The 13 Best Hikes In Gold Coast
Located on the East Coast of Australia, the region known as the Gold Coast is one of the country's top tourist destinations. It's not hard to see why. Famous for its beaches and theme parks, Gold Coast offers an incredible destination for family vacations. Additionally, as it's just 20 miles from the major city of Brisbane, it's not hard to get to or around Gold Coast.
You'll find plenty to keep the whole family entertained here, including excellent shopping, interesting museums, and world-class cuisine. But what really sets Gold Coast apart is its natural surroundings. If you want to experience natural beauty like ancient forests, cascading waterfalls, and stunning views of the ocean, the Gold Coast's incredible surroundings offer everything hiking enthusiasts could hope for. And whether you're looking for a short walk or some demanding hiking trails, there's no question that as a destination, Gold Coast can't be beaten.
Of course, hiking the many incredible trails of Gold Coast will be a lot easier if you don't carry more than you need to. Drop off your unneeded bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Gold Coast, and you'll be ready to hit the walking tracks and enjoy everything this part of Australia has to offer.
Our Top Hiking Trail Pics in Gold Coast
The beauty of Gold Coast is that you needn't travel far from the city to experience the Queensland rainforest and the natural beauty of Eastern Australia. Currumbin Valley is only around a half-hour drive from Gold Coast, so you can easily enjoy the best brunch in Gold Coast before heading to this park to burn off all those calories.
Take an easy walk of around one mile along the Currumbin Creek Mill Trail, and you'll be able to explore the rock pools and even take a quick dip in the refreshing mountain stream. If you prefer more of a challenge, you can hike the 5-mile out-and-back trail to the summit of Mount Cougal. With an elevation gain of 2, 222 feet, it's a great way to get your heart pumping without straying too far from the city.
You don't have to head far inland from Gold Coast before you reach the impressive backcountry of Tamborine Mountain. This mountain is well known for its incredible walking paths through the Queensland rainforest, including the Mount Tamborine Rainforest Walk. Spread over one mile, this impressive trail combines ground-level paths with suspended walkways through the trees so you can get closer acquainted with the impressive forest. But that's not the only walk in the area. Explore the Sandy Creek Circuit or Witches Falls, or go looking for the elusive platypus at Curtis Falls. If you prefer your nature on the more well-manicured side, Tamborine Mountain also has its own botanical garden and a coffee plantation where you can pick up a bag of locally-produced coffee beans to fuel your Gold Coast adventure.
Lamington National Park
Less than an hour from Gold Coast, you'll find the extensive backcountry wilderness of Lamington National Park. Covering 80 mi.², this local park is a fantastic place to explore more of the local rainforest and the wildlife that inhabits it. The Border Track offers incredible mountain views over its 13-mile length and forms the backbone of the dense network of hiking trails in Lamington National Park. Just a few minutes from Tweed Heads, this trail is popular with mountain bikers, so stay alert while you explore.
The Caves Circuit will take you deep into the Coomera Valley, and the Green Mountains Section of the park offers more technical trails for more experienced hikers. The Mount Merino track is a particularly challenging all-day hiking experience that is only for those in good physical shape.
You can also take part of the Border Track to the Tooloona Creek Circuit, which crosses back-and-forth over the creek and takes you past towering waterfalls on an 11-mile loop that will make you feel like you're much further from the city than you really are.
O'Reilly's Treetop Walk
Also located in Lamington National Park, O'Reilly's Treetop Walk consists of nine pedestrian suspension bridges high above the ground so that you can see the forest the way the birds do. Free to visit, this unique rainforest experience is part of O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, one of the oldest wilderness retreats in all of Australia. The Treetop Walk covers a distance of half a mile, making it ideal for families with kids.
But the Retreat offers a range of more challenging hikes if you prefer to explore the area further. One of the most famous is a guided hike to the Stinson plane crash site. This small plane crashed in 1937, and you can still visit the wreckage and see the memorial to the lives lost here. However the trek to get there covers 23 miles with an elevation gain of 3,400 feet, and the rainforest terrain is difficult, so it's definitely one for more experienced hikers.
Right next to Lamington National Park and accessible via the popular Border Track, Mount Warning offers some incredible experiences for Gold Coast hikers. This mountain, sacred to the indigenous people of Queensland, is an extinct volcano that has shaped the topography of this part of Australia. The 5.5-mile trail to the summit requires around 2,200 feet of elevation gain, so you'll need good fitness and sturdy hiking boots. The terrain is rough and rocky, and in places, you'll need to scramble among boulders and pick your way up steep slopes. However, the reward is a view you won't forget anytime soon and an experience that is as iconic Queensland as it gets.
Gold Coast is virtually surrounded by national parks, and each has its own unique charm to offer those willing to explore. Springbrook National Park lies close to Lamington and is less than an hour from the city, so you don't need to travel far to see what it has to offer. In fact, taking a hike in this local park is one of the best free things to do in Gold Coast.
