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About Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk

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Getting there and getting around

Discover beauty, mystery and history along the 54km Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk. Photo: Robert Ashdown, Queensland Government.

Discover beauty, mystery and history along the 54km Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk. Photo: Robert Ashdown, Queensland Government.

We suggest walking this Great Walk from west to east, commencing at Lamington National Park—Green Mountains section (O’Reilly), and finishing at Springbrook National Park. The directions below reflect this orientation.

Maps

Getting to Green Mountains (O'Reilly)—Lamington National Park

From the Pacific Motorway, take the Nerang exit (exit 69 from the north, exit 71 from the south) and follow the signs to Lamington National Park—Green Mountains via Canungra. The 36km winding and often narrow bitumen road from Canungra requires care and takes at least 50min. This road is unsuitable for caravans. Watch for wildlife.

Getting to Binna Burra—Lamington National Park

From the Pacific Motorway, take the Nerang exit (exit 69 from the north, exit 71 from the south) and follow the signs to Lamington National Park—Binna Burra via Beechmont. Allow 50mins from Nerang and watch for wildlife. The final section of the 10km drive is very narrow.

Getting to Springbrook plateau—Springbrook National Park

From the Pacific Motorway, Springbrook plateau is 24km from Mudgeeraba or 36km from Nerang. Exit the Pacific Motorway at Mudgeeraba (exit 79 from the north, exit 80 from the south) and follow the Gold Coast–Springbrook Road. This road is unsuitable for caravans. For alternative routes to Springbrook please visit the Springbrook National Park webpage.

Note: There is no through-road access to New South Wales from the Springbrook plateau.

The bitumen road leading to Springbrook National Park is steep and narrow. Turn left off Springbrook Road into Carricks Road and look for the camping area signs. Watch for wildlife.

For information on commercial tour operators and public transport see the tourism information links.

Please check parks alerts for Lamington and Springbrook national parks regarding local road conditions.

Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Walk highlights

'Kurraragin' (Egg Rock). Photo: Robert Ashdown, Queensland Government.

'Kurraragin' (Egg Rock). Photo: Robert Ashdown, Queensland Government.

Discover beauty, mystery and history along the 54km Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk linking the species-rich Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area of Lamington and Springbrook plateaus via the scenic Numinbah Valley. This World Heritage Area protects the most extensive areas of subtropical rainforest in the world, large areas of warm temperate rainforest and nearly all of Australia's remaining Antarctic beech cool temperate rainforest.

Walk through the ancient volcanic landscape of the Tweed Volcano, which is still being eroded by rushing streams and plummeting waterfalls, and through lush rainforest with relicts of Gondwana flora and fauna.

The walk offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences—where else in Queensland can you walk along the rim of an ancient volcano?

The Great Walk passes through Woonoongoora, the place known to the Yugambeh as 'Queen of the Mountains', whose story tells of the formation of the rivers and valleys of this area.

Today's Yugambeh people are descendants of the traditional Aboriginal people whose ancestors walked this land a long, long time ago. They say to you now … 'Kulli bugoram dhagun—nya nya yahngahla' (This (is) special land—walk carefully).

Camping and accommodation

Put your feet up. Photo: Adam Creed, Queensland Government.

Put your feet up. Photo: Adam Creed, Queensland Government.

Camping

The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) provides walkers’ camps at Green Mountains camping area in Lamington National Park, the Woonoongoora walkers’ camp, which is located on the City of Gold Coast Council's Springbrook Conservation Area, and The Settlement camping area in Springbrook National Park.

Camping permits are required and fees apply.

Other accommodation

There is a range of holiday accommodation in and around Springbrook, Lamington, Beechmont and Numinbah.

For more information see the tourism information links below.

Walking options

Binna Burra to Woonoongoora walkers' camp. Photo: Robert Ashdown, Queensland Government.

Binna Burra to Woonoongoora walkers' camp. Photo: Robert Ashdown, Queensland Government.

Both Lamington and Springbrook national parks provide a number of short and long-walk options that can be added to the Great Walk. Please ensure you have a park guide or a copy of the walking track maps for Springbrook (PDF, 352K) and Lamington (PDF, 814K) national parks. For walks in the Green Mountains section of Lamington National Park please view the Green Mountains section map (PDF, 468K).

For more information, follow the links to Lamington National Park or Springbrook National Park.

To purchase a Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk topographic map, follow the link to Great Walk topographic maps sales outlets.

Key to track standards

The classification system is based on Australian Standards. Please note that while each track is classified according to its most difficult section, other sections may be of an easier level.

