The Gold Coast has long been known for beautiful beaches, world-class shopping and good times in the form of theme parks and, more recently, bars and eateries. And it’s true, our little city is home to all of those delightful things, but not only those.
No doubt you’ve noticed the Coast backs onto a stunning set of mountain ranges, which are indeed jam-packed with natural wonders rivaling any others you may have had the pleasure of laying your eyes upon.
The next time you find yourself on the Gold Coast all theme parked out and ready for a little nature immersion to soothe your weary soul, remember this tale and you’ll soon find yourself Insta-snapping up a storm as you trek around in search of the six must-see natural Gold Coast wonders.
CURRUMBIN ROCK POOLS
Closest to the Coast and requiring very little effort to actually stand in front of, are the Currumbin Rock Pools. Found in the picture-perfect Currumbin Valley, you’ll take a short drive through some of the most lush greenery around, cruise through towering tree tunnels and end up at the babbling little pools, much-loved by locals. Pack a picnic and laze by water for a relaxing afternoon or take a dip in the fresh, cool pools. You can recline on the rocks for hours on end and the entire place is child-friendly. Mucho relaxo.
Where: Currumbin Creek Rd, Currumbin Valley
A little bit further out into Currumbin Valley is Cougal Cascades in the Mount Cougal National Park. It’s part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area and it’s all stunning greenery and sweet animal sounds and not too strenuous a stroll to get to the falls viewing area. A bit further along, at the end of the path, you’ll find the restored remains of a bush sawmill dating back to the 1940s and you can head down behind it to dip your feet in the creek if you so desire. The rocky embankment is another perfect spot for a picnic.
Where: Currumbin Creek Rd, Currumbin Valley
A personal favourite, Natural Bridge, can be found in the (really quite special) Springbrook National Park. You’ll enjoy an an awe-inducing drive past majestic mountains and up through the rainforest and then a downhill walk over waterfalls and a sweet wooden bridge before you find yourself immersed in the magical cave-like situation that is Natural Bridge. It’s a beauty to behold with water rushing down into the pool and natural light pouring in from all directions and, of course, plenty of pretty photo opportunities. They say to allow an hour to get down and back but you might want to spend a little time down there soaking up the serenity.
Where: Nerang Murwillumbah Road and Bakers Road, Springbrook
So clearly dams aren’t natural wonders but they are extremely interesting manmade structures and they are born from their natural surrounds. Enter, Hinze Dam, originally constructed in 1976 and supplying water to the entire Gold Coast area. The surrounding catchment spans 207 square kilometres and is a haven for hikers, fishermen and boaters. A café overlooking the Dam offers absolutely stunning views plus all your coffee and morning snack needs. Of course, there are also plenty of picnic areas scattered about and we recommend taking a few hours to explore the entire area. It’s a goodie.
Where: Advancetown Road, Advancetown
Nestled within another spectacular local rainforest (see, we’ve got lots) is the divine Curtis Falls. It’s a 1.5km round trip but there are plenty of stairs leading down to the base of the falls. You’ll wander past impossibly tall Eucalyptus and palm trees until you get to the viewing platform to take in the sights. You can combine this walk with the Joalah Lower Creek Circuit, an easy walking loop, and stop for a dip in one of the refreshing rock pools. There are stepping stones to help you along and we highly recommend getting immersed in the freshest of waters.
Where: Curtis Road, Tamborine Mountain
PURLING BROOK FALLS
Also found in ancient, World Heritage-listed Gondwana rainforest of Springbrook National Park, Purling Brook Falls is the highest waterfall of the bunch and the steepest trek to get to the bottom (although still just a moderate one). You’ll hear the falls before you see them but take your time on the winding track and detour down to Warringa Pool if you’ve got the time (it’s an extra two kilometres). Once at the bottom, take a dip beneath the waterfall, unpack a picnic or gaze up to the top and marvel at the work of Mama Nature. Cross the bridge in the sky and meander up the other side for an adventure to remember.
Where: Forestry Rd, Springbrook