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Cougal Cascades

Home > Gold Coast > Outdoor | Picnic Spots | Walks
by Vivienne Pearson (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer, fortunate enough to live near Byron Bay, one of Australia's most beautiful regions. My writing - for newspapers, magazines, online and for business - lives at vivienne pearson.com
Published April 27th 2018
Have a cruisy walk and a cascade swim on Currumbin Creek
A magic place, a perfect place.

Currumbin, Currumbin Valley, Gold Coast Hinterland, Cougal, Cascade, Rock pool, rainforest, walk, nature
The main cascade. Taken by Vivienne Pearson


Suitable for all ages and abilities, Cougal Cascades offers a gentle 1.6km (return) on a well-made asphalt path surrounded by gorgeous rainforest and with delightful views of the cascading Currumbin Creek.

Well-maintained paths. Taken by Vivienne Pearson
Well-maintained paths. Taken by Vivienne Pearson


If you are more adventurous and/or are in the mood for a refreshing swim, find your way down to the creek to splash in one of the many rock pools. There are various ways down from different spots along the path, all involving a degree of clambering.

If you are travelling light, you can head down to the creek via one track and rock-hop your way along at creek level to the next track back to the path.

Some come here to jump off higher rocks into the pools, or to slide down some of the cascading waterfalls. Signs recommend that you don't do these things - injury and maybe even death potentially await.

Also be on alert if there has been significant rainfall - you pass over a crossing with a flood meter on the way in to help you know.

Currumbin, Currumbin Valley, Gold Coast Hinterland, Cougal, Cascade, Rock pool, rainforest, walk, nature
Have fun but take warnings seriously! Taken by Vivienne Pearson


There is a disused sawmill at the end of the walk. Some will find this fascinating, others will find it spooky, as you can almost imagine someone coming back from smoko to start work. Either way, it forms a nice 'destination' for the walk (though it is definitely a walk where the joy is in the journey rather than just the destination).

Currumbin, Currumbin Valley, Gold Coast Hinterland, Cougal, Cascade, Rock pool, rainforest, walk, nature
Historic sawmill. Taken by Vivienne Pearson


There are interesting and informative signs dotted along the track.

The area is named Cougal after the nearby mountain, which is part of the Springbrook National Park. The Cougal Cascades area was private property until 1983, when the family decided to offer it for the park rather than development. What an amazing decision! This means that the forest is relatively new - there are none of the massive trees found elsewhere in this region - but is sublimely beautiful nonetheless.

It is easy to mix up Cougal Cascades with the Currumbin Rockpools - they are only a 10 min drive apart on the same road. Both are lovely so there's no harm if you mix them up. A quick cheat sheet to help you decide which is for you:

Cougal Cascades is at the very end of Currumbin Creek Road - literally the end of the road. Cougal Cascades is more adventurous for getting into the water and feels more adventurous and hidden. There is a longer, more defined walk. Both can get very busy but Cougal Cascade less so.

Currumbin Rockpools are about 10km further back along the road. Getting into the creek is easier at Currumbin Rockpools. It is visible from the road.

Currumbin, Currumbin Valley, Gold Coast Hinterland, Cougal, Cascade, Rock pool, rainforest, walk, nature
Screenshot of Google Maps showing both Cougal Cascades and the nearby Currumbin Rock Pools


The facilities are good and in keeping with the beautiful surrounds. A proper car park, good picnic area and toilets. There are no shops nearby so bring what you need, remembering that you'll probably stay longer than you planned! There are no bins so be prepared to take your rubbish with you.

Currumbin, Currumbin Valley, Gold Coast Hinterland, Cougal, Cascade, Rock pool, rainforest, walk, nature
Accessible picnic spot right near the carpark. Taken by Vivienne Pearson


Whether you come to walk, swim, rock-hop or just soak in the beauty, this spot is magical. It is well worth the (also quite beautiful) 30-minute drive from the coast.

Note: I have listed Cougal Cascades as wheelchair accessible. I have not visited with a wheelchair but, from my understanding, the asphalt path is wide and flat enough to suit a wheelchair and the incline is manageable. The path has some root-damage but minimal. The creek is not accessible by wheelchair but there are excellent views from the path, including at lookouts. The path is certainly accessible with a pram or stroller.
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Why? Rock pool swimming, rock hopping and an easy rainforest walk
When: Daytime
Where: Cougal Cascade, end of Currumbin Creek Road
Cost: Free
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