TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN STORIES give you an insight into many of the local businesses and characters you will find when you Escape to Tamborine Mountain.
ESCARPMENT RETREAT & DAY SPA
ESCAPE, EXPERIENCE, REJUVENATE – ESCARPMENT RETREAT & DAY SPA
There are few getaway destinations as beautiful as Tamborine Mountain, surrounded in a cradle of nature with the most breathtaking views in the Gold Coast hinterlands. Few people know this better than Shane Walker, manager of Escarpment Retreat & Day Spa, one of many jewels of accommodation amidst the visual treasure hoard that the mountain provides. He’s certainly no stranger to the striking beauty of the area, and he’s very happy to share his insights with us today.
by Kyle Hitchmough
What is it that Escarpment offers?
This is a very nice exclusive luxury retreat. We’ve got six villas with a sunken loungeroom, a fireplace, four-poster beds, and huge bathrooms with spa baths. There’s also a three-bedroom house on the cliff that we rent out, right on the escarpment. That’s where the name comes from. They have beautiful large bathrooms with big spa baths, those are popular. We’ve also got an award-winning day spa that we’re about to renovate. We’re an accommodation venue, there are plans to possibly build 12 more villas. We’ve also got some lovely gardens you can walk around in. There used to be an avocado farm here in the 70s, so there are still some avocado trees around.
What kinds of services do you offer in the spa?
We have a wonderful range of exquisite pampering massages and facials. We specialise in couples’ massages, with two people in the same room, though we have done up to three at a time. We also provide breakfast on a meal platter.
What do you think is the main draw for people here?
I think just being in the forest. All our villas are surrounded by nature, they look out onto the green rainforest. People come here for the quiet and privacy, to escape and get away. Because we have the veranda with rainforest outlook, and it’s all so quiet and peaceful. A lot of people say they didn’t even know the place was here. It’s a calming escape from a busy world. Most of our guests are locals, Gold Coast and Brisbane are our greater percentages of guests who just want to get away from the city for a weekend and escape into the rainforest. It’s not far away, it’s attainable. That’s the beauty of the mountain. 30 minutes to the Gold Coast, an hour to Brisbane, and you’re away from it all. Winter is probably our most busy time because of the wood fireplaces, those are a very popular feature. People love to sit around a wood fire and make merry.
What goes into the average day here for you?
We start with breakfast in the morning, then guests will go off and explore the mountain or just chill out in their rooms. We have a private deck down on the escarpment too where people can go and do picnics. We have Natachia from Mt Tamborine Picnics come in and she sets up picnics for people here, she’s lovely. We do maintenance around the property during the day, housekeeping, supplying all the firewood in winter, restocking everyone’s kindling. Just keeping it all looking nice and curated while still part of nature. In the afternoon we’ve got people checking in from 2:00. We’re not a 24/7 reception, check-in is from 2 till 5, and if you’re arriving late, we can leave keys for you and check you in in the morning.
Have you noticed any particular trends in your clientele?
A lot of people who are in high-pressure businesses come here to chill out and relax, just to get away completely from that environment. We’ve had people escaping their children, that’s popular. Couples who are just wanting to get away and relax. It’s pretty much a couples’ resort, we don’t have children here. Families can rent out the three-bedroom house, which is separated and self-contained, so we allow children down there because they don’t come up this end but up here in the villas, it’s couples only.
Are you a local? What’s your opinion on the Tamborine Mountain area and community?
I say I am, yes! I went to school here, so I guess that makes me a local! I went to both schools, St. Bernards and the Tamborine State School when it was just one building, three classrooms, three teachers and seven classes. I think the community is great! I like that we are close to the Gold Coast and everything, but far enough away that you don’t see it. The Guanaba Creek runs through here, and we hear that every night, like a little waterfall. It’s nice and calming. I like the sunsets on the west, it’s just an amazing view. One of my bucket list items is to jump off this mountain in a hang-glider! I’ll be doing that one day. Maybe I’ll learn to fly one first before I do that…
Do you have a favourite thing to do on the mountain?
I love bushwalking. I recommend that to people because it’s part of coming here, to explore that and see the amazing huge fig trees and the buttress roots, the wildlife in there. I think that’s important for people who live in the city to experience that when they get away. You don’t get that in your backyard in Brisbane. There’s a lot of great fine dining options up here now too.
What do you think Escarpment really provides to the area?
I think we provide a form of accommodation that you don’t see in other places, being in the jungle surrounded by nature with beautiful architecture, set in a very tranquil, peaceful area. Quiet, peace, serenity, that’s a great thing about this place.
What’s been your most memorable moment here?
We had a fun day one time, we had a party of girls who were all in the central lounge with the fire going. It was a great party atmosphere, and it was nice to provide them with a place to chill out. They went off in turns to the day spa to get massages and facials. We had food on, wine and drinks… it was fun. Another thing is we currently have series 2 of the ABC show Troppo filming here! I believe they’re filming in a few other locations here on the mountain too. That’s exciting for me because I was previously in that industry myself. It’s followed me here!
Is there anything else you’d like to go on the record?
Our motto here is “escape, experience and rejuvenate.” That’s what we want people to do.