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Cedar Creek Lodges review: Mt Tamborine Thunderbird Park

Cedar Creek Lodges offers a unique family accommodation experience at Thunderbird Park, Tamborine Mountain, Gold Coast.

Cedar Creek Lodges details

  • Where: Tamborine Mountain Road and Cedar Creek Falls Road, Tamborine Mountain, QLD, 4272
  • When: January 2023
  • Room type: 3-bedroom Brumby Lodge
  • Guests: 2 adults and 3 kids
  • Cost: $300–$500 per night
  • Hotel star rating: N/A
  • Book now

My review, in short

  • My star rating: ★★★★
  • Cost: Expect to pay between $270 and $500 per night
  • Location: Cedar Creek Lodges sits within the Thunderbird Park adventure zone, nearby waterfalls, waterholes and hikes
  • Decor: Perfectly captures a rustic, country vibe with antique furniture and finishes
  • Check-in/out process: There's a bit of walking, but staff are lovely and check-in was easy
  • The room: Beautifully decorated and spacious, with everything a family needs
  • Food: A yummy buffet breakfast and a spectacular hamper can be added on
  • Facilities: The spectacular natural wonders and Thunderbird Park are the main draws

When you think of the Gold Coast, your mind's eye likely goes straight to long pristine beaches and turquoise waves, but that's just the start. If you head about 40 minutes inland, you'll find some of Australia's most gorgeous mountain ranges.

You'll also find Thunderbird Park, perhaps the Gold Coast's most peculiar theme park. Themed, as it is, to adventure. From an incredible treetop zip-line course, to laser tag, minigolf and fossicking, it's a dream destination for families. A wonderful surprise, much like Tropical Fruit World.

Thunderbird Park offers camping and caravanning facilities, but it's also home to Cedar Creek Lodges. I stayed there with my wife and 3 children. This is my Cedar Creek Lodges review.

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While there's no shortage of hotels to stay in on the Glitter Strip, when you head inland, your options dwindle considerably.

There's a wide variety of room types at Thunderbird Park, from glamping experiences to luxury cabins with creek frontage and spas. Right through to the rustic Brumby Lodge we stayed in.

Prices are at a premium, with smaller rooms around the $280 per night mark, but most rooms push up to $400 per night and even higher. The Brumby Lodge started at around $370 per night.

These prices are sans breakfast, but you can add that on for a cost.

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Cedar Creek Lodges location

Cedar Creek Lodges can be found at Tamborine Mountain, about 45km west of Surfers Paradise and about 65km south of Brisbane. As you leave the hustle and bustle behind, you'll encounter farms, quaint villages and terrain woven by waterfalls and hikes.

Thunderbird Park sits right next to Cedar Creek Falls, which in itself is a popular destination. The sprawling park is like a hub, with multiple independent activities circling around a central restaurant. Accommodation options then sit to the side.

It's an easy walk to all the activities and facilities from the accommodation and there are hikes and waterholes about, too. Anywhere else requires a drive.

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The varied range of accommodation options are a hodgepodge of styles, each almost acting as an independent experience. The Brumby Lodge and its nearby companions are wonderfully put together. The rustic, country theme looks incredible. From the knick-knacks to the beautiful old furniture, it's lovely.

I also enjoyed the main complex, which has a wonderful inside-outside feel to it. Lots of thick, local wood and spectacular crystal-like rocks, known as Thunderbird Eggs, from which the park gets its name.

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No complaints getting in and out of the property. In fact, the manager spared some time to come and introduce herself, which was nice. There's a bit of walking between the reception and the parking lot before you check in. That's something to keep in mind.

It was a little tough to get the internet working, too. There was a bit of back and forth there and I wasn't overly thrilled with the resulting speed. But it is included for free and you can go to the lounges in the central complex if you need to work.

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In truth, the Brumby Lodge is a basic building that just about keeps the outside where it belongs. But it's done with such irresistible charm, thanks largely to its finishings and layout, it punches above its weight.

It's a big space. You enter through a screen door into a generous living room. A comfy couch sits next to a coffee table, fireplace and TV. Beyond that is a large dining table and a full-size kitchen. A back door opens to a covered outdoor space, which includes a barbeque, table set and a washing machine.

A hallway leads away from the kitchen. There's a separate toilet to be found and a large bathroom with a spa bath. Further down the hall are 3 bedrooms, with antique furniture and comfortable beds. One room has a single bed, but the others have kings and have space for extra sleepers. The master also has a second TV.

I was also stoked that my 4WD, with its roof rack, was able to fit into the carport where it was protected from the weather. And it's lovely that an outdoor firepit is on hand and ready to go for those who want it.

My only real complaint is its proximity to the boom gate guarding the camping area. It's the pinch point for all the traffic, so there's some noise fallout. It's also close to a hardcourt where the sound of ball sports, played early in the morning, was annoying. There's only a singular aircon unit, too. Didn't bother us, but it might labour in temperature extremes.

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Cedar Creek Lodges facilities

Cedar Creek Lodges is curious in the way it sits within what is effectively a theme park, albeit one focused on adventure.

I've already mentioned the washing machine, external firepit and hardcourt. Not far from the lodges is the large reception complex, which also houses a bar and a lounge space. Apparently, there are over 200 weddings a year in the broader park area, but thankfully the reception space isn't near the accommodation.

Outside of that, the facilities – at least those for people staying in lodges – are limited. Instead, you have the natural wonders. The highlight being a waterhole you can walk up to for a swim, jump and explore. Then you have the huge range of paid activities that Thunderbird Park offers.

As such, there's no shortage of things to do and you feel well looked after, even though there's not a long list of facilities to crow about.

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The farm-to-fork hamper was pricey, but delicious. The food in it was some of the most enjoyable I've had in years. The nearby restaurant is also excellent, with a nice range of booze options and quality food.

We did have the buffet breakfast, which wasn't the most diverse. You're looking at the staples mainly and not much beyond that. But what was provided was delicious and we walked away very full.

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Verdict on Cedar Creek Lodges

If you're looking for a different kind of Gold Coast experience, especially one filled with fun family activities, then Thunderbird Park is well worth considering. The wonders of nature and the joys of a theme park all in the one place.

Cedar Creek Lodges gives you the opportunity to stay at the park and do so in comfort and relative luxury. A luxury that doesn't feel out of place in the country locale. As long as you accept the noise, bugs and isolation that comes from being out in the wild, I'm sure you'll love it, too.

Disclaimer: Chris Stead and his family stayed at Cedar Creek Lodges as guests.

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