HomeArticlesLifestyleWaterfalls, hikes and nature galore – 9 must-see Gold Coast hinterland gems
Witches Fall Bush Walk

Witches Falls, Tamborine Mountain. Image credit: Destination Gold Coast

Waterfalls, hikes and nature galore – 9 must-see Gold Coast hinterland gems

Dominica Czaczka | June 2020

The Gold Coast is home to an impressive natural landscape, from stretches of golden beaches to lush valleys, rugged mountains and cascading waterfalls.

Hit the road and explore the green behind the gold with our guide to the best of the Gold Coast hinterland.

Springbrook National Park

Dive in at Warringa Pools

While the cascading Purling Brook Falls are hugely popular with hinterland day-trippers, the lesser known Warringa Pools extension tends to run under most people’s radar. Discover a secluded natural swimming hole sheltered deep in this rainforest gully by following the Purling Brook Falls circuit downhill. At the base of the falls take the split towards Warringa Pool track for a further 1km and soon you’ll be greeted by shimmering cool waters.

Trek Warrie Circuit

If you prefer your hikes with a healthy dose of waterfalls, lace up your walking shoes and take on the 17km Warrie Circuit track through Springbrook National Park. One of the longer trails in the Springbrook vicinity, the Warrie Circuit incorporates the 4km Twin Falls loop, guaranteeing plenty of magical waterfalls to discover along the way. Allow five hours to complete the circuit – bring snacks and water!

Start at Tallanbanna Picnic Area and make your way past Blackfellow Falls before you take a sharp right and continue onto the Warrie Circuit trail. Wander past the watery curtains of Poondahra and Poonyahra Falls as you make your descent to the base of the canyon. At the halfway point you’ll find yourself at the ‘Meeting of the Waters’, where all the nearby creeks meet, before beginning the trek uphill through to Goomoolahra Falls. Towards the end of your trek you’ll find yourself lapping up scenic views of the adjacent ridge lines (if you look closely you’ll be able to spot the city skyline in the distance!) before skirting behind the stunning Rainbow Falls. True to its namesake, you can catch a glimpse of a rainbow when the sunlight hits the falls.

Glow-worms at Natural Bridge

Although most Gold Coasters have ticked the Natural Bridge off their bucket list, heading there at nightfall to see the glow-worms is another experience entirely. Make your way to the Natural Bridge cave at sundown and prepare to be blown away by the sight that awaits you. The natural cavern is a sanctuary for glow-worms, with tiny critters putting on a twinkling light show in the warmer months between December and March.

Lamington National Park

Watch the sunset at Moonlight Crag

If you’re looking for a spectacular spot to take in the sunset, make sure to pop Moonlight Crag high on your list. With panoramic views across the western McPherson Range towards Mt Barney and Mt Lindsay and down into the valley, it truly is a spectacular sight come dusk. Watch the sky transform into fairy floss shades of pink and purple before the sun signs off for another day.

Box Log Falls and Elabana Falls

Quench your waterfall cravings with the equally striking Elabana and Box Log Falls, located within the Greens Mountains section of Lamington National Park. Take the Border Track opposite of O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and walk for 3.2 kilometres until you branch off via the Box Forest circuit walking track. This half day hike will wind through dense sub-tropical forest alongside Canungra Creek past a trifecta of waterfalls; Wajinya Falls, Darragumai Falls and Box Falls (also known as Tullerigumai Falls), before journeying past Elabana Falls on your way back.

Lower Beechmont

Star gazing at Rosins Lookout

With sweeping views of the mountain ranges and valleys, this pretty countryside spot is a lookout with a little more than you bargained for. Popular with paragliders and picnickers during the day, Rosins Lookout doubles as an ideal location to star gaze thanks to the vantage point’s minimal light pollution. Dress warmly, pack a rug and see if you can spot Orion’s constellation.

First light at Freeman’s Lookout

Seize the morning and take a short 1.5km return walk through Lower Beechmont Conservation Area to Freemans Lookout at dawn. Catch glimpses of the Gold Coast skyline as the golden hour descends upon the city.

Tamborine Mountain

Cedar Creek Falls

One of the OG swimming holes, Cedar Creek Falls sits at the base of Tamborine Mountain and is home to a swirling formation of natural rock pools. Take in the view of the canyon’s cascading waterfall from Cedar Creek Falls lookout before taking the short 1.1 kilometre track down into the gorge through eucalypt and dry rainforest, reaching a trio of rock pools. As the mountain is generally a few degrees cooler than the mainland, the icy water of the pools makes for a refreshing dip on a stifling summer’s day.

Tamborine Mountain Botanic Gardens

Pretty as a picture, the Tamborine Mountain Botanic Gardens lend themselves as a peaceful spot to pull over and have a picnic. Lovingly tended by volunteers, the gardens are home to an assortment of plants and flowers such as magnolias, orchids, roses and hydrangeas. Enjoy your packed lunch in the covered pavilion or wander through pathways throughout the gardens. Awoken your inner green thumb? Stop by ‘The Potty Potters’ and purchase a plant to take home with you.

Always remember to check park alerts before you leave home for the latest information on access, closures and condition of national parks.

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