Day Tripping In Springbrook National Park
On Brisbane’s doorstep the ancient wonderland of rainforests, waterfalls, escarpments, rock formations and valleys that is Springbrook National Park makes for one of south east Queensland’s most spectacular day trips.
Springbrook National Park is part of the world heritage listed Gondwana Rainforest, a remnant of pre-historic times when Australia was part of the one giant southern hemisphere continent Gondwana and it still contains many of the plant species of that era including the awe-inspiring Antarctic Beech Tree.
Springbrook is about an hour and a half’s drive from the Brisbane CBD via the M1: take Exit 79 south bound at Mudgeeraba and follow the signs to the Gold Coast Springbrook Rd and within minutes you’re in the country amongst paddocks of horses and homesteads. (Alternatively, take Exit 69 at Nerang and follow the Nerang-Murwillumbah Rd for 42 km and turn off via Pine Creek Rd to Springbrook).
From there, the 29km winding road climbs gradually through cool, forested gorges with narrow, shared, one-lane sections until the first views appear. Once at the ridge top of the Springbrook Plateau section, there’s a concentration of fantastic journey-breaking lookouts, mini rainforest and clifftop walks not to miss:
Wunburra Lookout – On the split section of road this lookout offers spectacular Gold Coast, Hinze Dam, forested ridge and valley views.
Purling Brook Falls Lookout – Follow the signs off the main road to the left for another splendid lookout, accessed through a sliver of rain forest. A short left turn runs about 100m to the Purling Brook Falls and from there a 300m clifftop walk through cycads leads to the Tanninaba Falls lookout.
Canyon Lookout – Nestled in a little side pocket opposite the quaint gabled Canyon Lookout B&B is another not to be missed view point with jaw-dropping vistas of the entire Gold Coast from Runaway Bay down to Coolangatta, punctuated by volcanic ridges and valleys. From here take the clifftop path to the right and follow for 500m to reach the Tallanbana Falls Lookout and a continuation of the spectacular vista. This is also part of the 4km (2 hr) Twin Falls Circuit, a stunning moderate grade palm and tree fern dominated walk that passes behind 2 waterfalls and through rock clefts.
Best of All Lookout – About 4 kms off the beaten track to the western side of the Gold Coast Springbrook Rd, this one is a not to be missed 600m jaunt through cool ancient forest with its cluster of giant gnarled 2- 3 thousand year old Antarctic Beech Trees, the only ones that have survived in this section of Gondwana from millions of years ago. Just past the beech trees is the lookout with an extraordinary sweeping panorama of Queensland and New South Wales, taking in Coolangatta, Kingscliff, Byron Bay, the Nightcap Range, Mt Warning and Murwillumbah.
Goomoolahra Falls Lookout – This lookout is at the end of the Gold Coast Springbrook Rd and comes with one of the most gorgeous picnic areas to be found anywhere. Just past the bubbling brooks and glades of picnic tables are several connected view points that are an easy 100m walk away.
Canyon Lookout Springbrook
While Springbrook is not known for its café society, there are a handful of options for lunch, morning or afternoon tea.
Dancing Waters Café, nestled in a purple cottage by the Purling Brook Falls entrance serves coffee from a boutique Byron Bay roastery and is known for its healthy, locally grown and organic food and friendly service.
Otherwise, pack a picnic and take advantage of the lovely Goomoolahra Falls Picnic Area.
Need to know: Whichever route you take in to Springbrook, take the other route out for maximum scenery intake. This day trip also works well when combined with side trips to the Hinze Dam (stop for breakfast here first on a weekend) and Natural Bridge, both situated along the Nerang-Murwillumbah Rd route. After Natural Bridge, turn back and retrace your steps till the Pine Creek Rd turnoff up to Springbrook.