Make life epic and explore Queensland National Parks.
Queensland National Parks in the Gold Coast hinterland offer bushwalks where you can refresh in cool mountain air, immerse your senses in lush green forests and feast your eyes on breathtaking scenery. It’s a great way to fill in a spare morning or afternoon—a few hours is all you need.
We’ve chosen four bushwalks that will get your heart pumping and senses tingling, leaving you feeling rejuvenated and energised.
Curtis Falls and Lower Creek circuit
32min drive from Riverton. (2.5km, 1hr return walk)
Drive about half an hour south and you’ll discover a ‘land island’ or plateau of ancient lava, known as Tamborine Mountain. Here in the Joalah section of Tamborine National Park you’ll immerse yourself in a luxuriant landscape. Wander through wet eucalypt forests beneath towering flooded gums. Then feel the chill as you trek into lush rainforest, beneath huge crow’s nest and staghorn ferns high in the canopy.
Take advantage of the viewing platform, allowing rainforest views towards the creek below, before exploring further on the Lower Creek circuit. Rock-hop across creek crossings and gaze at basalt boulders and columns, reminders of Tamborine Mountain’s volcanic past. Now that you’re feeling rejuvenated after your walk, you’ll be up for yet more exploring and possibly even lunch! Tamborine is known for its arts and crafts, galleries, wineries and restaurants…
Palm Grove circuit
32min drive from Riverton. (2.7km, 1hr return)
With so much on offer in Tamborine National Park, one walk is just not enough! In the Palm Grove section—named for its distinctive piccabeen palms—you’ll find the shady Palm Gove circuit, where you can delve into lush and diverse rainforest. On the way listen out for the gurgle of Mt Tamborine’s giant earthworms and look out for the little red-necked pademelons which can be often be heard and sometimes glimpsed scampering through nearby leaves and undergrowth.
Feeling up to a longer walk? Add on Jenyns circuit that leads out into drier eucalyptus forest and discover a grove of ancient cycads. This extends your hike to 4.8km, 1.5hrs return, leaving you ample time for exploring more of Tamborine Mountain’s other great treasures of the ‘foodie’ kind!
Python Rock track
1 hour scenic drive from Riverton. (4.9km, 1.5hr return)
Explore another side of Lamington National Park when you head to Green Mountains (also known as O’Reilly’s) on the western side of the Lamington Plateau.
Step into a green, green wonderland of World Heritage rainforest that gives way to open eucalypt forest. The views from Python Rock lookout will take your breath way—Morans Falls, Castle Crag and the Lost World stretch out before you. Marvel at the result of millions of years of erosion that created the valley and intricate escarpments and try your hand at capturing a photo that does it justice.
Locals tip: While there is roadside parking at the start of the Python Rock Track, drive up to the parking area for O'Reilly's Rainforest Cafe and walk down the Centenary Track to the start of the walk. This adds around 1 km in total to the walk, but it means you are parked near the cafe where you can find much earned sustenance afterwards.
Twin Falls circuit
1 hour and 15min drive from Riverton. (4km, 2hrs return)
In Springbrook National Park, just over an hour from Riverton, you can stand atop the remnant of an ancient shield volcano on the Springbrook Plateau, and enjoy views that stretch on forever. Grab your hiking boots (and a warm jacket) then trek into another realm—lush cool rainforest and breathtaking waterfalls cascading into crystal-clear rock pools.
Almost every twist and turn of the track takes you through new and spectacular scenery — from stunning rock formations creating tunnel-like passages, ancient towering rainforest, a crystal clear rock pool (yes, you can swim in it), sheer cliffs, views from the valley to the beach, and quaint bridges for those creek crossings.
Before you go, make sure you download your MyRanger app so you can enjoy a virtual ranger guided tour! Get up close and personal with some of the park’s unique animals through the Augmented Reality experiences. It’s like having a personal ranger in the palm of your hand…
Feeling motivated? Good. Check out these links for more information:
Now, grab a good pair of walking shoes, a rain jacket and a water bottle and find your refreshment in the lush green forests for the Gold Coast Hinterland. What’s keeping you?