The Gold Coast is best known for its pristine beaches set beside a thriving metropolis, but lots of people miss out on the Gold Coast National Parks. This is a real shame because the Gold Coast’s national parks are some of the best in the world. Spread across the entire Gold Coast, you will find several different national parks which are home to ancient rainforest, waterfalls, walking trails, wildlife, incredible views and river systems.
This article will help you decide which Gold Coast national park to spend your time in.
Burleigh Heads National Park
You don’t even have to leave the city to reach some of the Gold Coasts National Parks. Burleigh Heads National Park is located in the heart of the city and offers the best of the best: perfect views of the Gold Coast City skyline, access to remote beaches and creeks, native rainforest and a number of unique viewpoints.
Burleigh Heads National Park is my 1 hiking trail on the Gold Coast as it exposes you to so many different elements of the Gold Coast. This is a guide to hiking in Burleigh Heads National Park. While you exploring this Gold Coast National Park, make sure you leave time to check out the nearby Tallebudgera Creek.
Burleigh Heads National Park is accessible by public transport and is a great option for those who don’t have much time.
Springbrook National Park
Springbrook National Park is part of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, located in the Gold Coast hinterland, about an hour drive from the city. Any trip to the Gold Coast should involve a day trip to Springbrook.
Some of the main attractions within Springbrook National Park include:
For the ultimate Springbrook National Park Bucket list and travel tips, click here.
Tamborine National Park
Tamborine National Park is a part of the Gold Coast’s Scenic Rim, found about an hour from the city centre. This Gold Coast national park is unique in the fact that it is filled with natural attractions, paired with adventure activities and wineries. This makes it ideal for those who want to explore the national park in a unique way; high ropes course, horse ride or treetops walk, then head to a winery or brewery for lunch.
Some of the main natural attractions within Tamborine National Park include:
- Curtis Falls – 1 km (approx)
- Cedar Creek Falls – 900 metres return and great for swimming
- Mount Tamborine Skywalk ($)
Or you can choose to go on one of the most Tamborine Adventure activities.
Lamington National Park
Lamington National Park is made up of two sections: Green Mountains and Binna Burra. This is perhaps the least visited national park on the Gold Coast and is great for those looking to escape the crowds.
Lamington is also part of the Gondwana Rainforests, which includes the most extensive areas of subtropical rainforest in the world. Here you will find extensive walking tracks along the McPherson Range, which allow visitors to explore the area’s forests, creeks and waterfalls. You will also discover lookouts that offer an incredible outlook from the hinterland to the coast and beyond, all the way to Northern NSW.
Some attractions worth checking out in Lamington National Park include:
- Lip Falls – 3 km hike return
- Coomera and Yarrabilgong falls – 17 km hike return
- The Bellbird Circuit – 2 km hike
For a complete guide to Binna Burra, click here.
Coombabah Lakelands Conservation Area protects more than 1200 hectares of wetland, eucalypt forest, salt marsh and mangrove habitat. The area is ideal for short and long walks, bike riding, trail running, bird watching and native wildlife spotting. You can expect to see a variety of wildlife including kangaroos, koalas, owls and grey-head flying foxes. In total, the Coombabah Lakelands Conservation Area is home to over 274 animal species and is an important coastal wetland and migratory waterbird habitat, so you can also expect to see lots of bird varieties during your visit.
This isn’t a national park, but it is a conservation area with abundant wildlife.
For a complete guide to Coombabah Lakelands, click here.
Nerang National Park and State Forest
Nerang National Park is just 12 km from Surfers Paradise and is known for its variety of birds, trails, and views. This is a great place to explore for those who are short on time and staying towards the northern end of the Gold Coast.
Gold Coast’s best hiking trails
If you are specifically looking to go hiking in Gold Coasts National Parks, you have plenty of options. In the article, you will discover Gold Coasts best hiking trails.
Gold Coast’s best waterfalls
The Gold Coast hinterland and national parks are home to many waterfalls that are all worthy of a visit. In this article, you will discover Gold Coasts best waterfalls.
Tips for visiting Gold Coast National Parks
- Get an early start on the day so you can fit as much in as possible, especially when exploring the national parks that are further away.
- Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in the Gold Coast National Park and be sure to take any rubbish home with you.
- Keep an eye out for wildlife. If you are lucky you might spot a kangaroo, koala or echidna.
- Be aware that snakes do live in the Gold Coast national parks, so keep an eye on the ground when hiking.
- Drive carefully on your way out to the Gold Coast hinterland, some of the roads are dangerous.
- Always carry lots of drinking water.
- Sunscreen and a hat is a must for outdoor activities, even in winter.
- Don’t forget your camera.
Getting to the Gold Coast National Parks
Having a car will be the best way to explore the Gold Coast National Parks. Without a car, you could still reach some of the national parks with public transport, but not the ones deep in the hinterland. Another option would be to take a tour of the Gold Coast hinterland and national parks.
Book a tour to the Gold Coast National Parks
Other things to do on the Gold Coast
The Gold Coast really does have SO much to do. From beach activities to hikes, waterfalls, shopping and adventure activities.