Walking through the Springbrook National Park in Gold Coast

posted in: Australia, Heritage, Nature | 50

The Hot Air Balloon Ride over the Gold Coast Hinterland was a preview of a very different side of Gold Coast. Thankfully, the Queensland Tourism Team decided not to leave this as a teaser. They treated us to a day trip through one part of this Gold Coast Hinterland. Soon after the Hot Air Balloon Ride, we set off for the Springbrook National Park.

Natural Bridge at Springbrook National Park, Gold Coast
Natural Bridge at Springbrook National Park, Gold Coast

My early morning ride in the Hot Air Balloon had already set the pace for the day. The green mountains and pretty streams that I had seen from above, definitely needed a closer look. In fact, with this tour, I realized that these were even more beautiful than what appeared from the height. They added a different aura to the whole Gold Coast experience for me. I would highly recommend that you add Springbrook National Park to one of the things that you need to do when in Gold Coast.

About Springbrook National Park

Most of you know how our Earth was one big happy continent called Gondwana until the forces of nature forced it to separate into different parts. Australia too was a part of this huge mass. The proof of this Gondwana environment are in fact, still found in the form of fossils – in the Springbrook National Park. This signs of this evolution of the Earth have now been preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can still see species of the same flora and fauna that existed thousands of years ago and this is what makes the Springbrook National Park so important.

The flora within the Springbrook National Park in Queensland
The flora within the Springbrook National Park in Queensland

Besides the important living history of this place, I found myself enthralled by the gorgeous landforms of the Springbrook National Park. It was like seeing my desktop images come to life. Caverns with waterfalls, Eucalyptus forests, large canyons and the bright colors of nature – there was so much to enjoy here. There are plenty of walking trails that allow you to see these. However, for our day trip – we embarked on just three of these. So, let’s jog along these memories of my walking trails of the Springbrook National Park.

Drive to our first stop

Even the weather Gods were on our side that day. A bright and sunny day, with clear skies that ran patterns to make the Gold Coast city even prettier. I am thankful to Hina for having let me sit by my favorite window seat. It was an absolute pleasure to capture all that I saw in my mind and camera.

Enroute to Springbrook National Park
Enroute to Springbrook National Park

The beautiful blue canals of Gold Coast slowly disappeared and out came, the green valleys of Numibah. Little fields with picket fences and pretty horses appeared at regular intervals. We even passed a few lone churches and primary schools. It was quite enriching to see the life outside Gold Coast city.

Even though I had been up since 3:30 am (remember the Hot Air Balloon ride), I barely slept. Even the few nods were reluctant as I did not want to miss anything that was being shown live on my huge Window Screen. Thankfully, before my Will lost the fight with my tired eyes, we stopped at the entrance of our first trail to the Natural Bridge.

Aย Trail to Natural Bridge

Our skipper said that this particular trail was just about “1 kilometer and very easy. Just a small incline with stairs but rest, not an issue.” While was making it easy for the others on the tour, what he did not realize was that my face was getting smaller and smaller. In my mind – “What? That’s it ๐Ÿ™“. However, this trail made me realize that – it wasn’t about the distance, even that one kilometer could throw enough surprises to stun you.

The walking trail to Natural Bridge, Springbrook National Park, Queensland
The walking trail to Natural Bridge, Springbrook National Park, Queensland

A well-marked cobbled pathway led us through dense foliage where the silence was broken by the sounds of chirping birds and a free-flowing brook. I caught sights of pretty lorikeets but they were camera shy and managed to avoid the shutter quite deftly. At regular intervals, our skipper would stop to show some of the valued flora. Like these strangler trees, that grew on any unsuspecting tree and slowly took over its host. They apparently, sucked them out their lives and made the tree trunks quite hollow.

Strangler trees in Springbrook National Park
Strangler trees in Springbrook National Park

The path turned to a point where we saw the River Nerang fall over a stone arch into a cavern. This was the Natural Bridge. The scene was just so epic that there was a collective “Ooh” from the group as we all feasted our eyes on it.

