It was the beautiful Springbrook National Park waterfalls that prompted us to abandon the Gold Coast beaches for the day and wander inland to explore. The more we researched, the more we wanted to see. Our time was limited to a single day and we wanted to be sure we included the best things to do at Springbrook on our list. All of the Springbrook hikes piqued our interest and we determined we could easily complete three Springbrook National Park Walks – Purling Brook Falls, Best of All Lookout and Natural Bridge – on our day tour.
Day Trip To Springbrook National Park
We had three glorious weeks on the Gold Coast and were spending our days on the sandy beaches of Coolangatta. But when our friend Vinny joined us on our travels, we broadened our horizons and planned a Springbrook day trip. The Springbrook rainforest with waterfalls, wildlife and hiking trails, is just a one-hour drive from Coolangatta and a world away from the beach. After a bit of research, spending a day visiting the Springbrook attractions shot to the top of our list of things to do in Coolangatta.
How To Get To Springbrook National Park
Getting to Springbrook National Park, however, was proving to be a problem. Unlike the ease of finding public transportation for our day trip to Surfers Paradise, we couldn’t find any buses that would take us inland to the bush. Vinny, less fearful of driving in Australia than Kris or me, decided to remedy the situation by renting a car.
The opportunity to see a little more of Australia outweighed my fear of sitting shotgun with someone who has never driven in another country, even one where they drive on the opposite side of the road as what we are used to. We did our research, selected our three Springbrook National Park hikes, and planned our route. We were going to see one of the best waterfalls on the Gold Coast, complete the Springbrook Natural Bridge walk and see the remaining ancient and twisted Antarctic Beech trees in Springbrook…and I could not wait.
With Vinny behind the wheel and me navigating it only took us about four minutes to get lost. We spent another two minutes cursing the roundabouts and 20 more minutes getting ourselves headed in the right direction from the Coolangatta Gold Coast to Springbrook. At last, we were on an incline toward Springbrook Mountain and, shortly thereafter, the curving switchbacks. Narrow roads, one lane bridges and Mack trucks speeding down the hill kept me as alert as if I was the one driving.
Want a hassle-free Springbrook Day Tour? Book the highly-rated Springbrook National Park Tour from Gold Coast. Find Out More!
Springbrook Lookout: Wunburra
Our self-guided Springbrook National Park tour began shortly after we entered the park. Before heading out on any Gold Coast hiking trails, we made our first stop at Wunburra Lookout. From the Springbrook National Park lookout, we had a view over the treetop canopy down the wide valley. We could see all the way out to the sea, where the Surfers Paradise skyline sat in sharp contrast to the nature all around us.
Driving through the Springbrook Plateau
Moving on through the park we passed through mountain communities. We were in awe of the people who lived in the small retreats, worked at the craft shops and ran the cafes. We could envision spending more than just a few hours in the forest. But, since a few hours was all the time we had, we hit our selected sights: Purling brook Falls, Best of All Lookout and Natural Bridge.
Springbrook National Park Walks
The trailheads are well-marked, but it’s a good idea to pick up a Springbrook walks map from the Springbrook tourist information center.
Purling brook Falls Walking Trail
Of the three Springbrook walking trails we decided to take, it was Purlingbrook Falls that we were most excited about. We had seen pictures of the falls and had high expectations. We anticipated seeing a massive stream of water pouring from the top of the mountain into the pool below.
The Purlingbrook Falls walk begins with an easy 100-meter stroll to a lookout point featuring a clear view of the famous Springbrook waterfall. Slightly dismayed at the sight, the waterfall was little more than a misty trickle. Our visit was in the winter, a time of year with little rain when the waterfalls on the Gold Coast aren’t flowing with any force. Although Purling Brook was not as immense as we envisioned, it was still a wonderfully beautiful waterfall and a good start to our Gold Coast walks.
From the Purlingbrook Falls Springbrook lookout point, we set out on the Springbrook walking tracks that led to the bottom of the falls. As we descended the steep incline, we were quickly enveloped in forest. Near the bottom of the falls, we could see rainbow shimmering in the mist where the water splashed into a turquoise pool.
From the falls, the trail enters a eucalypt forest and leads to the Warringa Pool – one of the Springbrook National Park swimming spots. The 6km Springbrook trail is usually a loop, but during our visit half of the track was closed due to landslides. We still very much enjoyed the pleasant hike that led us through the Gondwana Rainforests (a World Heritage Area).
We thought the Springbrook National Park walking trail were much more impressive than the falls themselves. We were introduced to a variety of trees and plants that could only be found in a rainforest environment. On a hot summer day, the Warringa Springbrook rock pools would be inviting. However, seeing as it was winter and a bit chilly, we stayed at the edge and admired the blue-green waters of the Springbrook swimming hole from dry land.
Best of All Lookout Springbrook Walking Trail
The Springbrook National Park walking track to the Best of All Lookout point is short – so short that I hesitate to call it a trail. However, it’s a lovely 10-minute walk through the rainforest. We walked past moss-covered trees and the historic 2,000-year-old Antarctic Beech trees before reaching a small lookout platform.
The panoramic view across New South Wales was impressive. We could see from the beaches of Coolangatta south to Byron Bay and west to Mount Warning. We are suckers for good viewpoints and we thought this one was pretty spectacular, thus earning its name of “Best of All Lookout Gold Coast.”
Natural Bridge Qld Walking Trail
The Natural Bridge walking track is a relaxed 1 km loop through the rainforest, which passes by a natural rock ‘bridge.’ What makes the eroded rock even more beautiful is the waterfall that cascades into the cave. Perhaps not as geologically dramatic as Purling Brook Falls, the sunlight and water streaming through the open rock into the pool of green was almost enchanting.
More Gold Coast Hikes at Springbrook NP
Looking for more Springbrook National Park walks? Check out these hikes:
Twin Falls Springbrook
The Twin Falls waterfall is a double waterfall found near Canyon Lookout in Springbrook National Park and can be hiked as part of the longer Warrie Circuit. For more information about the Twin Falls Circuit, go to the official park website.
Warrie Circuit Springbrook
The Warrie Circuit is a 17 km long trail that passes by multiple waterfalls and Springbrook swimming spots.
Springbrook Glow Worms
The Springbrook National Park glow worms, which reside at Natural Bridge, are a big hit with both children and adults. Only visible at night, you can explore on your own or take a Glow Worm Caves Springbrook Tour (get the details!).
The trail to the peaks of Mount Cougal is a steeply inclined track most suitable to experienced hikers.
Essential Springbrook Walks Information
Springbrook National Park Map: Use this link for an online map.
Springbrook National Park Entrance Fee: It is free to enter the park.
Springbrook National Park Opening Hours: The park is open 24 hours a day.
Springbrook National Park Weather: For current weather forecast, check the Bureau of Meteorology website.
Springbrook National Park Accommodation
- Springbrook National Park Hotels: Find hotels in Springbrook NP on Booking.com.
- Springbrook National Park Camping: The only area where camping is permitted is The Settlement. Fees apply. Find more info about camping on the official website.
Other Gold Coast National Parks
Before You Go
- Make sure you have the right shoes for your hike! I (Sarah) have hiked with these shoes by Columbia. Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Merrell.
- We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your hike. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos (that can later be beautifully compiled into a travel photo book). We travel with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos, but can be a bit clunky) and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures, is slim and lightweight – and the new models are wifi enabled so you can share your trip pics to social media in real time!).
- Make sure to bring a water bottle, sunscreen and insect repellent!
- We think travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.
We want to know: What are your favorite Springbrook National Park walks? Give us your best tips and advice in the comments!
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