SPRINGBROOK: The Land of views and waterfalls
From the Gold Coast you steadily climb from sea level to the plateau of Springbrook National Park whose geographical origins date back 10 million years to the last eruption of Mt Warning. The road is winding and narrow but easily done with our camping trailer. Once you near the top there is a visitor info hut, which is only open during peak times, but you can collect a few local maps here. There wasn’t much open mid week, just the fudge shop which was okay. They sell fudge as you would expect, coffee and a few craft items.
WHERE TO STAY: We set up camp at the Settlement National Park, where there are 11 bookable sites, with the suggestion that sites 1-4 are for camping trailers and caravans, but they all looked very similar. There is water, toilets, BBQ area and rubbish tip with recycling facilities. The campsite provides some good wildlife spotting with bandicoots at night and the whip bird, which I had heard many times, but never seen.
Purling Brook Falls: From the campground you can walk straight out onto the Purling Brook Falls circuit and optional Warringa pool track. 7.2km total for both and graded a class three. It’s a beautiful walk in the rainforests with spectacular long drop waterfalls.
Canyon Lookout: On our second day we headed down the road and parked at Canyon Lookout to do the 17km Warrie circuit, I think it’s the most stunning waterfall walk we have done and is certainly worth the big climb out of the valley. We had an elevation gain of 493m. There are so many water falls, each uniquely different and many offering great swimming spots to cool down. You can walk right behind one of them with views out to the Gold Coast through the spray. My Garmin GPS said 13km and I found another notice board which said it was 15km, so I’m really not sure what the distance is, but with a lunch stop at the meeting of the waters and lots of stops at the waterfalls it took us 4hrs 36 minutes. If you don’t fancy such a big day hike, then you can still get to walk behind the waterfall doing the 4km Twin Falls Circuit. The trail is full of little bush wallabies and we even spotted a small animal with a white tail that we hadn’t seen before but we are not sure what it was… maybe a quoll.
Natural Bridge: On our third morning we made a few changes to our plans for a few reasons. The first being I spotted Mt Warning from the Best Of All Lookouts and got excited about climbing it and all those feelings of missing out on something, secondly the weather was taking a turn for the worse as the tail end of the devastating cyclone Debbie which hit further north was due to hit. So it was back into NSW, stopping at Natural Bridge where there is a 1km walking loop with a lookout around the river which has carved this stunning natural bridge. The benefit of all the rain we have had is the dramatic fast flowing water. Natural bridge is also home to a population of glow worms, which are only found in Aus and NZ, these glow only at night a beautiful green colour. If you want to see them during the day head to Tamborine NP. The Log cabin camp ground is perfectly situated 700m from the entrance to the National Park if you want to see the glow worms here at night. We didn’t stay here, but it looked nice and the camping is well priced. However there are not many walks in the area, so it’s probably a one night stop over.
Mt Warning: The volcanic mountain
On our way to Mt Warning we passed through Chilingham which is a cute little village with wooden buildings and lots of fresh produce and further down the road heading to Mt Warming there are some great side of the road stalls where we stocked up. We would be glad a few hours later we did this as ex Cyclone Debbie smashed into this area that none of the locals expected to be as bad as it was.
WHERE TO STAY: We decided to stay at Mt Warning Rainforest Park a little hippy heaven with a range of sites with fire pits by a small creek. There is a small shop with DVD’s and board game hire, a camp kitchen, toilet block with showers, laundry and a really nice small pool with a games area plus a small yoga studio.
Mt Warning Before the rains arrived we drove up to the road to Mt Warning and hiked the 8.4km volcanic cone, we had been told the views were stunning and very special but sadly we were too late and the weather came in. Climbing this mountain which is over 1000m in Winter provides Australia’s first sunsets and so many people hike up to watch this. The path is well formed but there are some steep drop offs and the last 350m is a scramble with chains. At the top they have created a 360 degree board walk to provide views in every direction, but it was a white out when we arrived at the top and as we descended it was eerily dark and misty with the haunting sounds of both the Rainbow pigeons and Noisy Pitta birds Our next challenge was to survive Debbie “, check out our blog on this experience. Had this not hit we would have explored more walks in this area. Check out the 30 great walks in northern rivers leaflet if your here for longer.
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