National Parks Walking Trails
on the Gold Coast & Northern NSW


You want to trek along one of the walking trails in the national parks around the Gold Coast, but where do you begin?

Firstly, do you have any preferences for which NP to visit? Perhaps a friend has recommended a specific park, or you want to visit the NP which is closest to the beach or other attractions that you plan to visit afterwards?

It's impossible to recommend a particular location as 'the best' NP - for there is much to admire and appreciate in each of the parks, and they all have wonderful rainforest walking trails. Best of All Lookout, Springbrook National Park, Gold Coast, Queensland TQ

All of the national parks and forest reserves around the Gold Coast are around 40-60 minutes’ drive from Surfers Paradise, with the exceptions of Burleigh Heads NP (15 mins) and Mount Warning NP (80 minutes). So there's not a hugely significant time difference between getting to one NP or another.

So the key question is, what do you want from the experience of visiting a Queensland national park?

If you are happy to simply picnic in the grounds of one of the national parks, relax and enjoy the rainforest environment without actually undertaking any physical activity at all, then any of the NPs will suit your needs.

Do you want to challenge yourself physically and have an adventurous day outdooors?

Or would you prefer to walk at a leisurely pace, stopping to observe flora and fauna, and read any informative signs and brochures available? Illinbah Circuit at Binna Burra, Lamington National Park, Queensland TQ

Refer to the walking trail classification below, and decide which class is the best match for your needs. Then refer to the list of walking trails under each national park and find those that match your class.

And remember, if you're walking with a group, the 'weakest link' will be the least-fit member of your party, so you must choose the walking trail with this person in mind.

Walking Trail Classification

The information provided below is a modified extract of the Australian Standards for Walking Trail Classification (AS 2156.1), which is used to assess trails in national parks.

To clarify, 'facilities' that may be provided during the walks include viewing platforms, seats, steps, handrails, and barrier rails.

Toilets and drinking fountains are NOT provided along the walking trails, so use these facilities at a nearby picnic area before commencing your trek.

Select the classification type that is best for your party, considering the fitness levels of all members of your party. Then check out the walking trails in each of the parks that matches your class, and the time you have available.

CATEGORY DESCRIPTION
Class 1 - Low gradients; easy walking that is suitable for visitors with reduced mobility; handrails provided.
- Wide track (1.2m) with hard surface is suitable for wheelchairs.
- Good facilities, frequent signage.
- Regular encounters with other visitors.
Class 2 - Low gradients and narrower tracks (0.9m); trails are easy to walk (may include steps).
- Good facilities, good signage.
- Regular encounters with other visitors.
Class 3 - Trails require a moderate level of fitness.
- Short sections may have steep slopes, obstacles or uneven surfaces.
- Minimal facilities, limited signage.
- Sporadic encounters with other visitors.
Class 4 - Trails require a moderate level of fitness.
- Tracks have steep slopes, obstacles and uneven surfaces.
- Minimal facilities, minimal signage.
- Few encounters with other visitors.
- users need to be self-reliant; and should have navigation and first aid skills.
Class 5 - Requires advanced outdoor knowledge and skills, and high level of fitness.
- Tracks may be rough and unaligned, with steep sections.
- Generally no facilities, and limited signage.
- Maps and navigation equipment necessary to complete the trail walk.
- Limited encounters with other visitors - users are self-reliant in the case of an emergency or in the need of first aid.
Class 6 - Experienced walkers only, with high level of fitness.
- No managed tracks (ie. natural environment); steep sections.
- Generally no facilities, and no signage.
- Maps and navigation equipment necessary to complete the trail walk.
- Limited encounters with other visitors - users are self-reliant in the case of an emergency or in the need of first aid.


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