Oblivious of the hot sun and the dust, the kids hammer away with their picks at the hard, rocky ground. There are shouts of glee as each lump is clawed out and rattles into the tin bucket. At last the bucket is full, and eagerly picking it up, they hurry back through the forest and over the creek to the rock cutting shop. They stretch up on their toes, watching with anxious eyes as the electric saw slices through their largest find, then there are cries of delight as the thunderegg splits in half and they see the crystals inside.
Cnr Tamborine Mountain Rd and Cedar Creek Falls Rd, Tamborine Mountain; (07) 5545 1468
■ Thunderbird Park Mine (mid-range cost), where you can fossick for thundereggs, (07) 5545 7999.
■ Adventure Parc (high cost, minimum age 6 years), which offers amazing rope and adventure courses of varying levels of difficulty. Try the flying foxes, swinging ropes, trapezes and single beams suspended from ancient towering eucalypts; 1300 881 446; www.adventureparcaustralia.com
■ Tamborine Mountain Trail Rides offer horse rides through beautiful mountain scenery (high cost, minimum age 6 years) or led pony rides for the littlies; (07) 5545 3505; www.horseridingqld.com
■ Laser skirmishes (high cost, minimum age 6 years), available most Saturdays if there are enough players. Put on your camouflage gear and play at soldiers in a real forest! Bookings are essential; 0432 058 910 or 1300 666 559; www.laserskirmish.com.au
■ The bushwalks (no cost) amongst giant fig trees, eucalypts, tree ferns, palms and waterfalls – keep an eye out for koalas and kangaroos.
Thunderbird Park has the largest deposit of thundereggs anywhere in the world. You have to wait until they’re cut open to find out what colours and patterns of crystals have formed inside. It is believed that thundereggs are bubbles of gas that were trapped in lava 200 million years ago during volcanic upheavals.
■ There are numerous activities besides fossicking available in Thunderbird Park, including an adventure course and horseriding.
■ Children doing fossicking must be accompanied by a paying adult over 18 years of age.
■ You are given instructions and a safety talk before fossicking.
■ You can take home as many thundereggs as you can fit inside your bucket, and you will receive a miner’s permit as an extra souvenir. Cutting is a small extra cost.
■ Fully enclosed footwear must be worn for most activities in the park.
■ The mine closes in wet weather.
■ Various styles of accommodation are available at Cedar Creek Lodges in the park; (07) 5545 1468.
■ Picnics are not permitted in this private park, but meals are available at the Rainforest Restaurant.
■ The park is adjacent to Tamborine National Park.