 Class 4 (Australian Standards)

  • Distinct tracks with junctions sign-posted, rough track surfaces with some exposed roots and rocks.
  • Variable in width; muddy sections, steep grades and steps may be encountered.
  • May be extensively overgrown; hazards such as fallen trees and rockfalls likely to be present.
  • Caution needed at creek crossings, cliff edges and naturally-occurring lookouts.
  • Moderate fitness level with previous experience and ankle-supporting footwear strongly recommended.

The Great Walk

Allow three days to complete the 54km Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk. It is recommended that you walk west to east, commencing the walk from Lamington National Park—Green Mountains section (O’Reilly) and ending at The Settlement camping area in Springbrook National Park.

 Green Mountains (O’Reilly) to Binna Burra (Class 4)

Distance: 21.4km one way

Time: Allow about 7hr

Details: Begin your walk from Green Mountains section of Lamington National Park along the well-known Border Track that links the Green Mountains section of the national park to the Binna Burra section.

The Border Track traverses some of the highest remaining basalt lavas from the Tweed Volcano. With increasing elevation it passes from warm and cool subtropical rainforests into warm and cool temperate rainforests. Lookouts along the Border Track are on the rim of the Tweed Valley erosion caldera and on a clear day you can see Mount Warning, the distant Nightcap Range, the Lamington wilderness area and the Tweed Range.

 Binna Burra to Woonoongoora walkers’ camp (Class 4)

Distance: 23.6km one way

Time: Allow about 6 to 8hr

Details: Begin at the Ships Stern track and Lower Bellbird circuit entrance, below the Binna Burra campground. Follow the clearly marked Ships Stern circuit for 3.7km, descending through cliff lines of rhyolite and tuff (volcanic ash) and into Kurraragin Valley where the track passes fine stands of piccabeen palm Archontophoenix cunninghamii, large red cedar Toona ciliata and majestic flooded gum Eucalyptus grandis.

Branching left on to the Lower Bellbird circuit, the track passes through a patch of dry rainforest, regarded as an example of the rise of the ‘dry-adapted’ flora now widespread in Australia, and then follows the base of a spectacular rhyolite cliff line to reach the Great Walk track junction.

The track descends steeply for 2.5km then turns east to cross Nixon Creek. Watch as the intrusive plug of Egg Rock ('Kurraragin', meaning 'very tall') seems to rise sharply through the trees. Egg Rock (Kurraragin) is identified as a significant Aboriginal area under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 and is a restricted access area (PDF, 138K). Please respect the cultural significance of this landmark and remain on the Great Walk. The track then heads north-east for a further 2.4km through selectively-cleared woodland before reaching the Nerang–Murwillumbah Road in Numinbah Valley.

Parts of this section of track follow an unfenced easement through a private grazing property and the Numinbah Correctional Centre’s boundary. This is private property—do not enter! Please stay on the track and observe all signs.

The Great Walk follows the Nerang–Murwillumbah Road for 3.4km. This can be a busy road—please observe road signs, cross where totem signs indicate and maintain a safe distance from the road. Keep to the Great Walk track, which is identified by directional signs, rather than walking on the road edge. You can continue to the Woonoongoora walkers’ camp or end your walk here. Please organise transport before you leave Lamington National Park, as there is no public transport from this point.

A steep 1.6km climb to Chesters Road begins shortly after leaving Numinbah township. This small section of the walk forms part of the Numinbah section Springbrook National Park’s horse trails network. Horse-riders have right-of-way. For more information about horseriding in Numinbah section of Springbrook National Park please visit South East Queensland Horseriding Trails Network or QPWS horseriding.

Once on Chesters Road, follow it to the top. After crossing the stile to your left, descend into the Waterfall Creek valley—a great amphitheatre walled by spectacular white cliffs. The cliffs are the result of a thick rhyolite flow from the ancient volcano. Follow the road down about 1km through the City of Gold Coast Council’s Springbrook Conservation Area, and then follow markers as the route skirts previously-cleared, grassy areas. The track crosses Waterfall Creek before meandering up a slope to the walkers' camp.

 Woonoongoora walkers’ camp to The Settlement camping area (Class 4)

Distance: 9km one way

Time: Allow about 4 to 5hr

Details: From your camp site at Woonoongoora, continue uphill for 1.9km to Apple Tree Park located on the Springbrook plateau. The first 1.5km of track, which climbs the rhyolite cliff line, is steep and arduous with over 900 steps to negotiate before reaching the plateau. The track climbs through a grove of cycads that cling to the steep slopes of the ridge. These are an ancient plant form—ancestors of the living cycads predating the dinosaurs. Fossil records indicate that the ancestral plants existed almost 300 million years ago. Despite the very high rainfall, the summit of the plateau supports only tall eucalypt forest primarily because of the poorer rhyolite soils.

