Overview

  • Features: Subtropical rainforest with plenty of bird and animal life and several walking trails
  • Opening Times: 24 hours
  • Cost: Free
  • Duration: 1 to 2 days
  • Transport Options: Car
  • Walking tracks: 9
  • Grades: 1 to 4
  • Facilities: Car park, picnic area, public toilet, viewing platform, visitor information centre, walking tracks
  • Activities: Bird watching, wildlife viewing, bushwalking
  • Best Time to Visit: Spring (between September and November)
  • Address: Springbrook Road, Springbrook, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
  • Contact: 13 7468 (Tollfree)
  • Type: National Park

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Summary

Heading to Springbrook National Park? If you are, then you probably want to know about the best walking tracks in the park as well as the main highlights here so that you see the best of Springbrook National Park. Read on to find the answers to these questions as well as important information to help you plan your trip to this section of the Gold Coast hinterland.

Best Walking Tracks of Springbrook National Park

 

Heading to Springbrook National Park? If you are, then you probably want to know about the best walking tracks in the park as well as the main highlights here so that you see the best of Springbrook National Park. Read on to find the answers to these questions as well as important information to help you plan your trip to this section of the Gold Coast hinterland.

 

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10 Interesting Facts about Springbrook National Park

  1. Springbrook National Park covers an area of 6,197 hectares (15,310 acres) which makes it the second largest national park in the Gold Coast hinterland
  2. In December 1994, Springbrook National Park became part of the Shield Volcano Group of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia
  3. Springbrook National Park lies in the McPherson Range which is a remnant of the huge shield volcano that dominated the region 23 million years ago
  4. It has a Jurassic Park setting – made up of an ecosystem of lush subtropical warm and cool temperate rainforests and open eucalypt forests, where closed canopies high overhead protect an amazing array of endangered and protected flora and fauna
  5. At 900m, the national park can be up to 5°C cooler than the lowlands
  6. Springbrook National Park is divided into four sections: Springbrook Plateau, Mount Cougal to the south east and Natural Bridge and Numinbah to the west
  7. The park has nine walking tracks – seven in Springbrook Plateau, and one each in Natural Bridge and Mount Cougal
  8. The national park showcases a world of strangler figs, vines, epiphytes, glow-in-the-dark mushrooms and worms, colourful wildlife and spectacular waterfalls, cascades and gorges
  9. The park is filled with wildlife including lace monitors, black skinks, carpet pythons, frogs, crayfish and eels
  10. More than 100 species of birds live in this park and visitors are most likely to hear, rather than see, the elusive and unique Albert’s lyrebird who lives here

 

 

Springbrook National Park Map

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Springbrook Plateau Springbrook National Park

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The Springbrook Plateau is the largest area of Springbrook National Park and, therefore, has the highest number of walking tracks and lookouts. The village of Springbrook is balanced right on the edge of the plateau, with numerous waterfalls tumbling down to the coastal plain below. Several vantage points on the plateau provide extensive views of the surrounding ranges, foothills and the coastline. Constructed lookouts, providing safe viewing, are easily accessible via a short walk.

Occasionally these lookouts can be shrouded by cloud, even when the weather is fine and sunny on the coast. For the best views, visit on clear, smoke-free days.

 

Facilities at Springbrook Plateau

Being the primary area of Springbrook National Park, most of the facilities within the park are located at Springbrook Plateau.

There is a display at the national park information centre on School Road which features wildlife and historical displays. The centre is not staffed and is open between 8am and 3:30pm daily including weekends and public holidays.

Alternatively, a community tourist information centre operates opposite Wunburra lookout between 10am and 2pm on weekends, with volunteers providing tourist information such as visitor attractions, accommodation and tour guides.

Stargazers will get their fill of blazing night skies throughout the hinterland but for an astronomical close-up head to the Springbrook Research Observatory on Springbrook Road. Viewings are by appointment only.

Public toilets are located beside the information centre.

The only camping ground within Springbrook National Park is located in this area. Scroll down to the end of this post for information on the camping ground.

 

 

Mount Cougal Springbrook National Park

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The Mount Cougal section of Springbrook National Park has only one walking track which features cascades and swimming holes. The track also offers an insight into the area’s logging history. Located on Currumbin Creek, the Cascades track passes several cascades and swimming holes, and also a restored sawmill from the wasteful days when the rainforest was felled to make packing cases for bananas.

