We Gold Coaster’s are obviously quite a lucky bunch. Not only do we live in a place with lots of things to do, we also have world heritage listed rainforests and breathtaking waterfalls right at our doorstep.
Because summer will be gone before you know it, we highly recommend you clear your schedule, pack your swimmers and embark on a fun-filled waterfall adventure.
Here are a few of our favourites.
38.7km from Surfers Paradise
Just a 50 minute drive from Surfers Paradise, nestled amongst the Denham Scenic Reserve are the Beechmont rock pools or Lip Falls as the locals call them. Once you park your car (on Doncaster Road,) it’ll only take half an hour to get down to the falls. Be aware, walking paths are steep and narrow, right next to deep gorges.
Where: 45-57 Doncaster Dr, Beechmont
Cedar Creek Falls
44km from Surfers Paradise
Cedar Creek Falls are one of the better known waterfalls on Mt Tamborine and a popular destination for locals and tourists alike (be warned – it can get quite busy). Your best bet is to explore the area via the Cedar Creek Circuit (3.2km), which will take you along all the cascades and rock pools. To get there, take Tamborine Mountain Rd until you get to Cedar Creek Falls Rd just past the information map stopping bay on the left. From there, it’s only a short drive down a narrow road and across a small creek before coming to the Cedar Creek Falls section and the car park at its entrance.
Where: Cedar Creek Falls Rd, Tamborine Mountain
39.2km from Surfers Paradise
It’s a short, beautiful walk through the rain-drenched Eucalyptus forest to the magical Curtis Falls. You’ll wander past towering trees and through a canopy of ferns, down to the waterfall that flows freely and is quite the stunning sight to behold. The walk should only talk half an hour to get down to the falls but you might want to stay awhile and soak up the serenity. There are lots of cute creatures to spot along the way, keep an eye for for the resident platypuses. It’s just a 1.1km round trip so you can knock it over in the early morning then stop for a spot of morning tea at the Curtis Falls Cafe. Get there via Eagle Heights Rd and park right at the entrance to the walk.
Where: 16 Eagle Heights Rd, North Tamborine
Springbrook National Park
47 km from Surfers Paradise
As you probably know, Natural Bridge is a heavenly cave like rock formation at Springbrook National Park that is home to a waterfall (obviously), glow worms and a colony of tiny bent-wing bats – it’s also one of the most photographed spots on the Gold Coast. It’s super easy to find, just follow Nerang-Murwillumbah Rd until you get to the car park signage at Bakers Rd. To get down to the action, start the short one kilometre rainforest walk clockwise to the Natural Bridge rock arch. Fancy a bite to eat? Natural Arch Cafe and restaurant is just a short drive up the road for that after swim feast.
Where: Nerang-Murwillumbah Rd, Springbrook
40.6km from Surfers Paradise
Start your 4km journey through sub-tropical rainforest from the Tallabana picnic area or Canyon lookout in an anticlockwise direction. You’ll reach a small bridge, flowing water and immense rock formations after a couple of minutes (perfect for an Insta snap). Keep hiking down the track until you’re greeted with two rushing waterfalls. At the base of the Twin Falls you’ll find a large rock pool perfect for a swim.
Where: Canyon Pde, Springbrook
Purling Brook Falls
37km from Surfers Paradise
The Purling Brook Falls are huge, towering at over 100 meters in height and are best visited after rainfall. Start your 2 hours hike clockwise along a scenic and elevated path into a subtropical gorge to view the amazing falls from below. Venture further down the track until you reach waterholes that are great for swimming. When you have had enough, prepare for a steady climb up through the rainforest, which will bring you back to the picnic area.
Where: 63 Gwongorella Parade, Springbrook
Lamington National Park
67.4 km from Surfers Paradise
Elabana Falls are definitely a hidden gem located amongst Lamington National Park close to O’Reillys Rainforest Retreat (great spot to grab a bite to eat after your waterfall adventure). Park your car at O’Reillys and make your way through the rainforest, past Picnic Rock and further downhill for another 400 metres until you reach the cascading falls. Make sure you refresh before embarking on your way back up, it gets quite steep!
Where: Lamington National Park Rd, Canungra
113km from Surfers Paradise
Yes we know, the next two locations aren’t on the Gold Coast, they aren’t even in Queensland, but it will take you no longer than 2 hours (driving along what is probably the most breathtaking scenic drive) until you reach Nightcap National Park in Northern NSW. Make sure you come prepared, because to get to Minyon Falls can be quite the journey (well worth it though). We recommend you start off with Minyon Falls Lookout providing you with magnificent views before adventuring further downstream towards the base of the falls.
Where: Nightcap National Park, Newton Dr, Nightcap
108 km from Surfers Paradise
Killen Falls are surely one of the most epic waterfalls to take a dive in with its large swimming hole and rock pools. The rock has been eroded significantly behind the waterfall, forming an impressive cave. Ever wanted to take a waterfall shower? Well, at Killen Falls that’s not a problem as you can swim across the pool and climb up the rocks just to sit right underneath the falling water. Killen Falls are super easy to find, just minutes off the Pacific Highway near Byron Bay.
Where: Killen Falls Dr, Tintenbar
Make sure you bring proper closed-in shoes, plenty of water, mozzie repellent and sunscreen. We know how tempting (and refreshing) it is to go for a swim in the rock pools and lagoons, make sure it’s safe to swim and adhere to any safety signs. Last but not least, don’t forget to take your rubbish away with you.
Words by Louisa von Ingelheim