Springbrook National Park

Springbrook National Park

It just seems like public holidays are never ending at the beginning of the year, and we just love it! Another long weekend has arrived –  in between our getaways to NSW, Cotton Tree, Tasmania and Melbourne and right before Kingscliff. Our first thought was (as it always is!) ‘Where should we go?’

I suggested a weekend at home to clean the van and do some ‘home-things’ might be good. We lasted one day, and on the Sunday, we loaded up the Hilux and headed off.  There was no need to tow the caravan anywhere for this day of exploring.

Springbrook National Park makes for one of south east Queensland’s most spectacular day trips, and with Chris having been twice before (albeit many years ago) we didn’t need directions. We started out knowing where we were headed, and as Chris dislikes Waze (the traffic app that I have on religiously when I drive!) we had no warning at all that the road we had taken was closed. Looking back at the national parks websites, it was very clear and notices were everywhere – like this one:

‘Following significant damage from ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie, Gold Coast-Springbrook Road from Mudgeeraba remains closed until further notice, as advised by the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR). Access to Springbrook National Park is via Numinbah Valley along Pine Creek Road only.’

We didn’t even think to check. Lesson learned! Always check ahead for road closures.


Hinze Dam

We did a U-turn which added an extra 20 minutes to the relatively short drive from Brissy and took us past Hinze Dam. Chris thought it might be nice to show me around quickly as I’d never been. It is just lovely. The café, walkways and even the bathrooms – wow. It was not at all what I expected!

The view from the lovely little cafe

The bathrooms were so cool! All concrete and wood 🙂

I went for a wander … it was quite windy, but gorgeous!


I went for a bit of a wander out and over the water. It was so windy, and I’m glad I had packed my beanie to stop my hair from blowing all over the place. Chris has ridden the dam many times and explained the different mountain bike tracks, pointing out where they went, and we made plans to come back soon with our bikes in tow.

And while the dam was a lovely place, it wasn’t our destination. We were aiming for next level natural beauty. An ancient wonderland of rainforests, waterfalls, escarpments, rock formations and valleys that is Springbrook National Park.

The park is about an hour and a half’s drive from Brisbane or 45 minutes from the Gold Coast. We travelled along 29km of narrow, winding (and often one way) roads that took us up and through the cool, green rainforest.


The base of Purlingbrook Falls

We pulled into the information centre to grab a brochure and see which the best way was to get to Purling Brook Falls. Chris had been there about 6 years ago and walked the stunning pathway that led behind the falls. He said it was spectacular and it was our mission to find our way back there.

The brochure read: ‘Class 3. 4km return. Allow 2-3 hours. Enjoy a relaxed walk through open eucalypt forest before descending into the gorge to view the magnificent waterfall from the suspension bridge below. A steady climb through the forest ends back at the picnic area. If including the Warringa Pool Track (swimming allowed), which leads downstream from the base of the falls, then add 2km and allow an extra hour.’

The brochure and Chris’s description had me sold and ready to go. We were wearing t-shirts and shorts in anticipation of working up a sweat as we walked. It was a bit chilly, but pleasant.

The park was quite busy but thankfully we managed to find a carpark, had a quick toilet stop (in the very clean drop toilets that were located at the car park) and we started the Purling Brook Falls Circuit.


Purling Brook Falls Circuit

Unfortunately, there was huge group of extremely loud Asian tourists who were heading off about the same time as us. This meant some serious power walking to get far enough ahead to soak in the peace, tranquility and ensure maximum scenery intake.

The first lookout we came upon was not far at all from the Gwongorella Picnic Area and was just off Springbrook Road where we had parked. The camera was put straight into action as to the right of the viewing platform, the lovely Purling Brook Falls could be seen cascading 109m down into the rainforest below.

The walk was steep in places but on a well-made track with many steps. At one point, Chris did point to the edge and say ‘How easy would it be to fall off?’  Thankfully, despite tripping every now and then, neither of us fell over the edge (nor did any of the tourists that we know of!) as we made our descent.  This would be a good time to point out that Chris had his usual hiking shoes on – Havaianas!


Stunning Purling Brook Falls – Dancing Water


As we got closer, we could hear the thunder of the water tumbling over the side of the cliff. It certainly opens your eyes in wonder when you round that last corner and take in the almost fairy-tale like scene in front of you – complete with rainbow at the bottom.

Many people were struggling to get a photo with both sky and pool in shot as the falls are so high – it was almost impossible with the iPhone, but easy with the GoPro.

We wanted to do the walk around and under the Falls, but due to the track being unsafe and closed after ex-tropical cycle Debbie had come through (for years now), it wasn’t possible. It was closed just over the other side of the suspension bridge. We did get to stand on the bridge and look back up Purling Brook to the Falls – what a breathtaking view!

