About Woodenbong and Urbenville, NSW

Yowie Country

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Mount Lindesay Photo © Courtesy Woodenbong Progress Association

If you make to Woodenbong or Urbenville, then you’re well and truly in the “woop woops” of the Wollumbin Volcano!

This is not to say you’ve strayed “beyond the black stump”, although you’ll see a few of these around as a result of the timber getting of earlier times.

If you want experience Australia’s rugged backcountry and countryside vistas without getting beyond the black stump and into the outback, then you’ve found it here.

Dairying and cattle raising, some timber milling, and a farm tourism presence are the mainstays, with the Scenic Rim food bowl over the border in Queensland, providing an abundance of fruit, vegetables and gourmet products like olives and cheese, with a now well established boutique winery trail also a popular attraction.

A popular inland route for “grey nomads”, the Summerland Way/Mount Lindesay Highway via Woodenbong, traverses Focal Peak volcano series, with the most outstanding features being Mount Lindesay in New South Wales, and Mount Barney in Queensland.

If you’re heading north into QLD, Woodenbong is your last chance to stop, stretch your legs and re-fuel before beginning the climb over the “scenic rim”.

Open your vehicle windows and listen out for the distinct and constant “tink tink” calls of Bellbirds in the forests as you cross the border into Queensland and head for Mt Barney, Rathdowney and country towns of the south east.

Area attractions accessible via Woodenbong and Urbenville, include national parks of the “Focal Peak group”, and for railway buffs, the Spiral Loop section of the Sydney-Brisbane line, which can be viewed  from the Lions Road Scenic Link about 45 km south of Woodenbong, toward Kyogle.

Accommodation is limited to farm cottages, cabins and home stays tucked away on large farms or bush blocks adjacent to nationals parks and reserves, while caravanners can find facilities at Urbenville Forest Park, and Woodenbong Camping Ground.

Community camping grounds are also available at Mallanganee and Bonalbo, while walk-in bush camping is available at some national parks, with rugged bush camping a popular and permit limited feature at Mt Barney National National Park.

Tooloom Falls Aboriginal Place in Tooloom National Park, just south of Urbenville, is a special place shared with permission of the local Githebul/Gidabal and Wurlavul peoples.

For more information, please visit the Big Volcano Visitor Guide – Woodenbong and Urbenville, which has short descriptions of drives and national parks, links to accommodation, and transport options for getting there.

About Tomewin, NSW, 2484 and Currumbin Valley, QLD, 4223

Border Crossing

Straddling the Queensland/New South Wales border about 20 kms inland from Tweed Heads and Coolangatta, the European history of Tomewin and the Currumbin Valley dates from the mid 19th century when the first settlers engaged in timber getting, cattle grazing and banana growing.

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Currumbin Valley.  Photo © Big Volcano® Tourism

Connecting the Currumbin and Tweed valleys, the steep terrain of the route was a feature of any travel along Tomewin Road.

The road now offers an exilerating ride for motor cyclists who need to be paying attention to the road conditions, while car passengers can enjoy alternating mountain views and valley vistas.

Present day Tomewin has seen the general demise of farming with only a few holdings of bananas remaining and the area given over to smaller subdivided lots where hobby farming is practised.

Unfortunately, there are few licensed accommodation providers currently operating on Tomewin Road, (check out “The Luxury Eco Rainforest Retreat“), and just one or two small providers along Currumbin Creek Rd, with most places to stay located on the coast at Currumbin Beach.

Disclosure: “The Luxury Eco Rainforest Retreat” and “Currumbin Beach” links are Big Volcano Tourism Booking.com affiliate links.

However, Tomewin Mountain Road is a popular Sunday drive or midweek day trip, and provides the chance to “discover” a few local attractions, including Freeman’s Organic Farm Stall.

The place to be on Sunday, Freeman’s has live music from 10 am to 2 pm, adding to the atmosphere as you enjoy organic coffee and the delicious cakes on offer.

At other times, you can pick up your organic fruit and veggies as you take time to admire te sweeping views from Mt. Cougal to the ocean, and perhaps even get a brief history of the farm from David Freeman, 4th generation descendant of Arther Freeman, who is credited with establishing Australia’s banana industry in the early 1900s.

Keep driving up the mountain, and hop across the border into New South Wales, for a lovely scenic drive into Murwillumbah.  A thiving alfresco cafe scene and some of the best baristas in the business, won’t disappoint.

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Cougal Cascades.  Photo © Big Volcano® Tourism

In the valley proper, Currumbin Valley Rock Pools are a long time local favourite for a dip on long, hot summer days, with rock “slides” worn smooth by generations of coasters’ enjoying the refreshing waters, and where kids can spend hours exploring the pools and rock formations.