Springbrook National Park contains many hiking trails, but one of the most popular is the Warrie Circuit. The trail starts at Canyon Lookout and takes you up over the Springbrook Plateau, exposing you to deep rainforest canopies, rushing rivers, canyons, and cliffs. This 10.5-mile track has an elevation gain of over 2,100 feet, so it's best suited for moderate hikers who don't mind a bit of a challenge. The many waterfalls along the way and the chance of seeing charismatic Australian wildlife make this an area well worth exploring, though.
Also located in Springbrook NP in the Gold Coast hinterland, Natural Bridge is one of the city's most popular natural attractions. This geological feature was once a cave that became eroded by the rushing river, giving it the unusual form it has now. Once upon a time, people used to swim and dive in the cave, but this is no longer allowed due to safety concerns. Instead, take a walk along the Natural Bridge Circuit, an easy trail of less than one mile that takes you through an ancient forest to admire this geological wonder. It's a great Queensland photo opportunity and an excellent hike for beginners and families to stretch their legs without taking on more than they can handle.
Apple Tree Park
This local park is the starting point for many hiking trails in the area, including the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk, which we'll get to shortly. But you don't need to be ready for an epic adventure to enjoy what this park has to offer. The lush rainforest is home to kookaburras, and you'll hear their distinctive call as you make your way along the trails. The park contains a 1.1-mile trail with 400 steps that makes a pleasant path to explore the rainforest and enjoy the local wildlife.
Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk
This 33 mile trail is only for the most dedicated and in-shape hiking enthusiasts. But it offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore areas most people never do. This challenging path will take you through one of the biggest areas of subtropical rainforest left in the world and along the scenic rim of an ancient volcano. Camping areas along the track will give you places to stay while you explore the true Australian wilderness, but you'll need to be prepared for an arduous hike of this nature. The trail ordinarily takes around three days to complete, and that's for people in good physical shape. Still, if you want to get away from it all and really experience nature, there are few more impressive ways to do it anywhere in Australia.
Cedar Creek Falls
If you prefer any easy way to explore the Hinterland, Cedar Creek Falls is the place to do it. This trail covers less than a mile of easy terrain and brings you to three waterfalls where you can take a swim in the clear water. Bring a picnic to enjoy among the eucalyptus trees, and you'll be able to drink in the tranquility of this special spot and enjoy the Queensland backcountry without straining yourself.
Ocean View Lookout Track
One of the closest national parks to Gold Coast, Burleigh Headland National Park is a small but beautiful park that offers sweeping ocean views. Take this easy walking track that is suitable for families to see rolling waves and towering basalt columns that have been shaped by erosion over centuries. This dramatic coastline is the perfect place to get photos of your trip and enjoy the bracing sea air, and if you visit in winter or spring, you might be lucky enough to see migrating humpback whales pass by. You'll also see wildlife like sea eagles and butterflies, so although this walk is short and close to town, it offers an incredible experience of the natural world.
Also located in Burleigh National Park, the Rainforest Circuit lets you appreciate the rainforest canopy on a 1.4-mile track around the headland. As well as the rainforest, you'll get to explore isolated beaches and the fascinating terrain where the forest meets the sea. This is another relatively easy trail, and you could easily combine it with the Ocean View Lookout to make a longer walk through this tiny but impressive National Park.
Make your way to David Fleay Wildlife Park just outside the city, and you can set out on the Tallebudgera Creek track to explore more of Queensland's astonishing variety of natural environments. This trail will take you through mangroves and coastal scrub forests, and along the way, you'll be able to explore beaches and even take a swim if you feel like it. This 5-mile trail boasts scenic views at every turn, and it's long enough to be suitable for moderate hikers while still easy enough for beginners to contemplate testing themselves on it.
Easy Hikes in Gold Coast
Gold Coast has such an incredible range of hiking trails and paths that you can find something to suit no matter what your fitness level. Easy hikes like Natural Bridge, Ocean View Lookout, and Currumbin Valley ensure that you don't have to go on an epic multi-day adventure to see some of the best natural areas near the city.
Intermediate Hikes in Gold Coast
If you're looking for more of a challenge, there are several hikes in and around Gold Coast that are challenging enough to get your blood pumping without requiring an extreme level of fitness. The Warrie Circuit in Springbrook NP has enough elevation to provide a good challenge and rewards intermediate hikers with incredible views. Alternatively, Tallebudgera Creek is a great place to swim and enjoy the ocean while still getting a decent walk in.
Difficult Hikes in Gold Coast
Thanks to the extensive backcountry around the city, there are many hikes in the area that will satisfy even avid walkers. Mount Warning is an iconic Queensland location that will challenge just about anyone and give you an enormous feeling of accomplishment when you reach the summit. And the multi-day Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk will take you to places most people never get to see and expose you to some of Australia's most beautiful backcountry.