Beaches, surfing and theme parks: three things that are likely among the first that come to mind when you think about the Gold Coast. There is more to this Queensland city however, attesting further that this is one of the Sunshine State’s top holiday destinations. And what better way to explore the glittering Gold Coast than by strapping on your walking shoes (or sandals) and hitting the routes of some of its best walks. From strolls along the shoreline to hikes in the hinterland, here are just a handful of the best walks on the Gold Coast.
Gold Coast Oceanway
The Gold Coast Oceanway is a 36-kilometre stretch of pathway that runs north to south, linking The Spit with Point Danger. Don’t be daunted by the Oceanway’s entirety though; it is divided into sections so you can complete one, two or all at your own pace. There are plenty of spots for swimming, fishing or barefoot jaunts along the sand, no matter what section you are wandering. A bus route also follows the Oceanway in case you can’t muster the energy to walk all the way back to your starting point.
Natural Bridge Circuit
This sealed track in Springbrook National Park is a one-kilometre closed route that takes walkers through lush forest, over a creek and into a cave that arrives out onto a pretty waterfall. At night, the cave is illuminated from thousands of tiny glow-worms. The glow-worms live in the cave year-round. The track starts from the carpark, has plenty of signage, and is especially popular with families. Another well-walked route in Springbrook National Park is the Twins Falls Circuit. This path is four kilometres long and can take between two to three hours to complete. Follow it from the top of the Springbrook Plateau down to the rainforest floor, passing waterfalls and rock pools along the way.
Head to Lamington National Park to hit the 17-kilometre Coomera Circuit. This route starts in the Binna Burra section of the park and will lead walkers through rainforest and tea-tree thickets, and to a cantilevered lookout where you can peer down into a plunging gorge. Take a minute or two to rest here and admire the outlook over Yarrabilgong and Coomera falls. The circuit continues along the edge of Coomera Gorge towards Goorawa Falls – the waters here are home to Lamington spiny crayfish (look out for their bright blue and white colourings!). Completing the full track takes about seven hours and is graded at an intermediate level.
O’Reilly’s TreeTop Walk
Those wanting to see more of Lamington National Park, or who want an easier meander than the Coomera Circuit, can look to the O’Reilly’s TreeTop Walk. This walk is open to all visitors and is free to explore. It is made up of nine suspension bridges that soar up to 16 metres above ground and, at only 800 metres return, this stroll is great for families with younger children. Time your walk for the early morning or late afternoon to have the best chance at seeing a diverse range of the rainforest’s birdlife.
The Oceanview Walk through Burleigh Head National Park is an easy one-way path (1.2 kilometres) that takes about 30 minutes to do. The park itself may be one of the smallest in Queensland but it is home to diverse landscapes, and ticking off the Oceanview Walk is a great way to see a slice of the area. Oceanview Walk is one of two tracks within the park and wraps around the headland, from Tallebudgera Creek to the southern fringe of Burleigh Heads. Walkers might luck out and even spot whales off the coast during migrating season. The walk is wheelchair accessible. The second of the Burleigh Head National Park walks is the Rainforest Circuit. It is 2.3 kilometres long and takes about 45 minutes to complete. It is still a relatively easy route, however there are some steeper (yet short) sections that may challenge younger children.
Coolangatta to Point Danger
This stroll comes in at only two kilometres long and is so gentle that it could even be done in thongs or sandals – no hiking boots necessary. Begin at Coolangatta Beach, following the path that runs parallel to the sand. You will round the Greenmount headland for views across Rainbow Bay and the surf breaks of Snapper Rocks. On a clear day you might even be able to spy South Stradbroke Island. You might take regular breaks along the way to watch any surfers out in the water (Snapper Rocks is the home of Quiksilver and Roxy Pro comps), or there are some playgrounds for the kids to run amok. The route finishes with a slight climb up the hill to Point Danger, located on the QLD/NSW border.
Witches Falls and Witches Chase
Discover the oldest section of Tamborine National Park by seeking out the two walks of the Witches Falls area: Witches Falls circuit and Witches Chase track. Start out on the former and then wind your way down the mountain side and into the rainforest. Some of the sights the 3.6-kilometre-long track passes along the way include seasonal lagoons and piccabeen palm groves. The latter branches off from the Witches Falls circuit and makes for a slightly shorter round trip, at 2.6 kilometres. Both options take walkers past the Witches Falls lookout, which is the best place to view the eponymous cascades. Time your walk for just after a period of rain as this is when Witches Falls flows.