4WDing the Gold Coast Hinterland

Behind the salty spray and neon lights of the Gold Coast are hidden tracks and trails that hug the slopes of Mt Tamborine, cut through the gum trees and enter a world that’s often forgotten.

Taking the road less travelled has always been my philosophy. I’d rather not know what’s around the corner, leave things to chance and deal with whatever comes my way.

It’s probably the primeval explorer in me dealing with a modern age where every detail is mapped, every road logged and every path already discovered. My bliss is to turn off the bitumen road, engage the low-range gearbox and drive into the unknown.

Darran from Southern Cross 4WD is taking me on exactly that sort of adventure.

We bounce onto the unmade road that enters Lamington National Park and climb steeply uphill, the early morning sunlight piercing the forest canopy ahead.

Without leaving first or second gear, we cover a good distance. At this speed life slows from a blur passing the window, to one you can hear and smell, one you feel part of, even from the confines of the vehicle.

We turn our engines off and jump out, the silence of the forest comes alive; wind moves branches high above, a rustle in the undergrowth, the unmistakable ping of a Bell Miner bird.

My insatiable appetite to explore has been satisfied, if only for an afternoon. With the hinterland trails fresh in my mind we drive back towards civilisation across dry creeks, past lazy kangaroos, until finally our tyres hit the sobriety of tarmac.