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Mt Tamborine

Thursday, November 26, 2009
As Catriona Rowntree drove from Brisbane to Mt Tamborine and exited the motorway, she felt she was in a different world. It's part of the Gold Coast yet separate from it. Behind a coastal plain, a series of hills and plateaux rise steeply, providing a green scenic rim framing the surf and sand.

Four bitumen roads wind their way up the mountain spurs to the top of the irregularly shaped 8km-long plateau. It's geologically very old and looks across the Nerang and Coomera valleys to the Pacific Ocean. During the day, the coastal vista is blue and gold and at night the lights of the Gold Coast make a shimmering fairyland. Mt Tamborine is a very popular place for weddings and guests enjoy the chance to stay a night or two there after the ceremony.

The mountain is home to Queensland's first national park and has a number of separate parks and walking paths of varying length and degrees of difficulty.

Songbirds Rainforest Retreat

Nestled in 20 hectares of natural rainforest, Songbirds is villa accommodation along with a restaurant. The restaurant's reputation has flourished and it was voted Best Tourism Restaurant 2008-09 for the Gold Coast.

Elle Macpherson and rock band U2 have stayed at Songbirds and gave it the thumbs up. Six spacious Balinese-inspired villas are scattered throughout the rainforest. Each has king bed, double spa bath, lounge area with gas ember fire and large outdoor deck.

Just staying there is enough to make you feel special, and the retreat offers other services to help you really unwind. Yoga, meditation, massage and aromatherapy are all there for mind, body and spirit.

Restaurant Songbirds in the Forest's culinary team uses the finest ingredients and organic produce when possible. There is a fine selection of local and imported wines, spirits, liqueurs, beers and non-alcoholic beverages. Dining is a wonderful experience — more than just sharing a meal. They serve lunch from Wednesday to Sunday and dinner from Wednesday to Saturday.

Bungunyah Manor Resort

This historic property dates to around 1882. It's on almost a hectare of lush gardens on the highest point of Mt Tamborine. It's also high on the list for weddings and honeymoons, and Catriona described it as being like Christmas Day every day.

Originally known as Syndicate House, it was built as the area's first guesthouse by a group of Brisbane businessmen.

The manor's split-level Victorian suites have queen beds, ensuite, balcony, fireplace and air conditioning. Sauna, spa, tennis court and pool are also provided for your enjoyment.

Bungunyah is said to be home to a couple of friendly ghosts: Emily, who was once owner of Bungunyah, and a little girl with ringlets who likes to play with guests' jewellery. Emily's father bought the property for the princely sum of £2. Mr Curtis dismantled the home, marking every piece of timber, and reassembled it exactly as before.

Jacques Manor Restaurant has made its mark with those who adore classical French cuisine. The food warms the soul and delights the most particular gastronome. The open log fire and leather lounges create the perfect ambience for pre- and post-dinner drinks, and there's live entertainment from Thursday to Sunday. The retreat offers affordable stay and dine packages.

Both of these properties in Mt Tamborine have wedding packages which will take a lot of the pre-wedding stress away from the bride and will add some extra-special finishing touches to the happy day.


Mt Tamborine, 40 minutes from Brisbane.


Songbirds Rainforest Retreat luxury king villa is $458 a night. The two-bedroom villa starts at $780. A three-course gourmet meal for two is included.

Bungunyah Manor Resort starts at $140 between Sunday and Thursday or $170 including country continental breakfast. Friday and Saturday rates are $220 a night, including breakfast.

Virgin Blue has flights to the Gold Coast.

One-way fares from:

  • Sydney $79
  • Canberra $105
  • Melbourne $109
  • Adelaide and Hobart $129
  • Perth $219

There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares quoted are one-way booked on the Internet. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are subject to change.

Prices correct at November 26, 2009.

For further information

Virgin Blue
Ph: 136 789

Bungunyah Manor Resort
160 Long Road
Mt Tamborine 4272
Ph: (07) 5545 1044
Fax: (07) 5545 2797

Songbirds Rainforest Retreat
Tamborine Mountain Road
North Tamborine 4272
Ph: (07) 5545 2563
Fax: (07) 5545 1507

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