Head just south of the Queensland border and you will find yourself in the picturesque Tweed Shire. With its sweeping beaches, lush hinterland, coastal townships and charming mountain villages, you will find luxury resorts and private retreats, nature-based activities and plenty of adventure. The entire area is just made for touring by car, and boasts an enchanting mix of tropical vibe and relaxed lifestyle. So, whether you're flying in from interstate, or just driving down from your base in Queensland, the Tweed offers up a fabulous 48 hours!
If you've just arrived at Gold Coast Airport, hire a car and drive the short 15 minutes south across the Queensland/New South Wales border to the beachside township of Kingscliff where you can sit down for breakfast and coffee at one of the many great cafes while you adjust your senses to the fresh air, sunshine and relaxed vibe.
If you're in town on market day (held along the beachfront on every 2nd weekend), you can pick up some homemade scented candles, fresh fruit and gourmet nibbles to be enjoyed back at your hotel room - head to Salt Village where you can book in for an overnight stay at Mantra on Salt, Peppers Salt or Peppers Bale. Relax poolside for a morning of swimming and lounging, check out the fashions of the local shops, or head straight for a swim and a stroll along the pristine and uncrowded sands of Salt Beach where you can spot surfers catching a wave or - if you're here from June to October - you may be lucky enough to see the migrating whales breaching just off shore.
Enjoy the fresh food of celebrated Australian Chef Steven Snow at Fins Restaurant & Bar where you can go all out on a seafood feast or share a more flexed tapas-style meal of shared plates, washed down with award winning wines chosen by resident sommelier Morgan Snow. If you're after something more casual, the local's choice is to relax with a beer or cocktail on Saltbar Beachbar & Bistro's ocean front deck.
Check in to The Spa at Salt, located at Peppers Salt Resort, for an afternoon of massage and pampering. The ultimate choice, if you really want to go all out, is the Couple's Connection package - 2 1/2 hours of total bliss, with dual treatments offered in your own private sanctuary.
If you can muster up some energy to go out after your afternoon of spa indulgence, wine and dine in style at the nearby Santai Retreat in Casuarina where you will enjoy a romantic candlelight dinner of Thai Fusion cuisine at local favourite, Spice Den. The atmosphere is seductive, and the food served up is renowned as being one of the best in the region. Oh, and the cocktails are, quite simply, sublime! Santai Retreat offers secluded boutique Balinese-style accommodation, and is another great alternative to Salt Village if you don't mind being a little more removed from the shops, restaurants and beachside offerings.
If you're super keen to see the sunrise from the highest peak (1157 metres!) towering over Murwillumbah and Tweed Valley, get up at the crack of dawn and drive the 40 minutes out to 'Australia's Green Cauldron', set within a World-Heritage listed national park, for the four hour return hike up Mt Warning. The 360 degree panorama from the top stretching over the rolling green hills, farms, sugar cane fields, from the Lamington and Nightcap National Park, Border Ranges to the ocean beyond is incredible and well worth the effort! From Breakfast Creek, at the Mt Warning National Park entrance, the main walking track ascends through superb rainforest and offers a variety of scenic views of the surrounding valley.
Or, if you like your Sunday morning a little less active, take a relaxed drive to the nearby coastal township of Pottsville for breakfast at local fave, White Jade Cafe, or head out to the hinterland for a wander around the delightful village atmosphere of Uki, only 40 minutes from the Gold Coast or less than an hour from Byron Bay, but world's away from the hustle and bustle. If you're here on the 3rd Sunday of the month, you get to enjoy the famous Uki Buttery Bazaar and pick up some of the delights from one of the 'foodies' stalls or your morning espresso hit from 'Coffee Oasis' accompanied by the hillbilly sounds of the local but famous 'Perch Creek Jug Band'.
For a really romantic lunch or dinner, you can't go past a visit to the beautiful old Queenslander set within the gardens of Mavis's Kitchen where you can delight in a feast of flavours with a menu created using homegrown organic produce straight from the rambling kitchen garden. You'll no doubt fall in love with the place, and may like to stay on overnight in one of the property's lovely cabins and enjoy an evening of more feasting or just relaxing with a view of Mt Warning.
Or, for something even more indulgent, book a stay in one of the ten private architecturally-designed luxury lodges at Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat, where you'll be treated to first class service by owners Mark and Bronny. Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat is set within 250 acres in Upper Crystal Creek, 20 minutes drive from Murwillumbah and 50 minutes from Gold Coast Airport, and is bordered on three sides by World Heritage National Park, making this is an ideal escape for couples wanting some peace and seclusion in a pristine environment.
Lie in a hammock over a bubbling rainforest brook or pure, crystal-clear mountain water, take a stroll along the stunning tree-fern lined gullies, de-stress and indulge in a couple's massage and enjoy delicious gourmet food delivered to you in the sanctuary of your lodge, cabin or bungalow. With a strict no children policy in place, this is a retreat that is made for couples wanting some real time out together!
Plan your short break to the Tweed Shire at www.tweedtourism.com.au.