To people coming to Gold Coast for vacation, the top two activities are the beach and the theme parks. Indeed Gold Coast has no lack of theme parks to ensure a full day of fun for visitors. This trip I want to show my friend something different about Gold Coast. The Hinterlands, as the Gold Coast Tourism board has labelled throughout the years, the Green Behind the Gold, is another option that is worth visiting. Three national parks are near Surfers Paradise. Our itinerary today brought us to Springbrook National Park. Springbrook National Park is 1-hour drive from Surfers Paradise and boasts forests as old as 23 million years ago. We got up early to make it for our journey. Knowing that sunsets around 5.30 pm, it is imperative for us to leave the national park before the sky gets dark as the unlighted windy mountain roads can be quite dangerous to drive at night.
Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park
On our way to Springbrook National Park, we chanced upon a sign that points to Hinze Dam. And since it is a short detour from our way to our first stop in Springbrook National Park. Driving about 10 mins on the detour, we came to a large dam structure. We knew we arrived at Hinze Dam. From the base of the dam, the structure looks massive. After taking some pictures, we wanted to continue our journey to Springbrook National Park as we thought it might take too long to walk up to the top of the dam. When we were driving out of the carpark, I saw a road that seems to lead further up, I took that road and discover that it leads to the top of the dam. We parked our car and walked halfway on the top of the dam. From here we can see the vast water mass that forms the Advancetown Lake. From across the lake, I can see the mountains that seem to protect the lake. The view here is simply stunning. After taking a few pictures, we headed to the cafe to see if we can get some breakfast. Looking at the menu, we decided to catch breakfast further into Springbrook National Park and left Hinze Dam.
Hinze Dam visitor centre
Hinze Dam… from this view it does not seem that big
Wefie at Hinze Dam
View of Advancetown Lake from the top of the dam
Hinze Dam from the top. This angle the dam looks majestic
My friend at the top of the dam with Advancetown Lake in the background
Taking a wefie at the top of the dam
Panoramic shot of Advancetown Lake
The other side of the dam. This is the road we took to get to the dam
Springbrook National Park
It took us another 40 mins drive to reach our first destination in Springbrook National Park, we finally arrived at Natural Bridge. After parking our car, we took a short 1km walk around the Natural Bridge into the Gondwana Rainforest. The reason why people come here, other than looking at glow worms is to visit the cave. The cave is entrance is located at the bottom of the easy walkway. As we near the cave, we hear water gashing from atop, we knew we had arrived at what we wanted to see. This area is known as Natural Bridge is due to corrosion over the years has sheered away the top part of the cave, allow the water from the top of the river to fall directly into the cave. People made the detour (30 mins detour in fact) from the main sights to come here to see the waterfall through the cave. We stayed here marvelling the wonder of nature for a good 10 mins before continuing the path to complete the rest of the route. As we were walking the rest of the path, we came to the top of the river, where the water has fallen into the cave. It is here where we can see where the original path of the waterfall had been before the force of the water made the hole on top of the cave. We continued the path to make it back to our car and head towards the main viewpoints of Springbrook National Park.
Driving to the Natural Bridge section of Springbrook National Park
A short walk through this well-paved forest leads us to the Natural Bridge
This 1km route is a very easy to walk
Some of the vegetation in the forest
My friend in the forest
We passed by some stream, at this point the gashing water from the falls can be heard. We knew we were near what we have come to see
Close up shot of the stream we crossed
The Natural Bridge from outside of the cave
Taking “we were here” shot outside the cave
The water eroded the top part of the cave to form a hole through the years which resulted in this sight
Taking a wefie in the cave
Another shot of the waterfall falling through the cave
My friend at the top of the waterfall that falls through the cave
Top of the waterfall
Wefie at the top of the waterfall
Another view of the top of the waterfall at Natural Bridge
To get to the rest of the lookouts in the national park, we had to drive around the mountain range that lies between Natural Bridge and the rest of the lookouts. As we were heading southwards the bend around the mountain range, the road gets narrower and steeper. Along the route, we stopped at Wunburra lookout, the first lookout as we reach Springbrook mountain. This lookout allows us to see the entire Springbrook Mountain and as well as the towers in Surfers Paradise. I thought this is a good spot that allows one to see the Green and the Gold all at the same time. Looking out into the mountain range, with the fresh mountain air, the view here is amazing. We continued towards our next destination Purling Brook Falls Lookout.
