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A Day in the Hills—24-Hour Gold Coast Hinterland Itinerary


The Gold Coast might be best known for its glittering coastline and pulsing nightlife, but there’s a world of natural beauty waiting to be discovered as little as 30 minutes’ drive inland. The Gold Coast’s southern hinterland is home to some of the most lovely and tranquil experiences to be found anywhere in the region, and here’s how to tick them all off in the space of 24 hours!


Get up and get high
Rise early (4am… eek!) to meet the Go Ballooning team for a decadent hot air balloon ride over the lush Gold Coast hinterland. You’ll be whisked by 4WD to and from your hotel or pick-up location, take flight as the sun rises over the rolling landscape, cruise for 40-60 minutes (conditions dependent), and finally round off with an extravagant buffet breakfast at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort at Main Beach. 

Come down and get back to nature
With your feet back on terra firma—and if it’s a Friday, Saturday or Sunday—stop by sweet Currumbin Valley Harvest for a coffee and amble through the excellent farmers’ market bounty, then press on to Valley Pilates, a mindfully-designed studio set amongst the Currumbin Valley rainforest. Bend, flex, stretch, and tone your way back to ultimate Zen. 

Enjoy time with animal friends
Feeling rejuvenated, it’s time to reacquaint yourself with Southeast Queensland’s furriest residents at O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards. Explore the extensive grounds, watch birds of prey soar and swoop, feed cheeky gliders, and even take a resident alpaca along as a chaperone. Finish off with a picnic lunch on the banks of Canungra Creek or, better still, a sneaky wine tasting at the cellar door—it’s all about balance, after all!


Make a splash in the rainforest
Time to lace up your trainers and get ready for a hike! You’ll need to trek 3km along the Purling Brook Falls Circuit, taking a slight detour to reach the shady and rocky Warringa Pool—but it’s so worth it! It’s a secluded and sweet nature moment that, with any luck, you may have all to yourself. Don’t forget your towel… because it’s an awfully long walk back to the car!

Get a taste of Mexico in Mudgeeraba
Ok, maybe Tex-Mex is more accurate, but a jovial and tasty night out Panchos sure is! Pop on a sombrero and deep dive the queso at this colourful and lively institution serving up crowd-pleasing plates and zingy cocktails all with a side of live music at weekends. 

Bed down in a landscape of luxury 
After your big day exploring the stunning southern Gold Coast hinterland, you deserve to unwind in ultimate style, so look no further than the Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat. Spread over 250 acres of rainforest, the 13 tucked-away villas are all about privacy, luxury, and tranquillity, with sunken bathtubs, wood-burning fireplaces, and stunning green surrounds. Worth the splurge.


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