Explore Scenic Rim's Waterfalls and Rainforests
The Scenic Rim is one of South East Queensland’s natural treasures; an arc of spectacular mountains only an hour’s drive from Brisbane.
The sheer size of the area is breathtaking and it sustains a diversity of rare flora and fauna, and subtropical rainforests. Accommodation includes everything from luxury bed and breakfasts and cottages to cabins, farm stays, camping and glamping, and hotels and motels.
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the lush surrounds is on the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk. The walk gradually descends to the lower canopy and follows rock pools, a butterfly lookout and sheltered rest areas until reaching the amazing cantilever. This is a 40m-long structure that soars 30m above the valley, providing spectacular views. A similar thrill awaits at O'Reilly's Tree Top Walk, which allows you to stroll through the canopy to see flowering and fruiting trees and vines, orchids and ferns, and birds and animals. The walk is only 300m from the guesthouse via the Booyong Walk.
Those keen to tackle a bigger adventure should consider the Lamington National Park Great Walk. The first leg, the 21.4km Border Track section linking O’Reilly’s to Binna Burra, can be walked comfortably in seven hours. The 25.5km second leg continues east towards Springbrook, where a challenge awaits – 900 steps leading up to the finish. Another top-of-the-world experience is Main Range National Park, which offers 29,730ha of rugged mountain ranges, spectacular lookouts and rare wildlife. The park is home to a mosaic of vegetation types: rainforests grow in moist or sheltered locations, with open eucalypt forest on the drier ridges and valleys.
Serious bushwalkers and those who prefer to rough it should put Mt Barney National Park on their itinerary. Rugged mountain peaks rise above the surrounding landscape in this wild, beautiful Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage area – home to rare animals, plant species and communities. At Mt French, two short tracks make it easy to explore Moogerah Peaks National Park. North cliff track, which is 720m return, leads to Logan's Lookout, with panoramic views over the Fassifern Valley. Mee-bor-rum circuit, 840m return, passes through heathland and features a lookout with views of Tamborine, Lamington and Mt Barney.
For a guaranteed up-close-and-personal look at some feathered treasures, check out the Birds of Prey Show at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. See falcons, eagles and owls perform aerobatics, meet the “stars” of the show and have your photo taken with them. At North Tamborine, another wondrous creature can be encountered in its natural habitat. The Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves, while technically man-made, are filled with thousands of glow-worms. An audiovisual display in the presentation cave features realistic stalagmites and stalactites, water features and flow stone. Then it’s a short trek down a tunnel to see the star attractions. Guided tours run every half-hour.
Those with a green thumb should pencil in a visit to Tamborine Mountain Botanic Gardens, where tropical meets temperate. Covering 11ha, the gardens consist of exotic species, rainforest, flowering cherries, rhododendrons, magnolias, camellias and maples. Themed areas include the Japanese garden, rose garden, bromeliad garden, wisteria-covered pergolas, perennial/cottage garden and features such as a lake. Whether you want to stretch your legs or relax with a picnic in tranquil rainforest surrounds, or both, Tamborine National Park can make your day. Most of the walking tracks, provided in six sections of the park, are short and can be completed within a few hours.