Find yourself in an oasis of lush rainforest, waterfalls, clean air and natural beauty at Springbrook, an Australian World Heritage Area in the mountain range behind the Gold Coast.

Springbrook National Park is a wonderland of walking tracks and waterholes less than two hours drive south of Brisbane. But it wasn’t always as lush as it is now. In 1906 settlers arrived from northern New South Wales and, finding farming difficult, decided to clear the land for timber. By the 1930s Springbrook was almost completely cleared of trees. That seems unimaginable today and, fortunately, the area is now protected.

Springbrook is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage area as it represents a major stage of the earth’s evolutionary history (with its volcanic history), boasts ecological and biological evolution examples and contains the most important natural habitats for conserving biological diversity, for example, it is identified as important in the conservation of several species of threatened birds.

The park covers 6725 hectares in four main sections – Springbrook plateau, Mount Cougal to the east and Natural Bridge and Numinbah to the west. Subtropical rainforest, ancient Antarctic beech, hoop pines and eucalypt forest shelter an incredible variety of wildlife. The abundance of water in the park also encourages a diverse selection of water-dwelling animals and you might even catch a glimpse of a platypus while visiting the Numinbah section.

Spectacular waterfalls and lookouts offering fabulous views can be accessed by walking trails ranging from 300 metres to 54 kilometres in length to suit different abilities from level 1 (easy and with wheelchair access) to level 4 (requires a moderate fitness level and some bushwalking experience with hiking footwear). Even after-dark the intrepid explorer can view the flickering brilliant blue-green lights decorating caves, rocky overhangs and steep earth banks on a glow-worms tour.

Distance from Brisbane: About 100km south of Brisbane city.

Five things to see and do:

  1. Visit Springbrook’s five waterfalls
  2. See Natural Arch, home to millions of glow worms, a waterfall and cave
  3. Take a day tour package with a nature guide
  4. Hike one of the many trails
  5. Take a picnic lunch and enjoy it in the heart of the rainforest.