We’re regularly out trying new walking tracks and this Southern Gold Coast boardwalk and river trail is something many will enjoy. We walk it as part of a circuit that combines the boardwalk through the mangrove ecosystem, a touch of history walking across Queensland’s oldest remaining rail bridge, excellent cafes, one of the most popular surf beaches on the Gold Coast and a lagoon that presents an overwhelming array of fun options for the whole family.
The Currumbin Creek Walking Trail
You can start your walk anywhere along the route but the Tarrabora Reserve carpark on Currumbin Lagoon is a great starting point. If you arrive here a little later in the day as we did after a detour to BamBam’s, one of the best brunch spots on the Gold Coast it can be a bit more difficult to get a car park. In that case, you can try the Beree-Badalla Reserve parking on the other side of the road or anywhere along the walking route such as the boat ramp, Currumbin Beach or along the southern side of the river.
The main reason we favour the Tarrabora car park is that it’s right off the highway and a great place to end your walk if you want to spend some time relaxing by the lagoon, taking a swim or renting a SUP to paddle around in the calm waters.
The main circuit is just under 4 km back to the car park and if you decide to continue on to Currumbin Beach and Lion Rock that’s a 2.7 km round trip addition so under 7 km for the complete walk with plenty of great places to stop along the way.
As you can see on the route map above you start off at Tarrabora Reserve walking through the bushland path on the edge of the lagoon and passing under the highway bridge to the river and Beree-Badalla Reserve. Here you join the boardwalk and continue through the mangrove area.
At high tide, the boardwalk ‘floats’ on the tide and when it’s low, small beaches appear along the river. There’s a wide diversity of birds and fish you can spot through here and along the boardwalk, there are seats and covered areas to sit and enjoy the view.
The boardwalk continues along to the Throwers Road boat ramp. If you stick to the water’s edge from here you can cross under the road and continue on a riverfront path past the sports oval until you reach the historic railway bridge that today runs next to and beneath the Pacific Motorway.
On the other side of the river head back towards the coast along the river path through parklands and river frontage as far as the lagoon then cross the Gold Coast Highway bridge on the pedestrian path and return to the lagoon beach.
If you want to extend your walk, instead of crossing the bridge at this point continue on and down to Currumbin beach. This is one of the best surf breaks on the Gold Coast, it’s really popular with the more advanced surfers and there are surf carnivals held here throughout the year. There’s a great surf club to sit out for lunch right on the beach or climb Lion Rock for the view down the beach and see if you can spot whales passing in winter. Currumbin beach is also the location of the popular Swell Sculpture Festival, an outdoor art even held in September each year and the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Beree-Badalla boardwalk
The Beree-Badalla Reserve was established in 1983 running between the Gold Coast highway in the east as far west as the Thrower Drive boat ramp. There are a vehicle and footbridge across the river at both ends. Very little salt-marsh remains on the Gold Coast making it and the surrounding mangrove ecosystem an important habitat for marine wildlife living in the Currumbin Creek.
I read on a sign in the reserve that 3 out of 4 fish living in our oceans today either start life in a mangrove environment or rely on the mangrove forests for their food. It’s not surprising then that these eco-systems are so essential to our healthy rivers and ocean.
There are so many options for enjoying this Gold Coast boardwalk.
(1) Sheltered picnic areas are built along the way for quiet contemplation, a picnic or fishing. These are a great place to catch a bit of shade and a slight cooling breeze off the water on a hot day.
(2) The boardwalk is wide and solidly built. You can comfortably walk side by side and allow room for other walkers to pass. Depending on the tide the view can vary a lot. On a high tide, the walkway hovers about the water on either side, very pretty and quite a surreal experience. On low tide, the salt marsh is exposed and it’s easier to spot the small fish and sea life in the clear shallow water beneath the path.
(3) It’s stunning out on the water and boats of all types are super popular. You couldn’t get a much better spot for kayaking with the crystal clear flat water and there’s plenty to see along the banks on either side.
(4) A stop in at the Boatshed is an almost certainty on the south side of the river. Whether it’s a warming winter cuppa or one of their zingy refreshing juices on a summers day. There are lunch options here or ice cream if that’s what you have in mind.
(5) The heritage Currumbin Creek rail bridge crosses at the western end of the walking trail just below the highway offers a glimpse of Queensland’s past. The bridge has been part of the Gold Coast landscape since 1903 and although it’s no longer in use by trains it’s been used as a footbridge since the 1960s with the safety balustrades added in the 1990s.
(6) The birds and wildlife offer another element to the reserve and riverwalk. You’ll spot a variety of small fish and crabs in the river, birds such as the brightly coloured kingfishers and pelicans are seen along the water’s edge and from the ocean end, we’ve regularly seen dolphins and whales in season passing by.
However you plan it, the Beree Badalla Reserve is a great resource for the Gold Coast and extended with the loop walk along the river’s edge and a swim at either the Currumbin Lagoon or beachfront it’s a great addition to your day at the beach.
Planning to visit the Gold Coast? Here are some other options you might enjoy.
- A sure spot for kangaroos and wallabies in the wild
- The best walking tracks in the Lamington National Park
- Spend a day at Currumbin Wildlife sanctuary
- A foodies guide to the Broadbeach area
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