Stunning Waterfalls in the Gold Coast Hinterland and Scenic Rim

You don’t need to travel far to find stunning waterfalls on the Gold Coast. Within an hour’s drive is the stunning Gold Coast Hinterland -“the green behind the gold”. Today we share several best waterfalls you can reach easily in national parks in South East Queensland, including a few around Brisbane. 

When is the best time to visit the Gold Coast Waterfalls

Although the waterfalls mentioned here run permanently all year round, the best time to visit is during the wet season or after recent rainfall. In South East Queensland, the wet season is generally from December to March.

What to bring with you

  • Plenty of water and snacks for longer hikes
  • Raincoat
  • Suitable footwear for hiking
  • Sunscreen and broad rim hat
  • Insect repellent
  • Swimwear (where it is permitted to swim)

Springbrook National Park

Springbrook National Park is part of Australia’s world heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforest areas. Just a 40-kilometre drive from the Gold Coast in the Gold Coast Hinterland (or 105 kilometres from Brisbane), it’s brimming with spectacular waterfalls, lush rainforest, ancient trees, exceptional ecological importance, and exudes natural beauty.

Twin Falls hike in the Springbrook National Park, Queensland, Australia
Twin Falls hike in the Springbrook National Park, Queensland, Australia

The park contains four sections on and around the Springbrook Plateau.

  • The Springbrook section that extends along the crest of the plateau;
  • Mount Cougal in Currumbin Valley section to the south-east; and
  • Natural Bridge and Numinbah Valley sections to the west.

You could visit all of these in a one day trip from the Gold Coast either in a circuit drive like the one here or just pick a couple and perhaps take one of the walks.

Springbrook Waterfalls Map

Springbrook waterfall drive
A circuit drive with a bit of backtracking

Twin Falls

Twin Falls Springbrook National Park comprises two falls cascading down into three different rock pools. The best place to view Twin Falls, the sheer walls of the canyon beneath, and the ocean beyond, is from Canyon Lookout. This viewing platform is very close to the car park and is the starting point for the 4-kilometre track of Twin Falls Circuit.

Twin Falls Springbrook National Park
Twin Falls hike in the Springbrook National Park, Queensland, Australia

The walk to the falls will take you across streams, through rock clefts and subtropical rainforest. You can walk behind two cascading waterfalls when you reach the forest floor. The perfect spot to cool off in the rock pool on a hot summer day.

Afterwards, grab a cold drink and a snack amongst the beautiful birds in the gardens of Rosellas At Springbrook cafe. The cafe is located directly across from Canyon Lookout at Twin Falls, Springbrook National Park.

Where: 40-kilometre drive from the Gold Coast on Springbrook Road or 105-kilometres from Brisbane.
Difficulty: Moderate. The track has some rough surfaces, steep sections and steps on descent and ascent.
Road access: Car parking available at Canyon Lookout off Springbrook Road

Purling Brook Falls

The 100-metre high Purling Brook Falls Springbrook National Park plunges with a massive torrent of water into the deep canyon below. This horsetail type fall is renowned as being the jewel of Springbrook National Park.

Purling Brook Falls Queensland
Purling Brook Falls

Depending on your fitness level, select from three walking trails. The walks take you through dense, lush rainforest vegetation with a couple of viewing platforms along the way to see the magnificent falls.

Purling Brook Falls does come with a warning because of the danger of the sheer cliffs and waterfalls. So ensure that you keep to the track and supervise children closely.

It is worthwhile descending to the base of the falls to look up at the wonder of these towering falls. Here you will find a suspension bridge across Purling Brook with surrounding lush green tree ferns.

Where: 40-kilometre drive from the Gold Coast on Springbrook Road or 105-kilometres from Brisbane.
Difficulty: Easy to moderate, there is a short walk of 100-metres to the lookout to observe the waterfall, a more challenging 4-kilometre circuit hike, or the 6-kilometre Warringa Pool hike. There are some sections of stairs and steep ascents or descents.
Road access: Two car parks are available to access Purling Brook Falls. The Main Car Park at the end of Forestry Road, or the Settlement Day Use Area at 35 Carricks Road, Springbrook.

Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge is a major tourist attraction in the beautiful Numinbah Valley in Springbrook National Park. Formerly, it was a busy swimming hole; however, these days, this natural rock pool has been barricaded off to potential thrill-seekers.

The waterfall at Natural Arch in Springbrook National Park in the Gold Coast hinterland in Queensland Australia.
Natural Arch in Springbrook National Park

The unique Natural Bridge or Arch is an arched cave with a waterfall dropping through the rock face from above into a large rock pool. The cool thing about the cave is that at night the cave is illuminated by thousands of glow worms tiny green lights. 

