While it’s only 45 minutes from the beach, Springbrook is at the top of the Gold Coast hinterland and offers visitors a completely different experience from the coast, amongst ancient rainforest along the caldera of an ancient volcano.
It’s home to stunning look-outs easily accessible on foot, and to some of the best waterfalls in southern Queensland. There’s also a bustling village with plenty of dining choices, and retreats set in amongst the forest.
THE QUIRKS OF SPRINGBROOK
Since the early 1900s, writers, poets and artists started moving to Springbrook. With more of them up here than policemen or plumbers, Springbrook’s tiny main street is home to some of the region’s quirkiest art galleries. The artists of the village have come together to form a co-operative, Craft Corner Gallery, to sell their arts and crafts. Local artist Damon Pettit’s studio and gallery, Bushman’s Art, is yet another home to some of the best local arts and crafts.
Atop the mountain, you’ll also find self-help retreats and each year on the Saturday of the Mother’s Day weekend in May, the Springbrook M-Fest is held – a festival of music, food and workshops celebrating motherhood and the creativity of women. And it’s worth noting Springbrook is famous for its Yowie sightings. Locals will tell you they’re real – there’s Yowie hunters up here, believe it or not!
FUELING UP IN THE FOREST
It’s a different world up here. Where restaurants and cafes by our beaches offer sun-drenched patios overlooking the ocean, Springbrook’s cafes resemble rural England. Coffees and cakes can be taken by roaring log fires – especially in the cooler months from June to August. Temperatures are as much as 10 degrees cooler here in the hinterland than the coast, and so visitors to the Coast have a diverse choice of day trips.
The best choices in the village include the Dancing Waters Café, or Rosellas at Springbrook which serves the best organic coffee, or sample the simple country fare at Springbrook Café – one of the oldest dining venues in the hinterland.
DO THE CIRCUIT
While it’s easy to spend a weekend in Springbrook, for those wanting to see it all in a day, should consider the Springbrook Circuit. You can see the best attractions without having to walk far from the car. If you follow the circuit, you’ll see the best waterfalls in the area, all the time immersed inside the ancient rainforest of this World-Heritage listed area.
Start off with a drive through the rainforest to Best Of All Lookout. The walk’s just 15 minutes, but it takes you past Antarctic Beech trees to a look-out which lives up to its name: providing views all the way to Byron Bay (in NSW), including Mt Warning. Drive to Goomoolahra Picnic Grounds for some chill time in the forest. Canyon Lookout is also worth the drive, as you’ll get look down on a waterfall. Though it’s worth finishing off with a drive to the highest and the best waterfall in the area, Purling Brook Falls.
SLEEP ON IT
If you can spare the time, it’s worth spending a night (or two) in the forests around Springbrook. Here you’ll find some of Queensland’s most romantic forest retreats – or chalets in the bush suitable for families.
The Mouses House Rainforest Retreat offers 14 retreats deep in the trees, with wood fireplaces to fight off the cold. There’s two-person spa baths while some rooms have outside spa baths. At night brush-tail possums pay a visit. The Sanctuary is a B&B set within a traditional Queenslander, complete with gas log fires and claw-foot baths, and wrap-around verandas with BBQs.
TREKKING THROUGH THE FOREST
Should you wish to go beyond short strolls from the car park, Springbrook has some of the best short walks in South-East Queensland. The Twin Falls Circuit is a four-kilometre walk considered the region’s best short hike, where trekkers get to walk behind two waterfalls amongst ancient palms and ferns, stopping to swim (or to dip their feet) at rock pools along the way.
The longest and most interesting walk in the area is the Warrie Circuit, a 17-kilometre return journey. Warrie is the local indigenous word for rushing water, and you’ll soon get to see why with your trek up and down gorges and through canyons, with beautifully calming waterfalls and streams all around.