The view from the suspension bridge


A small waterfall on the way to Warring Pool


We started down the 2km walk to Warring Pool, but everyone who was walking back up along the path told us not to bother as the large group of Asians had taken over and no one else could even get close. So, we turned around and started climbing the 256 steps back to the top.

By now Chris’s tummy was demanding food, so we drove to the English Gardens, but they were closed. We kept driving up on Springbrook Plateau and over to Rosellas only to see a sign out the front saying ‘closed – sold out’.

Poor Chris had to wait just a little longer as we were right across from the Canyon Lookout, so we put our jumpers on and hopped out for a look. It is just a 100-metre walk to see the falls and you don’t even have to leave the asphalt!


Canyon Lookout

Canyon Lookout














The weather had certainly taken a turn and the clouds were rolling in, the wind had picked up and the temperature plummeted. Out came the beanie again!

Thankfully the clouds hadn’t obscured what was a jaw-dropping view of the entire Gold Coast from Runaway Bay down to Coolangatta, punctuated by volcanic ridges and valleys.

We didn’t spend too much time here, and we didn’t take the Twin Falls Circuit walk that starts at the lookout, but I’d really like to do that soon. I hear it’s one of the best walks in the park.


The Fawn Cafe

But it was lunch time – and you can’t be wandering off on 2-hour walks hunting down waterfalls when your mind is on food. Thankfully the Fawn Café was open, and the carpark was full (mostly with motorbikes!), so we knew they were open and serving.

I’m gluten free, so was pleased when they offered gluten free bread as a substitute for the bun when I ordered a steak burger. Unfortunately, the chips had gluten, so it was extra side salad for me! I’m also grain free, low carb and avoid toxic oils, but that was a bit much to ask for in this tiny little café, but I was content with my gluten free steak burger. It was actually pretty good. Chris had the chicken schnitzel burger (with the bun and the chips!) and said it wasn’t too bad either.

Former Springbrook State School and ‘The Stump’

There was a bit of rain while we were eating which cleared the outside tables pretty quickly, and the temperature dropped just a bit more as we got back in the car and drove to the information centre which is located in the former Springbrook State School building from 1911.

The first thing you notice when you pull into the carpark is an old building and a huge old tree stump right out the front. Upon walking over and reading the sign, I found out that it is known as ‘The Stump’ and was felled in 1912 because parents were concerned about the safety of their kids who were attending the school. It really is a beautiful old stump, and one can only imagine what a majestic tree it once was.


The former Springbrook State School and ‘The Stump’


The boardwalk behind the school


We wandered around the back and past the old water tanks and play shed and down a lovely new boardwalk. This led to what was no doubt once a wonderful view of the Gold Coast but is now slightly obscured by trees. It is still lovely and worth the short walk, but after having seen the other lookouts, this one paled in comparison.

I did a bit of reading and found out that the school served the small community of farmers who came to the area in 1906 from Bega in New South Wales. After the forest areas were cleared, dairying became the main industry. Apparently, descendants of these settlers still live in the area.

The school was closed at various times like in 1915, a teacher did not arrive for several months! And in 1929 a lady arrived as teacher but left the next day and no teacher was appointed until March. By May 1932 enrolment had dropped to ten, with an average attendance of less than six students.

A new school opened nearby in 1984 and the original school building was converted into the National Parks Information Centre housing interpretive displays on the park’s natural values.

The more that I read about it, the more I want to read! It’s such a tiny little building overflowing with so much history. When Chris came years ago, he said you were able to go inside and look around. It was locked when we went, and we could only walk up onto the veranda (which was added on in 1915) and read the information on display up on the wall.

Interestingly enough, there was free wi-fi in that spot! I can’t help but wonder how different schools are now compared to what these walls would have seen.


Best Of All Lookout

Best of All Lookout


We had one place left to see, and we had saved the best for last –  Best of All Lookout. Even the short 350m walk is an experience unto its own, with an almost eerie, unearthly feel as you walk through ancient rainforests. The paths are well maintained, so slipping or tripping wasn’t really an issue although you had to keep an eye out as the leaves covered both sides of the path.

It’s impossible not to be drawn to the old Antarctic Beech trees you pass by as you wander down to the lookout. It’s astounding to think how long have stood, and what they must have ‘seen’. Some of these trees are reported to be between two and three thousand years old!


It feels almost ‘otherwordly’


According to the sign, these trees are a ‘link to ancient times’ and from the mega-continent Gondwana when Australia was still joined with Antarctica. When Gondwana broke apart to form most of the earth’s Southern land masses, the trees moved with them

There are also some old boulders with huge holes burrowed deep into the rock. They reminded me of bowling balls.