The Natural Bridge Cavern in Springbrook National Park
The Natural Bridge Cavern in Springbrook National Park

The best part of this view was that you could enter the cavern from one side and witness the waterfall from within. The green emerald lake in the dark cave with a curtain of white looked like something out of a fairyland. In some ways, it got me back to my visit to Dawki river in India. Who knows, with the Gondwana continent, they were related.

Inside the cavern of Natural Bridge at Springbrook National Park
Inside the cavern of Natural Bridge at Springbrook National Park

The magical aspect of this cavern was that it was actually a Glow cave. The ethereal effect of the glow worms lit this cave at night – a scene that could only be witnessed if you embarked on a nocturnal adventure through Springbrook National Park. With that luminescent scene in my mind’s eye, I reluctantly followed the rest of the crowd out towards the rest of the trail that went around the Natural bridge, back to our bus.

Purlingbrook Falls & the Canyon Lookout

Purlingtonbrook Waterfall , Springbrook National Park
Purlingtonbrook Waterfall , Springbrook National Park

Our next stop came up even before I had gotten over the alluring Natural Bridge. However, this was not really a walk. The Purlingtonbrook falls could be seen just a few meters from the bus itself. The falls looked tiny but seemed to fall down quite a height. Unlike the gushing waterfalls of Meghalaya in India, these ones seemed tame but still beautiful. Our Skipper mentioned that one could hike down to the falls along a path but for that day, it was not to be done. He also, assured us that down below, lay the actual beauty of the Purlingtonbrook falls. His vivid description did make me want to go for the hike. Guess, that will be a good enough reason to get back to the waterfalls of Springbrook National Park.

Canyon lookout, Springbrook National Park
Canyon lookout, Springbrook National Park

The next viewing point too, was a short walk to an expansive landscape – a huge wide gorge with sandy summits from a lone stream fell to the depths of green woods – gurgling out from the Eucalyptus forest atop. The Canyon Lookout was definitely a sight to behold.

Canyon Lookout in Springbrook National Park
Canyon Lookout in Springbrook National Park

The Best of All Lookout

The trail to Best of All Lookout, Springbrook National Park
The trail to Best of All Lookout, Springbrook National Park

We, Australians, love keeping simple names. Natural Bridge, Straggler trees and well – this is the Best of All Lookout” – said our Skipper as we walked along the path to see what made this the best lookout. If you still haven’t got that – well, the name of this viewpoint isย  “Best of All Lookout”. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Ancient Beech trees at Springbrook National Park
The Ancient Beech trees at Springbrook National Park

Before we got to the vantage point, we stopped at an intersection of Beechwood trees. These definitely need a mention for they are around 2000 years old – Antartic Beechwood trees. If you are a “Lord of the Rings” fan, then this place will give you a feeling of Deja Vu – with its gnarled roots and dense green cover.

Best of all lookout, Springbrook National Park
Best of all lookout, Springbrook National Park

Past that, you reach this point where the rest of Gold Coast stands before you. You can see the coastline at the far end that looks even more enticing through the mist of the Gondwana region that you are standing at.

Springbrook National Park is a heady combination of nature and heritage – where the latter is of a different kind. I have always enjoyed the heritage through monuments and ruins but this was one of the few times, where I enjoyed it through the living remains of ancient earth. Now that you know of this rareity, I am pretty sure that you have marked the Springbrook National Park as the thing to do when in Gold Coast. And just for that – don’t forget to add this pin to your travel list.

Getting here

  • Gold Coast city has a good connectivity by air to the rest of the world. There are plenty of airlines like Scoot Airlines that fly you straight into the city,
  • There is no public transport to the Springbrook National Park. You will need to rent a car and drive yourself or book yourself into one of the tours that take you to this park. The one that we used was Southern Cross 4WD Tours.

Travel Tips

  • It can get a little nippy when in the Gold Coast Hinterland. A warm jacket and closed shoes are recommended. Flat shoes would be the most comfortable.
  • Please note that the Springbrook National Park is a protected area. Please do not harm the flora and fauna here.
  • If you are keen on Bird-watching, make sure you carry your binoculars with you. Also, you might want to go for a personalized tour if that is the case, for this activity needs a lot more time than what you get on a guided tour.
  • There are no restaurants along the way. There is only one cafe near the Best of Lookouts, where you can get some fresh bakes and coffee.
  • Public restrooms are available at all these locations.
  • The Gold Coast Hinterland has plenty of other trails and national parks. Lamington National Park and Mount Tambourine are two other destinations. Even within Springbrook National Park, you can try out the other trails like the Twin Falls trail.

