Springbrook National Park
Escape the summer heat and enjoy cool rainforest, eucalypt forest, sparkling mountain streams, plunging waterfalls, deep, palm-filled valleys, spectacular views and remnants of early foresting history, all accessible by graded walking track await you at Springbrook National Park in the Gold Coast hinterland.
Covering land on and around Springbrook Plateau, the 2720ha park protects rainforests, eucalypt forests and the headwaters of rivers flowing to the Gold Coast.
Springbrook lies on the Scenic Rim, a chain of mountains stretching across the Queensland-New South Wales border. Walking tracks ranging from easy to challenging take you to lookouts, waterfalls and ancient forests. Some are wheelchair accessible, as are some picnic areas. Visit for a few hours, or stay for days — you won’t be bored.
Together with nearby and New South Wales parks, Springbrook is the heart of the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves (Australia) World Heritage Area. Tamborine National Park is also close.
Getting there and getting around
The park is about 100km south of Brisbane.
Springbrook Plateau section
From the Pacific Motorway, Springbrook Plateau is 29km from Mudgeeraba or 42km from Nerang. Exit the Pacific Motorway at Mudgeeraba (exit 79 from the north, exit 80 from the south) and follow the Gold Coast-Springbrook Road. Alternatively, e xit the Pacific Motorway at Nerang (exit 69) and follow the Nerang-Murwillumbah Road for 42km then take the Springbrook turn-off at Pine Creek Road. Both bitumen roads are steep and narrow.
Dominating the Gold Coast’s western skyline, Springbrook’s cool forests and mountain streams offer visitors views of impressive landscapes, and walks among subtropical and temperate rainforest, open eucalypt forest and montane heath. Spectacular waterfalls, cascades and tumbling creeks are dominant features in this World Heritage-listed park.
Springbrook National Park covers 3425ha and is in three sections — Springbrook Plateau, Mount Cougal to the east and Natural Bridge to the west. The Plateau has many lookouts with fabulous views while Mount Cougal offers an insight into the area’s logging history. Visit Natural Bridge by day to see a unique waterfall or after dark to discover the park’s amazing glow-worms.
Located on the banks of the Nerang River and shaded by a forest setting, the Numinbah Forest Reserve’s day-use area is a perfect spot for a barbecue or picnic.
The Settlement campground is on Springbrook Plateau. Travelling up from the Gold Coast, turn left off Springbrook Road at the Springbrook Public Hall into Carrick’s Road and follow the signs. The campground is on the right. Camping is no longer permitted at Gwongorella, near Purling Brook Falls.
Space for tents, camper trailers and campervans is available. The campground facilities include toilets, drinking water and a cooking shelter with free electric barbecues. Please note that showers are not provided.
Springbrook National Park’s walking tracks have been classified so you are better able to select a walk that matches your bushwalking experience and fitness. This classification system is based on the Australian Standards. Take time to read these classification details before walking out on the park.
Numinbah Forest Reserve is a day-use area only. There are no marked walking tracks.
Allow 15–20 minutes to walk one kilometre. This time is calculated for people of average fitness and bushwalking experience and who are wearing correct footwear. If walking with young children or are an inexperienced bushwalker, allow more time to include rests and to return to your starting point.
(1) Wunburra Lookout — 30m return (5 minutes)
Located just off the Gold Coast - Springbrook Road, Wunburra Lookout has views of Purling Brook Gorge, Mount Cougal and the Little Nerang Dam. The carpark is small and can be crowded on weekends or public holidays. Take care with children, as the busy road is close by. Views from this lookout highlight the geological processes of erosion.
(2) Canyon Lookout — 30m return (5 minutes)
Step out of your vehicle and you’re there! Take in the superb views of Twin and Rainbow Falls, the sheer walls of the Canyon and the ocean beyond. The spectacular views from Canyon Lookout are a result of millions of years of erosion, landslides and weathering. These geological processes will continue to shape the landscape before you. This location is the starting point for the Twin Falls and Warrie circuits.