From Apple Tree Park, cross Springbrook Road and follow the Great Walk markers along the powerline easement, through the gate and drop down into the catchment of the Little Nerang Dam. This section of the track can be wet and slippery. Care should be taken when crossing Little Nerang Creek. Once across the creek, turn right and follow the track along the west branch of Little Nerang Creek up the side of a narrow gorge with pools and cascades cut into older rocks from beneath the volcano. After 1km the track emerges at a basalt slab above Warringa Pool—a great place to stop and take in the sounds of the rainforest.

The track continues on the other side of the creek to Purling Brook Falls, where a massive cliff of cream-coloured rhyolite, 100m high, looms over a deep gorge of black basalt. After crossing the suspension bridge, a steady climb brings you back to the top of the plateau. Just before crossing the top of Purling Brook, the track branches left to The Settlement camping area.

Caution: the Warringa Pool section may be closed during floods or extreme fire danger. Please ensure you check the Park alerts before you set out.

Note: if doing this section in reverse; you will need to reinterpret the track notes carefully and keep a close eye out for track markers.

Planning your walk

Pack sensibly by removing all excess packaging from foods, choose lightweight camping gear and make sure your safety equipment is operating. Photo: Adam Creed, Queensland Government.

Pack sensibly by removing all excess packaging from foods, choose lightweight camping gear and make sure your safety equipment is operating. Photo: Adam Creed, Queensland Government.

Always carry a copy of the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk Topographic Map. Photo: Adam Creed, Queensland Government.

Always carry a copy of the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk Topographic Map. Photo: Adam Creed, Queensland Government.

Three important steps

  1. Plan your walk using the topographic map trip planner (PDF, 2.8M).
  2. Book your camp sites online.
  3. Purchase the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk topographic map brochureover-the-phone or over-a counter—to take with you on the walk.

Essentials to bring

Walkers must be fully self-sufficient as facilities are limited. Pack for your safety and for your comfort. Your camping equipment should include the following:

  • first-aid kit—know how to use it
  • topographic map brochure and compass
  • drinking water—no water is provided at the Woonoongoora walkers’ camp. Supply all your drinking water as water quality cannot be guaranteed. Treat all creek water before drinking.
  • water containers—ensure they are big enough to hold water for a day’s walk and organise water supplies for camping at Woonoongoora walkers’ camp
  • nourishing lightweight food and high-energy snacks. Take extra food in case the walk takes longer than expected.
  • sealable containers for leftover and fresh foods
  • strong, lightweight tent—this is essential! No shelters are provided at walkers’ camps.
  • lightweight sleeping bag and sleeping mat
  • warm clothes and raincoats—pack for all seasons
  • a hat, sunscreen and insect repellent
  • waterproof bags to keep clothing and bedding dry, and for storing rubbish—rubbish bins are not provided at walkers’ camps, so all rubbish must be carried out for disposal
  • compass, torch and batteries and pocket knife
  • lightweight cooking and eating utensils and washing-up container
  • fuel stove and fuel, lighter or waterproof matches—open fires are not permitted in walkers’ camps
  • small hand trowel or spade or human waste disposal kit and toilet paper
  • mobile phone—coverage may be limited in places—and/or hand-held PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) or EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon).

Emergency beacon devices

Walkers should ensure they carry at least one type of emergency communication device. A hand-held EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) or PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) is recommended but coverage may be variable. Be aware that these devices are not telephones, they emit a signal by which rescue crews can pinpoint your location. PLBs can be hired from various outlets. Before you leave, ensure you register you EPIRB or PLB.

For more information on how to obtain and register an EPIRB or PLB contact the Australian Maritime Safety Authority by phoning 1800 406 406 (business hours), or email .

Permits and fees

Camping permits are required and fees apply. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.

Book your camp site online, over-the-counter or by phone.

Climate and weather

To make the best of your walk, choose a time when walking is pleasant. The best time to walk this Great Walk is between March and October.

Both Lamington and Springbrook plateaus are on average 5°C cooler than the adjacent lowland—even in summer. Even so, summer temperatures can reach a hot 36°C, especially on exposed ridges, so bring a hat and wear sunscreen even on cloudy days. In winter, these plateaus experience below 0°C. Nights are frosty and the days brisk. Temperatures within the rainforest can drop to a cool 4°C.

Weather conditions can change suddenly and it is advisable to carry a raincoat and warm clothing at all times of the year. Expect damp to wet track conditions if walking between December and March—the plateaus’ wet season. The average yearly rainfall for Springbrook is 3000 mm and Lamington 1800mm.