 

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50 Responses

  1. Anne

    I went sailing with southern cross on one of my trips to Oz so that brought back memories. Iโ€™m amazed by the stunning scenery so close to the city. It looks incredible. I also like the simplicity in the naming of views of the Aussies. Best lookout point indeed

  2. Leah

    The Natural Bridge Cavern looks like a place outside of Austin called Hamilton Pool. The natural park really is a gorgeous place and on my list once I finally get to Australia.

  3. Nicole Anderson | Camping for Women

    As someone who knows the Gold Coast well, I can say without any doubt that this is such a great post that includes so much that the average person just doesn’t know exists there. The Gold Coast is famous mostly for its beautiful beaches but so many people don’t even know anything at all about the massive green hinterland sitting right behind it. Springbrook National Park (as you point out) is just one of the regions within the hinterland that has such amazing nature to enjoy. The Natural Bridge is definitely a magical highlight but the extent of walking treks, waterfalls and scenic views is truly abundant. I loved reading this post even more than coverage of the hot air balloon you experienced right before this. So well done, thank you.

    • Ami

      That is a high praise that made my day. Thank you for this lovely comment. And yes, for those of you in Gold Coast, I envy you for this beauty

  4. KV GREEN HOMES CREATOR PVT. LTD

    its..so beautiful.. pictures are awsome

  5. Marlies

    I am so bummed I didn’t knew about this National Park when I was in Australia! I love National Parks and this ones looks amazing. I hope to go back to Australia one day so this will definitely be on my list to visit! Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Ami

      Ah, that is a pity you missed it. Hope you can visit it the next time. Thanks for stopping by

  6. Nell

    Wow – this really is something. Those views! And the strangler trees – how interesting. I never heard of them. Strange to imagine trees as parasites like that!

    • Ami

      There are few of the similar ones in India too that I have seen. They are quite fascinating…the strangler. They create hobbit homes…as in trees with empty shells. You should try see one. Thanks for stopping by, Nell.

  7. Shweta

    Gold coast is usually associated with scenic ocean drives. it is great that Queensland Tourism gave you a deeper travel experience. Trekking through a national park, seeing the rich flora and fauna, coming upon waterfalls like you did, I cant think of a better way to spend a day.

    • Ami

      You betcha, Shweta. So thankful to the Queensland tourism for sharing a different shade of the city.

  8. Marcus and Mel

    Love the names given to some of the places, they definitely describe what they are. It’s been a long time since we’ve visited Australia and we, like most people, kept to the coast as we passed through the region. We hope to return to Australia in the next few years and we should have more time to explore on this visit.

    • Ami

      Given this is just an hour away from the coast, you should give this a shot the next time you are in Australia. Thank you for the lovely comment. Cheers

  9. Lisa

    What a stunning national park, and full of natural beauty too. I’d love to visit Australia and see the Gold Coast one day, it looks incredible. You’re right about the Natural Bridge, I’d be oohing too! The waterfalls are equally stunning, just a gorgeous national park.

    • Ami

      Thank you Lisa. I hope you can experience this in person for yourself. It is worth every ooh that you utter.

  10. sara

    The hinterland of the Gold Coast really is the complete opposite to the glitz and party atmosphere of Surfers Paradise. Springbrook National Park looks like the perfect place to escape for a day.

    The Natural Bridge is beautiful, I totally understand why there was a collective โ€œoohโ€, I would have been joining in on that.

    Love your photo of the Gold Coast from the park. So far away yet so close, and two worlds apart.

    • Ami

      Thank you Sara. You got that right – so far and yet so close. Springbrook National Park is just perfect for that getaway

  11. Rashmi and Chalukya

    The SpringBrook National Park sounds like an amazing location packed with amazing natural landscapes, fossils and rich flora. The view of the falls from the cave is spectacular, loved all the pictures.

  12. Kavita Favelle

    What a lovely experience to walk through the natural park after seeing it from above in the hot air balloon. I love that there is evidence of the era when our continents were still together as Gondwana.

