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?
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.
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!
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 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
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
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.
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,