Getting Outside The Gold Coast

The Gold Coast in Australia is a city full of fun and adventure, and never a dull moment. But one thing that most people brush aside are the beautiful surrounding areas.

There are many incredible places to visit near Gold Coast within an hour, including the Springbrook Mountain, Woolumbin National Park and Mount Tamborine—all tropical havens with unbelievable walks, adventure, scenery and waterfalls galore.

We are going to highlight five main attractions and places to visit near Gold Coast that we can say we have tried ourselves.

See also: The Best Places to Visit in Australia

So, without further ado, here are…

Our top five places to visit near Gold Coast

Purling Brook Falls

Set amongst the dense rainforest at the top of Springbrook Mountain lies the stunning waterfall of Purling Brook Falls. The Falls is a horsetail waterfall with a mammoth sheer 106 metre drop.

The waterfall has two look-out points, which are accessed at both ends of a 4 km loop walk. The first point is the front view of the gigantic falls. The view out and around is just spectacular and shows the size of the falls. The lookout at the second point is situated at the top of the fall, where you are barely metres from the fall itself. Looking down onto the bottom of this huge waterfall.

You can choose to just view the falls, but for the more adventurous, we recommend the 4km walking track loop to the bottom of the falls and back. When you you arrive at the foot of the falls, you’ll definitely understand the sheer size of this waterfall, as you look up to it. The walk down to it is a little challenging. But trust us, it is well worth pushing on to get the great view up at the fall.

Natural Bridge

The Natural Bridge lies in the Springbrook National park, a naturally formed rock arch over Cave Creek. The creek came from a waterfall which cut a cave beneath the waterfall and formed a pothole on top until the two joined and the creek flowed through the cave, leaving an arch across the front.

The cave itself is home to a colony of glow worms and as such nightly tours are operated in which to view them. The vast glow from the worms make this a must see tour – book a tour here.

To get to the cave there is a 1.4 km walking track which is mostly a very manageable walk and takes you along some great views on the way, and also a few great photo opportunities.

About 3/4 of the way round is the best shot of the Natural Bridge. Face on is a incredible view of the gushing waterfall through the rocks with the beaming sunlight to light up this incredible view. From here you can proceed through into the cave to see the gushing waterfall at its peak.

The final vantage point is at the opening at the top of the fall. Here you can see where this wonder has naturally formed and the sheer volume of water falling into the cave.

Natural Bridge Glow Worm Night Tour

Experience an enchanting natural spectacle in the Gold Coast hinterland on an evening tour of Natural Bridge Glowworm Cave.

Hike with a guide through the ancient coastal rainforest of Springbrook National Park to reach the cave and watch millions of tiny worms light up the night sky. Then raise your eyes to the night sky, where a pristine starry sky awaits.

The tour lasts approximately three hours and begins at dusk on the Gold Coast.

On this adventurous excursion you will have the opportunity to:
  • See the glow of millions of fireflies in their natural habitat
  • Get up close to nocturnal Australian wildlife such as owls, bats and frogs
  • Experience the cool rainforest of Springbrook Plateau after dark
  • Enjoy a breathtaking view of the twinkling stars on the horizon in complete darkness
Services at a glance:
  • Live commentary throughout the journey
  • Local guide for all questions about local flora & fauna
  • Air-conditioned vehicle for comfortable temperatures on the way
  • Hotel pick up and drop off included
  • National Park Fee Package includes everything you need (including guided rainforest hike and flashlight equipment)

Curtis Falls

Set in the tropical Mount Tamborine is the beautiful Curtis Falls waterfall and the Curtis Falls walking track.

Enter the walk and straight into a world of towering gum trees, Eucalyptus and an ever-cool lush rainforest. Broken trees and and the sounds of distant whipbirds make for a peaceful and tranquil visit.

The walk down to the falls is a beautiful flowing track through this lush environment. Well maintained tracks and handrails are there to make the trek easier.

Note: As mentioned, the track is elevated but not steep so it suits most people apart from strollers and wheelchairs as there are parts which involve steps.

You may find platypus, turtles and even the famous east coast Brush Turkey on this trip. In fact there are always plenty of Brush Turkeys around. These birds, otherwise known as scrub turkeys, are common on the west coast of Australia. They are black in colour with red beaks and is only one of three species to inhabit Australia.

After the short 1 km walk you arrive at the falls. Access into the falls and surrounding rock pools is restricted in order to protect the landscape, however a viewing platform for a great angle and photo opportunity is available.

The waterfall seems to have a constant flow. We went during a particularly dry month and as you can see below, it was still full of water.

Thunderbird Park

Thunderbird Park is an adventure park and camping site on the highly popular Tamborine Mountain.

It’s a great place to take the kids and, as you’re about to find out, adults like us as well.

The park is known for it’s main attraction—the Treetop Challenge. A obstacle course through the trees in a harness with zip lines and lots of climbing. Can be hard work but very rewarding. The ultimate fun for both adult and children.

The park also offers a few other activities like horse riding, mini golf and the thunderegg crystal mine. As well as a great camp site, restaurant and bar.

Mount Warning NSW

Mount Warning is a Mountain just over the border of Queensland and New South Wales. A medium to challenging hike to the peak with the hardest and the steepest being at the top getting onto the peak.


A mountain in the Tweed Range in the Northern rivers region of New South Wales Australia. It was formed from a volcanic plug of the now-gone tweed volcano. The mountain is located 14 kilometres south west of Murwillumbah near the border between New South Wales and Queensland. Lieutenant James Cook saw the mountain from the sea and named it Mount Warning.

The Walk

The walk and the tracks themselves are not too bad to start with as it’s a gradual climb weaving in and out of the rainforest. Getting to the top and the final 50 metres, however, does require pulling yourself up a stone wall and helping yourself by using a chain. It can be a little challenging if you are a bit less able.

Note: If this is a bit too much, there are lookouts along the hike giving fantastic views and vantage points.

Make sure you wear good quality walking boots, bring plenty of water and snacks. The itself to the top and back will take approximately 3 – 5 hours depending on yourselves.

See also Gear Guide: Must Haves for Camping and Hiking


These are our five must sees for places to visit near the Gold Coast, and to be honest, there are many more. Just over an hour away, you can visit the seaside town of Byron Bay or go inland and see the rural town of Beaudesert. These again, are two contrasting places but very worthy of a visit.

You can also visit Brisbane, which is an hours drive from Gold Coast.


  • Chalk and Cheese Travels

    In our posts, we share with you our top picks in food and cultural adventures as well as any general tips we figured out, (usually the hard way!) on our travels. As a recently married chef and teacher, together we have visited 5 continents and been travelling the world for over 10 years.