Driving to Purling Brook Falls
After a series of upslope windy mountainous road, the visitor centre is the first thing that we came across. This visitor centre is just opposite Wunburra lookout
View of the mountain ranges from Wunburra lookout
Looks like the mountain range stretches forever
Panoramic shot from Wunburra lookout
Gold Coast can be visible (faintly) from Wunburra lookout
Taking a wefie at Wunburra lookout with the mountain ranges behind us
We stop by this roadhouse for lunch
The exterior of the roadhouse
There are two lookouts from the carpark of Purling Brook Falls Lookout. We went for the one to the left, which is a shorter walk from the carpark. From this lookout, we are not only able to see Purling Brook Falls from a distance, but also the entire landscape where the waterfall is located. It looks as if the forest has been split into two by some earthquake or meteor strike that killed the dinosaurs. A vertical cliff separating the rainforest from the Eucalyptus Forest perched high on the cliff. The view from this lookout seemed like we have been transported back in time for millions of years when the dinosaurs still ruled the Earth. We took a few photos and headed back to the carpark and took to the other lookout. The way to the other lookout led us through a bridge that sits directly on top of Purling Brooks Fall and the lookout is directly next to Purling Brooks Falls. From here we can appreciate the majestic of the waterfalls, which plunged about 100m into the canyon. This lookout also offers views of the mountain range that seem to stretch forever.
The path to the left of the sign leads to this lookout where Purling Brook Falls can be seen from afar with the Eucalyptus forest on the top of the vertical cliff and rainforest grown on the bottom of the waterfall
View of the rainforest at the bottom of the cliff
The path from the right of the carpark leads to the top of Purling Brook Falls
The water from the top of Purling Brook Falls came from this stream
A small fall on the top of Purling Brook Falls
This lookout enables one to see where the waterfall lands 100m down into the valley
Panoramic shot from the lookout
Panoramic shot with Purling Brook Falls
This lookout has one feeling we are at the edge of the world
This is the stream that we passed by to reach the top of Purling Brook Falls
The forest that we walked by to get back to the carpark
Leaving Purling Brooks Falls lookout, we drove to the Canyon Lookout. The lookout is directly in front of the carpark. Similar to Purling Brook Falls Lookout, this lookout offers the view of the entire mountain range as well as a vertical cliff which sits on top of these mountains. Amongst the trees perching on top of this vertical cliff, the Rainbow Falls made its way down the side of the cliff, making its make known to mankind who came here to view this landscape which seem as old as time.
View of the canyon from Canyon lookout… feels like a scene out of Jurassic Park movie
Taking a wefie at Canyon lookout
Panoramic shot of the canyon
We spotted a local at Canyon lookout
Rainbow Falls snaking out of the forest from Canyon lookout
After taking a few shots, we headed to our final destination for the day, the Best of All Lookout. As its name implies, this lookout promised a view that is so breathtaking that no other lookouts can match. The lookout is a 300m walk through an ancient rainforest with mainly Antarctic beech trees. As we were walking through this forest, the air has turned colder, thanks to the Antarctic beech trees. The walkway opens up to a lookout that towers over the Numinbah Nature Reserve valley and overlooks the Mt Warning mountain ranges in New South Wales. However, at the time, we were here, the low clouds covered the most of the view from the lookout. Perhaps it is the low clouds, I felt that we are standing on top of the highest point of Springbrook, overlooking at the smaller giants from above. The clouds also provided a sense of mysticism to the view. As it was getting late and coupled with the clouds are getting denser by the minute, which obscured the view from the lookout, we headed back to Surfers Paradise. The road back to civilisation took us through some mountains and windy roads. Mostly single lane each way, some of the bends are as sharp as 140deg turns. At certain parts of the road down from Springbrook, there is a single laned bridge shared by vehicles from both directions. I was glad that we made it down before sunset as driving in such conditions can prove to be challenging, especially for the uninitiated.
To get to Best of all lookout, we had to pass through the Antarctic beech forest
View of Mt Warning mountain ranges from Best of all lookout. By the time we got there, the low clouds are looming over the lookout.
We can faintly see the mountain range and over into New South Wales State from here. If not for the low clouds the view would be magnificent
The low clouds give a mysticism to the surrounding
We were hoping for the clouds to dissipate and hoping to catch a clear view from Best of all lookout
Looks like the cloud is not dissipate anytime soon, instead, it is getting thicker
Back to Surfers Paradise
The drive back to Surfers Paradise took us around 1.5 hours, we made it back to Surfers Paradise just when it turned dark. As the night is still young, we decided to head to Cavil Ave for a stroll. Cavil Ave is the heart of Surfers Paradise lined with numerous shops, supermarkets and tons of eateries. Walking through Cavil Ave will lead one to the beaches of Surfers Paradise. We got dinner before heading back to our apartment to rest for the night.
Some of the shops in Surfers Paradise
Cavil Ave Mall is still bustling with human traffic