Numinbah Valley’s annual rainfall is around 1400mm, the majority of it falling during the hot, humid summer months. Temperatures in the valley can rise to a maximum of 38°C in summer, while during the clear, crisp winters can drop to below zero.

To check weather conditions a day or two before leaving, weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Be aware! During extreme weather events such as flooding, access to both Natural Bridge and Purling Brook on the Springbrook plateau may be closed. Please ensure you check the Park alert before you visit this park.

Fuel and supplies

Fuel and supplies are available at Canungra, Mudgeeraba and Nerang. There is no fuel available on Lamington or Springbrook plateaus. Restaurants, take-away shops and cafes are located on Lamington and Springbrook plateaus.

Public pay phones are located at Green Mountains (O’Reilly) and Binna Burra and the townships of Springbrook and Numinbah.

Walk safely

Never walk alone—small groups of about four are ideal. Photo: Adam Creed, Queensland Government.

Never walk alone—small groups of about four are ideal. Photo: Adam Creed, Queensland Government.

Wear sensible footwear as tracks can become wet and slippery. Photo: Adam Creed, Queensland Government.

Wear sensible footwear as tracks can become wet and slippery. Photo: Adam Creed, Queensland Government.

Sections of the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk are remote and isolated. Accidents have happened, even to experienced bushwalkers. You must be well prepared and responsible for your own safety, even on short walks.

General safety guidelines

By following the guidelines below, you will help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip for you and your group.

Be prepared

  • Have an emergency plan.
  • Ensure experienced adults accompany children.
  • Carry maps and compass.
  • Carry communication equipment.

Weather checks

  • Check weather conditions a day or two before starting your walk by visiting www.bom.gov.au (Bureau of Meterology).
  • Check for fire danger, track closures and other park alerts before you leave on your walk.
  • Camping is not advisable in extremely windy conditions and walkers’ camps may be closed temporarily.
  • Obey all safety, warning and closure signs.

Consider safety

  • Never walk alone—small groups of about four are ideal.
  • Don’t get lost! Know your location at all times and stay on marked tracks; take a compass and a copy of the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk Topographic Map.
  • Be surefooted! Wear sturdy, enclosed boots or shoes—tracks are slippery when wet.
  • Don’t overheat! Avoid walking in extreme heat or during periods of high fire danger.
  • Watch your head! High winds cause branches to fall.
  • Carry adequate drinking water, food and a first-aid kit.
  • Treat all water taken from creeks.
  • Don’t walk at night.
  • Plan to set up camp well before sunset.

A safety idea!

A GPS (Global Positioning System) device is a useful optional extra; however, make sure you pack extra batteries. Check your map regularly to mark your progress against features on the track. Plan to reach camp well before dark and before bad weather sets in. Keep your group together. If someone becomes ill or difficult weather sets in, make camp and wait for conditions to improve or help to arrive. Know your group’s limitations and change your plans as necessary.

In an emergency

  • Before you start your walk always tell a responsible person where you are going and when you expect to return, and have an emergency plan in place if you fail to contact them by an agreed time.
  • While out on the track know your location at all times.
  • Carry a mobile phone and call Triple Zero (000) for critical, serious or life-threatening situations only.
  • Call 106 for a text-only message for deaf or speech or hearing-impaired callers.
  • Advise the nature of the emergency and your location.
  • Stay on the phone until you are told to hang up.
  • If communication by phone is not possible—activate your emergency beacon device.

For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Fire safety

Bushfires can pose a threat to walkers. They can occur without warning so be aware of and prepared for the dangers.

  • If there is a bushfire, follow the track to the nearest road, firebreak or waterway for refuge.
  • Burnt ground, large logs or a ditch can also provide protection.
  • Avoid areas of heavy fuel, such as deep leaf litter, and stay low to the ground where the air is coolest and contains the least smoke.
  • In extreme conditions, the walking track may be closed for your safety. Please observe all signs.
  • For emergency evacuations, a helicopter landing area is located on the City of Gold Coast Council Springbrook Conservation Area, adjacent the Woonoongoora walkers’ camp.

Rangers carry out planned hazard reduction burning so check park alerts for updates on scheduled burning before you go.

If you see a fire, please phone Triple Zero (000) and speak to the fire service as soon as possible.

Flood safety

  • Do not cross creeks during floods or after heavy rain.
  • If caught during a flash flood, stay on higher ground and wait until the waters have receded.
  • Continue your walk only when you can cross the creeks safely.
  • In extreme wet conditions, the walking track will be closed for your safety. Please observe all signs.