It was freezing cold and windy, but it was well worth rugging up for! With a name like that, my expectations were pretty high, and I wanted to know if it really was the ‘best of all?’ (Chris already knew it was as he’d been twice before!)

The Best of All Lookout surely did live up to its name. It’s more a question of ‘What can’t you see?’ than ‘What can you see?’. You can see the dazzling Gold Coast Hinterland stretching right out to the Pacific Ocean and as far as Byron Bay; an extraordinary sweeping panorama of Queensland and New South Wales, taking in Coolangatta, Kingscliff, Byron Bay, the Nightcap Range, Mt Warning and Murwillumbah.

The views laid out before you are simply breathtaking! It’s amazing to look down on the twin peaks of the Cougals, with Mount Warning to the right.

We wandered slowly back down the path to the car, once again admiring the trees, boulders and soaking up the dark, wet, heavy quiet of the rainforest.

I was blown away by how beautiful this place was, and how close it is to where we live. A part of the Ancient Gondwana Rainforest is right here on our doorstep, and we are already making plans to go back. 🙂


There are breathtaking views everywhere you look


Another beautiful fall


The base of the falls

Broadwater Tourist Park

Broadwater Tourist Park

Name: Broadwater Tourist Park (Gold Coast Tourist Parks)

Location: 169 Marine Parade, Southport, QLD

Date of Stay:  27-29 April 2018

Type of Park: City/Water/Parklands

Rating: 4 out of 5


A well maintained park, great for families, couples or singles in a great location.

We have stayed here many, many times… And we love it! My first Trip Advisor review on this park was done back in 2016, and that was written after returning on many occasions.

The park is situated right on the beautiful Broadwater, and has million-dollar views.

It had a foreshore makeover a couple of years ago, and now there is lots of lush, grass between the park and the sand. It’s great for kids… And kites. I do believe on one occasion that particular strip of grass was used as a race track between the local police on their quad bike and our youngest who was on her push bike!

The inlet is a great little spot to take the kids fishing as the sun goes down. It’s also where the boat ramp is located, giving easy access to the water for us to launch our jetski! Many of our friends come to this park purely because it is so easy to get the ski’s and boats into the water as the ramp is located within the park itself.

The amenities are good (there are a few blocks), camp kitchens are well appointed and very well maintained, as are the grounds.

There are many cabins… Lots right on the water with stunning views and some further back in the park.

Staff are friendly and very helpful.

Both swimming pools are great… The big shade is great for kids in the hot summer sun. The girls went swimming this weekend, but only for a few minutes as it was ‘freeeezing!!!’ So, I guess heated pools could make this park even better (hint hint!).

We have been telling the kids to ‘go and entertain yourselves’ at this park for a few years now, and currently at ages 10, 12 and 13, they still haven’t outgrown the playground, games room and jumping pillow which is a good thing J

We rate this park highly as it’s consistently produced fun and memorable times no matter if it’s our family of 5, just me and Chris, our friends with kids or our friends without.



  • Boat ramp
  • 2 pools
  • Tennis court
  • Jumping pillow
  • Playground
  • Recreation room
  • Camp kitchen
  • BBQ areas



  • Friendly and helpful


200+ sites including water view, ensuite, powered slab and powered grass sites. Large and flat – easy to get in and out of.


  • Location – it is close to Surfers, the Broadwater and the parklands which are great to ride to with the kids. The aqua splash is set up just down the path, and there is a fun little waterpark for the kids to have a play in.
  • Maccas is over the street if you like their coffee – if not, the Donut Shop D Point Ten makes great coffee. There is a supermarket and some other little shops right across the street as well.
  • Well maintained
  • Clean, well appointed and relatively modern amenities


  • We had heard of many people having items stolen from this park and considered ourselves lucky as it hadn’t happened to us – until Australia Day 2017. Cooper’s near new scooter was stolen one night along with quite a few things belonging to other people. It is commonplace to see people chain their Weber’s down to deter theft.
  • It can get very busy during the school holidays (this could be negative or positive – it depends on if you like lots of people! J )
  • It’s quite loud due to the location – you will hear sirens, cars racing and loud engines through the night. But this is to be expected as Surfers is less than 5ks away.
  • The park is quite strict on the 10am check out time.
  • The beach/Broadwater out the front can be overcrowded with PWC (which again is to be expected in most waterways on the Gold Coast).





What do you do when you hear your mates are headed down to the Broadwater for the weekend? You book of course! And that’s just what we did – jumped on the phone and secured our site for 2 nights.

