Window To The Wilderness Full Day Hinterland Tour: A Detailed Review
Window to the Wilderness, a full day tour of the Gold Coast hinterland, has been successfully operating since 1994 and for good reason. Having experienced it firsthand, we would like to share the details of this adventure with you. To learn what you can expect from this exciting day out, read the following review:
Adventurous 4-wheel driving, wildlife spotting and feeding, rainforest hiking, swimming, boomerang throwing, whip cracking, wine tasting, plenty of eating and heaps of laughing, the Gold Coast Hinterland 4WD tours offer it all. Four of us recently joined Window to the Wilderness, the full day hinterland tour, and were so impressed with how well the day encompassed all things Aussie.
The memorable day began at 8am, when our very entertaining and informative guide, Royd, picked us up from our Gold Coast accommodations. We enjoyed a relaxing, scenic drive to Lamington National Park, but the pace changed once we exited the paved roads. We took an exhilarating ride along the original pioneer’s route on Mount Tamborine, 4-wheel driving up a very steep, bumpy hillside trail through eucalyptus and rainforest.
While we travelled a good distance throughout the day, the drives never seemed long and we were certainly always entertained. Between jokes, Royd provided us with interesting tidbits on the area and made several stops. For example, early in the trip, he pulled over and pulled a fruit off the tree; when none of us could name it, he told us it was a macadamia nut in its shell.
Shortly after, he stopped at a nice park and lined us up in the middle of it for a boomerang-throwing lesson! After a few demonstrations, the group of about 10 of us, one by one, tried our arms at it; some of us died laughing at how terrible we were while others impressively got it to return to them on their first throws!
Also, Royd asked us to look out for koalas while in the vehicle. When one of the Canadian passengers spotted one, Royd pulled over; he took one look at it and told us it was a “Canadian koala’, also commonly referred to as a termite nest. Around 10am, we indulged in morning tea and still warm, fresh scones at the Old Church, built in the 1890s, on the Gallery Walk. Here, we had time to check out the strip’s charming craft and dessert shops and took part in wine tastings at a local cellar door.
Next, we hiked through Joalah, one of the nine areas that inhabit the plateau of Tamborine Mountain, to the cascading tropical waterfall, Curtis Falls. Throughout the bush walk, Royd shared with us information on the Aboriginal’s bush tucker and medicine and on unique features and trees of the forest, such as the strangler fig. This tree’s seeds, usually dropped by birds, germinate atop other trees with its roots growing downward, enveloping its host tree.
We also learnt about the wildlife, such as the bird the park was named after. Joalah is an Aboriginal word for Lyrebird, a bird that is capable of mimicking any sound, including the sounds of a chainsaw or a crying baby!
After the walk, we refueled at Spring Gully, an exclusive lunch venue situated on a 400-acre property in the stunning Sarabah Valley. There, refreshed by the juice, wine and beer on offer, we dug into a delicious BBQ lunch, which included a choice of steak, chicken, fish or vegetarian mains, as well as a variety of salads and a spread of fresh fruit.
After lunch, while others opted to go swimming in the nearby rock pools, our group threw on cowboy hats, picked up Australian stock whips and learned from the pros how to crack whips! Back in the truck, we climbed the mountainous regions up to O’Reilly’s Plateau, 3,000 feet above sea level. We took a walk through the rainforest here, but from a new perspective—from above on the Treetop Boardwalk! For unmatched, far-reaching views of the region, we climbed further up two steep ladders to a treetop observation to tower.
Further, in this rainforest, Royd introduced us to a stranger fig that has completely destroyed its host; as this massive tree is now hollow, we were able to climb right inside! We also fed colorful native birds here, which were not afraid to land on our hands, arms and heads!
From here, we began our return journey, but the fun was far from over. We stopped an amazing lookout, which granted 300-degree views from the Gold Coast to Brisbane and around to the Great Dividing Range. Thanks to Royd, we all enjoyed blueberry muffins as we took in the spectacular views.
Our drive home was also packed with wildlife sightings. We saw a large variety of native birds and spotted several adorable wallabies leaping in the fields and forests next to our vehicle. Lastly, Royd promised to bring us to the “chandeliers”; when we arrived, we soon realized trees filled with large, hanging flying foxes surrounded us—an unforgettable grand finale to a fun-filled day!
Arriving home at 5:30pm, we realized what a jam-packed day we had, but all agreed it never felt rushed or too long. In his sincere desire for us to have a good experience, Royd paid close attention to the wants of the group and was very flexible and accommodating, allowing us to spend more time in our favourite places.
From the scenic rest stops, including the lookout, eating and shopping stops, to the exhilarating 4-wheel driving and activities, to the beautiful rainforest hikes and wildlife encounters, the Window to Wilderness full day hinterland tour was the perfect balance of relaxation, education, excitement and fun. We fully recommend this tour to any visitors looking to experience both natural and cultural sides of Australia—and, for locals, it is a great alternative to the Gold Coast’s beaches and theme parks!