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Family Day Trip to Springbrook National Park

Over the weekend we took a day trip to Springbrook National Park to hike and swim and relax with the kids… and you can too!

Where is Springbrook National Park?

Map of Springbrook National Park

Springbrook National Park is located inland from the Gold Coast, Queensland. You can get there by travelling from Brisbane via Nerang, or the scenic route down from Tamborine or up from Murwillumbah.

What can families do at Springbrook National Park?

Springbrook National Park is one of those natural wonders that almost seem too beautiful to be real.

The whole family will be enthralled by the parks:

  • spectacular views
  • countless walking tracks
  • beautiful native flora and fauna
  • waterfalls
  • creeks
  • picnic areas
  • shops/cafes and restaurants

In fact,  the views and mountains that are not easily beaten in South East Queensland region, making this a must-do day trip from Brisbane with kids.

What is the best part of Springbrook?

Well, it depends on what you want to see/do. Spanning over 6500 hectares, Springbrook National Park has four sections to visit, each with it’s own unique outlook. Choose from

  • Springbrook plateau section (in the middle)
  • Mount Cougal section (south-west)
  • Natural Bridge section (south-east)
  • Numinbah section (north)

If you love endless views, then The Plateau will be for you, offering many spectacular lookouts. Love history? Then Mount Cougal, can provide you with an interesting historical insight into the logging industry, which was strong in the area. If you want to walk and swim in Springbrook then keep reading!

You can see glowworms for FREE!

For an encounter of the glowing kind, visit Natural Bridge and meet the glowworms

Natural Bridge Springbrook National park

At night, Natural Bridge comes to life with thousands of glowworms lighting up the area. The kids will love looking into a ‘starry sky’ created by these fascinating little creatures. During the day enjoy the sights of Natural Bridge and its’ picturesque waterfall where you can enjoy a picnic lunch by the Nerang River in the Forest Park picnic area.

How to get to Springbrook section of the Park

About 100km outside of Brisbane, Springbrook National Park is worth the drive. There are so many areas to visit;

Make your way south, down the Pacific Motorway. From Mudgeeraba, Springbrook plateau is just 24km. If you’re coming from Nerang it is only 36km. All you need to do is take the 79 Exit at Mudgeeraba (exit 80 from the south). Then, follow the Gold Coast–Springbrook Road.

There is also the option to exit the Pacific Motorway at Nerang (exit 69) the continue up Nerang–Murwillumbah Road for approx. 23km. The Springbrook turn-off is located at Pine Creek Road. If you enjoy driving then these roads are for you as they are quite windy.

Windy roads in Springbrook National Park

There is a magnificent scenic route via the Springbrook Plateau from Mudgeeraba, offering a windy and narrow passage through some impressive natural country. From the Pacific Highway you will need to take exit 80 from the south or exit 79 from the north and follow the Gold Coast–Springbrook Road to the Plateau.

Once there just turn right onto Pine Creek Road. Continue along Pine Creek Road then turn left on Nerang–Murwillumbah Road. If you prefer you can also access the Natural Bridge Section from Murwillumbah. Following the Numinbah Road for 28km.

Windy roads in Springbrook National Park

Are you allowed to swim at Springbrook?

Yes! and also no! Let me explain…

Natural Bridge Springbrook National park

Unfortunately it is not permitted to swim at the Natural Bridge Section and penalties apply if you are caught so take in the view, just don’t dip your tootsies in the water.

However you CAN swim in other locations, like Twin Falls.

Can you swim at Twin Falls?

Yes! You can swim at Twin Falls… watch our short video of our time there.

The walk to Twin Falls is a 4km round trip. You can start the walk from either Canyon lookout or Tallanbana picnic area.  There is limited parking at both. There are toilets and picnic tables at both.

Families Tip: Arrive early to secure a parking space and a picnic table!

It is a reasonably easy walk down to the falls on a well maintained path. Watch our video to see that you will need to navigate your way through some large boulders on narrow paths. What goes down, must come up… so be sure to pack some snacks for the kids at the bottom, after their swim, so they have the energy to walk back up the track.

Purling Brook Falls

Purling Brook Falls

You can also swim at Purling Brook Falls. This is a longer walk than Twin Falls swimming hole and again, you will need to walk back up afterwards. But the falls are beautiful and the water is cool on a hot day!

Families Tip: Walk clockwise on the track to avoid walking up the 450 steps on the way back.

Have a family picnic at the Mount Cougal section

From the Gold Coast Highway take either one of the Duringan Street or Thrower Drive exits. There will be signs leading to Currumbin Creek Road (route 98). If you’re coming from the Pacific Motorway, head to Stewart Road then turn onto Currumbin Creek Road. Once you come to a T-intersection turn left. You’ll soon arrive at the Cougal Cascades car park and picnic area.

Take a scenic Sunday drive try the Numinbah section

Just a short drive from Natural Bridge section you’ll find Numinbah. From the Pacific Motorway turn towards Nerang (exit 69) and follow continue approx. 25km along the Nerang–Murwillumbah Road.

There’s a longer route to follow if you’ve got extra time along Springbrook Plateau from Mudgeeraba. Take exit 79 from the Pacific Motorway from the north or exit 80 from the south and follow the Gold Coast–Springbrook Road to the Plateau. At the end, turn right onto Pine Creek Road, turn left on Nerang–Murwillumbah Road.

Springbrook National Park walking tracks

You’ll be spoilt for choice with activities at Springbrook. There are many walking tracks and if you like, you can join a guided tour to learn about the area, the plants and the wildlife. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and come home with a wealth of knowledge. There are walking tracks from 300m all the way to 50km! For ease of use the walking tracks are classified visitors can choose a track that suits their abilities and time schedule.

There are many picnic areas where you can enjoy a shady spot and play some ball games with the kids. Remember not to feed the animals as they can get sick from human food or become dependent on it, causing them to be aggressive towards visitors.

What to bring for your day trip

Its is important to remember that outing with the family out into nature can sometimes require a little extra ‘luggage’, here is a list of essentials to bring.

  • Bug spray for mosquitoes, leeches and ticks
  • Plenty of drinking water as it is not available at the park. Don’t drink the creek water as you could get sick
  • Walking shoes (closed toe are best), a hat, protective clothing and sunscreen
  • Rubbish bags to remove your rubbish and recyclables from the park. Rubbish bins are not always provided
  • Toilet paper & hand sanitizer- some of the toilets we used didnt have any!

Whether you’re family are a wildlife lovers, or budding photographers who love a great landscape, or perhaps avid bush walkers, Springbrook National Park is an ideal day trip for young and old.

Want more day trips from Brisbane? Check out these:

We love day tripping out of Brisbane. So much, that we have written a tonne of articles about it!

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Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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