Gold Coast Explorer since Jan 2010. Always on the lookout for fun, family things to enjoy with my four kids.
Published May 16th 2015
Cross that bridge when you come to it
Despite living close to some of the Gold Coast's most marvellous beaches, when it came to a mum's choice for Mother's Day, bush won over beach, as Springbrook Mountain is such a beautiful place to go walking.
I was also keen to see the new suspension bridge below Purling Brook Falls, as it opened in March 2015. The bridge was named after the late John Stacey, a Springbrook builder who became a highly respected QPWS ranger. The bridge spans the Little Nerang Creek Gorge. The addition of new track (to replace a previous section that was subject to landslips) has enabled the reopening of the popular Purling Brook Falls Circuit. It's categorized as a Class 3, 4km return hike (1 ½ - 2 hours), and you can also add a further 2km (allow another 40 minutes) if you include the Warringa Pool track, which leads downstream from the base of the falls.
Springbrook Mountain was the subject of my first article, "Picnic & Petrol Springbrook Day Out", for Weekend Notes. It is still a firm favourite with our family. Like an old friend, it's always there and never disappoints.
The drive up the mountain, with its twisting road, old wooden bridges, and the single track section that splits the road around rock, works its magic. Perhaps it's the enforced slower driving pace, with the bends and precipitous mountainside, and glimpses of the scenes that await you from the view points, that gives off an aura of relaxation long before you reach the top.
The trees stand tall and majestic; the many hues of green surround you. The air itself seems purer as you drink in deep breaths of delicious oxygen. The environment is cool, despite hot temps at the bottom of the mountain, due to the altitude and the shade of the trees.
The work surrounding the new suspension bridge fits in well with the location; and the view from the bridge, below the falls, is well worth the hike. We felt more than a touch of nostalgia for the old route, which went right behind the 110m high falls, as it was the best part of the walk for our kids, who loved getting wet from the spray and having their photo taken behind the waterfall. That said, the new view from downstream, with tumbling water, the rich green canopy and blue skies, forms a picture perfect scene.
"National Parks Minister Dr. Steven Miles says the $780,000 bridge over Little Nerang Creek had been designed built to have minimal impact on the World Heritage Area in which it is located while providing an excellent experience for visitors to the national park."
A word of advice: follow the trail in a clockwise direction, and you will manage it more comfortably than the opposite way. The walk will increase your heart rate, but you don't need to be super fit to achieve it.
As you descend to the bottom, via an established track and stone steps, you will be forgiven for thinking ahead, more than once, to what the climb back up the opposite cliff to the top, is going to be like. However, it is deceptively easy compared to what you are imagining it will be. Sooner than you anticipate, you will find yourself back at the top of the falls again (now on the other side), with a fabulous view to reward your efforts.
The trees are simply, beautiful. The shades of green grace the landscape as far as the eye can see, and birds sing for you while you walk. Despite being a good hike, which is great for fitness, it is a very relaxing outing, which many people were out enjoying on Mother's Day this year. Please note that the drops are sheer in many parts, and your kids need to be sensible about how they walk.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, as you reach the bottom of the falls, there is the option to extend your hike to the Warringa Pools. This circuit is well worth the extra two kilometres, especially in summer, as you can enjoy a refreshingly cold dip in the pools when you get there. Take something to drink with you; this is also a great spot for a picnic stop – just pack light so you are not carrying too much with you.
If you are looking for a night or weekend away camping, there is a lovely campsite not far from the falls, with a sheltered kitchen area and bush toilets. Each camping bay at The Settlement camping area on Springbrook plateau is sheltered from those around it, so you needn't see too much of your neighbours if you choose. To camp in the national park, a permit is required and bookings need to be made in advance. Click here for more information.
A point worth noting is that there is no petrol on the mountain, and it's a 71km round trip from Mudgeeraba, so fill up before you head up.
We have shared many great Springbrook walks with friends and family and it remains one of our favourite places of natural beauty.
'Meenyahgu Yugambeh dagun' — welcome to Yugambeh country.