The rainforest of the Scenic Rim is beautiful, a preserved tract of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia and the Mount Tamborine Rainforest skywalk provides another perspective getting up in the canopy with the birds and small animals and seeing it all from above.
The rainforests, waterfalls and geographic formations of the Gold Coast hinterland are stunning at any time of year but I do particularly love visiting in the summertime. After a summer rain, the waterfalls will be flowing well and the mountains provide a little respite from the heat and humidity.
Mount Tamborine is about an hour’s drive from either Brisbane or the Gold Coast hinterland and that is where you’ll find the rainforest skywalk. You’ll also find plenty more things to see, do and explore up here. We’ll share some more suggestions for stops you might want to include on a day up here down below.
The entry to the Rainforest Skywalk is directly off highway 95 a little north of the Gallery Walk. The highway is a bit more winding and narrow than it sounds but it’s an easy drive. If you want to plug it into the GPS it’s 333 Geissman Drive but otherwise don’t worry about the street names, the highway changes names at least half a dozen times through the hinterland for no obvious reason, you just keep following the road.
We like to get out fairly early on the weekend so we ended up at the Skywalk a bit before its 9.30 opening time but the friendly staff are very welcoming and sold us our tickets and let us relax on the deck overlooking the trees until the track inspection was complete and it officially opened for the day.
While sitting on the deck of the Birdwing Cafe we spotted a few birds including an excellent view of a white-throated treecreeper pretty close to our level in the tree canopy.
The walk is very easy. While flat shoes are a good idea this isn’t a hike, its 1.5 km all up and includes sections on the skywalk and the well-formed paths down below on the forest floor.
The elevated paths reduce the need to climb up and down but there are a couple of steps along the way, they are wide and well-spaced for easy walking.
A century ago timber cutters worked the mountain and although it is thickly forested now you will still see some remnants of that time and information boards explain the history.
Something else to watch out for, especially if you visit in summer, is the Birdswing Butterfly vine. Birdwing Butterflies are the largest in Australia with pretty coloured markings. They are quite endangered now but as they especially seek out this vine to lay their eggs there’s a good chance of seeing them if the timing is right.
Arriving early meant we got out on the skywalk on our own and aside from one tour group that rushed past us halfway through we only saw a few other people on the track. It was a different story 90 minutes later when we got back to the cafe, by late morning the car park was quite full and you would have had quite a different experience if you were heading out onto the track then.
We’d also suggest taking some time to look around the eco-gallery to learn about the property and the area. Ideally it’s good to take a look first but if like us you want to get out on the walkway during a quiet time you can always stop in at the end of your visit.
Do we recommend the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk?
The Skywalk and the 30 acres of private land it’s situated on are perfectly maintained and offer a wonderful opportunity to see the diverse flora and fauna of the hinterland area.
We find it’s a great option for visitors to the area who don’t have much time to spend or the gear with them for the longer hikes. It’s also a good choice if you have someone in your group with more limited mobility.
While wouldn’t rush for a return visit by ourselves as we enjoy exploring the many excellent National Park tracks in South East Queensland we would, and have, brought visitors and recommended the Tamborine Skywalk.
The location is perfect for including as part of a day out in the hinterland either for locals or taking interstate and overseas visitors to show how much more there is to the Gold Coast than the spectacular beaches and theme parks.
Other suggestions for Mt Tamborine
The Mount Tamborine area is a great location for a day trip from Brisbane of the Gold Coast, it’s also a great option for a night or two away from the city or an alternate Gold Coast stop-off on your road trip along the east coast.
There is a range of things to see and do in the immediate area including the Gallery Walk, cafes, a boutique cheese factory, wineries, botanical gardens, walking tracks and picnic areas to explore.
Cedar Creek Falls and Rock Pools
Cedar Creek is directly behind the Skywalk but we recommend driving on up the road and parking at that end as that is where the picnic area and entrance to the walkway starts.
Although quite close to the road the waterfall and walkway along the creek and pools is pretty and relaxing. It’s very easy walking to the falls lookout and only around 500 metres on a sealed track. It’s still easy walking but a dirt track as you continue further down the creek so you may want slightly more supporting shoes especially if you plan a bit of rock hopping.
The Gallery Walk
When someone mentions heading up to Mt Tamborine for a drive they are often referring to the Gallery Walk area. The street of craft-style shops, wineries and cafes stretches down from the MacDonnel Road roundabout to the one on Eagle Heights Road.
Some popular stops are:
- Granny Mac’s Fudge
- Fortitude brewing company
- Witches Chase cheeses
- Tamborine Vineyard and winery
- Crystal Mountain, and
- the German Cuckoo Clock Nest
Mt Tamborine Botanical Garden
The public gardens include displays of both native and exotic plants and are maintained and administered predominantly by volunteers making the pretty gardens even more impressive.
There are covered picnic areas above the lake and expansive lawns to sit out on and relax. The main features are the lake area, a tropical rainforest walk and the Japanese garden.
Witches Falls walk
The Witches Falls walk is one we really enjoy in the area. It’s a 3.1 km return walk to the car park on a well-marked track. The walk takes you through to the waterfall viewing platform. You start at the top of the mountain and we suggest doing the track clockwise down through the layers of forest to the damp Piccabean palms at the base then back up again.
This one can be a bit slippery after the rain but that is when the falls are at their most spectacular so be careful. It’s a good one for those with an interest in birds, we’ve regularly seen some of the less common ones here such as the Alberts Lyrebirds, Australian Logrunners, Noisy Pitta and Crimson-crowned Fruit Doves.
If you are heading to the Gold Coast hinterland or Scenic Rim area there is a lot more to see too. Slightly further out you might also like to consider:
- Some of the best walks in the Lamington National Park
- A visit to the popular Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park
- Purling Brook Falls, also in Springbrook National Park, and
- One of our all-time favourites, the Twin Falls Circuit
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