The 1-kilometre creek circuit walking path takes you from the car park weaving through the rainforest, across Caves Creek to Natural Bridge. Further down the creek, there are some accessible swimming holes where you can cool off.

Where: 45-kilometre drive from the Gold Coast or 105-kilometres from Brisbane on Nerang-Murwillumbah Road.
Difficulty: Easy. The circuit track is sealed and is a relatively easy walk for all fitness levels, although there is a long section of steps.
Road access: Directly off Nerang-Murwillumbah Road, there is a car park and parking on the roadside.

Goomoolahra or Bilbrough Falls

Goomoolahara or Bilbrough Falls drops from a mountain stream over a cliff face, cascading to the valley below.

The beauty of Goomoolahra Falls is that you can picnic here and take in the stunning views of the falls, the Warrie Circuit track below and views of the Springbrook Pinnacle out to the Gold Coast Hinterland.

Goomoolahra Falls and the rain forest canopy in Springbrook National Park
Goomoolahra Falls and the rain forest canopy in Springbrook National Park

Where: 40-kilometre drive from the Gold Coast on Springbrook Road (or 105-kilometres from Brisbane).
Difficulty: Easy and wheelchair friendly. Extremely easy to get to, being a short 100-metre walk along a sealed path.
Road access: Car parking is available at the end of Springbrook Road.

Cougal Cascades

Cougal Cascades is located in Springbrook National Park in the Mount Cougal section in the gorgeous Currumbin Valley.

Cougal Cascades plunge spectacularly down a cliff face into a large pool below. You can see this waterfall from the viewing platform adjacent to the cascades. This accessible, easy riverside walk traces Currumbin Creek terminating at an old sawmill.

Cougal Cascades Waterfall in Queensland
Cougal Cascades

If you feel like cooling off, there are plenty of rock pools along the creek accessible for swimming in the refreshing waters.

Tip: A small picnic area is located adjacent to the car park beside the walking track entrance. 

Where: Drive 15-kilometres along Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Valley on the Gold Coast to the very end.
Difficulty: Easy and wheelchair friendly. This walking track is bitumen paved and is 1.6 kilometres return. 
Road access: Car parking is available right near the entrance to the walking trail.

Lamington National Park

Lying on the McPherson Ranges plateau in the Green Mountains, close to the New South Wales and Queensland border, is Lamington National Park. It is located 46-kilometres from the Gold Coast or 109-kilometres from Brisbane.

Lamington tree top walkway
Lamington tree top walkway

This untouched rainforest national park is exquisite. There are plenty of opportunities for bushwalking, birdwatching and soaking up stunning mountain scenery. It contains over 320- kilometres of walking tracks that lead to spectacular lookouts, waterfalls and wilderness areas. 

It is also home to the iconic O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat that opened its doors to guests in 1926, and Binna Burra Lodge burnt down during the bushfires in 2019 but was rebuilt a year later.

Lamington National Park Waterfalls Map

Lamington Waterfall Drive
143km in and back trip

Coomera Falls

Coomera Falls is a segmented waterfall accessed off the Border Track 1.9-kilometres from the Binna Burra trailhead in the Binna Burra section of Lamington National Park. The walking track to the falls passes through subtropical rainforests and under giant trees and is challenging. So it is not one to take on unless you have the entire day.

Hike up to the spectacular cantilevered Coomera Falls lookout situated 5.5-kilometres from the trailhead. From the lookout, you will witness the power of the Coomera River as it cascades over the magnificent Coomera Falls into the 160 metre deep Coomera Gorge below.

Where: Binna Burra off Beechmont Road – a 46-kilometre drive from the Gold Coast or 106-kilometres from Brisbane.
Difficulty: Hard. It is a challenging circuit hike that is 17.4-kilometres in length.
Road access: Car parking is available at Binna Burra.

Elabana Falls

Commencing from O’Reillys Rainforest Retreat, Elabana Falls is, in effect, one of the four waterfalls you will see along the Box Forest Circuit. Elabana Falls, Boxlog Falls, Darragumai Falls and Nugurin Falls are all found along this 10.9-kilometre circuit hike.

Elbana waterfall in Queensland
The lower cascade at Elabana Falls

Elabana is probably the most spectacular waterfall of the four. It consists of a 25-metre upper horsetail-type fall and a lower cascade. It is a permanent waterfall with the best time to visit following decent rainfall or from January to March.

Tip: During the summer months, enjoy a swim in Picnic Rock waterhole right near Elabana Falls Lamington National Park.

