Rainforest Daytrips Near Brisbane
Rainforests seem to have a calming influence on those who visit and have the added benefit of keeping us cool when the heat arrives in the Summer months. Whether you have a newborn in a baby carrier, a toddler in a pram or a child who is starting to walk longer distances on their own, there is a rainforest near Brisbane to suit you.
In Brisbane, we are lucky to have countless rainforests to explore, with many being within a 1-2 hours drive, making them the perfect destination for a day trip. Many boast flat tracks, and some even offer paved pathways to make pushing the pram just that little bit easier.
If you want to turn your rainforest adventure into a learning experience, chat to the children about what they might expect to see, how the rainforests are formed and how we can do our part to look after them. It is never too early to educate youngsters about looking after and appreciating the environment.
As with any outdoor activity make sure you plan ahead, check the weather, Park Alerts and pack lots of food and spare clothes for those unexpected misadventures. Our Rainforest Exploring Tips:
- Wear plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent
- Pack the binoculars and camera
- Wear suitable clothing (long pants, socks and shoes)
- Pack plenty of food and water
- Take a plastic bag and some toilet paper with you (you never know when nature calls)
- Have a basic first aid kit handy
- Keep a change of clothes and shoes in the car (just in case)
- Check closely for leeches
- Keep our rainforests clean and free from litter by taking your rubbish home with you.
Springbrook National Park
There are several areas to discover at the scenic Springbrook National Park which are suitable for children, dependent on age and walking ability.
Natural Bridge Circuit
The Natural Bridge trail is one of the most popular in the area and perhaps one of the most spectacular as well. The trail is easily accessible with sealed and graded tracks, which makes it perfect for young families. There is however a large section of stairs, making it unsuitable for prams and wheelchairs. If possible, make the trek late in the afternoon/early evening so you can witness the natural wonder of the glow worms. The children will be amazed when the cave lights up with these tiny creatures.
Distance: 1km – approximately 1hr
Twin Falls Circuit
This circuit is definitely doable for families, though there are segments of the track where you will need to show some extra care with little ones. The reward at the end of this trail, which you will really look forward to in Summer, is the stunning rock pools at the base of the falls. These pools are suitable for swimming and are a great way to cool down.
Distance: 4km – approximately 2hrs
Purling Brook Falls
The walk to the stunning Purling Brook Falls offers many photo opportunities. After just 500m you can view the falls from the lookout but make sure you continue to witness the falls from the valley below, where you can cool off in the pools at the base of the falls. Whilst you can tackle this circuit in any direction it is recommended you go clockwise so you are not faced with the stairs on your return journey.
Distance: 4km – approximately 2hrs
If you are after a pram/wheelchair friendly lookout in the Springbrook National Park which has stunning views of the rainforest and the Gold Coast skyline then head to Canyon Lookout.
How to get to Springbrook National Park
Springbrook National Park is located less than 100km from Brisbane, stretching inland from the Gold Coast down towards the New South Wales border.
BK Review: Check out our detailed review at https://www.brisbanekids.com.au/visit-springbrook-national-park-with-kids/
Maiala at Mount Glorious
Stepping into Maiala, meaning ‘quiet place’, you get a real sense of what it is like to be at one with nature. There are plenty of open spaces, a variety of flora and fauna, shady picnic facilities and several sub-tropical rainforest walks, all of which are family friendly.
In 1965, the Rainforest Circuit at Maiala was one of Queensland’s first self-guided walks and continues to be a firm family favourite many years later. If you wish to extend your walk, this circuit connects with the Greenes Falls track.
Distance: 2km – approximately 1hr
Greenes Falls Track
Ever seen a pademelon (one of the smallest macropods)? If you haven’t and want to, then head to the Greenes Falls Track. If you aren’t lucky enough to see a pademelon there are plenty of other wildlife to be spotted such as wallabies, frogs and a variety of birds. Upon reaching the falls you will be treated to great photo opportunities from a viewing platform. This walk takes about 2 hours to complete and branches off the Rainforest Circuit.
Distance: 4.3km – approximately 2hrs
The peaceful Westside Track is a haven for birdlife and offers spectacular views of the surrounding rainforest. Given this track is 6.4km long, is quite narrow in certain spots and has rather steep, exposed inclines. It is best suited to families with older children.
Distance: 6.4km – approximately 3hrs
How to get to Mount Glorious
Maiala is located just over 40km from Brisbane City in the D’Aguilar Ranges.
TEMPORARY CLOSURE: Pending favourable weather conditions, a planned upgrade to the Maiala day-use area will commence late July 2019 to March 2020. As a result, the entire day-use area will be temporarily closed including the picnic and BBQ facilities, bathroom amenities, all car parks and the Maiala entrances to the Rainforest Circuit, Greene’s Falls and the Western Window walking trails. Click here (https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/park-alerts/17048.html ) for up to date information and for other ways to access the walks.
Main Range National Park
The Main Range National Park, west of Brisbane, is home to striking landscapes, plenty of walks, lookouts, waterfalls and of course stunning natural flora and fauna. There are a variety of walks to suit all ages, ranging from well-marked tracks to the more rugged trails for the experienced hiker. With over 20 tracks to explore there is bound to be one that suits you and your family’s needs. Here are our top picks for families.
