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Published April 18th 2015
Rainforests, waterfalls and thrilling skywalks
Curtis Falls in the Joalah section of Tamborine National Park is one of the area's highlights - Image by Julian Groneberg
Tamborine Mountain National Park needs little introduction to many Brisbane residents, serving as one of Queensland's most popular natural destinations. Situated just 65kms south west of Brisbane, Tamborine National Park spreads over 11 square kilometres across the foothills and summit of the Tamborine Mountain plateau, formed as part of the Mount Warning volcanic eruption more than 22 million years ago.
Each day visitors flock to enjoy the many spoils of the region, visiting boutique wineries and distilleries and taking advantage of the many cosmopolitan dining, and cosy bed and breakfasts options. Perhaps the greatest attraction however is to immerse oneself in virgin rainforest itself, taking to the rainforest walks and admiring the many geological features including waterfalls, cliff tops and gorges that characterise the area.
It's scenes like these that make Tamborine Mountain's rainforest trails so beautiful
There are more than 10 different trails visitors can take around Mount Tamborine National Park, most of them relatively short, taking around 1 hour each. 3 of the most accessible and popular include the Sandy Creek Circuit, the Curtis Falls Walk and the privately operated Tamborine Skywalk. Each of these walks take approximately an hour each at a leisurely pace, and can easily be combined together for a great day of hiking.
1. Sandy Creek Circuit and Cameron Falls
Knoll lookout and picnic area is at the entrance to the Sandy Creek Circuit and Cameron Falls trail
Less than 5 minutes drive from the centre of town, begins the Sandy Creek Circuit. At the entrance to the Knoll section of Tamborine National Park is a large open clearing and picnic area offering tables and barbeque facilities. Perhaps the best feature of the area is the Knoll lookout, offering views across the Scenic Rim to Mount Flinders, and on a clear day views of Brisbane city can even be spotted.
The open clearing at the Sandy Creek circuit is the perfect place for a BBQ or picnic
Along the walk, giant cavernous trees provide the perfect photo opportunity to enter their hollow base. Hikers slowly make their make their way down stone stairs reaching the palm-fringed creek on the forest floor. The 2.6 kilometres circuit then travels alongside steep cliff edges, eventually leads to the Cameron Falls lookout, which offers spectacular views across the gorge to the waterfall and to the valley below. Further upstream is a creek crossing, serving as the perfect place to sit on a boulder and dip your toe into the cool flowing water.
The walk takes around 1 hour return, along a well-maintained path.
Dip a toe into the cool fresh flowing creek, which leads to the Cameron waterfalls
Located in the Joalah section of the park, the major highlight on the Curtis Falls trail is the waterfalls themselves, best seen from the designated viewing platform. The rock pools surrounding the waterfalls are home to eels, and also the elusive platypus. Be sure to keep an eye out for lyrebirds who also make this dense rainforest home. About 1 kilometre down the trail hikers have the choice to take the lower creek circuit, around a 2km return trip, passing by giant strangler figs and making several creek crossings. Its important to note that access to the rock pools area and swimming is not permitted for visitor safety, but also to protect the local platypus and glow-worm populations.
After the walk visitors can reward themselves with a sweet treat at the lolly shop, ice creamery and cafe located at the trail's entrance
Back at entrance, the Curtis Falls Lolly Shop café and ice creamery offer the perfect place to reward oneself with a sweet treat. There is also a gift shop located at the entrance to the Curtis Falls trail.
3. Tamborine Skywalk
The skywalk 40m above the ground is a thrilling experience and offers amazing eagle eye views of the rainforest canopy
Opened in 2009, The Tamborine Skywalk is one of Mount Tamborine's newest attractions, however unlike the publicly maintained trails in the national park, Tamborine Skywalk is privately owned and accessed by admission only. It's undoubtedly a thrilling (perhaps slightly daunting for those scared of heights) experience to walk above the spectacular rainforest canopy on the 300 metre steel bridge.
The Canitlever bridge juts out over the forest and pedestrians can feel the bridge swaying with the wind.
Along the clearly signposted sky walk and ground trail sections are many plaques pointing out the local flora, and explaining the history of the rainforest and the Mount Tamborine region.Compared to the other rainforest walks in the Tamborine National Park, the trail offers more of the same kinds of foliage and perhaps is not quite as spectacular as the Curtis Falls and Sandy Creek circuits. However for those looking for an achievable walk with mostly level trails, this is one of the easiest options. Stepping on the cantilever bridge that overhangs the rainforest 40 metres below is definitely a highlight. Feeling it move and sway in the wind is definitely not for the faint of heart.
At $19.50 for adults, the admission might be a little steep for some, despite the fact that walking across an elevated steel walkway is still a unique experience that you can't do anywhere else in Mount Tamborine. The adjoining eco gallery, giftshop and café with large deck overlooking the rainforest also contributes to making the Skywalk and eco centre a great day out for families.
The entrance of the Tamborine skywalk attraction offers a gift shop, cafe and eco gallery.
These are just three of the great walks available in the Mount Tamborine National Park, however there are several others. The tourist information centre on the left hand side of the road after you reach the town centre is a great place to get up-to-date advice and information on the many trails in this natural paradise. For those who have yet to take to the trails of Tamborine, now's the time to explore one of Queensland's best sections of unspoiled ancient rainforest – all easily achieved on a day trip from both Brisbane and the Gold Coast.