8 Great Gold Coast Family Hikes

The beautiful Gold Coast Hinterland is home to some of the best family-friendly hikes and walks in south east Queensland, taking in cascading waterfalls, ancient forests, panoramic views and rock pools. Perfect for a day trip, these hikes are all within ninety minutes drive from Brisbane and less than an hour from the Gold Coast beaches:

Curtis Falls Walking Track is the quintessential Tamborine Mountain walk - a moderate grade circuit of just 1.5km that is perfect for families.  Descending via rocky paths and bush stairs, you'll pass through a gorgeous lush rainforest of majestic eucalypts and towering palms, which form the rainforest canopy. At the bottom you'll find the splendid Curtis Falls, which can be viewed from a platform overlooking a beautiful adjacent rock pool and bubbling stream. After your walk grab a bite to eat at one of Tamborine Mountain's many charming cafes and eateries and take time out to explore one of the fun attractions like glow worm caves and treetop walks that this mountain village has to offer

One of the Gold Coast Hinterland's ultimate family walks leads to Natural Bridge, a stunning rock formation of a cave that is permeated by a cascading waterfall. Starting from the Nerang-Murwillumbah Road car park, this easy grade 1km circuit walk descends through an ancient forest, dotted with hoop pines that are living relics of the Jurassic Age. Along the way, keep an eye out for koalas and birds including woompoo fruit-doves, green catbirds and paradise riflebirds as well as endangered species such as the tusked or cascade tree frog, and sooty owl. Afterwards stop and refuel with some old school fare at quaint Two Pines Cafe (circa 1935) or make a stop at The Fudge Shop for some sweet treats

There's little effort for maximum reward with this easy 15 minute walk for all ages, leading to one of the most breath-taking views in south east Queensland. The walk takes you through a unique ethereal grove of ancient Antarctic beech trees, which are only found in a few spots in Australia. The two thousand year old trees, which require a cool temperate rainforest of between 500m and 1500m in altitude, are part of the attraction, rounded off by the panoramic view that greets you as you emerge from the forest. On a clear day you can take in parts of the Scenic Rim, Gold Coast hinterland and northern NSW, as far as Byron Bay

This 4-kilometre circuit hiking trail starts at Canyon Lookout, at the top of the Springbrook Plateau. Stop to take in the stunning panoramic vistas before descending steeply to the enchanted rainforest floor at the bottom of the gorge. Although it's a bit challenging, kids will love this walk, as they'll get to cross flowing streams, clamber through rock crevices, wander through the rainforest and even go behind two waterfalls.

This spectacular waterfall in the World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforest in Springbrook National Park is reached by a 4km circuit hike that adventurous kids will love. Along the way you'll pass through an open eucalypt forest of New England ash before descending into the valley floor to take in jaw-dropping views of the Falls. From here, young intrepid hikers may like to take the 2km return Warringa Pool track to explore further. Upon your return, grab a bite to eat at Dancing Waters Cafe, which is conveniently located just outside the Falls carpark. Here you can greet the local rainbow lorikeets which flock to the cafe's balcony searching for crumbs

The scenic trek to spectacular Morans Falls is about 4.4km return, rewarding hikers with stunning views of the 80m cascading falls and down Morans Creek Gorge, as well as Mt Barney and Mt Lindsey. Starting about 1km before the O'Reilly's car park, you'll wander through lush subtropical rainforest and across a crystal-clear creek to Morans Clearing Lookout. Near the falls, in the Albert River Valley was where the O'Reilly brother's first hut once stood, a lifetime away from the iconic guesthouse that was built by their descendents. If you'd like to explore more of the stunning walking tracks in the area, O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat makes the perfect family base

One of Tamborine Mountain's best-loved tourist attractions, Cedar Creek Falls can be reached by a picturesque walking track that takes in the spectacular falls as well as a stunning canyon and, further along, some rock pools which are popular with swimmers. To reach the falls, which are viewed from a lookout, there's an easy 500m return walk of approx 20 mins, or, to reach the rock pools, it's a 900m return walk of moderate grade that takes about 30 minutes. The walk is not the only family adventure to have in this area, with TreeTop Challenge adventure park and Thunderbird Park located nearby  

This 10.9km scenic hiking circuit in the Green Mountains section of Lamington National Park is a bit longer and more challenging than the others (so best suited to older kids or youngsters with hiking experience), but just as rewarding. Starting at the Border Track, branch off onto the Toolona Creek circuit and finally on to the Box Forest Circuit track, where you'll wander through rainforest, stands of pink-barked brush box and past the odd Antarctic Beech tree, before reaching the beautiful cascades of Elabana Falls. Allow about 4 hours for this hike and pack a picnic to enjoy at Darragumai Falls or Picnic Rock

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