Where: 46 kilometres from the Gold Coast or 109 kilometres from Brisbane via Lamington National Park Road.
Difficulty: Hard. The hike to Elabana Falls will take you approximately 4 hours to complete on a mostly rough-surfaced track.
Road access: Car parking is available at O’Reillys Rainforest Retreat with access to the trailhead.

Stairway Falls

One of the most challenging waterfalls to access, Stairway Falls Lamington National Park, are accessible near O’Reillys Rainforest Retreat off the Yerralahla Track. These falls and sequence of swimming holes are located on West Canungra Creek. The various swimming holes and rock pools of Stairway Falls offer “spa” baths, jumps and slides for a fun-filled day of swimming.

Follow the signs to Blue Pool on the Yerralahla Track, and once you reach the pool, head downstream instead of following the remainder of the track. You will eventually reach Stairway Falls after about an hour’s walk of rock hopping.

Tip: Stairway Falls is a full-day trip that will take 2 to 3 hours to hike into the falls and then allow enough time to swim and enjoy these pretty waterfalls and swimming holes.

Where: 46-kilometres from the Gold Coast or 109-kilometres from Brisbane via Lamington National Park Road.
Difficulty: Hard. The hike to Stairway Falls involves a lot of rock hopping and creek crossings.
Road access: Car parking is available at O’Reillys Rainforest Retreat with access to the trailhead.

Morans Falls

The most accessible and easiest to reach falls in Lamington National Park is Morans Falls. There is a choice of two different entry points to access Moran Falls. The first begins at Python Rock (about 1 kilometre before O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat), and the other trailhead is located near the main parking lot at O’Reilly’s Mountain Cafe.

Morans Falls waterfall near gold coast
Moran Falls Credit: Tourism Events Queensland

The lookout near the end of the track provides spectacular views of the 80-metre falls, Morans Creek and the Albert River valley. Make sure you go to the top of the falls to check out the site of the original O’Reilly’s home, which was built in 1912. Here you will also find a picnic area. 

Tip: Morans Falls is the perfect place to watch the sunset with its magnificent view.

Where: 46-kilometres from the Gold Coast or 109-kilometres from Brisbane via Lamington National Park Road.
Difficulty: Moderate. Morans Falls walk is a return journey of about 6.2-kilometres on a combination of bitumen pathways and dirt trails.
Road access: Car parking is available at O’Reillys Rainforest Retreat or Python Rock.

Tamborine Mountain

Some of the best waterfalls near Brisbane in South East Queensland are found on Tamborine Mountain and Tamborine National Park. Only 72-kilometres south of Brisbane or 40-kilometres from the Gold Coast, Tamborine Mountain is a world away with its distinctive East European flair. You can easily combine waterfalls with breweries and distilleries on this day out!

Tamborine Mountain Waterfall Map

Tamborine Mountain
Tamborine Mountain is a 93km round trip

Curtis Falls

Located within the Tamborine National Park, Joalah section is the pretty Curtis Falls. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful waterfalls near Brisbane and the Gold Coast, being about 12-metres tall. For the best views of the waterfall, there is a large decked viewing platform in front of the falls.

Scenic Curtis Falls in Tamborine National Park, Queensland, Australia
Scenic Curtis Falls in Tamborine National Park

The hike to the falls takes you through a unique rainforest featuring towering gums and dense ferns. Make sure you visit the falls following recent rainfall. Although there is a rock pool at the base of the falls, it is not recommended for swimming.

Tip: Visit nearby Curtis Falls Cafe afterwards for some refreshments and a bite to eat.

Where: 72-kilometres south of Brisbane or 40-kilometres from the Gold Coast at Eagle Heights, Mt Tamborine.
Difficulty: Easy. The hike to the falls is only a short 1.1-kilometres return trip.
Road access: Car parking is available off Dapsang Drive, Eagle Heights.

Cedar Creek Falls

One of the most popular swimming holes during the summer months on Mt Tamborine is Cedar Creek Falls. The rock pools and swimming holes are easily accessed via the surrounding rock shelves and are a popular hangout during the summer months, even though the water is always refreshing!

Rock pools and cascades at popular Cedar Creek Falls in Gold Coast Hinterland
Rock pools and cascades at popular Cedar Creek Falls

Filling the large rock pool at the base of the falls is a natural waterfall that runs all year round but is most spectacular in the wet season. One of the best things about these falls is that they can be observed from the Cedar Creek Falls lookout giving fantastic views of the gorge and waterfalls.

Tip: There are two shady picnic spots with toilets located near the start of the walking trail.

Where: 72-kilometres south of Brisbane or 40-kilometres from the Gold Coast at Cedar Creek, Mt Tamborine.
Difficulty: Easy. The hike to the cascades is only 500-metres on a paved path.
Road access: Car parking is available off Cedar Creek Falls Road.

