Purling Brook Falls in Springbrook National Park

Purling Brook Falls from below

Around 90 minute’s drive from Brisbane, one of the Gold Coast’s most stunning waterfalls awaits. Best visited after some rain when it is truly impressive, Purling Brook Falls flows all year round and provides a real reward for your 4km trek. 

Purling Brook Falls, at a glance:

Family Friendly? Yes, however caution is required due to sheer cliffs and a suspension bridge.
Length of walk 4km circuit (approximately a 2-hour round trip, plus time spent stopping to enjoy the sights along the way)
Level of difficulty Moderate – Some sections of stairs and steep ascents/descents (walking the track clockwise is slightly easier). Suitable for bushwalkers with some experience.
Carpark? Yes
Facilities Toilets and picnic areas at start of trail.
Accessibility restrictions Restricted access at top and base of the falls.
Swimming opportunities Swimming is not permitted.
Location Circuit starts from carpark at end of Forestry Road, Springbrook, QLD, 4213

Getting to Purling Brook Falls

sign for Purling Brook Falls

Each of the trails within Springbrook National Park are clearly signposted, with signs along the roads in the park directing the way. The Purling Brook Falls Circuit, located in the Springbrook Plateau section, includes a large carpark area with toilet facilities to use before and after your walk.

The Purling Brook Falls Circuit

track on Purling Brook Falls Circuit

The Purling Brook Falls Circuit is a stunning walk through Gondwana and Eucalypt forests teeming with wildlife. The trail begins close to the top of the falls, with a track that can be taken in either direction. There are two lookouts that give a great view of the falls very close to the beginning of the circuit—one lookout around 100m in one direction and the other around 350m in the opposite direction. The 4km circuit is truly worth the walk, as it leads down into the gorge, providing a fantastic view of the Purling Brook Falls from below.

wildlife on Purling Brook Falls Circuit

The trek is 4-kilometres in length and can be quite steep in parts. The circuit takes around 2 hours to complete, allowing time to stop and admire the vistas and wildlife along the way. It’s highly recommended to take the path to the left and walk the circuit in a clockwise direction, as this will minimise the number of stairs to climb up at the end. Good quality hiking shoes are a must, as this trail can be uneven at times, with some sharp drop-offs that demand a good grip. 

view of valley on Purling Brook Falls Circuit

Moving clockwise on the circuit from the start of the trail, you will soon come across an incredible lookout with amazing views across the gorge and a great vantage point for photos of Purling Brook Falls back to your right. This lookout is the highest point of the trail, which then continues to wind itself down into the gorge through ancient rainforest, passing sheer rockfaces, smaller waterfalls and cascades along the way. This part of the circuit features many stairs, which will be much easier for families with children to descend at the start (rather than to climb in the second half of your walk). 

view of the bottom of Purling Brook Falls

Reaching the bottom of the gorge, the sight of the towering Purling Brook Falls above is truly rewarding. Surrounded by lush green tree ferns and often framed by rainbows in the spray from the falls, it’s a magical place to sit and gaze up at the awesomeness of the natural beauty that can occur in our environment.

suspension bridge on Purling Brook Falls Circuit in Springbrook National Park

Once you’ve spent some time at the base of the falls, you can continue the Purling Brook Falls Circuit over a short suspension bridge and up out of the gorge again. There are a few short sets of stairs on this side, with most of the trail being a gently sloping path upwards to your starting point again. At the end of the circuit (still travelling clockwise), you’ll cross the causeway that feeds into the falls beyond (note: this area is fenced off and access is prohibited) and then continue your walk a little further to arrive at the carpark where you started your adventure.

About Springbrook National Park

Rainforest trees in Purling Brook Falls Circuit, Springbrook National Park

Part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, Springbrook National Park features magnificent trees dating back over 180 million years and multiple waterways flowing across cascades and waterfalls into the rockpools below. 

It is worth stopping at the National Parks Information Centre on School Road in Springbrook before you set out. The centre features wildlife and historical displays and there is a boardwalk, a lookout 100m from the carpark and public toilets.

You can find out more about Springbrook National Park here.

Before you set off

Tanninaba Falls, Springbrook National Park

As always, we’d recommend that you check Park Alerts before you visit any of these locations to determine any access restrictions. It’s also a great idea to check if the water catchment area has received recent rainfall so that the water is flowing freely (we don’t want you to be disappointed to hike and only find a dry waterfall!). The display stands at the entrance to each of the walking tracks feature lots of information, including a map of the area and details of flora and fauna you may encounter along the way. 

Hats, sunscreen and insect repellent are a must, along with good walking shoes. Wearing long pants, long sleeved shirts and socks sprayed with insect repellent will help protect from any leeches (this RACQ guide has some great information about preventing leeches and how to remove them). Be sure to bring plenty of drinking water and snacks just in case. Assume that mobile phone coverage will be limited on your walk. Downloading or bringing printed maps with you on your walk will help you stay on the correct path (TIP: snap a photo on your phone of the information map at the start of your trail).

For more great things to see and do in Springbrook National Park, check out Visit Springbrook National Park with Kids. To find more waterfalls close to Brisbane, take a look at Chasing Waterfalls in the Gold Coast Hinterland.

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