Byron Bay’s hinterland is famous for being home to some of Australia’s most creative artists, writers and musicians, the Gold Coast hinterland attracts just as many – but without any of the fanfare. Who knew it: these mountains west of Surfers Paradise are full of tiny villages with bustling arts and crafts markets and art galleries and studios.
It’s been like this since the early 1900s, when writers, poets and artists first started moving to the region, attracted by the rainforests and mountains, the slow pace of life and the milder climate (it’s as much as five degrees cooler here than the coast). Today, some of Queensland’s best-known artists have galleries and studios here.
They’re easy to access too. Mount Tamborine is the epicentre for hinterland arts and crafts and it’s only a 25-minute drive west off the Pacific Motorway. And there’s more to see in tiny hamlets sprinkled across the mountains, and south to Murwillumbah.
Here you’ll find entire villages dedicated to art galleries, and artists’ studios you can drop in on, as well as the best arts and crafts markets in south-east Queensland. The Gallery Walk in Mount Tamborine has more than 60 arts and crafts stores on one street (Long Road). There’s everything here from fashion boutiques to bohemian jewellery stores to bring out your inner hippy (Mount Tamborine is a south-east Queensland alternative lifestyle hot-spot). There are quirky cafes and restaurants too, making it ideal for a day visit. If you’re looking to explore beyond the Gallery Walk, there are art galleries throughout the Mount Tamborine area, most in the rainforest. The Arthur Hamblin Gallery is set in the region’s prettiest winery, Cedar Creek Estate Vineyard & Winery. Come for lunch and a tasting as you view the works of Hamblin, the father of Australian outback art. For the best views in the area, head to Hilltop On Tamborine – set among 11 hectares of native bushland with views across to Surfers Paradise. You’ll see the best local art here – with gallery space showcasing artists on a two-week rotation.