Lamington National Park
Lamington National Park is just a short distance from the bustling Gold Coast, set within the Gold Coast Hinterland. It is the largest preserved subtropical rainforest in Australia and features spectacular scenery as well as a wide range of bird species. Lamington National Park has had World Heritage status since 1994 and encapsulates an area of over 20,000 hectares. Due to the rich biodiversity of this National Park many consider this the most significant national park in Queensland.
Popular places to visit around the Lamington National Park include Binna Burra and Green Mountains, which you can get to from Canungra. Around this section, there are a number of unique walking trails. Binna Burra, hosts a 'sense trail' and is also home to the Binna Burra Mountain Lodge. There are various events at the lodge throughout the year which are popular. Green Mountains offers a tree top trail which has great views across the surrounding landscape. There is also a slightly longer 24km walk which links the two places, if you would prefer.
A popular location within Lamington National Park is O'Reilly's. O'Reilly's is 35km from Canungra, along a winding and often narrow stretch of road that climbs up into the Lamington National Park. Be prepared to drive carefully and slowly during much of this stretch of road.
Along the way a popular stop is the O'Reilly's Canungra Valley Vineyards. Here visitors can enjoy wine tasting, morning and afternoon teas, dining in the restaurant and relaxing in the gardens.
Once at the O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, probably the most popular activity for day visitors is the Tree Top Walk; the first of its kind in Australia. The Tree Top walk is 180 metres in length and made up of 9 suspension bridges. On average the bridge is roughly 15 metres above ground.
For those with a head for heights there is also an observation deck. This observation deck has been built around a Strangler Fig and accessible part way along the Tree Top Walk.
Only a few people at a time can climb up to the observations decks, consisting of two viewing platforms; the highest is 30 metres above the ground.
The Tree Top Walk and Observations Decks are free with a donation box for those wishing to make a donation towards the upkeep.
In addition to the Tree Top Walk the Green Mountains Botanical Gardens is popular, being accessible from the same pathway as the Tree Top Walk (it is possible to access the Green Mountains Botanical Gardens with or without completing the Tree Top Walk).
The Botanical Gardens were established in 1966 and today maintained by volunteers.
As you walk along the the Booyong Walk that takes you to the Tree Top Walk and Botanical Gardens you will witness the huge Black Booyong trees which have shallow roots to take advantage of the abundant leaf litter.
They rely heavily on wide Buttresses for stability which makes their bases very photogenic due to the varying shapes and sizes of the buttresses.
There are also plenty of other walking tracks throughout the Lamington National Park ranging from easy walking tracks to more difficult tracks. The walking tracks pass some beautiful waterfalls as well as some famous features including Aboriginal Cooking Caves, Coomera Gorge, Echo Point, Mount Merino and Picnic Rock.
West of Lamington along the Mt Lindesay Highway you can also visit the interesting pioneer museum at Beaudesert as well as the amazing Mt Barney National Park, where you will find the marvellous Scenic Rim. You can also visit a number of wineries along the Gold Coast Hinterland Wine Trail.