Thinking of visiting Purling Brook Falls? Good choice! This is our favourite walk in Springbrook National Park. There’s wildlife, a stunning waterfall and you get to journey deep into the rainforest. As a bonus, you can also take a short detour to the peaceful Warringa Pool.
Springbrook National Park is in the Gold Coast Hinterland. It is part of the world heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. It is about 60 minutes from the Gold Coast and 90 minutes from Brisbane in the Springbrook Plateau section of the park. There are a range of walks and waterfalls you can see in Springbrook and the 108 metre drop of the Purling Brook Falls is one of the best.
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About the Purling Brook Falls Walk
The circuit walk is between 4 and 6 kilometres long depending on whether you include the Warringa Pool track. Signage at the falls suggests doing the walk in a clockwise direction. The trail begins at the Gwongorella Picnic Ground and takes you from eucalypt bushland into the rainforest and down to the falls. From there you cross a bridge and make your way up the valley taking in more views of the falls as you ascend.
You can’t swim at Purling Brook Falls. If you want to cool off, that is another reason to do the extra 2 kilometres from the base of the falls to Warringa Pool. There you can cool off or relax by the rivers and pools and enjoy the tranquillity and beauty of the rainforest.
The walk up and down from the falls is along a series of switchbacks but there are several sets of steps along the way. There are more steps on the way down if you take the suggested clockwise route. Although there are fewer steps going back up, some are quite deep. The walk takes 2-3 hours depending on whether you go to Warringa Pool.
Gwongorella Picnic Ground
The trail head as at the Gwongorella Picnic Ground. It is a lovely area with open space, picnic tables, BBQs and toilets. From here the walk is well signed so it is an easy start through the eucalypt forest. If there is a lot of water around, you might be able to already hear the falls.
There are a few things to look for at the start of the walk. You’ll see a sign for spotted quolls which got us excited about a possible sighting. There is also a giant fallen tree where you can get a close look at the amazing size of the forest trees. A bit further along is a name board that explains the meaning of the aboriginal names used in the park. We stopped for a look and discovered Gwongorella means dancing water.
Springbrook National Park Bushwalking Tour
Enjoy an in-depth experience of the World Heritage–listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia on a full-day tour from Brisbane. See subtropical and temperate rainforest, stopping at stunning lookout points and cascading waterfalls. Stop for a picnic lunch at Purlingbrook Falls & take a dip in natural freshwater pools.
From the picnic area the path runs along the side of the gully through eucalypt forest. You don’t have to wait long to get your first look at Purling Brook Falls. At the first clearing you get a view of the top of falls spilling straight down into the valley below. There are a few breaks in the vegetation that give you some great views of the valley.
Keep an eye out for wildlife in this top section. We spotted some red neck pademelons, but the highlight was seeing a thing called a land mullet. These jet black skinks are as think as your arm and when you haven’t seen one before, at first glance, you might think it is snake. They are the biggest of the skinks and are quite a sight.
Further along you get to the top of Tanninaba Falls. Fallen trees and a modest amount of water meant it wasn’t the most spectacular sight for us. What was good though was the cocky guarding this part of the walk. It put on quite the show as we walked past. We could hear it still squawking at other walkers following behind us.
Into the Rainforest
It is not long before a series of steps and switchbacks take you down into the rainforest. Over a short distance the landscape changes from bushland to a lush jungle of cycads, vines and trees with enormous buttress roots. We started our walk early and the only thing louder than the ever present roar of the falls was the magnificent call of the eastern whip bird.
We got to the base of Tanninaba Falls and it was much more impressive than the top. A little wooden bridge takes you over the water and there was enough water coming down to make a nice spray. There is some great rainforest scenery beyond the bridge. We found ourselves ducking under low hanging vines, stepping over giant tree roots and walking between giant boulders. All the time, the roar from the falls gets louder and louder.
We found ourselves feeling completely immersed in the rainforest. You feel like you’ve been transported to another world. Just when you think it can’t get any better you round a corner, and the base of Purling Brook Falls comes into sight. It is a real wow moment!
