Mount Tamborine

January 18, 2021

Curtis Falls Cafe – Mount Tamborine. This is where we had coffee on arrival (to the sounds of the falls and rainforest).

Some call it Mount Tamborine (like me) and others call it Tamborine Mountain. Doesn’t really matter which you call it but I can tell you one thing … it is a really lovely place to go for a day trip from Brisbane and also as a place to stay for a few days or so (particularly in winter – in my opinion). 

We were very lucky that we decided to go for a drive up to Mount Tamborine when we did (Tuesday 5 January) for a couple of reasons: 1) it was about the only sunny (and very hot) day that week, and 2) Brisbane went into a three day lockdown from 6pm on the Friday.

A bit of information about Mount Tamborine

It’s only 62 kilometres from Brisbane (about an hour’s drive) and sits on the edge of the escarpment behind the city of the Gold Coast.  It’s actually a geological phenomenon (the result of an outpouring of lava from Mount Warning) and also a collective term for a number of small villages stretching along the eight kilometre ridge of the mountain range. The elevation of the mountain reaches 525 metres and it has a 28 km² plateau.

The Yugambeh language (Aboriginal) is the origin of the name Tamborine, which means wild lime and refers to the finger lime trees that grow on the mountain. The name has nothing to do with the similarly spelt word ‘tambourine’ which is of course, a musical instrument.

What’s up there?

My hat on the table at St Bernards Hotel during lunch (and boy did I need it that day – it was a scorcher!)

Ahhhh Mount Tamborine. It makes me feel happy being up there. It holds lots of lovely memories for me, mostly from the days when I was young and child free and visited up there quite often. The memories that first come to mind are from when we were living in our third residence since being married. The first was an apartment while we saved for a deposit for a house. The second was our first house. The third was a house we built in a new estate not far from where we live now (in our fourth residence). This third residence was a house in a cul-de-sac where we became great friends with many of the neighbours. We used to have drinks on Friday nights out in the cul-de-sac and we went on lots of outings together. One of the places we used to go was to Mount Tamborine. Most often for day trips, usually on weekends and to visit the markets, but we also had an overnight stay or two up there as well.

Gallery Walk

So what’s up there to visit or do?  Well – there’s the Gallery Walk – a variety of shops for browsing clothing, gifts, pottery, jewellery, hats, quirky stuff, glassware, antiques, and so much more!

My one and only purchase on the Gallery Walk – a bargain glass owl for my owl collection – 50% off sale at the Glass Studio.

Hang Gliders Lookout

Mount Tamborine Hang Gliders Lookout

There’s grabbing a coffee and/or something to eat and going to watch the hang gliders at the Hang Gliders Lookout on Main Western Road.  This spot is also perfect to see a glorious sunrise and/or sunset and offers spectacular views over the Scenic Rim and the Great Dividing Ranges. The outlook is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!  There were no hang gliders there on our recent visit so I’ve included a YouTube video I found that shows the site with some hang glider action. But first is a video I took that shows how beautiful the outlook is (though it’s far more amazing when you’re there in person).

St Bernards Hotel

St Bernards Hotel, Mount Tamborine

St Bernards Hotel was founded in 1911 and is a historic hotel perched atop Mt Tamborine overlooking Guanaba Gorge with views to the Gold Coast.  You’ll find it located on Alpine Terrace, away from the main tourist area.

If you know me you’d know I’m very sentimental. Back in those days of going up to Mount Tamborine with our neighbours and friends we always had lunch and even stayed at St Bernards Hotel. Simply put – I haven’t been to Mount Tamborine if I haven’t visited St Bernards Hotel. You’ll notice how much I love this place by how many photo’s (and videos) I took here (and this is not all of them)! Here’s a glimpse of the outdoor dining area and the incredible view!

I love the hotel’s old world charm, love a good pub meal, really enjoy walking around the gardens there, and of course I adore seeing the St Bernard Dogs!  There used to only ever be one St Bernard dog wandering around but on our recent visit we soon learned that there are now three. They were sleeping and I don’t blame them because it was such a hot and humid day that day! I believe the eldest dog is named Molly and she would be around 9 years of age, then there is Syrah who is about 4 years of age, and then there is gorgeous puppy Cooper! Here’s a quick video I took. I have no idea which dog is which!

There’s less garden area to access now then there was back in the day (it meandered much further and included a creek and ducks etc) as it appears some of the land now holds some new luxury accommodation facilities – ‘Edges Lodges‘ – but the gardens are still plentiful and beautiful. Here’s a few phone snaps I took on our recent visit.

Other Tourist Attractions

There’s lots of attractions at Mount Tamborine, like the Rainforest Skywalk, Thunderbird Park, Thunderegg Crystal Mine, Tree Top Challenge, Tamborine Mountain Distillery, and more!  

