Tomewin Mountain is 15 minutes drive from Cooloongatta - the closest hinterland idyll to the southern beaches of the Gold Coast and a place steeped in significant rural history and natural beauty. The mountain straddles the Queensland-New South Wales border and is named for Sir Tom Ewing, Chief Surveyor of the state boundary in the late 1800's.
Head out along Currumbin Creek Road, then take the left hand turn into Tomewin Mountain Road to commence your climb through forest and farmlands. About half way up, you'll spy a cheery yellow ute parked on the right-hand shoulder of the road. Freeman's Fruit Stall offers both fresh, locally grown organic produce and photo-worthy views across the Currumbin Valley. Make sure you pick up some bananas in honour of the Freeman family's famous forebear, Arthur Freeman. Pioneering Australia's commercial banana industry in the early 1900's, Arthur established plantations on the mountain's fertile slopes with help from Pacific Island workers known as Kanakas.
Arthur Freeman Lookout, just up the road, marks the site where a flying fox was used to haul the golden harvest up the mountainside before it was sent off to interstate markets. On clear days, the visitor's reward is a vista of the lush valley below, flanked by Border Range peaks, Springbrook Plateau and, to the east, southern coastal communities and the sunlit sea beyond.
While Tomewin Mountain is a great day drive destination, there are options for a longer stay. Dreamridge Retreat was hand-built over three years by the Williams family who've lived on the mountain for more than a decade. Keen to share their elevated paradise, the family has created an executive holiday residence surrounded by sub-tropical gardens. The luxury retreat, which sleeps up to 12 people, features hand-crafted recycled timber furniture plus a selection of the Williams' quirky antiques and collectibles. Views from the retreat are nothing short of spectacular.
Further along Tomewin Mountain Road, you'll discover more intimate and cosy quarters. Kallora Escape Bed and Breakfast is set on 16 hectares of sun-dappled forest. The B & B has just 3 guest suites. Each is differently themed but all have King-sized beds, private bathrooms and balcony views of the garden. There's a guest lounge with fireplace and an outdoor entertainment area with spa and BBQ. For a private reverie, take the walking trail to a lookout offering more magnificent border scenery.
by Carole Horne