At the headwaters of Currumbin Valley, the twin peaks of Mount Cougal give their name to this predominantly wilderness area of subtropical rainforest and rock-strewn creek beds. A display stand at the track entrance has maps and information about the park and its wildlife.

While the cascades are scenic park features, don’t take risks with them as they can be dangerous. The creek contains submerged logs and rocks. Water depth is inconsistent and unpredictable. Because of moss and algae, rocks are slippery, even when they appear dry. Several people have died or suffered permanent spinal cord injuries after jumping or diving into the creek. Take notice of park signs.

Note: There is very poor mobile phone reception in this area. The closest public phone is at Currumbin Rock Pools 6km back along the Currumbin Road.

 

 

Natural Bridge Springbrook National Park

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A hidden gem, the Natural Bridge section of Springbrook National Park is popular for two reasons. Firstly, the Natural Bridge is a most unusual geological feature created over millions of years by water tumbling through the roof of a basalt cave. Secondly, Natural Bridge is home to an amazing colony of glow worms, whose lights can be seen only after sunset. Visit Natural Bridge by day to see a unique waterfall, or after dark to discover the park’s amazing glow worms.

The natural rock bridge, plunging waterfall and arched cave are surrounded by subtropical rainforest in the beautiful Numinbah Valley. Nestled under the western slopes of Springbrook plateau, the lush subtropical rainforest does not immediately disclose the cave and rock bridge for which the area has become famous.

A display stand at the track entrance has maps and information about the park and its wildlife.

Part of Cave Creek within the Natural Bridge section of the national park is now a restricted access area and swimming is prohibited here. Access is restricted to protect the glow worms and the creek’s sensitive ecosystem as well as to maximise visitor safety. Read more about Natural Bridge’s Cave Creek restricted access area.

 

 

Numinbah Springbrook National Park

Nearby Bochow Park and Forest Park in the Numinbah section are perfect for a picnic or barbecue. Both areas feature a creek and are popular spots during summer. Take a lunch and picnic on the shaded banks of the Nerang River at Forest Park picnic area.

 

 

Highlights of Springbrook National Park

Springbrook National Park consists of four sections within its 6,197 hectares of national park. These four sections have extensive walking tracks which showcase the weird and wonderful world of strangler figs, vines, epiphytes, glow-in-the-dark mushrooms and worms, colourful wildlife and spectacular waterfalls and gorges. Below are some of the highlights of the Springbrook National Park; ensure you don’t miss them.

 

1. Springbrook National Park Glow Worms

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The glow worms at Springbrook National Park are the top highlight and are not to be missed. This huge colony of luminous glow worms can be reached via the Natural Bridge section of the national park. A steep 1km walking circuit, known as the Natural Bridge Circuit, leads to a rock arch spanning a water-formed cave which is home to this huge colony of glow worms. Even though they are visible year-round, they are best seen during the spring and summer months to fully appreciate their luminous beauty.

For more information see the Natural Bridge Circuit in the walking tracks section below.

 

2. Springbrook National Park Waterfalls

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Everybody loves waterfalls especially when the water cascades down after the rains. Springbrook National Park has its share of waterfalls which are primarily located in the Springbrook Plateau section of the park. The best of these waterfalls is Purling Brook Falls; Twin Falls and Goomoolahra Falls are also worth a view.

For more information on the walking tracks that lead to the above waterfalls, see the walking tracks section below.

 

3. Springbrook National Park Swimming

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Swimming in the Springbrook National Park is permitted in certain areas; however care must be taken at all times and signs checked before swimming in those areas. The best spot for swimming in the national park is at Warringa Pool which can be accessed from the Purling Brook Falls Circuit. There are also swimming holes along the Natural Bridge circuit and the Cascades track.

For more information on the walking tracks to the swimming holes, see the walking tracks section below.

 

 

Top Springbrook National Park Walks & Walking Tracks

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1. Best of All Lookout Track

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Location: Springbrook Plateau

Distance: 600m return

Time: 30 mins

Grade: 2

Platform lookout: Yes

Natural lookout: No

 

The Best of All Lookout can be reached via Lyrebird Ridge Road from Springbrook. True to its name, the Best of All Lookout offers spectacular views from the southern edge of the plateau to the flats below. The 350m trail from the car park to the lookout takes you past a clump of mighty Antarctic beech trees. As you walk through the ancient Antarctic beech forest, you’ll reach a view of northern New South Wales dominated by Mount Warning (1,156m), the lava plug at the centre of the erosion caldera of the extinct Tweed shield volcano.

