Kid Friendly Bush Walks on the Gold Coast

Waterfalls at Curtis Falls in Tamborine National Park

Whilst you might immediately think of beaches when you envision the Gold Coast, there’s a huge amount more to this diverse area of south-east Queensland. With four major National Parks to explore, the Gold Coast is an amazing location to go bushwalking with kids and is totally doable as a day trip!

{Feature image above: Curtis Falls, Tamborine National Park}

Lamington National Park

Shelter with sign depicting Lamington National Park entrance

Lamington National Park is about as wild as it gets. Divided into two main sections of bushwalking trails—Green Mountains (closer to O’Reilly’s) and Binna Burra—there’s a lot of natural beauty to wonder at in this park. Whilst a lot of the trails are arduous and lengthy, there are definitely some kid-friendly bush walks to be discovered.

NOTE: Swimming in any rockpools or creeks in Lamington National Park is prohibited due to the sensitive ecosystems these waterways support.

Centenary Track (Green Mountains)

  • LENGTH: 1.8km return (around 30 minutes walking time)
  • DIFFICULTY: Grade 1 (Easy walk or roll | Sealed track)
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Wheelchair and pram accessible

Winding through a forest filled with incredible birdlife, this historically significant trail is a great introduction to Gold Coast bushwalking for families. Stop and watch for Rufous Fantails, Bowerbirds, Albert’s Lyrebirds and Easter Yellow Robins from the many bench seats dotted along the trail.

Rainforest Circuit (Binna Burra)

  • LENGTH: 1.2km return (around 30 minutes walking time)
  • DIFFICULTY: Grade 2 (Easy walk for most families | Flat, unsealed tracks)
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Not accessible for prams or wheelchairs

This relatively flat walk provides lots of unique wildlife spotting opportunities, with birds galore (see if you can spot the blue treasures hidden in a Bowerbird nest, or listen out for the feline call of a Catbird), plenty of lizards and other reptiles, Pademelons and more.

Rainforest Return (Green Mountains)

  • LENGTH: 1.4km return (around 30 minutes walking time)
  • DIFFICULTY: Grade 2 (Easy walk for most families | Flat, unsealed tracks)
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Not accessible for prams or wheelchairs

Another fantastic trail for birdwatching, the Rainforest Return passes through 23 million-year-old boulders. It’s hard not to get caught up in the wonder of just how old some of the trees and other features of this Gondwana rainforest really are.

Python Rock Track (Green Mountains)

  • LENGTH: 3.1km return (around 1 hour walking time)
  • DIFFICULTY: Grade 3 (Moderate walk for most families)
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Not accessible for prams or wheelchairs

Featuring an incredible lookout with views encompassing Morans falls, Mount Razorback and Castle Crag, this is a relatively easy and fairly flat walk. Listen out for the distinct ‘popping’ sounds of the ancient Masked Mountain Frogs, also known as Southern Frogs.

Tullawallal Circuit (Binna Burra)

  • LENGTH: 5km return (around 1 hour 30 minutes walking time)
  • DIFFICULTY: Grade 3 (Moderate walk for most families | Some inclines and uneven track)
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Not accessible for prams or wheelchairs

Taking you into some of the most accessible and untouched cool temperate rainforest in Lamington National Park, the landscape of this trail transitions from strangler figs, vines, ferns and mosses of the subtropical rainforest to Antarctic beech forest—one of our remaining links with the ancient forests of Gondwana. 

Caves Circuit (Binna Burra)

  • LENGTH: 5km return (around 1 hour 30 minutes walking time)
  • DIFFICULTY: Grade 4 (Moderate walk for most families | Some inclines and stairs | Possibility of rockfalls and unstable surfaces)
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Not accessible for prams or wheelchairs

Be on the lookout for Koalas and other native wildlife as you ascend through open forest and into lush rainforest on this trail. Marvel at the large red cedar known as Kweebani Cave and stop at Collins Chair to appreciate the magnificent Coomera Valley views. It is recommended you walk this trail in an anti-clockwise direction and return via the same track.

Learn more about Lamington National Park & O’Reilly’s or Lamington National Park & Binna Burra, including other things to see and do and where to stay, in our complete reviews. Check out our pics at Binna Burra in this Instagram post.

