Discover World Heritage National Parks
- A Nature Lover's Paradise
You'll be inspired by the beauty and serenity of the World Heritage National Parks around the Gold Coast hinterland, and northern NSW:
...from bold, dramatic, escarpments to lush, tranquil rainforests...
from tumbling creeks, to breathtaking waterfalls...
and spectacular views that stretch as far as the eye can see!
Dotted throughout the hinterland, Mount Warning, Springbrook, and Lamington National Parks all feature unique, natural wonders and are part of the outstanding World Heritage listed Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves of Australia (CERRA).
These World Heritage rainforests are also referred to as the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia...
so named after the ancient supercontinent, Gondwana, which Australia was once part of millions of years ago, and the rainforests that were the dominant vegetation at the time. The history and geology of this part of Australia makes for fascinating reading.
Climate change over millions of years resulted in most of the rainforests dying and being replaced by other vegetation...
although pockets of the original rainforest remain in NSW and Queensland, and the largest and best examples of these are the CERRA.
A map of the World Heritage CERRA regions between Newcastle (NSW) and Brisbane (Queensland) is provided, courtesy of the Commonwealth Dept of Environment & Heritage.
Each world heritage NP around the Gold Coast and northern NSW boasts an amazing biodiversity, and supports a wide range of animal and plant species, including many endangered species.
Here, bushwalkers and nature lovers alike can marvel at Mother Nature's creations, while experiencing first hand the lush, subtropical rainforests and cool temperate rainforests for which this area is renowned.
Other national parks, such as Tamborine NP, and forest reserves in this area may not be world heritage protected, however still contain much of the diversity and similar attributes, albeit on a smaller scale.
You'll find all of the NPs feature breathtaking scenery, superb views and lost valleys that still resonate with the prehistoric. This dramatic landscape is largely due to the ancient Tweed volcano and the eroding power of the Tweed River over millions of years.
Visitors can access these areas from a number of vantage points along the graded walking tracks and will find themselves tempted often to rest beside a cool waterfall, a craggy cliff, or spectacular lookout.
Walking trails vary in length and degree of difficulty - which means you'll have little trouble finding a track to suit your particular energy and fitness levels.
If you decide to visit one of the NPs listed below, please minimise your personal impact on the environment.
And if you plan to do any bush walking whilst on the Gold Coast, read our handy hints for planning your rainforest trek, and check out some practical safety tips for bush walkers.
Or if you'd rather relax and enjoy the scenery, all of the national parks have excellent picnic facilities which you are encouraged to use.
And finally, if you don't have your own transport to drive to one of the national parks or forest reserves around the Gold Coast, there are a number of tour operators who offer day trips.
- World Heritage Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves of Australia: Strategic Overview for Management Published by the Commonwealth of Australia, Department of the Environment and Heritage, Nov 2000.
- I highly recommend you check out the comprehensive and outstanding website of Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service (QNP&WS).
Lamington NP: Binna Burra
Lamington NP is the largest protected subtropical rainforest in Australia, and features stunning rainforest, spectacular waterfalls, and breathtaking views. A large range of walking trails criss-cross the NP, ranging from easy to challenging, and a large number of the walks depart from Binna Burra Lodge. Keen bush walkers can follow the historic 21.4km Border Track through the rainforest from here to Green Mountains.
Lamington NP: Green Mountains
This section of Lamington NP features excellent facilities, and includes a ranger information office and camping grounds. Green Mountains is also home to the famous O'Reilly's guesthouse, where day visitors can enjoy the treetop walk and see the rainforest from a whole new perspective! Trails through the rainforest lead to panoramic views and spectacular scenery, and you may see some of the amazing array of birdlife, reptiles and mammals (although many are nocturnal).
Springbrook Plateau Section of Springbrook NP
This magnificent Plateau features spectacular lookouts over the valley, with stunning views of waterfalls, deep gorges and jagged cliffs. Choose from among several walking trails through subtropical and cool temperate rainforests, and cool your feet in the pools at the base of a waterfall, or in a gentle stream. And you'll be amazed at the astonishing girth of the ancient Antarctic Beech trees from an era long gone.
Natural Arch Section of Springbrook NP
The main attraction of this NP is the remarkable geological feature of a waterfall flowing through the roof of a cave, creating a 'natural bridge'. This is a testament to the power and force of water eroding rock over millions of years, and the cave may be reached by an easy and scenic walk through the rainforest. Thousands of tiny, brilliant glow-worms live in the cave, and the NP is open at nighttime for visitors to see the stunning effect.
Burleigh Headland NP
The prominent Burleigh headland is a well-known and easily recognisable landmark to locals and visitors alike, and is just a short, 15-minute drive south of Surfers Paradise. Situated in a prime location on the edge of the coast, the natural and unique beauty of rainforest meeting ocean creates some extremely beautiful, scenic walks. Visitors also come to enjoy fishing from the rocky foreshore and the sheltered swimming areas of Echo Beach and Sandy Cove.
Mount Tamborine NP
This NP is unique in that it is made up of several individual pockets of parkland dotted across Mount Tamborine, instead of being one continuous tract of land. The six main sections of the NP all provide picnic facilities and a choice of short, easy walking trails through the rainforest, which are particularly good for beginner bush walkers. Visitors may follow trails to waterfalls and enjoy the spectacular vista from scenic lookouts.
Mount Warning NP: Climb An Extinct Volcano
Mount Warning is one of the remnants of an enormous ancient mountain, the Tweed Volcano, which was active some 20-23 million years ago. Today's Tweed Valley, the amazing landscape of the Springbrook and Lamington Plateaus, and the mountain itself are all visible results of the volcano’s impact - combined with millions of years of erosion! A challenging walk to the summit yields great reward in the magnificent 360 degree views that you'll see from the top.
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