The Gold Coast is best known for meth-addicted single mothers, drunken teenagers shitting in the streets, rampant home invasions and roided-up pindicks with shit tribal tatts. But head inland, climb up into the hinterland, and it’s possible to lose yourself in a natural wonderland of indescribable beauty.
Tamborine Mountain is around 45 minutes west of Surfers Paradise, but feels like an entirely different planet. There are waterfalls, rainforests, natural pools, hiking trails and quaint little villages without even a single methadone clinic. The Curtis Falls Walking Track is close to the town of Mount Tamborine and is simply stunning, with thick clumps of palms, abundant birdlife, and sleepy rivers. I planned to tackle a few other tracks during my visit, but ended up spending so much time exploring this area that I didn’t get to some of the others. I don’t regret my decision.
Another highlight is the famous Perling Brook Falls, a monumental 106-metre-high cascade surrounded by lush bushland. Fun fact: I first visited Perling Brook Falls 15 years ago with the woman who, several years later, convinced my fiance to cheat on me, thus setting me on the path of destruction that became the Drunk and Jobless World Tour. I wish the bitch had fallen off the bloody waterfall…
The nearby Natural Bridge is pretty enough that it should’ve been given a proper name. The water running through the caves is so bright it seems to glow, and after rain the waterfall is really impressive. The walking track leading up to it is well-maintained and easy to tackle, and it’s possible to jump in the water if you’re willing to risk a $10,000 fine and some serious shrinkage.
Botanical Gardens are the sort of thing old people like going to whilst they try to pass kidney stones, but the ones up the top of Tamborine Mountain are worth stopping off at. There are plants from all over the world, a weird Asian bridge, and I even got my hands on some lovely hooters!
I stayed at the Canungra Sport and Recreation Centre, which offers campsites by the river and great facilities. It was a nice step up from the last time I stayed in the Gold Coast Hinterland, on a camping/team building wankfest for my job as a shelf stacker at Anaconda (the camping shop, not the legendary interracial porn site). Back then Darryl, who proudly described himself as a heroin aficionado and looked like a diabetic rat, got so hammered that he pissed all over the manager’s tent and then fell on top of the poor bastard. The boss climbed out, half-naked, and screamed into the night, waking up anyone lame enough to be asleep, before promptly stepping in a big pile of dog shit. I believe Darryl’s since become either a registered sex offender, a high-ranking member of the Labor Party, or both. I think of him often.