Tamborine National Park

above photo of Cedar Creek Falls in Mount Tamborine

An easy 1 hour’s drive from Brisbane or the Gold Coast, Tamborine National Park offers spectacular views sweeping from the coastline to the Scenic Rim, with lots of other facilities and attractions nearby for families to enjoy. The national park itself is divided into six sections of trails—Cedar Creek, Joalah, MacDonald, Palm Grove, The Knoll and Witches Falls. Of these sections, Cedar Creek, Joalah and MacDonald are most suited to families.

Cedar Creek Falls Track to Lookout (Cedar Creek section)

  • LENGTH: 500m return (around 15 minutes walking time)
  • DIFFICULTY: Grade 1 (Easy walk for most families | Sealed track)
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Wheelchair and pram accessible with assistance

This easy walk can take all family members into the heart of the rocky Cedar Creek and offers some lovely vantage points to take in the gorge and the waterfall flowing into the rock pools below. It’s a definite must-do after some rain!

Check out our video of Cedar Creek Falls (with the sound on) in this Instagram post.

Cedar Creek Falls Track to Rockpools (Cedar Creek section)

  • LENGTH: 1.1km return (around 30 minutes walking time)
  • DIFFICULTY: Grade 3 (Moderate walk for most families | Some inclines, stairs and slippery rocks)
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Not accessible for prams or wheelchairs

Following the Cedar Creek Falls track on from the lookout, the trail descends through eucalypt forest down to the ever-popular rockpools below. Scramble over the rocks and enjoy a dip to cool down (best done after some decent rain) before ascending along the same trail to the starting point. Note that access to some parts of the rockpools is restricted.

Learn more about Cedar Creek Rock Pools here.

Curtis Falls Track (Joalah section)

  • LENGTH: 1.1km return (around 30 minutes walking time)
  • DIFFICULTY: Grade 3 (Moderate walk for most families | Some inclines and stairs)
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Not accessible for prams or wheelchairs

This trail leads from eucalypt forest through to cool rainforest filled with lush trees and ferns. The viewing platform provides outstanding views of the falls and rockpools below, which also form an important glow worm habitat. Note that swimming in the Curtis Falls rockpools is prohibited.

Check out our video of Curtis Falls (with the sound on) in this Instagram post.

MacDonald Rainforest Circuit (MacDonald section)

  • LENGTH: 1.4km return (around 30 minutes walking time)
  • DIFFICULTY: Grade 3 (Moderate walk for most families | Some inclines and stairs)
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Not accessible for prams or wheelchairs

This short walk follows a path through lush rainforest containing towering strangler figs, ferns and palms. This is a great bushwalk experience for families, with lots of nature-spotting opportunities.

If you’re wanting to do more than a day trip, check out our guides to How to Spend a Family Weekend in Mt Tamborine or other Things to do with Kids at Mt Tamborine.

Springbrook National Park

Rainforest trees in Purling Brook Falls Circuit, Springbrook National Park

Rainforest trees on the Purling Brook Falls Circuit, Springbrook National Park

Located around 100km south of Brisbane, Springbrook National Park is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. This national park is full of lush sections of rainforest, including centuries-old towering trees and palms, leafy green ferns and plenty of birds and wildlife for you to spot. Access to the walking trails in Springbrook National Park is via three sections—Springbrook Plateau, the Natural Bridge section and the Mount Cougal section.

NOTE: The MyRanger app for Springbrook National Park (for iOS and Android) is a valuable tool to download and use on your visit.

Goomoolahra Falls lookout track (Springbrook Plateau)

  • LENGTH: 200m return (around 5 minutes walking time)
  • DIFFICULTY: Grade 2 (Easy walk for most families)
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Not accessible for prams or wheelchairs

This track leads to two lookouts overlooking Goomoolahra Falls, offering expansive views out to Moreton Bay.

Best of All Lookout track (Springbrook Plateau)

  • LENGTH: 600m return (around 20 minutes walking time)
  • DIFFICULTY: Grade 2 (Easy walk for most families)
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Not accessible for prams or wheelchairs

Stroll through ancient Antarctic beech forest to this lookout that offers views out to Mt Warning and beyond.

