Cooran

About three kilometres from the Bruce Highway, Cooran is one of those country towns that offers more than you might think. Close to the Sunshine Coast towns of Pomona, Nambour, Cooroy and popular surfing beaches at Noosa, Cooran is a pretty hamlet in a lush valley. However, for those touring the Sunshine Coast from Brisbane, which is less than two and a half hours drive away, there is much more to discover about Cooran than just its beauty.

Overlooking Cooran are the Cooran Tablelands and Mothar Mountain State Forest areas that have walking tracks and swimming holes. Take care, as access to these often requires a four-wheel drive. From the Cooran Tablelands Lookout, the scenic view along the Sunshine Coast is magnificent.

In addition, for lovers of the bush, the Noosa Trail Network includes trails around Cooran. For example, Trail two of The Scenic Trail is 26 kilometres one way and starts at Tablelands Road, Cooran and moves along to the Cootharaba Views Lookout. This trail takes approximately five hours to complete on horseback and two days to walk one way. There are four lookouts along the trail, providing fantastic views of the hinterland and coastal areas. Be warned, the steep hill climbs along the trail require courage and a high level of fitness. Locals say it is worth camping overnight at either Middle Lookout or Cootharaba Views Lookout and leave a car at each end of the trail.

If curiosities get the blood flowing, then look at Cooran Lagoon, not far from the train bridge on James Street. When it was full, local Aboriginals used the lagoon as a source of Water-lily bulbs and mussels for food and called it Guran. In 1870, the lagoon was also the site of the Half Way Hotel, on the original Tewantin-Gympie Coach route. Sadly, only a faded plaque marks the site now.

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Curtis Falls, Tamborine National Park

Tamborine Mountain, Scenic Rim Area
Free Entry
Enjoy an enchanting walk through wet eucalypt forest beneath towering flooded gums and into cool and lush rainforest. Look for the beautiful crows nest and staghorn ferns in the canopy, and stop to marvel at the intricate strangler fig.

Tamborine National Park

Tamborine, Logan City Area
Free Entry
Tamborine National Park, on Tamborine Mountain at 560 metres above sea level, offers glimpses of the Pacific Ocean and Gold Coast skyline to the east and national parks of the Scenic Rim to the west. The park includes Witches Falls (which in 1908 became Queensland's first national park) and Cedar Grove, The Knoll and Palm Grove sections.

Natural Bridge, Springbrook National Park

Springbrook, Gold Coast Area
Natural Bridge is in the western part of Springbrook National Park, part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. The park's Natural Bridge section features a picturesque rock formation, formed by the force of the waterfall over the basalt cave.

Dave's Creek Circuit

Binna Burra, Scenic Rim Area
Free Entry
Located in the Binna Burra section of Lamington National Park, this circuit takes walkers through a fascinating variety of forest and heath. Daves Creek circuit descends through the head of Nixons Creek out into Daves Creek country.

Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area

Springbrook, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area is famed for its ongoing geological processes, evolutionary history, and diversity (especially of rare, threatened and endemic species). It is an important refuge for many animals and home to impressive examples of ancient songbirds.

Lamington National Park, Green Mountains Section

Canungra, Scenic Rim Area
Free Entry
This park has been impacted by recent severe weather events in Queensland. Please check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions. Green Mountains section of Lamington National Park, in the hinterland of the Gold Coast, features lush rainforests, ancient trees and spectacular views.

Rathdowney

Rathdowney, Scenic Rim Area
Rathdowney, just over an hour's drive south of Brisbane, close to Beaudesert in the Logan River Valley. At the base of the Great Dividing Range, Rathdowney is a beautiful township offering lush forests and rolling hills.

Tamborine Mountain

Tamborine Mountain, Scenic Rim Area
Some say this is the green behind the gold, which makes the Gold Coast so seductive, and it's easy to see why Tamborine Mountain is in tune with tourists. Let's start with the rainforest, in the third oldest National Park in the world, which celebrates the remnants of the former Mount Warning volcano.

Beechmont

Beechmont, Gold Coast Area
Life's a beach, (or should that be beech?), for the laid-back residents in this quaint country village which sits smugly between the Lamington Plateau and Tamborine Mountain. First settlers flocked to the area in the 1800s and used the white beech trees, once prolific here, for timber.

Numinbah Section, Springbrook National Park

Numinbah Valley, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
Experience spectacular waterfalls, lush rainforest, ancient trees, impressive views and exceptional natural beauty in the Numinbah section of Springbrook National Park. Located in the foothills of the famously beautiful south-east Queensland’s Border Ranges, this park protects an area of great ecological importance and is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.
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