That makes this day trip and ‘lookout-hopping’ drive a perfect option for any one, of any age, and any fitness level.
Just remember to pack a raincoat if it’s raining and some walking shoes to keep your feet dry, or wait till just after the rain and you’ll still be rewarded with full flowing falls!
Take the Mudgeeraba exit off the M1 (if you’re heading South from Brisbane) and once you pass the Mudgeeraba shopping centre continue off east along Gold Coast Springbrook Rd until you begin your windy drive up the mountain.
If you’ve been to Springbrook in years gone by for a romantic weekend chalet stay or a leisurely drive for hot chocolate and scones, you’ll know how nervey it can get on the narrow road up from the eastern side. But the good news is since Cyclone Debbie, the road up has had impressive upgrades and reinforcements, making it much safer and more enjoyable so it’s easier to take in the views!
( If you’re still a nervous mountain driver though, you can take the back road up via Nerang Murwillumbah Rd – the same road you head to for Natural Bridge, turning on to Pine Creek Rd – which is a much less windy drive. But be sure to get off the highway much earlier at Nerang instead!)
Once you reach the top of the mountain you can take a loop (with a few side roads) to explore multiple lookouts from different aspects and walk the various paths or tracks to see waterfalls from above or below!
Once you pass through the tall tree lined roads and past Apple Tree Park, you’ll come to an intersection at the famous Fudge Shop. Either stop in now for a pre-walk treat, or safe the sweets for once you’ve worked up an appetite on the way back!
The first stop heading clockwise (or south west) from the shop is Purling Brook Falls. Continue along Springbrook Rd past the observatory and turn left in to Forestry Rd. Down the end you’ll find the Purling Brook Falls carpark. Head off down the path (be careful if it’s raining as it gets a little slippery), and when the path forks after the couple of stairs, you can head straight down to the cliff edge lookout (and the start of the long walking track down to the bottom if you’re up for it), or head right for a couple of hundred metres down to the path that goes over the top of Purling Brook and around to a viewing platform just metres from the falls edge.
Next on the lookout crawl is Hardy’s lookout on the right of the road as you start to wind your way up the ridge to the top of the mountain.
Blink and you’ll miss it! But find a spot to stop on the side of the road and take in the view down the valley from the seats provided.
Not far past Hardy’s on the left is Old School Rd. Blink and you’ll miss it! Head down this overgrown leafy road a few metres and you’ll see a secluded carpark on the right. Park up and here you’re rewarded with a boardwalk to the information centre lookout with views over the ranges and far away Gold Coast!
Next, keep heading up Springbrook Rd, and turning left in to Boy Ull Rd you’ll find Canyon lookout. On a clear sunny day you’ll see right down the valley to the Gold Coast high rises and if you look to the right you’ll see Twin Falls and Rainbow Falls (if you don’t hear them first!).
There’s also a popular walk that starts here and heads off down in to the valley to Twin Falls.
Across the road is also a well known cafe and B&B that have great coffee’s and warm soups (if they’re open! 😉 )
Next on the trail, continuing along Springbrook Rd, past the Tallanbana Picnic Area and well known honey moon destination – Mouses Houses – all the way to the end and you’ll come to the quaint English Tea Gardens cafe across the road from the Goomoolahra Picnic Area.
Unlike any of the others, Goomoolahra picnic area is packed with picnic tables, wood fired BBQ’s, a covered area, and best of all, weaves it’s way through the reserve beside the creek that falls over Goomoolahra Falls. Walk the couple of hundred metres through the picnic area and you’re rewarded with an impressive South Easterly view from the lookout and a nice platform from which to watch the waterfall – just 5 metres to the left of the platform.
This is also the starting point for another great rainforest walk!
Once you’ve had your fill of scones and nice hot tea at the English Gardens Tea House, head back down Springbrook Road, keeping a keen eye out for Repeater Station Road on the left a few kms back towards Hardy’s lookout.
Head on up Repeater Station Rd and at the top you’ll need to verre left at the intersection with Lyrebird Ridge Rd and head all the way up to the end of the road.
There’s a reason they call this last lookout the ‘Best of All Lookout’. This is the highest point you can explore on the mountain and the walk is the longest of them all – still only a measly 600m – but the walk is absolutely worth the views you’re rewarded with along the way and at the lookout.
After strolling through the ancient rainforest and past the impressive and enormous beach trees that feature on one part of the path (worth the trip on their own!) you end at the lookout.
The Best of All Lookout sits right up high along the NSW/QLD border and delivers impressive views of Mt Warning, the coastline, and on a clear day – even Byron Bay!
Assuming by now you’ve worked up a taste for something to reward all the walking and sightseeing, head back down Repeater Station Road and Take Lyrebird Ridge Road for a picturesque rainforest drive back down to the Fudge Shop to complete your Springbrook loop.
Don’t leave the mountain without grabbing yourself a piece or two of the insanely tasty home made fudges for the trip home (with HEAPS of flavours to choose from!) And while you’re there, sit down for a warm coffee or tea and take a look at the miniature sculpture garden that looks like something out of that Downsize movie!