Read More : Relax at the Gold Coast Botanic Gardens
Purling Brook Falls
It is not like Purling Brook Falls is amongst Australia’s tallest waterfalls, it’s not even in the top 20. But at 109 metres high, standing at the base of theses single drop falls is still an amazing sight and sound. The falls create their own mini weather system – it is quite breezy at the base and fine spray fills the air.
There are lots of vantage points to get a great picture – and there are plenty to be had. It is not only the falling water that makes it look good. The orange and black cliff face at the top of falls contrasts with the shiny black rocks at the bottom and the glistening vines and trees near the base. Really, the time the walk takes you will also depend on how long you sit around and watch the falls. It would be easy to spend an hour watching the water tumble down.
Frome the base of the Purling Brook Falls you can either make your way back to the top of the valley or go on to Warringa Pool. It adds an extra 2 km to the walk, but it is worth doing. You can’t swim at Purling Brook, but you can at Warringa Pool.
Springbrook & Tamborine Rainforest Tour
Relax and enjoy the passing countryside and take some photos of the gorgeous hinterland. See kangaroos, bush turkeys, alpacas, cows, sheep and chickens. See the natural arch waterfall, cedar creek glow worm cave, have lunch at the cedar creek restaurant and visit the Tamborine Skywalk. A great tour for the whole family!
The track to Warringa Pool is less travelled than the main path around Purling Brook Falls. Even though it was quite busy the day we visited, very few people were on the Warringa Pool track. It is certainly worth doing. The path is flat and there is more amazing rain forest plant life to take in. Some of the tallest trees we saw on the walk were along this section of the track.
The first water you reach is the stream from Tanninaba Falls. There is a cute little wood bridge across the water surrounded on both sides by large areas of rock. It is a pretty spot to stop and watch the water rush by – but there’s more.
Ten minutes further on you get to Warringa Pool made up of a small fall and some rock pools. Whether you get in the water or not it is a beautiful spot to sit and relax and take in the rainforest. We were joined here by a curious bush turkey who came over to say hello before flying off across the Little Nerang Creek.
You might think when you get back to the base of Purling Brook Falls that you have seen all there is to see but there are more great views to come. You get to enjoy the falls from new angles as you make your way across the river along the John Stacey suspension bridge. You are a little bit further back from the falls and the view from the bridge lets you take in a bit more of greenery and cliff face around the water.
As climb back up the gully it’s a little sad hearing the roar of the water fade. As a consolation, there are still more nice views of the falls for a good part of the walk up. The last part of the walk is the toughest part of the hike. The deep steps, tree trunks angled across the bath and low hanging vines make it feel like a bit of an obstacle course. It’s all good fun though.
HYDRATION BACKPACK FOR HIKING
Perfect for walking in rugged or slippery terrain when you need your hands free & have to keep yourself hydrated. The Camelbak Sabre is an extremely tough and versatile pack that lets you can carry two litres of water when you’re on the go. The closed cell insulation keeps water cool for hours and has extra room for your keys, phone and cards.
A reward for getting back to the top, is one of the best views of the walk. The Purling Brook Falls East Lookout gives you a great view from the top of falls to the pool below. If you are unable to do the full Purling Brook Falls circuit, the lookout is only 300 metres from the picnic ground and gives you a great view at the falls.
If you are looking for accommodation in Springbrook National Park, Purling Brook Falls is near the Settlement Campground. It is the only camping area in the park and is suitable for tents and camper trailers. It has toilets, BBQ and picnic facilities. Bookings are Essential.
Springbrook National Park Walks
Purling Brook Falls is only one of many waterfall walks you can do at Springbrook National Park. Make sure you check out our guide to Springbrook’s waterfalls and walks. The Warrie Circuit is great for the number of falls it has. Twin Falls is a fun spot for a swim and Natural Bridge has the amazing Waterfall Cave. But if it’s grandeur you’re after, it is hard to beat Purling Brook Falls.
Read More : Our Full Guide to Springbrook Waterfalls & Walks
Purling Brook Falls Walking Trail Map
Map: Queensland Parks And Wildlife Service
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