise From Mount Warning
Mount Warning is the first place in Australia to see the sun rise; a special treat presented to those who can drag themselves out of bed at around 2am, take the journey to Uki, and climb to the summit by light of a torch. This five-hour round trip sounds overwhelming on paper, but when you’re standing on top of that majestic mountain watching the first rays of the day start caressing the chilly morning’s low lying clouds, there won’t be the slightest nudge of regret.
Hike The GC Hinterland Great Walk
A 54-kilometre walk covering two states and both Springbrook and Lamington National Park; naming this the 'Great Walk' was something of an understatement. You’ll coast along an ancient volcano rim, see cascading waterfalls and be followed by a rainbow of chirpy birds and wildlife. Break it up over a few weekends or do it in a week spending nights in quaint towns and tents.
Float Above The Gold Coast Hinterland In A Hot Air Balloon
It’s always pretty spectacular seeing the Gold Coast from the sky when landing at Coolangatta Airport. Take this experience up a notch by floating open-air in a hot air balloon. Sunrise packages with Hot Air complete with champagne, breakfast and a trip to a winery post-ballooning are priced at a very worthy $330 per adult. We bet your travelling visitors haven’t experienced this GC vista.
Take A Kayak Trip Off Byron Bay
Whether you attempt the seven-hour round trip to Julian Rocks Nature Reserve, or simply drift between pods of dolphins by Wategos Beach, kayaking off Byron Bay is a dazzling adventure. The truly lucky kayakers will time their trip with sea turtles, hump back whales and the rise or fall of the sun. Just don’t watch the YouTube clip entitled 'Julian Rocks, Byron Bay, Sharks Everywhere' before undertaking this adventure, or you’ll wind up sitting on the shore.
Looking for more nature adventures on the Gold Coast? These stellar mountain hikes will get you out amongst our best assets.
Image credit: James Besser