Famous for its rolling white beaches and waves that thrill every surfer, the Gold Coast has many walks to charm those that like to get in touch with nature. Swap the car keys for your hiking boots and discover some of the many trails on offer, from amongst and behind the sand dunes to rugged mountains.
Burleigh Head National Park
Protected from the coastal sprawl, Burleigh Head National Park protects a special section of bushland in the heart of the Gold Coast and is considered one of the best beach walks in Australia. It's not actually a beach walk, however, as your toes are rarely in sand. You’ll have views of the beaches with their rolling surfs and surfers riding waves, rocky foreshores and differing flora and fauna—along with whales—from July to November, so add it to your wildlife-viewing list.
There are two walks: The Oceanview is 1.2 kilometres and we suggest allowing at least half an hour. The Rainforest Walk is 2.3 kilometres with a few steep sections. We recommend allowing 45 minutes.
Home to the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, Rosser Park is set on 31 hectares and is only 10 minutes from the heart of Surfers Paradise. There is something for everyone: private lawns for an intimate picnic, a sensory garden, butterfly garden, mountain walk and a rose garden along with a children’s playground and areas designed dog friendly with off-leash zones.
Plus, the café has a wide range of luscious treats. It's open 5 am to 7 pm daily. There is parking on site and entry is free.
Nestled in the rainforest on the first mountain behind the Gold Coast is Curtis Falls. Located in the Jolah section of Tamborine Mountain National Park, descend through a lush, enchanting rainforest to the falls and the viewing platform. Take the full circuit and cross pretty Cedar Creek, and pass a giant strangler fig.
There are another 10-plus walking tracks through sections of Queensland’s oldest national park for you to explore while on Tamborine Mountain. Esme Street Park and the Botanic Gardens both have paved pathways.
Head out for a guided night-time adventure and see the protected glow-worm colony and microbats. The short 1-kilometre circuit slopes through ancient Gondwana rainforest where during the day you might catch a glimpse of green catbirds, wompoo fruit-doves and frogs such as the cascade tree frog and tusked frog. Look closely for sooty owls and koalas resting in the branches above—they are well camouflaged.
Coombabah Lakelands Conservation Area
Kangaroos are just one of the friendly Aussie creatures you may encounter on the various walks through this wetland reserve. In total, there are more than 240 species that have been identified within this tranquil protected area that covers more than 1,200 hectares of eucalyptus and mangrove habitats. A top tip here is to remember the insect repellent.
Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk
Discover the great hinterland of the Gold Coast on this 54-kilometre walk which can be done in sections. The walk traverses along the rim of an ancient volcano, through deep rich rainforest, past waterfalls to lookouts.
While not technically on the Gold Coast, as it’s just over the border in New South Wales, Mount Warning claims to be the first place in Australia where you can see the sunrise. The track to the top is 8.8 kilometres, so allow at least five hours.
The last part of the climb is by a chain; however, you are rewarded with breathtaking 360-degree views around the prehistoric caldera stretching from the Gold Coast to Byron Bay. This climb is best done early in the day, as summer temperatures can soar above 40 degrees Celcius and in winter fall to below zero at the summit.
Scenic Rim Trail
The Scenic Rim Trail is a relatively new up-market guided experience, the options allow you to explore the foothills of the Great Dividing Range on multiple day hikes through a 2,000-hectare nature reserve. Packages can include accommodation, food, wine and itineraries, which are most often arranged to two–four day itinerary options.