Springbrook National Park is in Queensland’s Gold Coast hinterland. It is a bit under two hours from Brisbane and one hour from the Gold Coast. The park is a beautiful place to explore with its many waterfalls and lookouts. The walking trails take you deep into the rainforest, a place of giant strangler figs, vines as thick as your arm and ancient ferns.

If you love the sound and sight of a waterfall, Springbrook is your place. There are falls of all shapes and sizes from the towering Purling Brook Falls to the beauty of the Natural Bridge with its glow worm-studded cave.

Springbrook is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage area. The forests are like those that covered parts of Australia millions of years ago.

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Springbrook waterfalls

Springbrook Waterfalls and Walks

Springbrook National Park has three sections. Springbrook Plateau and Natural Bridge which are near one another. The third is the Mount Cougal section which is in a different part of the park. Most of the Waterfalls and walks are in the Springbrook Plateau. There is one main attraction at each of the Mount Cougal and Natural Bridge sections.

Springbrook National Park

Springbrook Plateau

The Springbrook Plateau contains many of the parks most popular and most spectacular features. It can be a busy place on the weekends and in holidays. If you can avoid those times, you’ll see fewer people, if not, go early and it will still feel like you have many sites to yourself. Watch for the brown signs on Springbrook Road for directions to the areas attractions.

Springbrook waterfalls
Rainbow Falls

Warrie Circuit

14km, 5-6 hours, moderate to hard walk

This is one of our favourite walks in Springbrook National Park. You go past, over and behind no fewer than six waterfalls as you make your way from the top of the canyon, down to the forest floor and back up.

You walk behind Rainbow Falls and Blackfellow Falls at either end of the circuit. Walk across the multi-tiered Goomoolahra Falls and hop across the rocks at Ngarri-dhum Falls. And that is only the start, you’ll come across four more falls along the way.

The most challenging part of the Warrie Circuit is the possibility you’ll get wet feet crossing swollen creeks. If there hasn’t been recent heavy rain the walk is long but not hard. A series of long switch backs make the climb up and down the canyon not too hard so don’t let the thought of trekking up a steep hill put you off.

The best starting point for the Warrie Circuit is Canyon Lookout. There are great views back to the Gold Coast, and at the end of the walk you can look across at the far side of the canyon and spot the waterfalls you walked pass.

For more information on the Warrie Circuit read our full guide to this beautiful walk.

Springbrook waterfalls
Purling Brook Falls

Purling Brook Falls & Warringa Pool

4 – 6km, 2-3 hours, moderate walk

At over 100m high, Purling Brook Falls are a spectacular sight. The walk starts at the Gwongorella Picnic Area; a beautiful spot to relax after your walk. You can also access it from the nearby Settlement Camping area.

You begin in eucalypt forest and descend into the rainforest and the base of Purling Brook Falls. On the way to the falls, you pass the top and bottom of Tanninaba Falls and trek through some spectacular rainforest scenery. Giant trees, ferns, vines, the calls of forest bird and the smell of that fresh, moist forest air.

Just when you think it can’t get better, you reach the base of Purling Brook Falls. The sound of the crashing water and the feel of the spray on your face is an amazing experience. There are several spots to view the falls. From the base of the falls, you cross a suspension bridge to start the climb back up. There are a few steps to negotiate on the way up but the views into the gully are a good distraction.

A bonus on this walk is the detour to Warringa Pool. This out and back track adds about 2 kilometres to the Purling Brook circuit, but it is worth doing. Fewer people do this part of the walk but best of all you can swim there which you can’t do at the main falls.

Read our full guide to the Purling Brook Falls walk for more information on one of our favourite walks at Springbrook National Park.

Springbrook waterfalls
Twin Falls

Twin Falls Circuit

4km, 2 hours, moderate walk

This is a fun walk to a couple of great waterfalls. The main falls here are a popular swimming spot. The walk down takes you between giant rock boulders. As you near Twin Falls you can choose a route to either walk behind them or across them. The walk behind the falls is hard to resist, it is such a spectacular view.

The next falls on this circuit are Blackfellow Falls. They are smaller than twin falls but still a great sight. You have no choice but to walk behind the curtain of water here. Cover your camera because you will likely get a bit wet walking from one side of the falls to the other.

