PEDESTRIAN.TV has partnered with Tourism and Events Queensland let you in on the best-kept secrets of Queensland.

If I may state the obvious, the Gold Coast has some amazing beaches and a killer nightlife. But my dudes, it has a whole other side and it’s a relaxing, natural wonder. Don’t believe me? Chuck these experiences on your next vacay to delve into the untapped side of this popular Queensland destination and I guarantee you’ll realise there’s more to the Gold Coast than sun and sand.

Explore The Canopies

There’s just so much to see here. Along the over 160kms of walking trails through the ancient,  UNESCO World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests, you’ll find rugged mountains, natural waterfalls, and swimming holes.

You can get a totally new perspective on it all from the unique and totally free O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk in the middle of the park. The walk is made up of nine suspension bridges hanging about 15 metres from the ground and taking over 180 metres through the canopy. While you’re up there you’ll start to understand why this is such a bird-watchers paradise. Over 150 colourful bird species call Lamington National Park home.

Enjoy A Cheeky Drop

Wine is, arguably, the most sophisticated beverage, so you bet I’m using that as an excuse to include it in this list. O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards is right by Lamington National Park, so you can make a well-earned stop off after exploring the rainforest. Plus the drive to and around O’Reilly’s is something else on its own. It’s almost impossible not to catch sight of adorbs wallabies chilling roadside as you drive along the rainforest canopy covered road.

Wine tasting at the cellar door isn’t all you’ll get there either. You can grab yourself a gourmet picnic basket to pair with your bevvies, or you can meet the alpacas who reside here.

Chase A Waterfall Or Two

I will never get enough waterfalls in my life. Never. Some of the best around the Gold Coast are found in Springbrook National Park. The park was formed 23 million years ago (!). The plateau you’ll see here was actually once one side of a giant volcano, so now you can begin to imagine the unique landscape that makes it so special.

Twin Falls themselves are a local favourite. The water comes over the edge in two curtains, thus the name. You can actually follow the path right behind the falls if you want, and who wouldn’t want this unique viewpoint? If you’re craving more, follow the whole Twin Falls circuit for no less than four waterfalls.

While you’re in Springbrook, take the beaut hike high up on the Springbrook Plateau to Purling Brook Falls. You can’t swim under the actual falls as they’re a glow worm habitat but you can head downstream a bit for a refreshing dip in the rockpools.

Another stunning one you need to visit is Moran Falls in Lamington National Park. Head over to the Green Mountains section of the park and take the fairly easy Moran Falls Track. It’ll only take about an hour and a half and you’ll get to stop at a beaut lookout with sweeping views over the gorge along the way.

Cross A Natural Bridge

The Gold Coast is SUPER proud of their Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park, and once you’re there you’ll understand why. A short 1-kilometre circuit leads you to this rock formation that now looks exactly like a bridge. It was formed completely naturally by the force of the waterfall over what used to be a cave.

As if that wasn’t cool enough, hang around until after dark and watch as the cave becomes illuminated by thousands of tiny glow worms, glowing green all year round (though a trip outside the winter months will yield particularly spectacular displays). This natural phenomenon is one heck of a bucket list – and Insta – worthy experience.

Indulge In A Spa Day

I don’t know what’s more au naturale than chilling all the way out in a luxe day spa, except for doing so at Lost World’s Spa in the middle of Lamington National Park’s lush rainforest. Seriously guys imagine relaxing in your own spa bath, post-massage, looking out on the rolling hills of lush rainforest greenery. Now imagine doing all that as the sun sets.

Wondering how to fit it all in one trip? Luckily we made this itinerary for you, so you can experience the best of the Gold Coast in one weekend.

Image: iStock Images / [lovro77]