Purling Brook Falls, Springbook NP
Waking up to a beautifully sunny ‘picture perfect’ autumn’s day, I felt compelled by a call to nature to lace up the old hiking boots and head to the picturesque Purling Brook Falls at the Springbrook National Park.
Although Australia’s Gold Coast is synonymous with theme parks, golden sandy beaches and world class wave breaks, it is also conveniently located less than an hour away from the Springbrook National Park.
Rising to a height of just over 1000 metres, the Springbrook Mountain dominates the western skyline of Queensland’s Gold Coast. It’s known as the hinterland region and is often described by locals as “the green behind the gold”.
SPRINGBROOK NATIONAL PARK
Queensland’s South-East corner contains an array of wonderful hiking trails. The majority of these can be found within the Springbrook National Park, located approximately 100km south of Brisbane.
The Springbrook National Park is an area of exceptional beauty with spectacular scenery, lush tropical rainforest, steep-sided canyons and stunning waterfalls.
The national park is part of the Shield Volcano Group of the UNESCO World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia.
An amazing view of the remnant Shield Volcano can be seen from the ‘Best of All Lookout’. From this popular lookout point there is a spectacular panoramic view of the Queensland and New South Wales coastline, taking in Coolangatta, Kingscliff, Byron Bay, the Nightcap Range, Murwillumbah and Mt Warning (the volcano’s core).
The Springbrook National Park also contains loads of picnic areas where the kids can run amuck, as well as an array of charming tea-houses and country style cafes where the grown-ups can stop for a coffee and a bite to eat.
The region is the perfect destination for a hike, a day trip or weekend getaway.
Purling Brook Falls Circuit
One of my favourite hikes in the Springbrook National Park region is the Purling Brook Falls Circuit, which takes hikers to the base of the impressive 109 metre Purling Brook Falls. For me, it is one of the highlights of the Springbrook plateau.
According to the ‘Spingbrook Visitors Guide’ the 4km return Purling Brook Falls Circuit is classified a ‘Class 3’ walk which means:
- Reasonable level of fitness
- Ankle supporting footwear recommended
I recommend that hikers allow at least 2-3 hours to complete the Purling Brook Falls Circuit. A little longer if you include Warringa Pool.
A word of warning; the Purling Brook Falls Circuit is a very popular walk so don’t expect to find solitude or see lots of wildlife, especially at the weekend.
Purling Brook Falls Lookout
Just 100 metres into my Purling Brook Falls Circuit walk, there’s a lookout perched on the edge of the mountain, with views of the waterfall and the surrounding rainforest.
From beneath the lookout I can see bush walkers who have reached the base of the Purling Brook Falls. I am not surprised to hear the occasional “Coo-eee” echoing out from the depths of the valley below and I answer the call. It’s all good fun!
Purling Brook Falls Trail
After enjoying the view from the Lookout, the valley below lures me back onto the well-maintained walking trail.
It is recommended that hikers walk the Purling Brook Falls Circuit in a clock-wise direction so I turn left and follow the track. Before long I find myself enjoying the sounds of the rainforest as I zigzag my way down into the gorge.
The vista along the Purling Brook Falls Circuit is green, lush and in all its glory – spectacular! The landscape is enchanting with dense and tropical vegetation that includes towering Palm trees rising up from the valley floor. I am awe struck by the magnitude of some of the fallen trees.
As I continue to descend along the walking trail, I start to hear the faint sound of water becoming louder and louder. Suddenly, there it is! Purling Brook Falls; in all its glory – rainbow and all!
Purling Brook Falls
It’s been a while since I last trekked to the base of the Purling Brook Falls and thanks to a few recent improvements, it’s even better than I remember.
The water flowing from the Purling Brook Falls can vary from a trickle to a torrent depending on recent rainfall levels. On this occasion it was somewhere in between.
Regardless of the volume of flow, there is something about the rhythmic sound of water cascading over an escarpment and the energy that flows from it that I find completely mesmerizing and a little intoxicating.
For me, the base of the Purling Brook Falls is the perfect place to pull up a rock, catch my breath, relax, munch on some snacks and let the sounds of nature revitalise my spirit. It’s a little piece of heaven.
After a while, I head over to the newly constructed suspension bridge and stop at the half way point. The bridge provides the perfect platform for hikers to enjoy an upstream view to the majestic 109 metre falls as well as a lovely view downstream to the smaller cascades.
To complete the circuit I cross over the suspension bridge and make the steady and relatively easy climb up the other side of the gorge, which brings me back to the picnic area and car park.
The Springbrook National Park is nature’s fun park and the Purling Brook Falls Circuit and Warringa Pool rainforest walk is one of my favourite rides.
When you arrive at the base of the Purling Brook Falls you’ll find a track immediately to your left that leads to Warringa Pool. It’s an additional 2km round trip but it is well worth it.
Warringa Pool is a sheltered swimming hole beautifully situated in a rain forested gully. There is a small plunge pool higher up, which cascades over the rocks into a deeper pool of about 10 metres in diameter. Plenty deep enough for a real swim. The water is very cold, but on a hot day after a long walk it can be very enticing and refreshing.
- Even on a sunny day, when you’re hiking the Purling Brook Falls Circuit the temperature can get quite cool. This is due to the altitude and shady rainforest environment, so make sure you bring a jacket just in case. It’s hard to enjoy yourself when you’re freezing cold.
- I also recommend carrying some healthy snacks to maintain your energy levels, and enough water to stay hydrated for the duration of your hike.
The Springbrook plateau is 24km from Mudgeeraba or 36km from Nerang.
Exit the Pacific Motorway (M1) at Mudgeeraba (exit 79 from the north, exit 80 from the south) and follow the Gold Coast–Springbrook Road.
Alternatively, exit the Pacific Motorway (M1) at Nerang (exit 69) and follow the Nerang–Murwillumbah Road for 23km then take the Springbrook turn-off at Pine Creek Road.
Both routes are steep, winding and narrow. Drive carefully!