Witches Falls Cottages – Mt Tamborine
Here’s something they don’t tell you as you set off on the great adventure of parenting. Gradually, you almost forget what it’s like to be alone together. Not behind a surreptitiously locked bedroom door, or sneaking out to the chemist to replenish the Panadol supplies, but truly alone. All those romantic getaways of your courting days and sleep-ins until rock and roll star hours are overtaken by broken nights and early feeds and tantrums – and that’s just the adults.
Holidays of course become all about keeping them happy, rather than you. And weekend retreats, with family. Well you try it once.
Still, this might excuse us – and plenty of others, we bet – for never properly exploring the delights of Tamborine Mountain, event though it’s an hour from our door. Last time we journeyed to the Gold Coast hinterland retreat there seemed to be time to unfold two strollers, take a brisk walk down touristy Gallery Walk and remove ice-cream from baby’s hair.
This time, we did it in style, staying at Witches Falls Cottages, nestled in a peaceful bush garden setting across the road from the Witches Falls bush walk track on the plateau’s western escarpment, just down the road from the spot where hang-gliding types risk life and limb above the valley floor 500 meters below.
It’s less than an hour for the shorter bush walk, deep into the rainforest, and believe me, you will need some exercise to get an edge back on the appetite after one of the breakfasts – can I recommend the scrambled eggs and salmon? – at the Cottages.
You might even like to set off early in the morning to catch the wildlife out and about, but I’m guessing that you will just be luxuriating in bed until late.
Or pampering yourself even more as we did with a massage from Alison Shaw, a mountain convert who visited for a day and vowed on the spot this was where she would stay.
Shaw’s sunny personality will have you feeling better even before she gets down to work, but once we had experienced her Swedish and hot rocks techniques, even massage doubters like us felt the working week was far, far away (for more about Shaw, see www.ripplemassage.com.au)
The five secluded cottages have a Japanese influence with timber floors – slippers supplied – plus spa and cozy fireplace, just the thing for a snuggle as the evening chill sets in.
Beyond the arts-and-crafts strip there is a range of wineries to visit, the cheese factory and a choice in quality cafes and restaurants. We also dined in the gorgeous surrounds of the Heritage Winery, formerly the Infant Savour Catholic Church at Burleigh Heads, saved from destruction by Heritage owners Bryce and Paddy Kassulke. It has views to Runaway Bay and new chef Simon Fowler is revamping the menu.
Another mountain convert, Alex Baan, has opened the excellent Spice of Life deli and cafe in North Tamborine, just the thing for those looking to relax after doing over the Gallery Walk at nearby Eagle Heights. And no trip “up the hill” is complete without visiting the Tamborine Mountain Distillery, where Michael and Alla Ward create a range of liqueurs, schnapps and vodkas that continually impress the experts in international wine and spirit competitions, all sold in bottles hand painted by Alla and daughter Sonya.
They’ve had many offers to manufacture large quantities of their range, but they’ve always declined, preferring to take the time to have a shot of their superb liqueurs with their visitors instead.
And that’s what Tamborine is all about. Taking time to enjoy yourself in the restorative mountain air.