WITH thousands of tourists and locals enjoying the Gold Coast's great weather, we give you a guide on some of the lesser-known things to do across the city.

These spots shouldn't not be packed with tourists and provide a different day out to the typical theme park experience everyone loves to do. Some of them you might have never even heard of, but the locals know they're special.

 

Picnic Rock

Located in the Green Mountains at Lamington National Park, not only is this picnic spot located in world heritage listed rainforest, it has spectacular views. You are unlikely to find the masses here because it requires a short 3.5km scenic walk through rainforest to get there. The only available seating is Picnic Rock itself. Drive to O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat then take the Border Track (opposite the Retreat) about 1.7km until you see the turn off to Elabana Falls and Picnic Rock. Take the turn off and keep walking until you arrive at Picnic Rock.


Coombabah Lakelands Conservation Area

This area protects more than 1200 hectares of wetland, Eucalypt forest, saltmarsh and mangrove swamp habitat. A great spot for short walks, bird watching, animal spotting and plant identification. Visitors can appreciate an ecologically significant area because Lake Coombabah and its estuarine system are important coastal wetlands and migratory water bird habitats for the Gold Coast. Get through Shelter Road (southern access) and Rain Tree Glen (western access).


Tamborine Mountain

The tourist town isn't a secret, but it's the spots outside Gallery Walk that provide cute mountain charm and aren't packed with tourists. Try the Tamborine Mountain Botanic Gardens just off Gallery Walk. Covering 11 hectares, the gardens consist of exotic species and the natural rainforest of Tamborine Mountain and are immaculate for photos.

After that head up to the MT Brewery and Liquid Amber Bistro; Grill for lunch. Cheese and beer under the one roof. You can have tastings of both, brewed and freshly made on the mountain.


Tallebudgeera Creek

This swimming spot caters for everyone and you can find your own little secret coves around the creek and off Burleigh headland. On the eastern side of the Gold Coast Highway bridge there is a cove that can be accessed from the headland. It provides a nice spot for sunbaking or swimming. It's often calm enough to take a pool floaty or do some paddle boarding, and the surf is never far away for those more adventurous.


Currumbin Valley Rock Pools

They are not your obvious beach or hinterland waterfall, but they provide a fun-filled scenic day out for families or couples looking for a cute date spot. The secret with the rock pools is walking 50m upstream to a small waterfall tucked away from the main attraction.

Slippery rocks and smooth crevasses provide natural slides into the freshwater. There are plenty of picnic tables, toilets, and a nice outlook over the rock pools. Drive up a few kilometres further and there is a great short walk along the creek you can take after a leisurely lunch.


Natural Bridge

One of the best day trips on the Gold Coast in the beautiful hinterland, the walk to the bridge actually isn't very long and your own secret spots can be found away from tourists.

The Natural Bridge a most unusual geological feature created over millions of years by water tumbling through the roof of a basalt cave. It is home to an amazing colony of glow-worms, whose lights can be seen only after sunset. Many people go for a swim but restrictions are normally in place. Take a longer walking track afterwards and enjoy a picnic at the end.


Creek Falls and Rock Pools

Discreetly tucked away behind a shield of natural greenery, these falls are often missed by the many who head to the hinterland for day trips and main attractions. There are two main picnic areas with plenty of room and three waterfalls are just 10 minutes walk away. The waterfalls are spectacular all year round and the gorge scenery breathtaking. To get there take Mt Tamborine Road, turn off onto Cedar Creek Falls Road, which ends at the parking area.


Greenmount Beach

It's normally a favourite on someone's best beaches list but not many people know of it because they think Surfers Paradise or Burleigh first. Greenmount headland has some nice little secluded spots around the rocks when it's low tide for sunbaking or a picnic. Further south the cove of Froggy's Beach at Snapper Rocks is a good spot to set up away from the groups on the main stretch of surf watching the waves and surfers come in. It's the most easterly part of Queensland and the most southern tip of Coast beaches before NSW. Love locks have become popular along this stretch, where people sign a padlock and leave it on a boardwalk in memory.


The Wishing Tree Track

Also at the Green Mountains, this mysterious little journey takes you on a 2.4km return to Wishing Tree Track discreetly located below O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat. The journey to the wishing tree is all downhill along a thin track passing lots of interesting native flora. The last quarter of the track is the prettiest where you will cross a cute suspension bridge and wind pass trees to the finale - the wishing tree. At the Wishing Tree you can turn left into Glow Worm Gully or ahead under the Wishing Tree to Morans Creek.


Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens

Even many locals don't head to these gardens but they are a must for a family day out or picnic. Set on 31 hectares, visitors can smell and touch plants and flowers at the Sensory Garden, take a mangroves to mountain walk, check out the local species, visit the native Butterfly Garden or smell the roses in the Rose Garden. There are many boardwalks to stroll around the lake, playgrounds for the kids, picnic areas and an off-leash dog area for the pets.

Source: www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au