Springbrook National Park Hikes

Springbrook National Park was a complete surprise to me. The lush park is part of the World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests in Australia and is a stunning paradise of flowing waterfalls, ancient trees and unmatched natural beauty. I didn’t know what to expect on my trip from Brisbane, but I was blown away by the incredible Springbrook National Park hikes that took me to some of the most beautiful waterfalls I’d seen in a while.

It’s a very special place of unique biodiversity and ecological importance. The Gondwana Rainforest is the largest subtropical rainforest in the world and just be strolling through the huge sprawling trees, you’ll appreciate that it truly is a magical world.

I spent a few days camping and walking in the national park on my recent trip to Southern Queensland. In this post, I’m going to round up the best Springbrook National Park hikes to do and waterfalls to see, so you can plan your own adventure to the Gold Coast Hinterland.

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About Springbrook National Park

Springbrook National Park is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, a World Heritage-listed area stretching south from Brisbane in Queensland down the New South Wales coast. Regarded as the most extensive subtropical rainforest in the world, it’s a magical world of lush forest, ancient trees, stunning waterfalls and unique biodiversity. 

The traditional custodians of the land, the Yugambeh people, were the first human inhabitants of the Springbrook Plateau and their presence can be traced back thousands of years. Some of the features of the park retain Aboriginal names, including Warringa Pool which means “cool place” and Warrie Circuit which means “rushing”.

There are four national parks that make up the Gondwana Rainforest, Springbrook, Lamington National Park, Mount Barney National Park and Main Range National Park. Although just one small part, Springbrook’s proximity to both Brisbane and Gold Coast makes it the perfect national park to visit on a day trip or weekend. 

Gondwana Rainforest

When To Go

You can certainly visit Springbrook National Park at any time of the year. Summer seems to be a popular time for people to head out there, but this usually comes with high temperatures which can be uncomfortable if you plan on doing any of the Springbrook National Park hikes. 

I visited in winter (June) and had perfect weather for walking. It was much cooler and less humid and the skies were clear. Plus, it was quieter too with hardly anyone on the trails.

Try to avoid visiting during or after heavy rainfall. The walking trails can be dangerously slippery and muddy and occasionally flood damage can occur after downpours. Leeches are also more common after rain!

How To Get There

You can easily reach Springbrook National Park by car from either Brisbane or Gold Coast. The park can be accessed via the Nerang-Murwillumbah Road and then Pine Creek Road. These roads are very windy and steep in places, so take care while driving.

From Brisbane: 110 km or 2 hours via M1

From Gold Coast: 48 km or 1 hour via Nerang

Exploring Springbrook National Park
Exploring Springbrook National Park

Check Out: Ottie Merino Hiking Tee Made In Melbourne

Where To Stay

If you’re looking at staying close to the national park, then there are a few options. You’ll find a variety of accommodation from budget cottages to upscale retreats, as well as, a national park campground for those looking for a nature escape.

Budget: Dancing Waters Cottage

A very friendly and helpful host offers this self-contained cottage with a double bed, kitchenette, bathroom with a bath and free Wi-Fi. From $160 per night.

Mid-range: Springbrook Mountain Chalets

Set on an incredible 14-acre property, these rainforest chalets are a stunning place to retreat into nature for a weekend away. The chalets feature a kitchen, lounge area, patio and bed arrangements to sleep 2-4 people. Some chalets have hot tubs and a fireplace for extra luxury. From $230 per night.

Luxury: The Mouses House Rainforest Retreat

For the ultimate stay, this rainforest retreat offers 2-bedroom chalets with a full kitchen, lounge area, fireplace and spa bath. There’s also the addition of a hot tub, sauna and cold water plunge pool for guests, plus massages, tennis courts and mountain bike hire available. From $360 per night.

Warringa Pool Cascades
Warringa Pool

Springbrook National Park Camping

There is one camping area in the national park and if you’re on a budget and want to be close to the walking trails, this is perfect. The Settlement Campground is a basic camping area with 11 designated sites that must be booked and paid for in advance. 

It’s suitable for tent camping, camper trailers and campervans. There are barbeques, non-flush toilets, picnic tables and water available for campers. I really enjoyed my stay here, as it was so close to all the attractions.

Best Springbrook National Park Hikes and Waterfalls

The highlight of any visit is undoubtedly heading out on one of the Springbrook National Park hikes to get up close to some of the spectacular waterfalls and otherworldly nature.

There are some nice short walks that you could easily do on a day trip from Brisbane or Gold Coast. However, if you’re staying nearby and have more time, then you should definitely tick off at least a couple of hikes, including the Warrie Circuit. The Warrie Circuit was one of the most beautiful day hikes I’d done in a while and the Purling Brook Falls Circuit is a must do for any visit to the park.

Here are the 6 best Springbrook National Park hikes and waterfalls for your trip:

Read next: The Ultimate Day Hike Packing List

Purling Brook Falls
Purling Brook Falls

1. Purling Brook Falls Circuit 

  • Distance: 4 km
  • Time: 1.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the whole national park, Purling Brook Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Gold Coast Hinterland. This long drop of water tumbles over a sheltered escarpment into a pool below.

The 4 km loop hike to see the falls is a moderate walk that should take just an hour or two of your time. It’s recommended to do the hike in a clockwise direction, which is what I did.

You can begin the walk either from The Settlement Campground or Gwongorella Picnic Area. It heads around and down the escarpment on a combination of steps and walking trails through the forest to the base of the falls.