Mount Tamborine Markets

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the markets up at Mount Tamborine so that is on my bucket list for this year (hopefully).  

Each month, three regular markets take place on Tamborine Mountain:

  • Every Sunday morning from 7am to noon in the “Green Shed” at the Tamborine Mountain Showgrounds: Local Producers Market
  • Every second Sunday of the month at the Tamborine Mountain Showgrounds: Country Markets (closed until further notice due to COVID-19)
  • Every last Sunday of the month at the corner of Long Road and Curtis Road in Eagle Heights: School Markets

You’ll see that the Country Markets are closed for now because of that pesky COVID-19. You can keep watch HERE to see when or if that changes.

The Polish Place

The Polish Place – Mount Tamborine, Queensland (photo from The Polish Place’s Facebook page)

This brings me to a story to tell. Back in 1992 when I was pregnant and expecting my twins, we were booked to stay at The Polish Place at Mount Tamborine. This was to be a last little getaway before becoming busy parents of twins. Unfortunately, I had a bleed (a threatened miscarriage) and was ordered to stay in bed for the remainder of my pregnancy, so we had to cancel. To this day, I still haven’t stayed there and I still very much want to. It is gorgeous and has the most amazing view!  I mean – check out the cottage accommodation!! 

The Polish Place have had their own challenges during this time, because in late 2016, a fire engulfed and destroyed their restaurant, art gallery and premises, and after nearly 3 years, they reopened in September 2019. Can you imagine how devastating that must have been? So a big congratulations to them on their resilience and rebuild – what an achievement!

A stay here is definitely very high on my bucket list (definitely a winter stay)!  On this visit, we had a little walk around the coffee shop gardens and had a coffee before heading home.  This is another place up at Mount Tamborine that has a gorgeous resident dog wandering around. This time it is a dachshund called ‘Ponchek’ (see her here on their Facebook page).  Here’s some video’s and photo’s I snapped when we were there.

The Polish Place – Cafe Fireplace

So there’s a little look at beautiful Mount Tamborine. There is so much more!  I also enjoy driving around looking at real estate (so many gorgeous cottages nestled in rainforest – be still my beating heart). There’s lots of things to do and see and places to explore and discover up at Mount Tamborine. Be sure to check out the Visit Tamborine Mountain website to learn more of what this glorious place has to offer.

This is a good time to post the quote that most explains the effect being out in nature has on me and why trips like this are so important to me and to everyone really.

I go to nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses put in order ~ John Burroughs

Have you been to Mount Tamborine? If not, have I tempted you? If yes – do you love it too and do you call it Mount Tamborine or Tamborine Mountain?

Ciao for now,

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  • Reply Jennifer Jones January 18, 2021 at 7:46 am

    I loved this post. I’ve always wanted to go to Mount Tambourine. It was always on our list when we went to Qld over the years but we never seemed to have the time. Our visits were always just a few days. Your photos make me want to geo there even more #lifethiswek

    • Reply Min January 18, 2021 at 3:25 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post Jen! I hope you can visit Mount Tamborine next time you’re in Queensland. I like it best during the cooler months. I love a day trip and a visit to the markets but best of all is an overnight stay in a quaint cottage with a fireplace and a view or rainforest surrounds. My kind of thing that’s for sure!

  • Reply Sue from Women Living Well After 50 January 18, 2021 at 8:04 am

    Hi Min, Mt Tambourine is a lovely area and one I’ve had on my list for Mike and I to revisit. You’ve reminded me that I need to make it happen. Lovely photos. #lifethisweek

    • Reply Min January 18, 2021 at 3:26 pm

      Hi Sue, I hope you get to visit Mount Tamborine one day soon! It’s not too far from you at all and would be a lovely day out!

  • Reply Deborah Cook January 18, 2021 at 9:52 am

    So lovely but I’ve only been there once or twice. I ‘think’ I went once as a child with my family and relatives. But I went over a dozen years ago for a friend’s book launch. We didn’t actually do any sightseeing, rather to the event and home so I really must play tourist again at some point as it looks lovely. Funny how we take stuff on our doorstep for granted.

    • Reply Min January 18, 2021 at 3:30 pm

      Hi Deb, I’m surprised you’ve been so few times! It’s a lovely spot – best enjoyed by having a couple of days up there at least but a day trip is always good too! Depends on what you’re in to – there’s wine tours, the gallery walk, you could do rainforest walks, visit the markets, etc. You’re right though – we can tend to take things on our doorstep for granted! One good thing to come out of this pandemic is that we need to look at holiday and getaway options closer to home … a good reminder of just how much we have here and how lucky we are!