Beechmont

Beechmont is located in the Gold Coast Hinterland and is nestled between the Lamington Plateau and Tamborine Mountain. It is an extremely popular spot for day-trippers and bushwalkers. It is 37-kilometres from the Gold Coast and 97-kilometres from Brisbane. There are a couple of pretty waterfalls here worth checking out.

Denham Falls

The walk to the enchanting Denham Falls in Beechmont starts at the Denham Reserve. It is a beautiful 3-kilometre round trip walk amongst dense rainforest adjacent to Back Creek Gorge.

Denham Falls Waterfall in Queensland
Denham Falls

At the bottom of the falls, it is described as being an oasis surrounded by 30-metre high rock walls and beautiful vegetation.

While it’s a challenging trail, it is worth the effort as you are rewarded with a pretty waterfall and a generous swimming hole. Swimming here is welcome at the end of the walk in the cooling waters. 

Tip: There is a viewpoint with amazing views of the gorge below and Denham Falls before the downhill section of the track. 

Where: Beechmont is 37-kilometres from the Gold Coast and 97-kilometres from Brisbane.
Difficulty: Hard. It is a 3-kilometre round trip walk on a steep and narrow path.
Road access: Doncaster Drive, Beechmont and starts at the Denham Reserve, where roadside car parking is available.

Lips Falls

With the same starting point and walking track as Denham Falls, Lips Falls used to be a great place to swim on a hot summer day. This curtain waterfall used to be a secluded gem known only to locals but then got overrun with visitors. Since then, the falls have been closed to visitors as the surrounding lands are private property. It’s not known if they will reopen but worth checking.

Lip falls in Beechmont Queensland
Lip falls in Beechmont Queensland.

Tip: Additional waterfalls and swimming holes, known as the Beechmont Waterfall rock pools, can be found above Lips Falls. 

Where: Beechmont is 37-kilometres from the Gold Coast and 97-kilometres from Brisbane.
Difficulty: Hard. It is a 3-kilometre round trip walk on a steep and narrow path.
Road access: Doncaster Drive, Beechmont, commencing at the Denham Reserve, where there is roadside car parking available

Waterfalls further afield

Killarney, Southern Downs

Killarney in the Main Range National Park and The Falls Drive is 176-kilometres west of the Gold Coast or 181-kilometres southwest of Brisbane. Here you will discover five stunning waterfalls: Teviot Falls, Queen Mary Falls, Daggs Falls, Browns Falls and Upper Browns Falls. The best thing about these falls is that the majority can be viewed from lookouts on the side of the road, making it possible to see them all in one day. 

Queen Mary Falls

Stroll along the Queen Mary Falls Circuit to the 40-metre natural beauty of Queen Mary Falls. The lookout from high above the falls will reward you with magical views of the waters from Spring creek plunging onto the valley floor.

View of Queen Mary Falls near Killarney, Queensland, Australia after and during rain
Queen Mary Falls after heavy rain

You can then continue along the track to the valley floor and cool off in the waterfall’s misty spray, and marvel at the rainbows created by the falls. Afterwards, you can picnic in the picnic area near the car park.

Tip: Get a coffee fix 10 minutes up the road from Queen Mary Falls at Spring Creek Mountain Café and Cottages 

Where: Located near the town of Killarney. From the Cunningham Highway, take the Lake Moogerah turnoff and continue it until it changes to Head Road and then turn into Spring Creek Road.
Difficulty: The walk is 2-kilometres return and is graded as moderate.
Road access: Car parking is available off Spring Creek Road, and the walk commences at Queen Mary Falls Circuit Picnic Area.

Browns Falls

Just outside of Killarney is Browns Falls, a 15-metre high waterfall that plunges spectacularly over basalt rock columns. The falls are reached by a short 600-metre walk with the rough-surfaced track following the lovely watercourse up to the falls. Afterwards, you can relax in the Browns Falls picnic area and enjoy a drink and bite to eat.

Tip: Watch for the red trail markers to navigate your way to the falls.

Where: 4.5-kilometres outside of Killarney
Difficulty: Moderate. The walking path can be muddy and involves creek crossing and rock scrambling.
Road access: Car park off Spring Creek Road with the walk starting from the Browns Falls picnic area.

Daggs Falls Lookout

The tall and powerful Daggs Falls is located along The Falls Drive, between Browns Falls and Queen Mary Falls. The only way to observe this 38-metre plunging waterfall emanating from Teviot Brook is from the roadside lookout.

View of Daggs Fall near Killarney, Queensland during heavy rain
View of Daggs Fall after a decent rain

Where: 8-kilometres drive from Killarney.
Road Access: Daggs Falls Lookout car park is located off Spring Creek Road.

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