Take time to admire the gnarled and twisted roots of these ancient giants. The small pocket of Antarctic beech forest Nothofagus moorei is one of our remaining links to the ancient forests of Gondwana that occurred here during a past cooler climate. Nothofagus forests were once widespread across the continent and provided a habitat for many animals that have long since disappeared from our landscape. You’ll only find them around here and in northern New South Wales.

 

2. Purling Brook Falls Circuit

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Location: Springbrook Plateau

Distance: 4km return

Time: 2 hrs (See Note 1)

Grade: 3

Platform lookout: Yes

Natural lookout: No

 

At Gwongorella Picnic Area, just off Springbrook Road, the lovely Purling Brook Falls drop 109m into the rainforest. There are two easily accessed lookouts with views of the lush canopy and towering falls, and a number of walking trails including a 6km-return walk to Warringa Pool, a beautiful swimming hole. The picnic area has coin-operated barbecues.

The circuit takes you through an open eucalypt forest of New England ash ‘Eucalyptus campanulata’, where fire-adapted species such as lepidozamias, hakeas and various wildflowers grow. After you pass through the forest you will descend into the gorge to view the falls from below. After crossing the suspension bridge a steady climb through forest brings the walker back to the picnic area. Water flowing over Purling Brook Falls is high quality because its catchment is protected in the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.

The circuit is well signposted as sections of the track are part of Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk. Look out for arrow markers that indicate the direction. This is an arduous walk. Please do not attempt it unless you are a Great Walker and have a copy of the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk topographic map.

While walking this circuit care must be taken at all times as there are sheer cliffs and waterfalls which could be dangerous. One slip could be fatal and serious injury or death may result from walking near the edge. Keep to the track and supervise children closely at all times.

For visitor safety Purling Brook Falls has two restricted access areas at the top and bottom of the waterfall area. Access to the areas indicated is prohibited so stay to the accessible areas for your own safety.

Note 1 – It is easier to walk the track in a clockwise direction. If including the Warringa Pool track, which leads downstream from the base of the falls, add another 2km and allow another 40 mins to return.

Note 2 – After significant rainfall, parts of the Purling Brook walking track may be closed for public safety. Access is generally still available to the western lookout during these closures. Please ensure you check the Park alerts before you visit this park.

 

3. Natural Bridge Circuit

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Location: Natural Bridge

Distance: 1km return

Time: 1 hr

Grade: 2

Platform lookout: Yes

Natural lookout: No

 

Natural Bridge has a sealed yet steep circuit track which takes you through the rainforest, across Cave Creek and into the naturally arched cave to witness the waterfall plunging from above into a swimming hole. At night the cave is illuminated by thousands of glow worms’ tiny green lights. While glow-worms are visible year-round, their display is significantly reduced during the winter months; they are best seen only after sunset.

Interpretive signs along the circuit highlight the park’s special features. The hoop pines ‘Araucaria cunninghamii’ that emerge through the thick greenery of the surrounding rainforest are living relics of the Jurassic Age, the age of the conifers, about 180 million years ago. These pines are ‘living dinosaurs’; they are among the most primitive of conifers.

Here you can enjoy a picnic and relax in the cool rainforest or join a nocturnal tour to see delicate glow-worms. (Remember a torch for the walk, but turn it off once in the cave). On summer nights, you can see luminous fungi and fireflies. During the day, you can hear the calls of paradise riflebirds, green catbirds and wompoo fruit-doves.

Due to the circuit’s long sets of stairs, it is easier to walk this track in a clockwise direction.

Note – After significant rainfall, part of the Natural Bridge walking track may be closed for public safety. Access is generally still available to the bridge formation and glow-worm cave. Please ensure you check Park alerts before you visit this park.