From here, you can admire the water from a safe distance and then take the swing bridge to continue on your walk back up to the top of the escarpment again.

Warringa Pool
Warringa Pool

2. Warringa Pool

  • Distance: 6 km
  • Time: 1.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

To extend your Purlingbrook Falls hike, I suggest taking the extra 2km out and back detour to Warringa Pool. You’ll see the signposted turn off for this near the waterfall, which then takes you deeper down into the valley.

At the end of the trail, you’ll reach Warringa Pool, a natural swimming hole which is perfect if you’re visiting in summer and it’s warm enough for a swim. It can get busy on a warm weekend, so you could explore further up the cascades to get away from the crowds, if you’re careful.

Springbrook National Park hiking
Walking behind the waterfalls

3. Twin Falls Circuit

  • Distance: 4 km
  • Time: 1.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Another great loop hike in Springbrook National Park, the Twin Falls Circuit is definitely a great short walk for those with extra time. You can start this hike at either Tallanbana Picnic Area or Canyon Lookout Carpark, and is also the same start point for the Warrie Circuit.

It doesn’t matter which way you do this circuit, but either way you’ll get to admire beautiful views across the trees, walk behind a curtain of water, step through large rocky boulders and admire a few falls on the way.

Of course, the main attraction is Twin Falls, which is split into two streams of water over an escarpment. It’s a really pretty spot and is perfect for sitting and admiring the sound of rushing water amidst the rainforest.

Warrie Circuit
Meeting of the Waters – Warrie Circuit

4. Warrie Circuit

  • Distance: 13.5 km
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate-Hard

Often ranked amongst the best day hikes in Queensland, the Warrie Circuit should definitely be high on your priority list when visiting Springbrook National Park. While you’ll need 4-5 hours to complete it, you’re rewarded with some of the most stunning nature you’ll find in the park.

The trail starts off on the Twin Falls Circuit outlined above but continues in a much longer circuit hike, past many waterfalls down to the Meeting of the Waters and back again. There are around 8 different waterfalls on this hike, so if you’re a keen waterfall chaser then this trail is for you!

I did the circuit in an anti-clockwise direction, but you could do it either way. It’s a really stunning walk that deserves your time. You’ll pass around and under waterfalls, beneath towering trees and lush green ferns and down to the meeting of creeks.

Once I’d passed Twin Falls, I didn’t see anyone on the whole trail making it a really peaceful wander through this ancient rainforest. The Meeting of the Waters is the lowest point of the trail and a very peaceful spot for a rest and dip.

Each of the waterfalls are also worth stopping to admire, with some being bigger than others after heavy rain. Although, the trail can also be wet and muddy so make sure you’re prepared for a good hike!

Best Of All Lookout
Best Of All Lookout

5. Best Of All Lookout Walk

  • Distance: 750 m
  • Time: 15 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy

A nice little walk out to a lookout is worth adding to your itinerary if you have the time. From the car park, the trail is relatively flat and sealed through some of the most incredible ancient trees. It’s definitely worth stopping to admire the Antarctic beech trees, which can be up to 2500 years old!

Once you reach the end of the path, you’ll come to a nice wooden platform overlooking the vast landscape below the Springbrook Plateau. On a clear day you can look across to Mount Warning, the Gold Coast Hinterland, and down to the coast.

Return the same way.

Natural Bridge
Natural Bridge

6. Natural Bridge 

  • Distance: 1 km
  • Time: 30 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy

While not on the Springbrook Plateau, it’s still worth driving down to visit the Natural Bridge on your way. This mind-blowing natural waterfall cave is one of the biggest attractions of the Gold Coast region.

From the main car park and visitor area accessed off Nerang-Murwillumbah Road, you can take the 1km circuit hike that is an easy stroll through the rainforest and down to the waterfall.

It’s recommended to walk in a clockwise direction, as you go through the forest and walk down the stairs under the natural bridge and into the cave. There’s a platform in the cave from where you can view this spectacular sight of the waterfall plunging through a whole in the cave’s roof.

Then you return to the walking trail and walk around the natural bridge to a viewpoint above the waterfall, which offers a different perspective. You can then walk back to your car.

At night, the cave and waterfall is known for being home to a resident colony of protected glow-worms. You can either join a tour or just drive to the area yourself and admire the incredible sight at night.

More national park guides for Southern Queensland? Read next: Best Girraween National Park Walks For A Weekend Trip

Essential Hiking Gear

  • Proper footwear: It’s important to wear sturdy footwear while hiking. There are so many options on the market, but I’ve been impressed with the Keen Targhee III hiking boots over the last couple of years.
  • Daypack: A good daypack will help you carry all your things comfortably while on trail. I like my Osprey Tempest 30L daypack, which is perfect for a wide range of day hikes.
  • Hiking poles: For steep, rocky trails, hiking poles can be extremely useful in easing the strain and pressure on your body. I’ve used Helinox trekking poles for years and love how light and compact they are.
  • Hydration reservoir or bladder: Carrying enough water is important. I prefer to take a 3L hydration reservoir or bladder so I can sip on water throughout the day.
  • Personal Location Beacon: No hiker should head out on a trail without an emergency device. A PLB is a safety essential so that you can call for help whenever and wherever you are in the wilderness.
  • First aid kit: Another safety essential, you should always carry at least a basic first aid kit with you on any day hike.
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