A step-by-stunning-step guide to Gold Coast’s best walks and hiking trails.
Have you done the ‘Worlds’ and the Surfers Paradise strip? Think you’ve seen the best of the Gold Coast? Think again. The Sunshine State hinterland is littered with lush walking trails and hiking tracks for two-footed explorers of all fitness levels. Meander through thick rainforest, chase waterfalls or take in majestic mountainous views.
Whether you’re seeking a relaxing seaside stroll or a full-day, full-nature immersion with a side of grunt, here’s our round-up of five unmissable treks.
Oceanview Walk, Burleigh Head National Park
Beyond the beach at Burleigh Heads lies a natural wonderland. Think unbeatable views of the Gold Coast skyline, easy access to remote sandy beaches and canopied rainforest. Be sure to keep an eye out for breaching whales and dolphins in the water along your 1.2-kilometre oceanside journey.
For the most peaceful stroll, set your alarm early, grab a coffee from nearby Nook Espresso and hike through the heart of the Gold Coast as the wildlife world wakes around you. Snap a pic at Jebbribillium Lookout, get the best views from highest point Tumgun Lookout and add time to cool off afterwards at Echo Beach and Tallebudgera Creek.
Natural Bridge, Springbrook National Park
This magical offering is a favourite among locals – and for good reason. The one-kilometre, one-hour return trail through lush rainforest and freshwater streams is suited to all fitness types, little legs included.
Marvel at Mother Nature as the path opens onto the Natural Bridge – an ancient rock waterfall formed over millions of years which flows into a cave below. For a truly memorable experience, head there at night and watch as the cave comes to luminous life thanks to its thousands of resident glow worms.
This beauty serves up 360-degree views from the Gold Coast to Byron Bay. And if you hit the track before dawn, you’ll be the first in Australia to see the sun rise from the top.
A word of warning: the nine-kilometre return trek is a strenuous journey suited to experienced hikers. As well as the intense incline, you’ll be faced with a steep rock climb to the final summit viewing point. But it’s worth the sweat. You’ll be treated to the perfect spot to unpack a picnic and catch your breath before heading back down. Allow five hours for the return trek.
Lamington National Park
Feel like you’re floating among the clouds on the Tree Top Walk nestled inside O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. While the walk through the elevated rainforest bridge is an easy 800 metres, you’ll be left breathless with the view from the 30-metre deck at the end. For your best chance at spotting birdlife, hit the track early morning or late afternoon.
If you’re in the mood for more, consider the full-day Coomera Circuit at the Binna Burra section of the park. The 17-kilometre journey passes through subtropical rainforest, follows the headwaters of the Coomera River and ends with a spectacular waterfall. Beeline to the Lamington Teahouse post-trek for scones and tea. You’ve earned it.
Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk
If you’ve got the time – and the stamina – head to the hinterland and tackle the big one. You’ll need to allocate three days to tick off this moderate to hard trek.
Starting in the Green Mountains at Lamington National Park, the 54-kilometre trail links some of the day hikes from Lamington and Springbrook national parks. You’ll follow footsteps from the past during your journey, walking on an ancient volcano, weaving through the Gondwana Rainforests and getting an intimate and up-close look at the volcanic geology and diverse flora and fauna of the Gold Coast hinterland.
There are designated camping sites along the track, but you’ll need to be prepared with supplies. Pack your own food, water and camping equipment to see you on your walking way.