Almaden

Train buffs take note. The Savannahlander is one of tropical North Queensland's unusual rail journeys.

It runs from Cairns to Forsayth overnighting in Almaden. It traces an important railway system that was developed by John Moffat as part of his vast mining empire in the late 1800s. By 1910, the Cairns to Chillagoe line was connected to the Etheridge gold fields so the private rail link from Forsayth-Almaden became an important rail junction. Imagine the treasure trove of riches uncovered in this mineral-rich land during those times.

Gold at Etheridge and Hodgkinson, copper at Mt Garnet and Mt Molloy, tin at Irvinebank and Stannary Hills, tin and silver at Emuford, silver and wolfram at Petford and coal at Mt Mulligan fuelling the Chillagoe smelter.

Australia truly was - and is - the lucky country. With these riches beneath the ground, it was sitting at the end of the rainbow. Almaden is a small community with some homes following the rail link. While some travellers head to Chillagoe's limestone cave tours by bus, others take the time to overnight at Almaden.

A slower pace does bring its own rewards. The Railway Hotel is a classic outback hotel, well maintained and presented. There's simple but comfortable accommodation, meals and takeaways and Nan is renowned for her pies. What more could you ask - every Aussie's wish.

Walk to the back of the hotel to see Nan's other passion - gardening. There is a micro tropical environment with lush palms, epiphytes and lawns. Locals refer to the community as Cow Town as cattle often camp along the streets in unfenced areas.

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Main Beach

Main Beach, Gold Coast Area
While other suburbs snatch their names from exotic Aboriginal meanings or English seaside villages, Main Beach is far more literal. Situated at the northern end of the Gold Coast, Main Beach was so named as it was the main surf beach to the town of Southport.

The Seaway Dive Site

Southport, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
The Seaway is the most popular shore diving site in Queensland, and is found at the mouth of the Nerang River at Southport. There are several different areas that can be dived at The Seaway, with the Short Pipe and Sand Pipe area the most popular, and the easiest to access.

Labrador

Labrador, Gold Coast Area
Like a loyal puppy, Labrador has been one of the Gold Coast's mainstays since its hotel was built in 1884. Back in the day, this 15-room hotel complete with three sitting rooms, outhouses and stables, was perfect for the Cobb and Co coach service which transported boat passengers arriving from Brisbane.

Talinga Retreat

South Stradbroke, Gold Coast Area
Welcome to Talinga Retreat at An Island Hideaway, the Gold Coast's best kept secret. Located at the beautiful National Park bushland of South Stradbroke Island. Host your next event with a difference at their piece of paradise.

Pine Ridge Conservation Park

Runaway Bay, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
Discover one of the last remaining wallum banksia stands on the Gold Coast in this small park featuring banskia woodland, heath and paperbark swamp forests. While dune vegetation on the Gold Coast has all but disappeared due to urban development, the remaining patch of wallum heath protected in this small park is culturally important to the Kombumerri-Ngarangwal people.

Scottish Prince Dive Site

Southport, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
The Scottish Prince, 800 metres off the Gold Coast’s Southport Spit, features the wreck of a three steel-masted, 64 metre iron barque ship. The Scottish Prince sank as it was sailing from Glasgow, Scotland to Brisbane with a cargo of whiskey, mousetraps, linen and other assorted cargo, with only the hull of the ship remaining.

Sanctuary Cove

Sanctuary Cove, Gold Coast Area
If you stand along the marina and use a little imagination, you can almost picture the famous Gold Coast white-shoe brigade who put Sanctuary Cove on the map during those crazy, hazy 1980s. While that kind of excess has long departed, the style synonymous with Sanctuary Cove remains in this exclusive master-planned community.

Gold Coast Oceanway

Main Beach, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
Even die-hard Gold Coast fans may not realise this but there is an official section of the coast known as the Gold Coast Oceanway, a 36-kilometre network of pathways which connects The Spit at the north to Point Danger in the south.

Hope Island

Hope Island, Gold Coast Area
You would expect anticipation to be fairly high when travelling to a place called Hope Island and this destination doesn't disappoint. But rather than being named after the positive emotion, it actually borrowed its name from a colonial aristocrat Captain Louis Hope who was granted land at the mouth of the Coomera River in recognition of his sugar industry contributions.

Jacobs Well

Jacobs Well, Gold Coast Area
Named for its natural freshwater waterhole, thirsty travellers have been visiting Jacobs Well since the mid 1800s. Situated near the mouth of the Pimpama River on the edge of a pristine waterway peppered with uninhabited islands, Jacobs Well is a haven for fishermen and boat enthusiasts alike.
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