Looking for a different way to explore the beauty of the Gold Coast? With over 50km of pristine beaches and near 60 hectares of lush, world heritage listed sub-tropical rainforest, the Gold Coast is truly a walkers paradise.
Grab your sneakers and prepare to discover some of the best self-guided bushwalking trails just off the beaten track in the Gold Coast’s great outdoors.
SHORT BUSHWALKING TRACKS
Tallebudugera Conservation Park
Palm Beach Parklands
There are two walks here at Palm beach Parklands, the first is Beree Badalla Boardwalk along Currumbin Creek and is best to do this during high tide to get the feeling you’re walking on water. The next is Tarrabora Reserve; a small pocket of bushland right in the middle of the Gold Coast, wedged between the Gold Coast Hwy and Currumbin Estuary at Palm Beach.
Coombabah Boardwalk – Shelter Road
Insect repellent is a must at Coombabah Lakelands and there is a short bushwalk before the boardwalk, which is a bright burnt orange colour and such a contrast to the surrounding mangroves. At the end of the boardwalk is a bird hide and the only sound is the calming water lapping against the timber piers.
Cougal Cascades – Currumbin Valley
The beautiful Cougal Cascades is part of the Gold Coast Hinterland just a few kilometres up Currumbin Creek Road – a scenic winding road full of photo opportunities which finishes at Springbrook National Park. The Mount Cougal Section, a short bushwalk with cascading waterfalls and cool mountain air is a hidden gem that few Gold Coasters visit.
Burleigh Headland – upper or lower track
A short climb to Tumgun Lookout in Burleigh Heads National Park is worth the effort. Views of the southern Gold Coast as far as the eye can see and the lookout on the north side is equally picturesque. From the lookout, head back down the other side of the headland and you’ll come across Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre along the Gold Coast Highway. Then continue on into Burleigh for your morning coffee.
LONG BUSHWALKING TRACKS
Cougal Hiking Trail
Mount Cougal borders Queensland and New South Wales and the only guide is the barbed wire fence that separates the states. The terrain is diverse, a hiking pole is recommended and it’s not for the faint-hearted. Check with National Parks before embarking on this trail because storms can impact on the area and make sure the forecast is for a clear day.
The Federation Walk Coastal Reserve features headlands and windswept dunes, winding trails through groves of Macaranga trees and She-Oaks. The trail ends directly opposite South Stradbroke Island, which is only a short distance across the Seaway.
South Stradbroke Island
You can walk right around the island and while you’re totally isolated you’re only minutes from a refreshing beverage. In order to get to South Stradbroke Island you need a boat, or to travel via water taxi from Runaway Bay, Sanctuary Cove and Marina Mirage.
Only a stone’s throw from Harbour Town Premium Outlets, this track is full of wildlife, bush and wetlands. Kangaroos are prolific, swamp wallabies are around and there are plenty of koalas to see.
Nerang State Forest
Nerang National Park and Nerang State Forest is 12km from Surfers Paradise, on the north-west outskirts of Nerang. Here you can explore dry rainforest and open eucalypt forests on a scenic bushwalk, horse ride, or you can cycle along one of the designated mountain-bike tracks.
Walking tips for newbies
Hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, correct walking shoes and water are a must. If you are not a walker start by picking an area that is flat and provides shade in the warmer weather. Early morning will also be your best bet before the midday sun.
If taking strollers or wheelchairs, check ahead of time for accessibility or take a companion to help with steps. Always check the weather forecast and let friends or family know your intended route.
Like this article?
Subscribe to our email list below to receive holiday inspiration & exclusive deals straight to your inbox!