Backpackers and the Rainforest
Backpackers get back to nature. Your in the city and you need a break. get out and get lost in the Brisbane – Gold Coast hinterland.
Tamborine Mountain Rainforest Skywalk
Just 30 min from Brisbane you can walk amongst the tree tops
A 300m-long elevated walkway which allows visitors to explore the middle and upper reaches of the rainforest canopy. At its lowest points the walkway skirts Cedar Creek, rockpools and a butterfly lookout and ascends to the Cantilever – a 40m span hovering 30m above the valley below, providing awesome views. Sheltered rest areas along the way.
- How far: 300m of elevated walkway. Total of 1.5km of rainforest pathways
- Clock it: Allow 1 hour
- The pinch: It doesn’t get much easier
- Cost: Adults $18.50; Kids (6-16 years) $9.50; Family (2 adults + 2 kids) $47; seniors $15.50
- Open: 9.30am-4pm daily (Closed Christmas Day)
For more information, visitwww.rainforestskywalk.com.au
Tree Tops Walk – O’Reilly’s
A good one to do while visiting O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, found in the Green Mountain section of Lamington National Park, this walk
involves nine suspension bridges up to 15m off the ground in the rainforest canopy.
Kids will jump at the chance to climb the 30m high tower for even better views.
There are loads of other walking tracks that set out from O’Reillys, plus daily lorikeet feeding and guided rainforest tours.
Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk
The Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk links the Lamington and Springbrook national parks via the scenic Numinbah Valley. The three-day hike promises a hikers’ delight of rushing streams, plummeting waterfalls, lush rainforest, abundant flora and fauna as you traverse the rim of the Tweed Volcano.
Allow three days to complete the entire 54kms. It is recommended that you walk west to east, setting out along the Border Track at O’Reilly’s (in the Green Mountain section of Lamington National Park) and ending at The Settlement campground in Springbrook National Park. A temporary walkers camp has been constructed in Numinbah Forest Reserve while the planned Woonoongoora walkers camp, to be located on the Springbrook Conservation Area, is being approved. For a few home comforts, investigate hinterland B&Bs and guesthouses in the area.
The best time to tackle the Great Walk is between March and October. Temperatures on Lamington and Springbrook plateaus are generally around five degrees cooler than the Coast up to 36C in summer and minus 0C in winter. COnditions are notoriously changeable up here, so be prepared for wet and cool weather at all times. Expect damp to wet track conditions between December and March the plateaus wet season. The Numinbah Valley gets most of its rain during the summer when temps can hit 38C in summer. Expect no lower than 4C in winter when days are clear and crisp.
TAMBORINE Mountain has 12 walking tracks, but none of them extend much more than 3km and most are suitable for those who like an easy stroll.
The tracks are well maintained, and there is plenty to see. For birdwatchers in particular, Tamborine probably has the best offerings of all the rainforest and open country tracks around the Gold Coast.
Here’s a quick guide to Tamborine National Park tracks and what you can see near them:
The Knoll walking track (off Knoll Road) is a 3km circuit, includes huge fallen trees, Cameron Falls, a palm forests alongside Sandy Creek. A good area to see lyrebirds.
Joalah section includes Curtis Falls (1.5km), and a loop track to The Pool (2.3km), both easy walks. See the giant fig tree, estimated to be 500 years old. For night walkers, glow worms abundant around Curtis Falls.
Palm Grove has five different tracks, none more than 2.5km. Good chance of seeing lyrebirds and pademelons (wallabies). Includes another 500-year-old fig, a huge stand of hoop pines and beautiful Jenyn’s Falls. Burrawang lookout is breathtaking.
Witches Falls circuit is 3km, interesting and safe. Look for lagoons (good for barred and brown-striped marsh frogs), a grove of cycads (lepidozamia) estimated at 1500 years old and giant stinging trees.
Cedar Creek circuit (3.5km) is an underrated open forest track including unusual rock scree slopes. Watch for giant land mullets (Australia’s largest skink). This track requires a moderate degree of fitness and care.
MacDonald Park (1.4km) has massive fig trees that make this stroll worthwhile. Birdwatchers should keep their eyes and ears ready for a colony of noisy pittas, those remarkably coloured snail-eating birds.
Tamborine tracks are not for heavy-duty walkers, but feature more natural attractions per metre than possibly any other track. They’re great for family outings.
Travelling north from the Gold Coast, Tamborine Mountain is 36km from Surfers Paradise via the Pacific Highway and the Oxenford-Tamborine Road or 28km from Nerang via the Nerang-Beaudesert Road. From Canungra, take the Tamborine Mountain Road for 4km. The steep, narrow roads from Nerang and Canungra are unsuitable for buses, trailers, caravans and trucks.
Natural Bridge, Numinbah Valley
An easy drive from the Coast past the suburb of Nerang will see you in the Numinbah Valley, home to the Natural Bridge. The timber boardwalk makes this a low effort track for big rewards – water flows down through a natural rock arch and into a cave where glow worms radiate at night. You can’t swim under the bridge anymore but there are guided tours to peak the glow worms.
From Surfers Paradise take the Pacific Motorway at Nerang (exit 69) and follow the Nerang-Murwillumbah Road for 30km. Natural Bridge can also be reached from Murwillumbah by taking the Numinbah Road for 36km. The scenic access roads are winding and should be travelled with care and are unsuitable for caravans, buses, trailers and trucks.