I am a marketing and communications consultant and freelance writer. Living on the Gold Coast in Australia. Check out my website www.sarahsays.com.au or follow on Twitter @WENGoldCoast
Published May 28th 2015
A Bushwalking Treat For All Abilities
I have lived on the Gold Coast for almost 3 years, but only recently went to visit Springbrook National Park - I don't know why it took me so long to get there, perhaps I thought it was too far to get to, to tougher walk or just not my thing. However, it is closer than you think, incredible for walkers of all levels and definitely something I enjoyed.
My favourite was Purling Brook Falls and the Gwongorella picnic area right next to it. This is possibly one of the most stunning places I have visited since living on the Gold Coast - and the Gold Coast isn't short of beautiful places.
What is great about this particular place is that it has so much for everyone - each person will get something different out if it whether it be breathtaking views, seeing an amazing waterfall, wildlife spotting, bushwalking or just enjoying a picnic in the beautiful surroundings.
You have three options for walking depending on fitness, ability, time and who you are with.
The Purling Brook Falls Lookout is just 100m through fairly flat and easy bushland with a cleared path and just a few steps, you come out at a lookout with spectacular views of the waterfall. This is what we did, as we had our 16 month year old with us - she has only been walking for a few months and was safe (within reason, I didn't let to of her hand) on the path. The lookout is pretty big and the views in all directions are amazing.
The Purling Brook Falls Circuit is approx 4k return so you need to allow around 2 hours in total. This is a class 3 circuit, so you will need to be a fairly experienced bushwalker and be in good shape as it includes steep drops, steps and rough terrain. The views close up of the waterfall are, I am told, very impressive. The Warringa Pool Circuit leads downstream from the base of the falls and is approx 6k return - so around 2 hours 40 minutes in total. If you are brave enough you can swim there, but it is cold. Again you must be a great walker to complete this comfortably - which is why we didn't do it - I know my limits. Both of these circuits are part of GoCoast Hinterland Great Walk where arrow markers indicate the walking track - which you must stick to as there are sheer drops, eek.
Gwongorella Picnic Area: This is such a lovely place with plenty of room for picnic rugs and home bought chairs - there are also a few tables and benches plus a large undercover pavilion with BBQ facilities. Loads of green space too - perfect for kids to run around in, and I really like it hasn't been spoilt with a playground. Nature is enough I believe and really important for kids to be in and around - my daughter loves just wondering on the grass and exploring trees and paths and seeing the wildlife.
There is plenty of parking available too, plus a rustic cafe just down the road if you forgot the picnic but fancy a spontaneous bite to eat or coffee. An important thing to remember is that Purling Brook Falls is protected in the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, so it is pretty special, therefore ensure you take any rubbish with you and be respectful of the surroundings and facilities.
Top Tips: Make sure you get the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk topographic map Walk the track in a clockwise direction - it is a better route apparently
Have plenty of water with you
Dress appropriately - sturdy footwear and warm jacket is a must
Keep to the track at all times - remember it has a steep drop
It took around 45 - 60 minutes to get to from Surfers Paradise and we took the Nerang route there and then came through Mudgeeraba on the way back. The Mudgeeraba route was really long and winding and felt never ending - so I suggest the Nerang route is better, although maybe slightly longer.
It's a gorgeous place to visit and best of all it is completely free.
We are new to the area having recently sold our farm in NSW. We have our lovely kelpie dog with us and want to know where we can walk with her. We now live at Bonogin.
Looking forward to hearing from you,