    • Ami

      Thank you Kavita. I know what you mean…the whole unified land does sound amazing

  13. Mansoureh

    This place looks so amazing! Natural bridge and all best lookout are both just wow. You are right Australians keep the names simple. you reminded me a funny video which compares British with Australians when it comes to choosing the names.

    • Ami

      I love the humor that they have in these names. Nice discovering the light side of Australia. And also, the scenic parks.

  14. Paige

    This post makes me a little sad because I was supposed to be in Gold Coast in January, but had emergency surgery and had to fly home. However, it might have been a good thing because I hadn’t heard of Springbrook National Park before this post and now it’s at the top of my Gold Coast list! All of those waterfalls are just so magical. My husband would kill to photograph these gorgeous spots!

    • Ami

      Ooh, I am so sorry you had to cancel the trip. However, like you said, on the plus side, now that you know about Springbrook, you can plan it all over again to include it. Cheers

  15. Medha Verma

    Springbrook National Park looks pretty awesome! I am so happy to have come across this post because I am in the process of creating my itinerary for my trip to Australia next year and since I have limited time, I have to be very careful with what cities & activities I pick and those that I drop. I am definitely visiting Golf Coast and I will have two days there and it seems like Springbrook National Park is a good place to add in my activities. I know for sure my parents, who are travelling with me, would love to experience a hot air balloon ride too! Thanks for this recommendations and detailed post on what to expect.

    • Ami

      Thanks Medha. Stay tuned for a new post soon on how you can plan Gold Coast. Am sure you will find that useful.

  16. holiday story

    HI ami,

    Nice post . All the picture of the post is amazing. Following you from a long time.

    Thanks
    Ruma

  17. Samantha Sparrow

    I have family that live nearby here and they’ve talked often about how beautiful it is – and now I know for sure, its just completely stunning! Just looking at those ancient beech trees is incredible – you know they’ve seen so much life changing around them in the park!

  18. Catherine Salvador Mendoza

    Public toilet/ bathroom is a must and should be everywhere so I like this part of the National Park Gold coast since when it gets cold people often run to the toilet. I haven’t been to Australia but of course, it’s always part of my travels around the world. Would love to bird watching here, the last time I was on a trip, we failed to do this because of heavy rain! The best is here is the best of all lookout!

    • Ami

      I wish I could have also, spend some time bird watching. It would have been lovely to catch glimpses of those colored beauties. Sigh! next time for me and maybe for you too ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. Amar singh

    The Gold Coast itself is one of my top bucket list destinations and this is another jewel to add to it. The spring brook national park seems a great place to visit and a nature lovers paradise. The purlingbrook fall and canyon has some breathtaking views and as you mentioned itโ€™s not just for pro hikers. Overall seems to be a great place to visit if you around the area. Thanks for sharing.

    • Ami

      Am sure you will love this part of the Gold Coast city. All the best with your plans, Amar and thanks for stopping by

  20. Shaily

    Springbrook National Park looks stunning! The eye-soothing greenery, out of the world waterfalls, surreal trees and magical views – everything looks like a scene from some fairy tale movie. I didn’t know about the Gondwana – quite interesting to know the Earth was one big continent. I love places where Mother Nature is untainted and in its purest form. Springbrook National Park is definitely going in my travel bucket list. Thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Ami

      Quite worthy of getting into your bucket list. I hope you can tick it off soon. Thanks for stopping by, Shaily

  21. susmita kapoor

    reading your article with beautiful photos gives me a very beautiful feeling… gold coast seems beautiful place..i will definetly visit next year

  22. Danik

    This national park looks amazing. I love visiting places with nature and beautiful scenery but what I would love to do if I ever get to this park is to see the ntural Bridge. That is breathtaking ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Sandy N Vyjay

    Springbok National Park seems to epitomize the best of the famed Australian outdoors. The nature trails look absolutely breathtaking. The Natural Bridge and the trail leading to it look really spectacular. Definitely a paradise for nature lovers like us.

    • Ami

      An absolute paradise not just for nature lovers but even heritage buffs. They sure will find the old trees and hidden fossils interesting.

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