For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Road safety

Sections of the Great Walk use existing road systems around Springbrook and cross the Nerang–Murwillumbah Road. Normal road rules apply. Follow road signs and cross with care at designated points along the roads.

For more information watch the Creek and road crossing safety web clip.

For your safety

Remain outside the Purling Brook Falls (PDF, 140K)restricted access area—this area is prone to rockfalls.

Walk softly

A zip-lock bag is ideal for carrying out all food scraps and rubbish. Photo: Adam Creed, Queensland Government.

A zip-lock bag is ideal for carrying out all food scraps and rubbish. Photo: Adam Creed, Queensland Government.

Don't let your walk destroy the forest; stop the spread of pathogens. Clean all camping gear and footwear before leaving home. Photo: Robert Ashdown, Queensland Government.

Don't let your walk destroy the forest; stop the spread of pathogens. Clean all camping gear and footwear before leaving home. Photo: Robert Ashdown, Queensland Government.

Please clean your boots at the pathogen control stations when entering and leaving the tracks. Photo: Sergio Norambuena, Queensland Government.

Please clean your boots at the pathogen control stations when entering and leaving the tracks. Photo: Sergio Norambuena, Queensland Government.

Feel privileged—you are visiting an area recognised as one of the world's most outstanding and valuable places. Lamington and Springbrook national parks are part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. With pride, we protect and present this heritage—the world's heritage. Help ensure that we can all enjoy this wonderful area—tread softly and leave no trace!

Camping

  • Only use existing sites at walkers’ camps.
  • Do not dig trenches or flatten or break any vegetation.
  • Leave your site in the same or better condition than when you found it so others may enjoy the Great Walk too.
  • Check your site thoroughly before leaving to ensure nothing is left behind.

Rubbish

  • Reduce your rubbish by bringing as little packaging as possible. There are no rubbish bins on the Great Walk.
  • All rubbish (including food scraps and bagged sanitary products) must be carried out.
  • You can help the park by bringing out any other rubbish you find.
  • Carry a small rubbish bag so that even tiny scraps of tin foil, sweet wrappers and cigarette butts can be carried out.

For more information watch the Rubbish: take it home web clip.

Use fuel stoves only

  • No open fires are permitted along the Great Walk.
  • Carry gas or liquid spirit stoves for cooking. Test equipment before you go and never cook in your tent.
  • Do not leave stoves unattended when lit.

For more information watch the Fire and fuel stoves web clip.

Toilets

  • Use toilets where provided.
  • Where there are no toilets, bury human waste and toilet paper at least 100m from camp sites, tracks and waterways, and about 15 to 20cm deep.
  • Take all sanitary items with you—they do not decompose. Clip seal bags are handy storage until you can dispose of the waste responsibly.
  • Use a human waste disposal kit and take it out with you when you have completed your walk. Kits are available from some camping stores. Please follow manufacturer’s directions on the packet and dispose of waste responsibly.

For more information watch the Bush toileting and washing web clip.

Pathogen control

Don’t let your walk destroy the forest—stop the spread of phytophthora (a root fungus that causes dieback in trees) and other pathogens such as myrtle rust and amphibian chytrid fungus.

  • Please clean and disinfect your footwear and camping equipment either at home using a disinfectant or before starting your walk. Watch the Stop the spread of weeds and pathogens web clip for more information.
  • Keep to designated roads and walking tracks at all times.
  • Start and finish your bushwalk with clean footwear, clothes and camping gear by removing soil from footwear, camping spade or trowel and tent pegs before leaving an area, and keep all gear as clean and free from soil as possible during the walk.

Pathogen control stations have been installed throughout the Great Walk. Please follow the instructions to prevent the spread of pathogens into the national parks and surrounding forests.

Use pathogen control stations located throughout the Great Walk.

Be frog friendly

  • Please do not disturb, handle or remove frogs, their eggs or tadpoles.
  • Do not use or discard soap, detergent, shampoo, sunscreen, insect repellent or any other potential pollutant in creeks or along the banks.
  • Keep to walking tracks and when the track traverses a creek, cross directly where the track enters and exits the creek.
  • Please do not disturb or remove rocks or trample vegetation in or directly adjacent to creeks.

See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Tourism information links

Commercial tour operators

Commercial operators charge fees for guided activities. For more information contact the relevant commercial operators.

General tourism information

Gold Coast Tourism Bureau Ltd
www.visitgoldcoast.com

64 Ferny Avenue, Gold Coast Surfers Paradise, Qld.
ph (07) 5592 2699
email to

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Further information

Great Walks topographic maps sales outlets 

Contact us

Last updated
24 June 2016