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High Above Tamborine Mountain on the Skywalk

One of my favourite things about southeast Queensland — and one of the reasons I chose to study abroad here back in 2005 — is the sheer number of activities you can do in the region and how varied all of them are.

Tamborine Mountain is one of my favourite examples of this. Surfer’s Paradise — a name everyone associates with Queensland — is only 45 minutes to the east, yet it couldn’t be more different. Where Surfers is brash and in your face, Tamborine is quietly understated. Where Surfers is all about the glitz & glamour, Tamborine has a much more country feel. I love that on the way up the mountain you can stop on the side of the road and buy avocadoes by leaving your money in an honour box.

Looking West

Looking west from the top of Mount Tamborine.

There are a number of ways you can enjoy nature on a day out to Tamborine Mountain. Short hikes abound, with most tracks — including those to Witches Falls and Curtis Falls — only a few kilometers in length.

While I always enjoy being on ground level and exploring all the various sidetracks and hidden secrets that tracks have to offer, sometimes it’s fun to get a bird’s eye view as well. Taken to extremes, you could jump of the edge of the mountain while hanging on tightly to a hang glider — something that I would love to try one day —  but if that’s a bit too much, the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk lets you keep your feet on (semi) solid ground high in the canopy of the rainforest.

Near the Top of the Trees

Near the top of the trees on the Tamborine Mountain Skywalk.

The Skywalk is the brainchild of the Moore family, who began building on their property high in the Tamborine Mountain rainforest in 2004. It’s a 1.5km walk on elevated steel walkways, suspended high above the rainforest floor and held up by slightly-wobbly-but-firmly-rooted poles.

The creation of the Skywalk wasn’t easy, as the Moores couldn’t just plop poles in the ground wherever they wanted — the fact that they are nestled in amongst national parks made sure of that. As a result, it seems like there are all too few poles to hold the whole structure up, but at the same time, you know you are visiting a place where great pains have been taken to keep nature as is while still making it accessible to those that may not be serious bushwalkers otherwise.

Through the Canopy

Just a typical afternoon stroll through the canopy…

While I am an experienced hiker, I didn’t visit the Skywalk for a serious walk (I would have headed further south to Lamington National Park if that had been the case) and as someone who has recently had painful knee issues, I really appreciated that the natural beauty many bushwalkers see regularly has been brought to the masses with minimal damage to the rainforest.

The Skywalk (and Tamborine Mountain as a whole) occupies a very unique position on the northern edge of the caldera of the Tweed Volcano — a volcano whose most obvious remnant is now Mount Warning in northern New South Wales.

Rainforest Meets the Eucalypts

The rainforest (foreground) meets the eucalypt forest (in the background).

Interestingly, the forests that cover much of the Tweed Volcano region — the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage site — actually come head to head with the eucalypt forests that coat much of Australia right in front of your eyes as you stroll along the steel walkways of the Skywalk. I probably wouldn’t have picked out the difference on my own, but from our group’s perch high up in the forest and with Brendan Moore to guide us, we could easily see the difference in the trees from one side of the mountain to the other.

Not Quite at the Top...

Not quite at the top of the canopy though.

There are three distinct sections to the walk — the Skywalk, the cantilever, and the rainforest floor walk. We spent almost all of our time on the first two. First, we strolled along the Skywalk, pointing out trees and wildlife in the distance and various features of the rainforest floor that seemed miles away. I loved the feeling of peeking out of the trees; it made me feel like I saw much more detail than if I’d been high above, looking down from a cliff on a sweeping carpet of vibrant green.

Then, we wobbled along the cantilever, a short walkway suspended 30m above the valley below that seemed to lurch with every small movement we made. It was fun, but not for the acrophobic!

Fig Formations

Interesting fig formations.

The rainforest floor, while interesting in its own right and somewhere I would willingly spend a few days hiking, got the short straw. While it was sad that we’d run out of time and couldn’t spend a bit more time enjoying the view of Cedar Creek, I still felt like we’d apportioned our time well.

The highlight of the Skywalk really was seeing the rainforest from an angle that it is rarely seen from. I’d just recommend going at quieter times of the year so you can get a bit of that ‘I’m the only person here seeing this amazing view’ feeling of a bushwalk as well, especially since you’ll want to get your money’s worth as it’s much more expensive than your usual hike in the woods.

My visit to the Tamborine Mountain Skywalk was sponsored by Visit Gold Coast and Tourism Queensland, but all opinions stated here are my own. The Skywalk is located at 333 Geissmann Dr, North Tamborine and is open year round from 9.30am-5pm, with the last walks leaving at 4pm. Walks cost $19.50 for adults and $9.50 for children.

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