LYNN GAIL indulges in a romantic, empty-nesters getaway in the Gold Coast's scenic hinterland
CLUSTERS of cotton ball clouds are floating past our A-frame window as dawn pushes over Mt Tamborine's mountains on the Gold Coast's Hinterland. A ray of sunlight is playing hide-n-seek, hinting at a spectacular 'blockbuster-movie' sunrise.
But the sky turns dark, there's no sunrise, and it doesn't matter. I'm tucked up with my husband, sharing breakfast in bed in a cosy alpine cottage in the Polish Place, listening to the bubble-wrap pop of rain on the rustic tin roof.
As recent empty nesters we are luxuriating in a three-day getaway, enjoying the start of the 'offspring-have-sprung' chapter of our lives. To begin our mini-escape, we stopped by the cosy Fox & Hounds Country Inn for a traditional English pub meal after driving from Brisbane. Decorated from corner to corner with English memorabilia, the pub's welcome cosy vibe was akin to sitting in grandma's dining room for some hearty home cooking.
We're taking time to explore like we used to, over 25 years ago, when our only concern was airport check-in times. Our first stop of the day is Cedar Creek Falls, in Tamborine National Park. Being February, it's the wettest time of the year, but with typical on-off monsoon weather, the sun joins us as we follow surging, cascading falls to reach a pocket of freshwater swimming holes edged by lush rainforest. It's too clear, too inviting, not to jump in. We attempt to swim to the waterfall, but the water's too strong and we retreat to the edge where we flop onto the rocks like basking seals.
The empty nester's syndrome is often associated with feelings of loss and loneliness. Studies show mini-breaks can strengthen long-term relationships. Taking time out to play together on a weekend retreat can create a chance to reignite a dwindled flame - and rekindle romance.
We peel away from our rocky recline and head into Mt Tamborine's countryfied town in search of refreshment. We pass ice-creameries, fudge shops, spiritual stores selling healing gemstones, and earthy cafes cooking up dishes for the health-conscious. There's no rush to find somewhere to eat and after chatting with friendly locals we head to Fortitude Brewing Company to share a delicious wild mushroom pizza as we work our way through a tasting paddle of boutique beers.
Continuing our 'us-cation', we drop into Witches Falls Winery and find ourselves being guided through a wine tasting with a difference. Melissa Bell, who knows all about the fruitful facets of wine, takes time to share the back story of each bottle as we sample moreish cheeses, sip wine, and nibble on crackers spread with fig & pear paste. "It's more than a normal wine tasting," she says, "it's a wine conversation about earthy aromas, vintages and harmony, and the balance of flavours. A corking afternoon soon passes as we are taught the finer aspects of bouquets and Bordeaux under the shade of a fully laden avocado tree.
As the temperature dips, we head back to our cottage. The potbelly in the corner is ready to fire up; although I think we light it to further enhance our feel-good mood as we sit on the deck overlooking Mt Tamborine's cloud shrouded mountains. Dusk's orchestra is warming up. Butcherbirds call to one another to come home, and katydids play backup as currawong birds create a noisy chorus of piercing whistles and loud squawks. We retreat inside to plan the next day's adventures with a sense of newfound freedom and a renewed sense of 'us'.
IF YOU GO
STAY: Self-contained double storey cottages with spa and fireplace - Polish Place cottages
VISIT: Cedar Creek Falls
EVENTS: Organisers are continuing to plan for the following events but recognise they may have to be cancelled in the light of COVID-19. It is vital therefore that you check the relevant websites before making any travel plans.
VIVA Surfers Paradise, July 10-19, Australasia's largest tribute artist festival including the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest.
Groundwater Country Music Festival, July 24 - 26, Australia's fastest growing country music festival with over 50 artists across 15 stages and three free days of rocking country music.
Bleach The Gold Coast Festival, August 12 - 23, one of Australia's leading and most exciting site-specific contemporary arts programs.
SWELL Sculpture Festival, September 11 - 20, Queensland's premier outdoor sculpture exhibition on Currumbin Beach presenting up to 50 Australian and international artists.
Pan Pacific Masters Games, November 6-15: 16,000 athletes from more than 40 countries will converge on the Gold Coast to compete in the world's biggest and best biennial Masters Games, with more than 40 sports at some of the country's best sporting facilities including five Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games venues.
More information from Destination Gold Coast
The writer was a guest of Gold Coast Tourism