  • Reply Natalie January 18, 2021 at 10:13 am

    Min, You’ve tempted me to visit Mt Tambourine when I get to visit Brisbane, Australia. Your glass owl is a gorgeous find. I hope you get to stay at The Polish Place soon (perhaps it can go on your birthday/ anniversary gift wish list). #lifethisweek

    • Reply Min January 18, 2021 at 3:32 pm

      I hope you do get to visit Brisbane, Australia one day Natalie … and if you do I hope I get to meet up with you! Mount Tamborine would be a great day trip option if you’re ever here, that’s for sure. I hope I get to stay at the Polish Place soon too … and great idea about the birthday wish list!

  • Reply Joanne Tracey January 18, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    We drove through when we came back from the Scenic Rim one time, but it was pissing down and we didn’t stop. I’ve wanted to go back ever since – and now I want to go even more!

    • Reply Min January 18, 2021 at 3:34 pm

      That winding road up to and down from Mount Tamborine would be a bit scary in the pouring rain! You SO should get yourself up there for a visit. I personally love an overnight stay up there someplace cosy with a fireplace during the cooler months and that gives you more time to explore and see all there is to see & do, but a well planned day trip is great too!

  • Reply Christina Henry January 18, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    We stayed there for our last anniversary in a cute B&B overlooking the Gold Coast. A beautiful view, wonderful hosts and a lovely fireplace. We visited the markets on the Sunday and they were excellent. We love going to the Castle Wine Cellars and all the little cute shops like the cuckoo clock shop. It reminds me of Montville – a similar vibe. We live on the Gold Coast so we have been there quite a lot. The last time we went, in November, it was torrential rain, but we still had fun. We took my brother who lives in Northern NSW. The restaurants and pubs are great too.

    • Reply Min January 18, 2021 at 3:44 pm

      Hi Christina – can you remember the name of the B&B you stayed at? Your stay for your anniversary sounds perfect! It is similar to Montville – I know what you mean. I love it up there in winter because I love the fireplace/cosy cottage vibe. It’s my kinda thing! You’re right – there’s lots of great restaurants and pubs. I remember years ago going to Simon Gallaher’s restaurant up there back in the very early 90’s. Can’t remember the name of it but it’s probably not there anymore.

  • Reply Debbie Harris January 18, 2021 at 5:09 pm

    What a great post Min! I used to go to Murwillumbah to visit family and Mount Tambourine was often a spot we’d go for an outing. Your posts shows the beauty of the place and those views are amazing as you say! thanks for the tour and I hope one day you get to stay in the Polish Place! #lifethisweek

    • Reply Min January 19, 2021 at 2:45 pm

      Hi Deb, Murwillumbah (NSW) is quite a way from Tamborine – about 1.5 hrs I think but I guess only 30 minutes longer trip than from Brisbane! I love it up there and yes I do plan on staying at The Polish Place one day!

  • Reply Michele Somerville January 19, 2021 at 10:31 am

    Wonderful, colorful and inviting pictures, thanks so much. Mount Tambourine sounds like a great place to get away. Blessings, Michele #lifethisweek

    • Reply Min January 19, 2021 at 2:46 pm

      Thanks so much Michele. I have always loved visiting Mount Tamborine. It’s good for the soul!

  • Reply Vanessa January 19, 2021 at 2:07 pm

    I don’t do mountain drives (phobia!!) but having said that, I have done the skywalk there and loved it.

    • Reply Min January 19, 2021 at 2:47 pm

      Hubby did the drive! It wouldn’t be my favourite thing to do either, particularly if it was raining! Locals were telling us of a truck that rolled up there the day before during wet weather. I was pleased it wasn’t raining the day we were there!

  • Reply Sanch @ Sanch Writes January 20, 2021 at 4:54 pm

    If they ever decide to open the borders, this looks like a lovely place to visit! I am more of a coastal person but am also in awe of mountains. Gorgeous pics Min!

    • Reply Min January 22, 2021 at 12:17 pm

      Thanks Sanch! I’m a coastal and a hinterland person – I love them both! I also love the country! I’m not so much a suburban person yet that is where I live. I hope one day I can change that. xo

  • Reply Denyse Whelan January 20, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    I love the idea that you took this nostalgic trip recently and we got to reap the rewards of your visit.

    What a lovely place and hinterland areas are a treat often missed by those of us who are drawn to the coastal areas.

    Loved reading your story too!!

    Thank you for sharing your post in Life This Week, the Monday link up on my blog. Each Monday, there is an optional prompt but you can link up a post (just one) old or new, on or off prompt. Next week’s is 4/51 Cannot. 25 Jan.Hope to see you back here then. Denyse.

    • Reply Min January 22, 2021 at 12:20 pm

      Thanks Denyse! I’m drawn to the coastal areas too, but also hinterlands (love them) and countryside … anywhere that is in nature! I know deep in my soul that I need to leave the suburbs. One day! xo

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