We have been staying at the Broadwater Tourist Park on and off for years now, and we’ve always enjoyed our stay.

It’s a lovely, well-maintained park in a great location. Beautiful trees, lots of lush green grass out the front of the park, and a great little piece of beach right on the Broadwater. The park has its’ own boat ramp, making it an easy decision to take the Jetski down with us.

We did a bit of a shuffle to get everything down there. Chris towed the van down in the morning and then brought the truck back and went back down with the Jetski and the smaller hilux. I picked the kids up from school and went down in the truck.

Traffic was great, the weather was great, the kids were behaving as they usually do and I could tell straight off that it was going to be a great weekend overall. And it was.

We arrived about 5:00pm and Chris was already well into happy hour with the others. The kids ran off and I started dinner. Mexican is our traditional ‘night one’ dinner – always loaded up with lots of guacamole and sour cream and washed down with some homemade kombucha.

A few of the guys took the kids across to Maccas for waffle cones (tradition at Broadwater!) while I tucked into my homemade coconut custard, brownie and raspberries. (It was the last day of my gut cleanse which meant no dairy, bacon, mushrooms and so on for 2 weeks!)

The usual night time chats and drinks helped us wind down for what is always a great night’s sleep – man I love our bed in the van! Our eggshell mattress topper is tops (haha).

I was up at sunrise to capture the magnificence that is the sun peeking over the horizon, onto the water and through the palm trees; Chris was up to capture his coffee.    It’s always lovely to sit at the table and chairs down on the grass to watch the sun come up. If I drank coffee, I’d probably say ‘it’s lovely to drink my morning coffee and watch the sun come up!’

The sunrise held all the promise of a beautiful day, but it didn’t turn out quite that way.

The girls managed a (very) quick dip in the pool and emerged covered in goose bumps with lips turning blue. It wasn’t long before the ominous clouds started rolling in, the wind picked up and the rain started to fall – heavily. The clothes airer was blown over 3 or 4 times, and all the chairs got drenched as everytime the gusts of winds came through, the water poured off the awning like a river from the sky!

The girls took hot showers and then all the kids spent some time in the games room before coming back into the van to play 5 Second Rule.

Thankfully the clouds disappeared, the sun reappeared (just like it promised at sunrise) and the jumpers came off! On went our swimmers and into the Broadwater went our Jet ski.

The Broadwater is just great for skis and boats, especially on days that start cold, wet and miserable, and surprise everyone by becoming Summery quite quickly! We were one of just 3 skis on the water. Chris took the girls across to Straddie, and then we hooked up the tube and spent a couple of hours trying to flick the kids off and into the water. Everyone had a blast; the sun was shining and the water was warm. We played until the kids were exhausted and couldn’t hold on anymore.


Lunch was a BBQ, and the beers and wine was flowing again by 2:30. We all took our chairs to one van and settled in for an afternoon of good conversation while the kids entertained themselves.

The rain clouds returned, along with a few spits of rain, and the temperature dropped pretty quickly. It really was like 4 seasons in one day!

I left the gang engrossed in merry conversation and went down to Mermaid with my bestie to check out her wedding venue (in the pouring rain!). When I got back from our secret wedding business, Chris was in the van with the BBQ on and salad prepared and the kids were showering in the amenities. I took a quick shower to thaw out, popped by trakkies and ugg boots on and then dinner was served. Our plates were filled with Honey Soy chicken kebabs I’d made the day before and salad with some homemade sauerkraut and beetroot on the side. Strawberry kombucha helped to wash it all down.

After the kids had done the dishes in the camp kitchen, Chris and the kids made their nightly trek back across for more waffle cones, and I had my brownies and custard again.

We had a pretty early night as the kids were pooped, and Chris and I like to lay in bed and watch cooking shows on TV, especially Bizarre Foods. This particular night we watched Andrew eat lobster poop saying it was delicious! Hmmm. We are real party animals!

Sunday morning’s we usually take our time and have a bit more fun before packing up, but at this particular park, they’re pretty strict with check out times. So it went kinda like this:
Wake up, grab coffee from the Donut shop across the road, drink it looking out over the water, cook a big brekkie of bacon and eggs, pack up the van, say goodbye to everyone and start the half hour drive home.

The girls and I did manage to sneak in a quick photoshoot before pack up .. and some of the pics turned out rather well!











It’s always sad packing up, but it’s never long before our next trip away. We like to have a few adventures lined up to give us something to be happy about as we vacuum inside the van and wind up the awning.

It was more like a ‘see you in a few weeks!’ than goodbye – which left us smiling as we all hooked our vans up and headed out under the boom gate, across Marine Parade and made our way back to the M1 and home towards Brissy.