Cave Rules

  • Never expose glow worms to smoke from cigarettes or fire, bright lights or insect repellents, as these can kill them
  • Do not shine torchlight directly on the glow worms; they will stop glowing for up to one hour, interrupting their feeding as well as spoiling the experience for others

 

4. Canyon Lookout

 

Location: Springbrook Plateau

Distance: 30m return

Time: 5 mins

Grade: 1

Platform lookout: Yes

Natural lookout: No

 

The best part of this lookout is its location right next to the car park. Step out of your vehicle and you’re at Canyon Lookout. The lookout provides superb views of Twin and Rainbow falls, the sheer walls of The Canyon and the ocean beyond. The spectacular views from Canyon lookout are a result of millions of years of erosion, landslides and weathering. These geological processes will continue to shape the landscape before you. This location is also the starting point for the 4km circuit walk to Twin Falls and the 17km Warrie Circuit.

 

5. Twin Falls Circuit

 

Location: Springbrook Plateau

Distance: 4km return

Time: 2 hrs

Grade: 3

Platform lookout: Yes

Natural lookout: No

 

Start this walk from Tallanbana picnic area or Canyon lookout. Follow the track in an anti-clockwise direction to take advantage of the interpretive signs, which guide the walker through different forest types. The track will take you behind two waterfalls, through rock clefts and among palms and treeferns. As you walk along the circuit notice the smooth, pink bark of the brush box ‘Lophostemon confertus’ that occur along the track. Similar brush box in other parts of this World Heritage area have been radiocarbon-dated at 1500 years, making these trees the oldest ever carbon-dated on Australia’s mainland.

While walking this circuit care must be taken at all times as there are sheer cliffs and waterfalls which could be dangerous. One slip could be fatal and serious injury or death may result from walking near the edge. Keep to the track and supervise children closely at all times.

 

6. Warrie Circuit

 

Location: Springbrook Plateau

Distance: 17km return

Time: 5 to 6 hrs

Grade: 4

Platform lookout: Yes

Natural lookout: No

 

The Warrie Circuit is the longest and most interesting track on the plateau. Start at Canyon lookout or Tallanbana picnic area and follow the base of The Canyon cliffs to Goomoolahra Falls before descending into the mossy green depths of the rainforest. The track (named with the Aboriginal word ‘Warrie’, meaning ‘rushing water’) crosses several creeks and gullies. The track reaches the ‘Meeting of the Waters’, where all watercourses draining The Canyon meet, then climbs up the western side of the gorge. The moist and shady conditions at the base of Goomoolahra Falls provide an ideal habitat for the giant spear lilies ‘Doryanthes palmeri’. This succulent herb is one of only two members of the Doryanthiacea plant family, which is endemic to Australia.

While walking this circuit care must be taken at all times as there are sheer cliffs and waterfalls which could be dangerous. One slip could be fatal and serious injury or death may result from walking near the edge. Keep to the track and supervise children closely at all times.

Note – Creek crossings may be impassable after heavy rain. Allow enough time to finish the walk in daylight hours.

 

7. Goomoolahra Falls Lookout Track

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Location: Springbrook Plateau

Distance: 200m return

Time: 5 mins

Grade: 2

Platform lookout: Yes

Natural lookout: No

 

This wheelchair-assisted track passes through the Goomoolahra picnic area and takes walkers to several lookouts at the top of the 60m high Goomoolahra Falls. On a clear day the north facing views stretch to Stradbroke and Moreton islands and Moreton Bay. Located at the end of Springbrook Road, the pleasant Goomoolahra Picnic Area has barbecues beside a small creek.

 

8. Wunburra Lookout

 

Location: Springbrook Plateau

Distance: 30m return

Time: 5 mins

Grade: 2

Platform lookout: Yes

Natural lookout: No

 

Just off the Gold Coast–Springbrook Road, Wunburra lookout has views of Purling Brook valley, Mount Cougal and the Little Nerang Dam. The car park is small and can be crowded on weekends or public holidays. Take care with children; keep behind the bollards as there is a busy road close by. Views from this lookout highlight the geological processes of erosion.

 

9. Cascades Track

 

Location: Mount Cougal

Distance: 1.6km retunr

Time: 1 hr

Grade: 2

Platform lookout: Yes

Natural lookout: No

 

The 800m, bitumen path has a gradual uphill rise and is suitable for prams and assisted wheelchair access. Walk through subtropical rainforest beside Currumbin Creek to a viewing platform overlooking scenic cascades tumbling into swimming holes. Follow self-guiding signs to the historic sawmill and discover the park’s past. The mill is a vivid reminder of the days when forests were valued only for their millable timber. Take time to reflect on why we need forests like those at Mount Cougal.

