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Bushwalking in the Gold Coast Hinterland
While the Gold Coast is known typically for its sun, surf, beaches and high-rise apartments, it might surprise you to know that there is a particular breed of beauty to the west which includes rainforest, quaint townships and plenty of places to explore.
There's a reason for this - if you can take your eyes off the dazzling white sand and look to the west all you can see are the lush green mountains of the Great Dividing Range - remnants of the lava flows of ancient volcanos, covered in sub-tropical vegetation; full of bushwalking tracks that lure trekkers from all over South East Queensland and Northern NSW - not to mention the rest of the world.
With hundreds of square kilometres of rainforest and temperate bushland in the Gold Coast region, stretching from Mount Tamborine in the north, down to the NSW border in the South, the number of bushwalks you can do is really only limited to the amount of time you have and the thickness of the tread on your boots.
Even if your feet haven't been inside a pair of hiking boots since they were a fashion accessory in 1992 (along with flannelette shirts, remember) there are still plenty of beginner strolls to get you out of the carpark and back before afternoon tea.
Rather than try and list a comprehensive breakdown of all bushwalking tracks on the Gold Coast, we've given you a few recommendations to get you started. If you want to know more give the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services head office a call on (07) 5520 9600 or browse the links at the bottom of the page for more information.
A very brief guide to bushwalks
Location: The Spit
Distance: 6km return
Time: Allow two hours for the 6km
This is an easy 3km walk (6km if you go to the end and back) along a well made path through the sand dunes of The Spit. It's perhaps the closest walk to Surfers Paradise and provides a unique insight into the coastal dune network.
The walk starts at the beach carpark on the opposite side of the road from the entrance to Sea World (you'll need to go around the roundabout to get to the carpark). It's basically a 3km stretch of sand dunes, beach and sheoak trees and the path is made of compacted gravel, so it's easy to walk on. There are a couple of small inclines, but nothing too dramatic.
The path ends at the Gold Coast Seaway where, on a clear day, you can get an excellent view south down the beach along the entire stretch of the Gold Coast right down to Coolangatta. You can then turn around and walk 3km back, or have someone pick you up at the end.
Take plenty of water on a hot day because there are only amenities at the start and finish of the walk and parts of the track have no shade.
Tree Top Walk (Rainforest Circuit)
Location: Green Mountains, Lamington National Park
As long as you aren't scared of heights, this walk of 9 suspension bridges up to 15 metres off the ground gives a bird's eye perspective of the forest canopy and has a 30m high tower which you can climb to really take it all in at leaf level.
Location: Natural Arch, Numinbah Valley
Distance: Approx 1.5km
Follow the signs to Nerang and then follow the signs through the Numinbah Valley to Natural Arch - you'll find it fairly easily.
This is a short walk down into a shallow valley with a breathtaking waterfall into a cave where glow worms hang out. The surrounding forest is tall and spectacular.
Location: Lamington National Park
Time: 10 hours, you'll need to be experienced
This track forms the backbone of all other walking tracks in the Lamington National Park, and connects Binna Burra and the Green Mountains. It's the same length as an Olympic marathon, and if you want to get back the same day you'll need to set out no later than 6am to complete a return trip in about 10 hours.
Lookouts along the way provide spectacular views of the Lamington area, Mt. Warning and the Tweed Range.
Did we mention it was 42km?
Make sure you know what you are doing if you're going to take this walk, and get some more information from the links below before you set out. Read our disclaimer.
- Gold Coast Hinterland Picture Tour
- Tamborine Mountain bush walking tracks
- Lamington National Park's bushwalking guide - very handy list of walks from the easy to hardcore
- The Gold Coast Bushwalking Club
- Bushwalking Queensland
- Bushwalkers of Southern Queensland
- Brisbane Bushwalkers Club
Images courtesy Tourism & Events Queensland, Tourism Australia, Destination Gold Coast & Getty Images