Best waterfalls to visit on the Gold Coast
The Gold Coast has a lot more to offer than golden beaches, just half an hour drive away lies wondrous mountains and valleys with subtropical rainforests, wildlife and waterfalls.
Pineapple Tours has a range of activities to excite everyone from families to avid explorers.
If you are an early riser, chances are you have been blown away by the glorious sunrises that shimmer over the Pacific Ocean to the east of the city.
If you’ve escaped to the greenery of the hinterland you have no doubt marvelled at a purplish-pink sunset to the west that falls behind mountain ridges which make up the Scenic Rim.
Bushwalking trails both long and short weave their way throughout the sub-tropical rainforests of the hinterland and across the national parks that reach the ocean shores.
With natural rock pools, more canals than Venice, crystal clear calm creeks and pristine beaches and rivers; there is always somewhere to find your inner water baby and try a new water sport.
But perhaps the city’s most spectacular natural asset is the collection of waterfalls that cascade down cliff faces and fall into word-heritage listed rainforest.
Here’s a list of some of the amazing waterfalls you can find on the Gold Coast and surrounds.
Purling Brook Falls – Springbrook
Length: 4km (return) Level: Medium Note: Reasonable level of fitness and ankle-supporting footwear recommended
The Purling Brook Falls are spectacular and are rated on Tripadvisor in the top 3 things to do in Springbrook National Park. Towering at over 100 meters in height, visitors flock to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests after rainfall to see it at it’s most magnificent.
Start your hike along a scenic and elevated path that descends from open eucalyptus forest that descends into a subtropical gorge to view the amazing falls from below. After crossing the new suspension bridge that allows for a perfect photo opportunity. Slightly further down the track, the falls flow into waterholes that are great for swimming. The water is very refreshing year-round. Prepare for a steady climb through the rainforest which will bring you back to the picnic area.
Natural Bridge – Springbrook
Length: 1km (circuit) Level: Easy Note: The track has long sets of stairs, walk this track in a clockwise direction for an easier hike.
Natural Bridge is a very popular part of Springbrook National Park and is currently rated on Tripadvisor as the #2 thing to do in Springbrook. The sealed circuit track takes walkers through the forest, across Cave Creek and into an arched cave where a waterfall falls in from above.
It provides phenomenal photographic opportunities so don’t forget to bring your camera.
In the evening the cave becomes illuminated by thousands of glow-worms. The glow-worms are visible all year, however, their population increases significantly during the summer months.
Find hoop pines along the trail that emerge through the surrounding rainforest. These pines are living relics of the Jurassic Age—the age of the conifers— from approximately 180 million years ago. These pines are the most primitive of conifers.
Curtis Falls – Mount Tamborine
Length: 1.5km return Level: easy/medium Note: The track starts from the Dapsang Drive carpark. Alternatively, you can start at the shops on Eagle Heights Road, adding an extra 800m return.
Joalah is an Aboriginal word meaning “haunt of the lyrebird”. The loud calls of the male Albert’s lyrebird can be heard during winter.
This track takes walkers through palm tree filled rainforest. It descends along steep stairs that reach a large natural pool at the base of the falls. An impressive view of the falls and surrounding columnar basalt rock face provide for a perfect photo opportunity. Unfortunately, swimming is prohibited at the falls.
Twin Falls – Springbrook
Length: 4km return Level: Medium Note: Allow about 2hrs walking time
Springbrook’s sub-tropical landscape is punctuated with amazing waterfalls including Twin Falls.
The walk begins from either Tallanbana picnic area or Canyon lookout. The 4km track’s scenery continually changes as it makes its way the falls. Expect to see interesting rock formations, very steep cliffs, an abundance of wildlife and breathtaking views all the way down to the beach. At the base of the twin falls a large rock pool is perfect for a swim.
This track allows walkers to access the two waterfalls from behind, through rock clefts and among palms and tree ferns.
Some of the trees located in this part of the World Heritage area have been radiocarbon-dated at 1500 years, making these trees the oldest ever carbon-dated on Australia’s mainland.
Length: 200m return Level: easy Note: wheelchair accessible
From the top of the lookout the Goomoolahra waterfall cascades 60 meters down to land on a subtropical rainforest floor. This section has been listed in the top five things to do in Springbrook.
This is a wheelchair-assisted track that passes through the Goomoolahra picnic area. Visitors are able to access several great lookouts from the top of the Goomoolahra Falls. The north facing views reach as far as Stradbroke Island to Moreton Bay and surrounding islands.
Picnic Rock and Elabana falls – Lamington National Park
Length: 7.6km return Level: medium Note: Allow 3 hours – Turn right at the Box Forest turn-off for Picnic Rock, a favourite lunch spot, but be sure to continue to Elabana Falls 400 metres further on.
The Elabana Falls Track branches off the Main Border Track 1.7 km from the entrance of Lamington National Park. It descends through a path that is lined with ancient Antarctic Beech trees and then past the largest Brush Box trees in the National Park that are over 1,500 years old.
This waterfall is rated as one of the prettiest falls in the area. The walk is all downhill on the way so prepare for a steep trek when returning.
Walking tips for newbies
- Hat, sunscreen, insect repellant, correct walking shoes and water are a must.
- If you are not a walker start by picking an area that is flat and provides shade in the warmer weather.
- Go early in the morning before the sun gets too hot.
- If taking strollers or wheelchairs check ahead of time for accessibility or take a companion to help with steps.
- Always check the weather forecast and let friends or family know your intended destination.
*Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. Bushwalking is a potentially dangerous activity which may expose you to hazards and risks that could lead to injury, illness or death or to loss of or damage to your property. Ensure you are properly prepared before embarking on any bush walk.