Day Trippin’ to the Hinterlands and Tambourine Mountain

I don’t usually like tours, but every once in a while when I am travelling solo I will sign-up for a day tour. When you travel solo this is usually less expensive than renting a car and you can relax for the day – no planning, no driving, no organising – you just sit back and enjoy the day.

While escaping the cold rainy winter in Melbourne for Gold Coast last winter I decided to try one of these day trips. In a touristy town like Gold Coast every hotel, hostel, info centre, and 7-11 has racks of day trip brochures for you to review. I picked a tour going to the Hinterlands and Tambourne Mountain.

The first stop was for morning tea at a working alpaca farm. There  were a few baby alpacas who spent most of the time hiding behind their moms, but were still pretty darn cute. The next stop was the O’Reilly’s Tree walk. Where you can walk along a suspended bridge through the forest, allowing for better views of the many colourful birds.

                         

Both of these stops were OK, but the views from the bus and from the cafes of each were stunning. We stopped for lunch at Tambourine Mountain – your typical tourist small town complete with craft and fudge shops, however, there were a few unexpected highlights here. There was a clock shop that had amazing cuckoo clocks of all sizes. Also there was a co-op of shops – Witches Chase that made cheese (vegos note they only use microbial rennet!), MT Beer, a microbrewery and Liquid Amber Bistro, a restaurant that used local produce as well as the cheese and beer from its neighbours. I got a beer sampler and bruschetta both of which were pretty good and headed back to the bus happy.

At this point we had the option to spend more time here or travel a short distance to hike to a waterfall – of course I chose to go for the waterfall. It was a pretty hike, but not one of the best waterfalls I’ve ever seen (although still better than spend another hour or two in Tambourine Mountain).

We headed home and I was chatting away with a young couple from Bolivia when the bus stopped one last time in a residential neighbourhood right in front of someone’s house. My first thought was please tell me we aren’t having engine troubles, but then the driver explained that you could see the coast from here, and sure enough when we got out of the bus you could see the tall hotels of the Gold Coast and the ocean behind it…

With these tours you never know what you are going to get – I probably wouldn’t do this tour again, or even recommend it, but for the most part I did enjoy myself and I couldn’t pass up the chance to see a part of Australia I nevcr would have seen on my own.

Readers: I’m curious if other people ever do this? What do you think of tours? Is there ever a time when it is a good idea to take one? Any unexpectedly great or poor experiences on tours?

Love, Lee

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~ by loveleeeee on May 31, 2011.

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