See & do
The Gold Coast’s luxury hinterland escapes
Alex Mitcheson | October 27, 2021
When you have over 70 kilometres of picture-perfect beaches and world-class surf on your doorstep, it can naturally be easy to overlook the green behind the gold.
But do so at your detriment. It’s well known the Gold Coast’s hinterland is an area teeming with natural wonder and remarkable fauna and flora. A place you’re likely to put in the day-visit basket and think nothing more of it. The potential, however, to stay and be fully immersed in this expanse, all whilst experiencing high levels of luxury, is very much achievable.
Going out and spending time in this removed and picturesque locale doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort. On the contrary, there are a spattering of places that may even redefine your appreciation for the finer things. With this sentiment in mind, our list denotes the plushest ways you can delve into our hinterland — with neither a single tent nor bunkbed in sight.
When you take in the exceptionally full awards cabinets — yes, there’s two — in the reception at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, it’s at this point you truly begin to appreciate the size and offering, as well as quality, of the southern hemisphere’s largest spa. Their recent title of Best Luxury Eco Spa for 2021, awarded by the World Luxury Spa Awards, will no doubt point you in this direction also. With 33 treatments rooms and world-class treatments such as Abyhang Fusion — offered in just a handful of spas worldwide — this is the unflawed place for you and a loved one to unwind jointly and disremember your stresses — at least for a while.
The elevated plateau on which the retreat stands offers unadulterated views towards the coast from Burleigh Headland to the North and Coolangatta to the south. However, keep your beach cravings in check. The abundant wildlife and fauna of the Tallebudgera Valley are more than enough to satiate your senses. Keep your eyes upwards, and you might spot one of the well-known koala families in the area; relax by one of the two infinity pools, and you’ll have wallabies for company; or try any one of their bush tracks, such as the Sunset Path, for an emerald escape with a chorus of native birds.
The down to earth and placid ambience of your days carry over into the evenings. Between delicious and remarkable plates of S.L.O.W. (seasonal, local, organic, whole) curated food, you’ll find yourself on a new table each evening; providing you ample opportunity to meet your neighbours and hear about the classes they have attended and how this is the most relaxed they’ve felt in a long time. Afterwards, a starlit sky will find you back in your accommodation for an early night with the sounds of the forest serenading you into the deepest sleep of your life.
If it’s serenity you seek — and a chance to carve out some healthy life tools — then you needn’t look much further than Australia’s longest-running wellness refuge, Eden Health Retreat. From the moment you enter the properties gates and drive up between manicured lawns and imposing poinciana trees, an air of tranquillity washes over you. And this is most certainly the intended effect: a precursor to relaxation like you’ve never experienced before.
Established in 1985 under the name of Camp Eden, and with a more ‘basic’ offering initially, the retreat and accompanying grounds have come a long way. Nowadays, the 400-acre property comprising ancient sub-tropical forest, escarpments, and running streams, is somewhere you’re implored to reflect and recharge sans mobile phone and caffeine.
A series of elegant and modern luxury cabins nestle scattered across the low-lying side of the property and again on a much higher ridgeline, the latter’s positioning encouraging you to raise your heart rate between meals and classes. During your stay, a comprehensive roster of health professionals and facilitators curate and implement a 5-star program designed simply to feed the soul, not forgetting a sensational kitchen producing delectable health-driven meals five times a day. Do as much or as little as you like. Perhaps you might lie in and miss the morning walk but feel like a round of pilates post-breakfast before attending a nutrition talk in the afternoon — the choice is yours.
One of the highlights has to be simply sitting in the afternoon glow and taking in the view of the nearby majestic Tallebudgera Bluff: you, a good book, and only the distant chatter of warbling birdsong.
Springbrook Lyrebird Retreat
Hampton Hinterland Retreat
Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat
Set deep in the Springbrook National Park, this collection of two cottages and two cabins is an immersive experience into the area’s grandeur. Switch off your phone and take off your watch, because If given a chance, the accommodation will instil an undeniable sensation you’ve stepped back in time.
During your stay, you will have unprecedented access to one of Australia’s most hidden and lesser-known gems; a segment of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area boasting a plethora of walking trails, waterfalls, lookouts, and picnic areas. The pinnacle of the area must be the renowned Purling Brook Falls circuit, whereby hikers meet with open eucalypt forest of New England ash before plunging into the gorge to view the imposing falls from below.
After weaving your way through dense rainforest to your cabin or cottage, the first thing you might notice is the complete lack of mobile phone reception. A blessing or a curse — you decide that one. Once inside, the warm wood interiors and modest chalet styling would perhaps look more at home in the Swiss Alpes. Yet, when you sink into your double hydrotherapy spa bath — with a glass of sparkling in hand — and let the evening soothing calls of Crimson Rosellas, Whipbirds, and Green Catbirds wash over you, it won’t matter where you are.
If a graceful Queenslander with astonishing layers of indulgence and handsome surrounds is more your thing, then this superb property at the rolling foothills of the Gold Coast hinterland will fit the bill effortlessly.
Set within 1.7 acres, the Hamptons Hinterland Retreat straddles the line of being within striking distance of all the bright lights and attractions of the coast whilst an escape to rainforests and walking trails is merely a short drive away. The juxtaposition of the two means no two days will be the same, but make no mistake, once inside this sophisticated estate, you’ll sense a cocoon-like effect from the outside world. A Textbook setting for switching off and finding space to unravel your body and mind.
Choose between six impeccably presented rooms — or if the occasion warrants it, book the entire property for you and friends, a corporate event, or a family reunion. The ample facilities — including a 16 m swimming pool and huge designer kitchen — with luxurious finishings at every turn all point towards a graceful sojourn like no other.
Gargling streams, outdoor hot tubs, towering brush box trees and a touch of magic await you at Springbrook’s The Mouses House. With a nod towards fairy tale enchantment, all the property’s 14 chalets have been named with a Disney in mind: leave a stressful business quarter behind in Snow White, reconnect with a much-loved one in Cinderella, or escape the kids for a weekend in the Wicked Witch.
The stylishly appointed chalets provide an unequalled chance to restore a guest’s fundamental connection with nature. Like it or not, each morning you’ll awaken to the ageless songs of bowerbirds, thornbills, treecreepers before sipping your first coffee for the day overlooking pristine greenery. It may not feel intuitive, but your inner circadian rhythm will love you for it.
After a full day of either hitting the nearby trails or taking it entirely easily, the evenings provide an opportunity to sink into a hot soothing body of water and cuddle up in front of a fireplace. There’s also the option to request in-chalet Swedish massage, another way to relish the peace of your secluded hideaway.
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