(3) Best of All Lookout — 700m return (Allow about 30 minutes walking time)
Walk through ancient Antarctic beech forest; a remnant link to a past cooler climate, to a view of northern New South Wales dominated by Mount Warning — the lava plug centre of the erosion caldera of the extinct Tweed Shield volcano.
The small pocket of Antarctic beech forest Nothofagus moorei is one of our remaining links with the ancient forests of Gondwana. Nothofagus forests were once widespread across the continent and provided a habitat for many animals that have long since disappeared from our landscape.
(4) Purling Brook Falls Circuit — 4km return (Allow about 2–3 hours walking time)
Note: It is easier to walk the track in a clockwise direction. If including the Warringa Pool track, which leads downstream from the base of the falls, it is a further 2km, so allow another 40 minutes.
Walkers pass through open eucalypt forest of New England ash Eucalyptus campanulata, where fire-adapted species such as lepidozamias, hakeas and various wildflowers grow, before descending into the gorge to view the falls from below. A steady climb through forest brings the walker back to the picnic area.
Water flowing over Purling Brook Falls is high quality because its catchment is protected within this World Heritage area. Walking in this area is a privilege. Be responsible for keeping the catchment clean — practise minimal impact bushwalking.
(5) Twin Falls Circuit — 4km return (Allow about 1.5–2 hours walking time)
Commence this walk from Tallanbana Picnic Area or Canyon Lookout. Follow the track in an anti-clockwise direction to take advantage of the interpretive signs, which guide the walker through different forest types. Pass behind two waterfalls, through rock clefts and among palms and treeferns.
Picnic and day-use area
There are several popular picnic areas here. No rubbish bins are provided in Springbrook National Park or Numinbah Forest Reserve — please take your rubbish home with you.
Subtropical rainforest, ancient Antarctic beech trees, hoop pines, eucalypt forest and montane heath habitats shelter an incredible variety of wildlife. More than 100 bird species live in the park and forest reserve. The elusive Albert’s lyrebird, more often heard than seen, is part of an ancient, unique bird group that probably evolved when flowering plants began to dominate the landscape. In the winter months its vibrant composite call can be heard from the depths of the valleys. Springbrook provides an important refuge for this species of “true songbird”.
The most frequently seen reptiles are prehistoric-looking lace monitors, glossy black skinks known as land mullets, and sleepy carpet pythons.
The abundance of water in the park has resulted in a diverse selection of water-dwelling animals. Frogs are the most vocal, blue spiny crays the most colourful and eels the most surprising. Orange-eyed treefrogs and large, beige-coloured great barred-frogs are often seen on the tracks at night. You might even catch a glimpse of a platypus while visiting Numinbah Forest Reserve.
Other rare and threatened animals such as the Richmond birdwing butterfly rely on Springbrook and Numinbah’s forests for their survival. Ten percent of the plants are only found locally.
Climate and weather
At 900m above sea level, Springbrook Plateau can be quite cool even in summer — the plateau is consistently five degrees cooler than the adjacent lowland. The area averages more than 3000mm of rain a year, most of which falls between December and March. It is advisable to carry a raincoat and warm clothing at all times of the year.
Winters are usually cold with frosty nights, temperatures dropping to a minimum of –4 degrees Celsius. Summers are warm to hot, especially on the exposed ridges, reaching up to 36 degrees Celsius.
Natural Bridge and Mount Cougal are not so wet or cold. Natural Bridge’s annual rainfall of 2500m falls during the hot, humid summer (maximum 38 degrees Celsius), while the winters are often clear and crisp (minimum 4 degrees Celsius). During summer’s, long, hot days Mount Cougal usually experiences afternoon thunderstorms (maximum 37 degrees Celsius). Winter mornings at the head of the valley can be brisk with occasional frosts (minimum 2 degrees Celsius).
Numinbah Forest Reserve is warmer than Natural Bridge; summers are hot and humid (maximum 40 degrees Celsius) and winters clear and crisp (minimum 4 degrees Celsius).
Springbrook National Park
87 Carrick’s Road, Springbrook QLD 4213
ph (07) 5533 5147
fax (07) 5533 5991