Head to our review of Best of All Lookout to find out more.

Natural Bridge Circuit (Natural Bridge section)

  • LENGTH: 1km return (around 1 hour walking time)
  • DIFFICULTY: Grade 2 (Easy walk for most families)
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Not accessible for prams or wheelchairs

This sealed track is a great walk for families, with the mesmerising Natural Bridge being your reward for very little effort. Home to a glow worm colony that can be seen on night walks only, the cave beneath Natural Bridge is truly spectacular and a must-see. It is easier to walk this track in a clockwise direction.

Read our full review of Natural Bridge here.

Cascades Track (Mount Cougal section)

  • LENGTH: 1.6km return (around 1 hour walking time)
  • DIFFICULTY: Grade 2 (Easy walk for most families)
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Wheelchair and pram accessible with assistance

The sealed Cascades track ascends gradually, though is still suitable for prams and wheelchairs (with some assistance). The path leads through subtropical rainforest, following Currumbin Creek, and ends at a lookout overlooking the cascades below. There’s also an historic sawmill to view on the way.

Purling Brook Falls Circuit (Springbrook Plateau)

  • LENGTH: 4km return (around 2 hours walking time)
  • DIFFICULTY: Grade 3 (Moderate walk for most families | Some inclines, steep cliffs and stairs)
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Not accessible for prams or wheelchairs

This is a stunning walk through Gondwana and eucalypt forests teeming with wildlife. The trail begins close to the top of the falls, with two lookouts giving great views of the falls very close to the beginning of the circuit. The circuit is truly worth the walk, as it leads down into the gorge, providing a fantastic view of the Purling Brook Falls from below. It is easier to walk this track in a clockwise direction.

Check out our full review of Purling Brook Falls here. 

Twin Falls Circuit (Springbrook Plateau)

  • LENGTH: 4km return (around 2 hours walking time)
  • DIFFICULTY: Grade 3 (Moderate walk for most families | Some inclines, steep cliffs and stairs)
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Not accessible for prams or wheelchairs

Twin Falls Circuit takes you from the beautiful panoramic views at the top of the Springbrook Plateau down to the mystical rainforest floor in the canyon below. This scenic walk crosses streams and takes you through crazy rock clefts. It also leads behind not one, but two, waterfalls. Due to the descent and ascent at the start and end of this trail, it is a fairly strenuous walk to do with kids, but it is well worth it for the amazing natural scenery you will see along the way.

Head to our review of Twin Falls to find out more.

Learn more about visiting Springbrook National Park with kids here.

Burleigh Head National Park

Aerial photo of Burleigh Head National Park looking over Tallebudgera Creek

Burleigh Head National Park and Tallebudgera Creek (IMAGE CREDIT: Destination Gold Coast)

Burleigh Headland is well-known, but did you know that the area includes 27 hectares of national park that protects expansive sections of rainforest, eucalypt forest, mangroves, tussock grassland and beaches? Filled with coastal wildlife, it’s an area known by locals for watching the humpback whale migration throughout winter and spring every year.

Oceanview Walk

  • LENGTH: 1.2km one-way (around 30 minutes walking time – double this if returning to your starting point)
  • DIFFICULTY: Grade 2 (Easy walk for most families)
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Not accessible for prams or wheelchairs

Following the coastline from Tallebudgera Creek around the rocky headland to southern Burleigh Heads, this trail takes in the stunning clear waters of the creek (perfect for a picnic stop!) and awesome basalt columns. You can return via the same path to your starting point or continue on to the Rainforest Circuit.

Rainforest Circuit

  • LENGTH: 2.3km return (around 45 minutes walking)
  • DIFFICULTY: Grade 3 (Moderate walk for most families | Some inclines)
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Not accessible for prams or wheelchairs

A fairly level track with a few steep inclines, this trail provides some fantastic ocean views and passes by Tumgun Lookout, which is a great spot for whale watching in winter and spring.

Now that we’ve inspired you to check out the Gold Coast’s national parks, why not head out on an adventure Chasing Waterfalls in the Gold Coast Hinterland?

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