The creek contains submerged logs and rocks. Serious injury or death may result from jumping or diving in this water. Take care on rocks, as they may be slippery.

 

 

Springbrook National Park Accommodation

There is only one camping ground located inside Springbrook National Park; however, there are several guesthouses within the park which are along or signposted off Springbrook Road.

If you can afford it, the best accommodation option in the park is Mouses House which hosts A-frame red-cedar cottages hidden in the magical misty woods. Soft lighting along rainforest boardwalks leads to 11 enchanted chalets, each with a double spa and a wood fire. These ultra-private fairytale cottages are the ultimate romantic mountain hideaway.

Other accommodation options which are worth staying at are Rosellas at Canyon Lookout, Springbrook Mountain Manor, Springbrook Mountain Chalets, Rainforest Retreat and Springbrook Homestead.

 

Springbrook National Park Camping

Located on Carrick’s Road in Springbrook, the Settlement Camp Ground is not the best camp ground but it does have basic facilities such as toilets and electric barbecues; it is devoid of trees and showers though.

 

 

How to get to Springbrook National Park?

Springbrook National Park is located about 100km south of Brisbane and 36 km east/south/west/north of the nearest town, Nerang. An excellent winding road allows you to drive up from the Gold Coast beaches to Nerang.

Each section of the park is reached by a long access road, and there are no shortcuts between the sections, so make sure you get on the right road.

 

Getting to the Springbrook Plateau Section

From the Pacific Motorway, Springbrook plateau is 24km from Mudgeeraba or 36km from Nerang. Exit the Pacific Motorway at Mudgeeraba (exit 79 from the north, exit 80 from the south) and follow the Gold Coast–Springbrook Road. Alternatively, exit the Pacific Motorway at Nerang (exit 69) and follow the Nerang–Murwillumbah Road for 23km then take the Springbrook turn-off at Pine Creek Road. Both bitumen roads are steep, winding and narrow.

Note – there is no through-road access to New South Wales from the Springbrook plateau.

 

Getting to the Mount Cougal Section

Exit the Gold Coast Highway at either Duringan Street or Thrower Drive and follow the signs inland to Currumbin Creek Road (State route 98).

Alternatively, exit the Pacific Motorway to head west on Stewart Road and turn left onto Currumbin Creek Road at the T-intersection. The Cougal Cascades car park and picnic area are at the end of Currumbin Creek Road approximately 18km from the Stewart Road intersection.

Note – Some roads can become flooded during times of heavy rain. Please check road conditions before travelling.

 

Getting to the Natural Bridge Section

Exit the Pacific Motorway at Nerang (exit 69) and follow the Nerang–Murwillumbah Road for 38km. Turn left into the park entrance.

An alternative scenic route is 42km via the Springbrook plateau from Mudgeeraba. From the Pacific Motorway take exit 80 from the south or exit 79 from the north and follow the Gold Coast–Springbrook Road to the plateau then turn right onto Pine Creek Road. Follow Pine Creek Road to the end and then turn left onto the Nerang–Murwillumbah Road.

Natural Bridge can also be reached from Murwillumbah by following the Numinbah Road for 28km.

Note – The scenic access roads are winding and should be travelled with care.

 

Getting to the Numinbah Section

Numinbah is 13km north of Natural Bridge section on Nerang–Murwillumbah Road. Leave the Pacific Motorway at Nerang (exit 69) and follow the Nerang–Murwillumbah Road for 25km. From the other direction on this route, this part of the park is 42km north-west of Murwillumbah.

An alternative scenic route is 28km via the Springbrook plateau from Mudgeeraba. From the Pacific Motorway take exit 79 from the north or exit 80 from the south and follow the Gold Coast–Springbrook Road to the plateau. Turn right onto Pine Creek Road, follow it to the end and then turn left onto the Nerang–Murwillumbah Road. Note – These scenic access roads are winding and should be travelled with care.

 

 

Springbrook National Park Address

Springbrook Road

Springbrook

Gold Coast

Queensland

Australia

 

 

Tell us what you think. What are you looking forward to seeing in Springbrook National Park? If you’ve been here before, what was your favourite section of the park?

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