The aptly named Rainforest Circuit is a short, gentle track perfect for young families. Whilst completing the circuit you will be treated to stunning views from the Fassifern Valley Lookout, where you can spot Lake Moogerah and parts of the Scenic Rim.
Distance: 1.6km – approximately 30min
Keep your eyes wide open as you traverse this 1.2km family-friendly circuit. There is lots of wildlife to be discovered including dragonflies, pademelons and if you are super quiet and extra lucky you may even catch a glimpse of a platypus! Self-guided signs will give you an insight into the history of the area.
Distance: 1.2km – approximately 30min
To view the magnificent Queen Mary Falls from the top, head out on the Cliff Circuit. As the name suggests, this walk involves looking at the gorge below from the top of a cliff, so make sure you supervise children closely and stick to the signposted areas.
Distance: 400m – approximately 20min
Lookouts: Both Mount Castle lookout and Sylvester’s lookout are less than a 1km return journey and can be comfortably completed in 30 minutes.
How to get to Main Range National Park
The Main Range National Park is located West of Brisbane, straddling the Great Dividing Range.
BK Review: Check out our detailed review at https://www.brisbanekids.com.au/rainforest-circuit-at-main-range-national-park/
Tamborine National Park
Tamborine National Park is a firm favourite amongst locals (and tourists) and with good reason. It is a wonderful location for a day trip from Brisbane with plenty to discover once you arrive. Whilst the National Park is a favourite, there are also lots of cafes, unique shops and the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, which is sure to be a hit with the kids.
Tamborine National Park is broken into six distinct sections with most of the walking tracks being relatively short and easy to navigate, making them suitable for young families.
Cedar Creek Section
Cedar Creek Falls track (to lookout): This track is suitable for prams and wheelchairs (with assistance) and rewards visitors with views of the gorge and waterfalls.
Distance: 500m – approximately 15min
Cedar Creek Falls track (to rockpools): Continue on from the Cedar Creek Falls lookout, through the rainforest, to the rockpools waiting below. There are many steps on this walk, so be prepared.
Distance: 1.1km – approximately 30min
Eagle Heights road access track: This short walk through the rainforest links with shops and cafes on Eagle Heights Road.
Distance: 400m – approximately 10min
Curtis Falls track: The Curtis Falls track rambles through stunning rainforest and showcases a number of fern species. This track does include quite a few steps (about 100) so be prepared for the uphill journey.
Distance: 1.1km – approximately 30min
Lower Creek circuit: If you are after a more challenging walk involving some rock hopping then the Lower Creek circuit is for you. Soak up the scenery as you witness cascades, rock pools and even a giant strangler fig tree.
Distance: 2.5km – approximately 1hr
MacDonald Rainforest circuit: A short, relatively flat, rainforest walk where you can view the massive strangler figs.
Distance: 1.4km – approximately 30min
Palm Grove Section
Palm Grove circuit: True to its name the shady Palm Grove circuit is home to palm groves, strangler figs and a variety of interesting fungi.
Distance: 2.7km – approximately 1hr
Jenyns circuit: Branching off from the Palm Grove circuit, Jenyns circuit passes by grey gums, cycads, hoop pines and brush box. Sections of this track come very close to steep cliff edges, so take care at all times, especially if children are involved.
Distance: 4.8km – approximately 1.5hrs
The Knoll Section
Sandy Creek circuit: Sandy Creek circuit is a relatively easy walk rewarding visitors with sweeping views out across the valley towards Brisbane, Mt Coot-tha and the D’Aguilar Ranges. Close supervision of children is recommended when sections come close to cliff edges.
Distance: 2.6km – approximately 1hr
Witches Falls Section
Witches Falls circuit: Descend through lush rainforest, listening to the sounds of the plentiful birdlife, before arriving at the lookout platform beside Witches Falls, Whilst the falls only flow after recent rain, it is still a picturesque walk at any time of the year.
Distance: 3.1km – approximately 1hr
Witches Chase track: This track branches off the Witches Falls circuit and can be difficult to navigate in parts thanks to large boulders and slippery, loose rocks. Make sure to stop and marvel at the large red cedar trees.
Distance: 2.6km – approximately 1hr
Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk
Visiting the 30 acres of the privately-owned section of rainforest at the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk will impress all family members. Nestled beside Cedar Creek in the Gold Coast Hinterland, you will walk amongst the rainforest canopy and can get down to ground level to explore waterfalls and rockpools. This eco-adventure comprises of a 1.5km walk utilising the forest floor, 300m of steel bridges and a 40m cantilever bridge soaring 30m above the rainforest below. Other facilities include a rainforest Eco Gallery, café and gift shop which can be enjoyed 364 days of the year.
Tamborine National Park is located approximately 70km south of Brisbane (depending on which route you take) in the Gold Coast Hinterland
BK Review: If you are looking for other fun things to do at Mount Tamborine check out our review https://www.brisbanekids.com.au/magic-mount-tamborine/