The Gold Coast Hinterland has a lot of waterfalls. Some are easy to get to, and some require a full days hike. This post has mostly waterfalls on it, but I did add a couple of other places, just because the views are amazing and since you're in the area, why not.
If you only have a short amount of time, I did all of this in one day, but you do need a car to get around. You can do day tours to specific areas, and I have included links below.
Check out the Springbrook National Park website here to read more on the times and difficulty of the walking tracks. It's also good to check out what the track conditions are like, especially after rainfall.
Remember this is Queensland, skin cancer capital of the world, so bring the sunscreen, hat and sunglasses. If it has been raining, you also may need the insect repellent, as the mosquitos show no mercy and don't forget your water.
Natural Bridge is located near the NSW/Qld border in the Gold Coast Hinterland. It's a 1km, easy track, that suits all ages.
The track is a circuit and sealed all the way, although there are some stairs to negotiate. You are going up and down a medium gradient as you walk to the creek and then back up.
I've been here twice, once during a drought and recently after rainfall. Both times there was water, but if you really want to see the full force of these falls, then after rain is best.
The full circuit wasn't open when I was there the second time as the track had been damaged after the rain. This gives you the chance to go straight to the lookout, and see Cave Creek fall into the cave.
There is a track off the main one, that takes you down to the lookout. It's only about 100m with some steps to the viewpoint.
Back on the main track, you will cross over Cave Creek via a bridge that then takes you back down for another view of the falls before taking you further down to the cave.
You have the choice of three views once you get down to the cave. Down the stairs takes you into the cave, which has bats and glowworms inside. You will probably see the bats, but the glowworms will only be seen at night.
The other viewpoints are at the top of the stairs, or you have a platform next to the creek.
Inside the cave, looking into the cave from the top of the stairs and looking in from the bottom platform
Natural Cave is one of the premier spots in the Gold Coast Hinterland, and its large car park reflects that. It's very popular on weekends, especially with families, although I was there on a Sunday and even with the car park full, you had excellent views, and it wasn't too crowded.
There are toilets here, but there is a cafe back on the main road, turning right from the entrance.
You can explore the area by night and see the glowworms shining in the cave. Make sure you bring a torch with you as there is no other lighting, but do not shine anything on the glowworms as their lights will go out for up to an hour.
Once again on the NSW/Qld border but this time you get the view over Northern NSW including Mt. Warning, and if it's a perfect day, the views are all the way to Byron Bay.
It's only just over a half a kilometre walk on a good track to see the view from the platform. You travel through time in a forest of ancient Antarctic beech trees the last of their kind linking back to Gondwana times.
Just along the road before you get to Purling Brook Falls, is the Canyon Lookout, giving you views across the Hinterland, and the Gold Coast.
The lookout is a wheelchair and stroller accessible viewpoint as it's only 30m from the car park.
Purling Brook Falls is the longest walk at 4km and two hours return if you want to do the circuit and go to the bottom of the falls. You could also pick Twin Falls circuit instead as they are both the same distance, difficulty and time. I haven't done the Twin Falls circuit one as I choose Purling Brook Falls.
From the car park, the first viewing platform is only a short away, so you can still see the falls without doing the full circuit.
Even if you don't want to do the whole circuit, you can have another chance to view the falls from a better perspective. If you take the left-hand track from the car park, it will take you around to the Western Lookout.
This track can be dangerous in places, especially after rain. It is steep and has steps as you go down to the valley floor, and back up, but if you do it, you'll be rewarded with views like this at the bottom. The easiest way is in a clockwise direction as the steps are on the western side.
You could spend more time in this area and see more waterfalls, like the Twin Falls and Goomoolahra Falls, which is another short walk at 200m. The following activities are at Mt. Tamborine that you can do another day if you wish. It's an hour's drive between Tamborine Village and Purling Brook Falls.
Tamborine Village is at the northern end of the Gold Coast Hinterland. This quaint village is a popular attraction on weekends as locals and tourists enjoy the local fare.
Cafes, delicacies, treats, craft beers and wineries are here for you to explore, as well as walks in nature and the Botanic Gardens.
The large car park has an overflow, which may be useful on those busy weekends. It is only a 500m, 15-minute walk to the falls lookout. The track is good with a slight incline and some stairs to negotiate.
The lookout gives you an excellent close-up view of the falls and is large enough to take quite a few people. As this is a popular place for photographers, and you'll find a few with tripods, which takes up a bit more space.
Once you've seen the falls, you can carry on taking the circuit walk through the rainforest beside the river.
Rockpools further along the river are popular places to swim safely, especially on a hot summers day.
Another refreshing place to be after your walk is at the Pavilion Garden Bar next to the car park. You'll enjoy the delicious food and crafts beers before starting on another attraction in the area.
Less than a 10-minute drive from Curtis Falls is Tamborine Mountain Rainforest Skywalk.
This walk will take you through the many layers that make up rainforest, from the forest floor to the canopy.
You will enter and exit the rainforest through the Eco Gallery with information on the flora and fauna in the area.
Upon going outside, you are straight onto the Skywalk that will take you into the forest canopy.
I don't like heights or walking on metal that I can see through, but I did get used to it after a few minutes. It is the best way to see the forest and the birds that inhabit it.
Most of the walk is a gentle slope down to the forest floor with markers showing you the way around.
After the creek, it's back up to the Cantilever above the canopy. From the end, you have views back down to the creek below.
As the 40m cantilever is suspended outwards, it can get bouncy, and I luckily had no one else on it.
A large car park, gift shop, toilets and a cafe are here, with the cafe having views over the rainforest. There are a few steps in the park, a stroller can be taken around without much problem.
The walk is 1.5km long, and you can take as long or short as you wish as it is self-guided. The average time is about 45-minutes to 1 hour, and it's great for all ages.
Witches Falls is one of the hardest of the tracks that I have listed. This 3.6km track is steep, and after rain, it can be muddy and slippery.
The car parks aren't large as you have parks just off the side of the road.
You need to be there after recent rain to see any water falling. The viewing platform is a short detour off the track, but you will be next to the falls.
The Gold Coast Hinterland is an excellent place to get back to nature and get away from all the hustle and bustle of the high-rises on the Gold Coast.
There are cafes all along the Gold Coast Hinterland, but taking up a picnic may be the way to go. There are so many places to enjoy your lunch on the picnic tables provided at most of the locations. Don't forget to take all your rubbish with you if there aren't bins supplied.
Explore the outer coast of Pohatu Marine Reserve and marvel at its spectacular towering cliffs, rock stacks, reefs, and deep sea caves. Observe the diverse wildlife and marine species such as penguins, seals, various sea birds and possibly the world’s smallest dolphin!