At the headwaters of Currumbin Creek, the Mt Cougal section of Springbrook National Park has a day picnic area at “Cougal Cascades”, with car parking, picnic tables, public toilets and a sealed walking track suitable for wheelchair access, leading to a number of viewing platforms, along the creek.

For more information see Big Volcano Visitor Guide – Tomewin and Currumbin Valley.

 

 

 

 

 

About Mt Tamborine, QLD, 4271-4272

A World of National Parks

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Photos © courtesy Ed Jobson

As the Blue Mountains are to Sydney, so Tamborine Mountain is to Brisbane and the Gold Coast, for escapees, holiday makers and day visitors from the “big smoke”.

 

Actually three small settlements comprising North Tamborine, Eagle Heights and Mount Tamborine, many residents cater to visitors with cottages, guesthouse inns and B&B style lodgings.

The quaint villages are famous for arts, crafts and antiques, with markets held on almost every weekend, making the area a very popular weekend and midweek getaway destination.

A flourishing boutique winery industry taking advantage of the soils and climate, is also a favourite attraction for visitors, while plentiful vantage points and picnic spots provide magnificent views to the Gold Coast to the east and the national parks of the Scenic Rim to the west.

Other attractions include Tamborine Mountain National Park, which is made up of nine national parks, including Queensland’s first declared national park, Witches Falls.

A world of subtropical, eucalypt and cycad rainforests, three of the four largest parks have picnic facilities and walking tracks to lookouts or waterfalls.

Or you can take a walk through the rainforest canopy at Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk.

Set in 30 acres of privately owned rainforest the complex includes an interpretive Centre, gift shop, and cafe.

For a more cosy experience, the annual “Springtime on the Mountain” garden festival held each September, throws open private home gardens to the public, with a trail pass to view 8 inspiring gardens.

If you’re holidaying on the Gold Coast, you can opt for a day tour to the plateau, or use a “hop on – hop off” tour operator, to enjoy your own pace and interests.

Check out the Big Volcano Visitor Guide – Tamborine Mountain, for more information, accommodation options, local tours & attractions, and how to get there.

Villages of the Big Volcano

Northern Rivers, Gold Coast Hinterland and Scenic Rim

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Chillingham General Store, photo © Big Volcano Tourism

Many rural villages in the Northern Rivers are experiencing a revival in popularity, as young families and retirees decide to “treechange”, and move from the cities to the more relaxed atmosphere that seems to epitomise “the country”.

As a result of the agricultural, farming and logging pioneer past, you’ll find a general store, usually with an Australia Post agency attached, and a garage or petrol station, which usually doubles as the local NRMA or RACQ (motorists association) depot, in most of the villages throughout the region.

In larger hamlets and villages there’s almost always a pub with a restaurant or bistro, which often also provides comfortable but basic accommodation.

Previously empty shops laying long vacant due to changing demands and the “drift to the city”, are being reopened as cafes, arts & craft outlets, and other boutique services, while country markets are springing up in far flung villages, giving local residents a chance to get together more often, and visitors to have a day trip opportunity to a more rural location.

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Tyalgum street sign, photo © Big Volcano Tourism

Cafes offer menus with dishes using ingredients grown on-site, and farm restaurants hidden away in the hinterland, invite guests to experience a “paddock to plate” dining experience.

Local guest houses, B&Bs, homestay and farm stay accommodation provide an ideal location for those who really want to get away from it all, especially the never-ending demands of mobile phones.

Mobile reception can be patchy, and some villages may be in “black spots”, so it’s a wonderful chance enjoy a self imposed “digital detox”.

Many village destinations are popular for weekend getaways, especially the Gold Coast hinterland and Mount Tamborine in Queensland, and Uki near Mount Warning / Wollumbin, in New South Wales.

Beachside villages are usually more developed than their rural counterparts, with a wider range of shopping and professional services available,  including banking and medical services.

Beachside villages are also very popular with families during the QLD and NSW school holidays, with many caravan and holiday parks, and holiday apartments displying “no vacancy” throughout the holidays.

Check out the Big Volcano Visitor Guide – Volcano Villages for an index to the beachside and rural villages of the region, with more information, including accommodation options, local tours & attractions, and how to get there.

Villages include Bonalbo and Tabulum, Kunghur, Uki, Chillingham, Mount Tamborine, Pottsville Beach, Hastings Point and Cabarita, Tumbulgum, Tyalgum, and Woodenbong.