6 local spots to escape into nature

Life hey, sometimes it’s rainbows and lollipops and sometimes it’s reality TV binging and becoming way too acquainted with Ben & Jerry (tell ‘em we say hi).

In our (extremely well researched) opinion, escaping your day-to-day life every once in awhile is key for a reality check and attitude reset. Particularly if you’re able to get outside and treat your senses to some sweet natural goodness.

As you may have guessed, we’ve found a few spots you can do exactly that and BONUS, they’re right on your doorstep. Happy escapism friends.

Burleigh Hill
No not on a Sunday arvo with an esky full of beers and your way-too-dressed-up-for-grass-sitting squad. We’re talking a walk around the headland and up to the top of the actual hill itself (who knew right). From there you can bask in the beauty of the epic views and think about exactly how lucky you are to live on the Gold Coast. Beers are acceptable afterwards if you must.
Where: Burleigh Hill (you probs won’t miss it)

Picnic Rock
Ahh, sweet rocky serenity. Seriously though, this place is the goods if you’re keen for some alone time in a world heritage listed rainforest with incredible views (yes, hi). Wear your walking shoes because it’s a 3.5km walk through the rainforest to get there but once you do, perch yourself up on the rock with a ham and salad sandwich and marvel at the magic of mama nature.
Where: Drive to O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat (Canungra) then take the Border Track until you see the Picnic Rock turn off

Coombabah Lakelands Conservation Area
So it seems there are some absolutely stunning wetlands to the north of our delightful city and we’re sorry we haven’t brought this to your attention sooner. There are over 1200 hectares (that’s big for those playing at home) of wetlands, eucalypt forest, salt marshs and mangrove habitats and you can just go on in there and wander around. Get up close and personal with native wildlife, go for a trail run or simply just sit back and watch the birds. Mind blown.
Where: Shelter Rd, Coombabah

The Wishing Tree Track
Not sure about you, but the name of this track takes us back to our whimsical childhoods and that’s pure escapism if ever we saw it. Anywho, the adventure to the wishing tree itself is all downhill (lovely, until you gotta go back up again) and there’s all kinds of native delights to discover. Once you’ve found the tree you can keep going into Glow Worm Gully (stop it) or just chill there and make some wishes. Bye.
Where: At the Green Mountains below O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, Canungra

Gold Coast Botanic Gardens
It’s not a place we locals often visit but it should be if you’re in need of a quick nature hit without having to travel too far. There’s 31 hectares of uninterrupted greenness to wander about in plus there’s a sensory garden so you can get up close and personal with the plants. Oh, and there’s a butterfly garden AND a rose garden and if you don’t leave feeling all chilled out and in love with life, we will eat our hats.
Where: 230 Ashmore Rd, Benowa

Warringa Pool
Oh hey no biggie but we found heaven and it comes in the shape of a pool of water at Springbrook. It’s a peaceful little swimming hole sheltered deep in a rainforest gully with views up and down the valley and honestly, when can we move in. You’ll also find a couple of other rock pools to try out should you get sick of Warringa (you won’t) and how good is fresh water.
Where: From the Settlement day-use area in Springbrook National Park, take the path to the Purling Brook Falls lookout

Words by Kirra Smith