You can start this walk from two points; the Tallanbana Picnic Area or Canyon Lookout. If you are going for a swim and not walking the circuit, park at Tallanbana. It can get busy there so if walking the circuit is more your thing park at Canyon Lookout. The walk is well signed from both areas.

The walk never gets too steep, the climb down to the bottom and back up happens along a series of switchbacks. There are a few sets of steps towards the end of the walk but there are rest stops and lookouts along the way if you need to catch your breath.

East MacDonnell Ranges Tour

Make the walk easier with Lexi Eagle Walking Poles

Walking poles are not just for newbies but provide us with extra stability and comfort while walking on uneven terrain and reduce fatigue over long distances. Grab a set of walking poles to help protect your knees when walking down steep hills, help with balance on uneven paths and increase your speed when walking up hill! 

Springbrook walks

Buliya-buliya jagun Boardwalk

100-300m, 10-30 minutes, easy walk

This is a short but interesting walk. There are no waterfalls here but instead you get both an insight into the areas logging history and a chance to enjoy its birdlife. Near the carpark you’ll find Gauriemabah – the Place of Stories. This is the site of the 100 year old school building and shed that serve as a reminder of the logging communities that once worked in Springbrook.

You can do a short loop walk around the buildings then follow the signs to the Land of Many Little Birds Boardwalk. The short walk is as much one long viewing platform from where you can spot some of the area’s rich birdlife. There is seating along the boardwalk where you can stop and try to spot some of the birds you can hear around you. This is a less visited area. People come and go quickly but if you have the time and patience, you can spot anything from Noisy pittas to honeyeaters and yellow robins.

Best of all lookout

Best of all lookouts

600 metres return, 10-20 minutes, easy walk

It’s hard not to like a place that puts all modesty aside when it comes to its name. There are some pretty good lookouts around Springbrook National Park. Is this the best? We’ll leave that up to you. If you get a clear day, it is pretty darn impressive with views of Northern New South Wales including Mount Warning and the Tweed Valley.

Even if the viewing conditions at the Best of All Lookouts aren’t perfect, it is worth heading along the path to see the Antarctic beech trees. This species has been around for over 100 million years and were once commonplace. Today they are only in a few pockets in Australia. The trees at Springbrook are as far north as the species grow. Also found in Barrington Tops in New South Wales, they are a fascinating and beautiful relic of a past geological age.

Canyon lookout

Canyon Lookout

20-100 metres depending on where you can park, easy walk

Don’t let its more understated name or the short walk put you off. This easy walk is big on reward, on a good day the views are stunning. When it’s clear you can look down the valley and right out to the skyscrapers on the Gold Coast.

Closer at hand is the view across the canyon. On the other side you can spot the distant Goomoolahra Falls and Rainbow Falls. This is also the starting point for the Warrie Circuit, which takes you to the falls you can see on the other side, and the Twin Falls walk.

If taking in the panoramic views gives you an appetite, the Sitting Room on Springbrook Café is across the road from the lookout.

Springbrook picnic areas

Goomoolahra Picnic Grounds

200 metres, 5-10 minutes, easy walk

This is another short walk with a great pay off. First, the picnic grounds. If you’re driving around the sights of the Springbrook Plateau you won’t find a nicer spot for lunch than the Goomoolahra Picnic Grounds. There are tables and BBQs right next to the water, toilets and a shelter if the weather comes in.

From the picnic area it is a short, easy walk to a lookout where you see the top of Goomoolahra Falls. The falls have multiple tiers that plunge away from you into the distance. At the bottom, if you look hard, you can see the concrete walkway across the falls that you use if you are doing the Warrie Circuit.

East MacDonnell Ranges Tour

BE PREPARED... FOR A DAY OUT!

You’ll be all set for a picnic or day at the beach with Trailsman 18 Can Cooler from Thermos. It features leak-resistant seams, has an attached metal bottle opener for ease of use as well as a front zippered pocket for storing accessories you might need. Chuck in your favourite chilled bevvies and picnic lunch & your are ready for a day out.

Hardys Lookout

Hardys Lookout

20 metres, 2 minutes, easy walk

This very short walk and lookout has a lot going for it. There are a couple of rows of comfortable seats. There is a monument dating back to 1906 that honours 19 of the Springbrook’s pioneers and the area has some nice stonework keeping it neat and tidy. The only thing missing is a view!

