Finding a slice of Europe in an unlikely place

Picture a common holiday destination, on the east coast of Australia, a place that is the polar opposite of any place you might find in Europe. Yes, you guessed it, LBF went to sunny Queensland, on the Gold Coast, and we were intent on finding any possible signs of Europe (a cool bar, a picturesque view, a slice of culture… anything at all to write home about), and we found it in the tiny village of Tamborine Mountain.

About 45 minutes drive from Surfers Paradise (where we were staying), up a windy mountain road that made you forget you were staying on one of the most famous beaches in Australia, there lies the Gallery Walk. We suggest you hire a car for the day to get up there as transport options are limited, or you can book a tour or transfer.

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The Gallery Walk has the strangest, most random collection of shops and eateries that we had ever seen, but yet somehow totally works and comes off as warm, interesting and very cute. As we walked down the street we quickly discovered that the Tamborine Mountain residents have an obsession with a New Age style of living. Gluten free and raw cafes surrounded us, crystals, chimes and dream catchers sparkled and blew in the wind, tarot card readings and natural healing remedies were being offered at every second shop. We decided to indulge in a gluten free Salted Caramel Walnut slice and a raw “Cherry Ripe” from The Gluten Free Revolution.

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But that wasn’t necessarily what caught our eye. After all, the Gold Coast is close-ish to Byron Bay, which is a hippie’s paradise. A traditional German Cuckoo clock shop was the first thing that surprised us – once you stepped through the door, you instantly forgot you were in Queensland, Australia. Clocks covered the walls, with various souvenir type items all written in German, even some traditional Christmas decorations were for sale.

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As we continued down the street, there was a traditional Greek restaurant, a shop called Love Lavender, which of course reminded of Croatia’s famous lavender items. We indulged our Brit within by purchasing an amazing black coconut tea from Tambourine Tea (they also have their own specialty named after the mountain) and a CS Cowboy flavoured fudge from Fudge Heaven. Yes, you read that right. Six different flavours of “Adults Only” fudge are on offer which contain alcohol, along with the rest of the traditional flavours.

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We topped off our Tamborine trip by partaking in some wine tastings from the Queensland region, although upon tasting everything from Rose to Temparanillo to heavier red wines reminiscent of a Bordeaux, they had us thinking we were in Spain and south France. We eventually settled on an amazing Saignee (type of Rose) from Witches Falls winery, a short drive away from the Gallery Walk. We coupled this with a rich blue vein cheese from Witches Chase Cheese Company, which went surprisingly well. We sat outside in the winery gardens on their picnic tables enjoying the sunshine and chatting to the (very) friendly owners. There are a significant amount of wineries up there which we could have spent a whole second day exploring!

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Have you been to Tamborine Mountain? What were your favourite parts? Tell us where you’ve found Europe in unlikely places. We definitely miss it and need your help to get our Europe fix!

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