Conondale

Conondale, like many rural towns in South East Queensland, is pretty. The town might be a great spot for a chance to catch your breath during what is a very scenic drive but there is something about Conondale that is as subtle as it is magic. When travelling from Maleny, Conondale is the first opportunity to take a close-up and easy look at the river that gives its name to the valley through which it passes - the Mary River.

Just near where the Maleny-Kenilworth Road crosses the Mary River, Fritz Park offers the chance for a picnic and time to contemplate exactly why this little village is so special.

Conondale is distinctive because of its proximity to the rugged beauty of the range to its west called the Conondale Range. Within the Range a national park called Conondale National Park is an unspoilt and undeveloped park of harsh beauty. Conondale National Park protects important remnants of grassy open Eucalypt forest, tall wet sclerophyll forest and subtropical rainforest that once covered large areas of the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

The park is the central undisturbed core of an extensive area of forest reserves in the Conondale Range and an important refuge for many rare and threatened animals, including the Mary River Turtle, which, until recently, had not been discovered.

It is important to remember that this park is suited to very experienced walkers only. The turn off to the national park is about 15 kilometres north of Conondale at Sunday Creek Road. The turn is marked by a pretty park called Keith and Ivy Boon Memorial Park.

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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.

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.

Southport

Southport, Gold Coast Area
If you squint into the sunshine and cast your mind back a little over a century, you can almost picture the Southport of old, one of the Gold Coast's earliest and most fashionable seaside destinations.

Coomera

Coomera, Gold Coast Area
Local Aborigines named this suburb after a fern but these days it could easy be named after fun for you have now entered theme park heaven for which the Gold Coast is renowned. All the big names in entertainment are here including Dreamworld and WhiteWater World, Wet'n'Wild, Warner Bros.

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.

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.

Oxenford

Oxenford, Gold Coast Area
It's difficult to believe but this rather unassuming suburb, which lies just off the Pacific Highway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, is home to some of the best movie-making facilities in Australia.

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.

Biggera Waters

Biggera Waters, Gold Coast Area
Beautiful Biggera Creek lent this suburb its name which is famous for its heritage-listed "land's end" site, but there is nothing final about a visit here. Those searching for a sedate spot in the northern part of the coast will adore a trip here, opposite the bustling Broadwater and the sizzling Gold Coast Spit and across from Wavebreak Island.
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