The surrounding trees have grown to the point they obscure the views towards Hinze Dam and Beechmont. It might be time to change the name of the place from Hardys Lookout to Hardys Memorial. It is an easy site to miss as you drive between Canyon Lookout and Purling Brook Falls. Unless you are a local history buff, don’t be too disappointed if you can’t stop at this one.

Springbrook waterfalls and walks

Apple Tree Park to Woonoongoora Walkers Camp

3.2km return, 2-3 hours, hard walk

On your way to Purling Brook or Twin Falls you will pass Apple Tree Park. There is toilet and BBQ facilities here. Apple Tree Park is the halfway mark in the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk (see below) that passes through Springbrook National Park.

From here you can walk to the Woonoongoora Walkers Camp. If you want a quiet walk through the forest this is a good option. For an adventure, it is also a good beginner’s overnight hike if you want to stay at the campground. But – it is a tough walk. There are about 900 steps to negotiate down to the campground, so it is not for the feint-heated or those with dodgy knees.

Springbrook wildlife

Natural Bridge Section

Natural Bridge isn’t far from the attractions on the Springbrook Plateau, but you need to take a completely different road to get there. Pine Creek Road connects the main road to the Natural Bridge Section and the Springbrook Plateau and is the best short cut between the two areas.

Brisbane Day Trip to Springbrook National Park

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.

Springbrook waterfalls
Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge Circuit

1 kilometre, 1 hour, easy walk

This is one of Springbrook’s most popular and beautiful attractions. From a large carpark a sealed path takes you through the forest, across Cave Creek and down to Natural Bridge Falls. As you make your way around, especially early in the day, watch out for the little red neck pademelons foraging amongst the hoop pines.

The falls here are different to others in Springbrook. They plunge down through the roof of a large cave; it is a great sight. There are several vantage points at the top of the falls to take in the amazing views. Just as good is the scene at the bottom inside the cave.

From there, you can see the water crashing down at the base of the falls. Not only do you get a wonderful perspective of the feature, if you visit at night, you’ll see the cave lit up with thousands of glow worms. There are strict rules for viewing the glow worms; light, smoke and insect repellent can kill them.

If you want a glow worm experience without having to venture into the forest at night, we recommend the glow worm cave tour at Tamborine Mountain. It is a great way to see and learn about glow worms without disturbing their natural habitat.

Springbrook walks

Mount Cougal Section

This area is in quite a different part of the park. Access is through the Currumbin Valley along Currumbin Creek Road. It takes about an hour to get to Cougal Cascades from the Gold Coast. The road is a little windy in places so take your time and enjoy the scenery.

Springbrook waterfalls
Cougal Cascades

Cougal Cascades

1.6 kilometres return, 1 hour, easy walk

This is an accessible and pretty walk. The sealed path takes you past a series of little waterfalls, rock pools and creeks. There are a few viewing areas along the way where you can relax and enjoy the sound of the water and take in the fresh forest air. You can swim here but finding somewhere to get in can be tricky. If you follow Currumbin Creek a bit further up, there are more spots to hop in the water.

The path is suitable for prams although there is a gentle rise as you make your along. There are picnic tables and toilets here too. At the end of the path there is a short dirt track that takes you to the remains of an old bush sawmill. More adventurous walkers can go on and make the difficult climb to Boyd’s Butte.

It is an approximately 7 km 2.5-3 hour hike to Boyd’s Butte. The track is not signed; this is one for experienced hikers. If you follow the creek past the sawmill look for the pink/red tape on the trees a couple of hundred metres up to point you in the right direction. It is a demanding walk; the top section is steep and requires rock scrambling, but you get great views of Mount Cougal at the top.

Springbrook waterfalls and walks

Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk

If you can’t get enough of rainforests and waterfalls and prefer a longer walk, have a look at the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk. It is a 54 kilometre hike that covers both Springbrook and Lamington National Parks. It starts at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and ends at the Settlement Campground near Purling Brooks Falls in Springbrook.

It is a moderate to hard hike with several sections having steep ascents and descents. It will take 3 – 5 days depending on any local detours you take to explore areas of the path. If you’re a multi-day hiker, check it out!

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Springbrook National Park
Springbrook National Park
Springbrook waterfalls
Springbrook waterfalls and walks

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