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Tamborine Mountain is not very far from Queensland’s Gold Coast, but it is a different world: a world of rainforest, waterfalls and national park, including segments called Joalah, Cedar Creek, The Knoll, MacDonald Park, Niche’s Corner, Palm Grove and Witches Falls. The mountain is 525m high and covers 2800ha on a plateau with the steepest roads I’ve ever encountered. That’s where my son and his family live, in a house perched in an ecological corridor that pours down the hill behind them and drops off the escarpment.


Although friends of my family raise their eyebrows because I’m ‘put in a caravan’ at my son’s place, I love it. Outside there’s extensive deck space and a big table where I can read, or sit as comfort for Jenga when the thunder monster roars. I can retreat for an afternoon snooze, and head off to bed early, and spread my travel-mess unobserved. Or I can ramble around the tropical yard.

My caravan guest-room

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Gallery Walk is the tourist trap stretch that sells everything from fudge to cuckoo clocks. I don’t usually walk along here, but I need something to wear to an April wedding in the tropics, and decide that the steamy heat is a good climate to buy it in. I take my granddaughter with me as fashion advisor.

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The weather is too steamy to invite much walking, but I do venture along a rainforest track near Curtis Falls. I’m in Judith Wright country and ย walkway bearing her name heads up the hill beside the road. The track is thick with orange flowers. I pass a fallen giant holding a rock in its roots; scrutinise the spaces between the buttresses of strangler figs; note the twist-marks of vines in in mottled trunks; step carfeully over coiling roots and between mossy rocks.

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