Outside the Gold Coast
The Gold Coast in Australia is a fun and adventure city that never gets boring. But one thing that most people push aside is the beautiful surroundings.
There are many incredible places to visit within an hour near the Gold Coast, including Springbrook Mountain, Woolumbin National Park, and Mount Tamborine – all tropical oases with incredible walks, adventures, scenery, and waterfalls galore .
We’re going to highlight five main attractions and places near the Gold Coast that we can say we tried ourselves.
So, without further ado, here are …
Our top 5 places near the Gold Coast
Purling Brook Falls
In the middle of the dense rainforest at the top of Springbrook Mountain is the breathtaking waterfall of Purling Brook Falls. The Falls is a horsetail waterfall with a massive drop of 106 meters.
The waterfall has two viewpoints that can be reached at either end of a 4 km long circular hiking trail. The first point is the front view of the gigantic waterfalls. The view outside is just spectacular and shows the size of the falls. The lookout at the second point is at the top of the waterfall, where you are only a few meters from the waterfall. Look at the bottom of this huge waterfall.
You can also just look at the falls, but for the more adventurous, we recommend the 4 km loop trail to the bottom of the falls and back. When you get to the base of the falls, you will definitely understand the sheer size of this waterfall by looking up at it. The descent there is a bit challenging. But believe us, it’s worth going on to take in the great views in the fall.
The natural bridge lies in Springbrook National Park, a naturally formed rock arch over Cave Creek. The creek came from a waterfall that cut a cave under the waterfall and created a pothole at the top until the two joined and the creek flowed through the cave leaving an arch over the front.
The cave itself is home to a colony of fireflies and, as such, night tours are conducted to see them. The huge glow of the worms makes this tour a must do – book a tour here.
To get to the cave there is a 1.4km hiking trail which is mostly a very manageable trail and takes you along some great views and some great photo opportunities too.
About 3/4 of the way is the best shot of the Natural Bridge. Face on is an incredible view of the bubbling waterfall through the rocks with the brilliant sunlight illuminating this incredible view. From here you can go into the cave to see the bubbling waterfall at its peak.
The final vantage point is at the opening at the top of the fall. Here you can see where this wonder naturally formed and how much water falls into the cave.
Set in the tropics Mount Tamborine is the beautiful Curtis Falls waterfall and the Curtis Falls hiking trail.
Enter the walk and you will be taken straight into a world of towering rubber trees, eucalyptus and an always cool, lush rainforest. Broken trees and the sounds of distant whipbirds make for a peaceful and serene visit.
The walk down to the falls is a beautiful, flowing path through this lush setting. Well-tended tracks and handrails make the hike easier.
note: As mentioned earlier, the path is elevated but not steep, making it suitable for most people with strollers and wheelchairs as there are parts with steps.
On this trip you can find platypus, turtles and even the famous east coast Brush Turkey. In fact, there are always plenty of brush turkeys around. These birds, also known as bush turkeys, are common on the west coast of Australia. They are black in color with red beaks and are just one of three species that inhabit Australia.
After the short 1 km walk you will reach the falls. Access to the falls and surrounding rock pools is restricted to protect the landscape, but an observation deck is available for great angles and photo opportunities.
The waterfall seems to have a constant flow. We went in a particularly dry month and as you can see below it was still full of water.
Thunderbird Park is an adventure park and campsite on the very popular Tamborine Mountain.
It’s a great place to take the kids and, as you are about to find out, adults like us too.
The park is known for its main attraction – the Treetop Challenge. An obstacle course through the trees in a harness with zip lines and lots of climbing. Can be hard work but very rewarding. The ultimate in fun for adults and children.
The park also offers some other activities like horse riding, mini golf and the Thunderegg crystal mine. As well as a great campsite, restaurant and bar.
Installation warning NSW
Assembly warning is a mountain just across the Queensland and New South Wales border. A moderate to challenging hike to the summit, with the toughest and steepest being on top to get to the summit.
A mountain in the Tweed Range in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales Australia. It was formed from a volcanic plug of the now-vanished Tweed volcano. The mountain is 14 kilometers southwest of Murwillumbah near the border between New South Wales and Queensland. Lieutenant James Cook saw the mountain from the sea and named it Mount Warning.
The hike and trails themselves aren’t bad to start with as it’s a gradual ascent that winds in and out of the rainforest. To reach the summit and the last 50 meters, however, you have to pull up a stone wall and use a chain. It can be a bit of a challenge when you’re a little less able.
note: If that’s a bit too much for you, there are viewpoints along the hike with fantastic views and viewpoints.
Make sure you wear good walking shoes, bring plenty of water and snacks. The ascent to the top and back takes about 3 – 5 hours, depending on your preference.
See also Gear Guide: Must Haves for Camping and Hiking
These are our five must-sees for sightseeing near the Gold Coast, and to be honest, there are a lot more. Just over an hour away, you can visit the seaside town of Byron Bay, or head inland and tour the rural town of Beaudesert. These are also two opposing places, but they are well worth a visit.
You can also visit Brisbane, an hour’s drive from the Gold Coast.