So I’m just going to say it, the Twin Falls Circuit in Springbrook National Park might just be the most spectacular short hike on the Gold Coast!
I know, it’s a big call with so much stunning scenery and so many well-maintained tracks throughout the Lamington, Springbrook and Tamborine Mountain National Parks. All three National Parks form part of the Scenic Rim and the World Heritage protected Gondwana Rainforests of Australia so you really can’t go wrong.
The whole area is stunning with prehistoric rock formations, lush rainforest, 4 stunning waterfalls and dramatic lookouts. There is so much to see on the Twin Fall Circuit and it’s only 4km and a grade 3 track making it assessable to most people of average fitness and mobility.
If you want something a bit more the Warrie Track at 17km looks amazing and the 54km Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk passes through very near Twin Falls, an entry point is at the Apple Tree Park just down the road.
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The Springbrook National Park area was formed 23 million years ago and its pristine state makes it extremely important on an international scale. The Springbrook Plateau was once the northern face of a huge shield volcano that dominated the area at that time. The volcano was about 80 kilometres across and 2,000 metres high, over 6,000 km² were covered in its lava flows that were up to 270 m deep in parts. The basalt, rhyolite and pyroclastic rock formations that are dominant throughout the region today were formed during that time. It’s the rhyolite that makes up the sheer cliffs.
The volcano began to die about 10 million years ago and over the millions of years that have passed since erosion carved out a crescent of vertical cliffs. It extends from Springbrook to Lambington plateau and to the Tweed Range above the Mt Warning Valley vent. The erosion continues to shape and change the local landscape you can see another interesting example on a short walk also within the Springbrook National Park at the Natural Bridge.
The ‘Best of All’ Lookout is 5km away and gives panoramic views across the region and takes in both Queensland and across the border into New South Wales.
Walking the Twin Falls Circuit
We’d heard that this region was important for both flora and fauna and before we’d even left the picnic area we’d seen a couple of pademelons and a variety of birds including yellow-throated scrubwren and Eastern yellow robins.
We walked the circuit anticlockwise which turned out to be a good choice. I always prefer to walk down a slope and climb upstairs than vice versa. In several places, you walk under rocks or through a narrow divide between two rock faces.
In one spot we found a good-sized carpet python soaking up the winter sun, he was obviously quite lethargic in the cooler climate as although he was aware of people he wasn’t interested in moving off of his patch of sunshine. It looked like a child hiding, he’d tucked his head under a pile of fallen branches and had left the rest in plain sight and warmth.
Other than this guy there was a surprising lack of reptiles spotted on the walk but we had made a couple of other stops first so quite a few people had been through ahead of us. Normally this area is a good spot for seeing land mullet but we weren’t lucky enough to spot any this time.
The falls of the Twin Falls Circuit
Given the name of the circuit, we’d hoped to see a good set of rainforest falls with at least some flow happening despite it being a bit dry lately. We hadn’t expected to see four sets of waterfalls in just 4 km.
In the local aboriginal dialect, Tamarramai means ‘smaller’. These are the first falls we came too after passing through a walkway between two rock faces so while they might have been only a minor flow of water compared to those further on the height of the rock face they fell over wasn’t unimpressive.
Unsurprisingly named for the two distinct curtains of water than fall from the cliff the twin falls land in a beautiful pool that in the warmer weather I’m certain would make a very nice swimming hole. You have the option to take the dry path in front of the falls or walk around behind them. Who can resist walking behind a waterfall. While there was a little spray last week you didn’t get significantly wet at these ones although I’m sure you could if you came after some summer rains.
This is definitely where you sort the tourists from the locals, it’s July, the middle of winter, admittedly it’s 24 degrees celsius on the Coast but there were people swimming!
In the local aboriginal dialect, Tallanbana means ‘out of the rushes’ and these falls are on the other side of the swimming hole from Twin Falls. They were splashing over the path a bit and I didn’t get a good photo of them because of water drops on the lens. If you are concerned about getting wet you can avoid the spray completely by taking the front path and approaching from the other side. Even though the path was damp in places it wasn’t slippery.
The last set of falls you come to are the Blackfellow falls and these ones you do need to pass behind to continue on the trail. We got a bit wet but not drenched, it was enough to need to put the good cameras back in the pack and use the waterproof for a few photos here.
As you climb the hill again you’ll come to some rock pools that feed the falls. You can sometimes see the blue Lamington Spiny Crayfish here or even on the tracks at times after heavy rains.
We had a clamber over the rocks and watched for a while but no crayfish came out for our cameras. This cheeky Pale Yellow Robin was keen to perform for us though so I thought he deserved a picture.
Getting to the Twin Falls Circuit
You can start the walk either from the Tallanbana Picnic Area or from the Canyon Lookout.
Although the walk is only 4km and a grade 3 make sure you are prepared for the conditions with water, insect repellant and non-slip shoes that give some ankle support. You may also want a waterproof bag to protect electronics or anything that’s water-sensitive as the path behind some of the falls doesn’t remain dry all year around. The falls flow best during the summer wet season and at that time there can be quite a bit of splash across parts of the path but the waterfalls are at their most impressive.
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Enjoy your visit to the Australian rainforest, there are some unique and beautiful wildlife and stunning scenery to enjoy right around the country, many places such as the Springbrook National Park are surprisingly convenient to access from popular tourist and urban areas.
Wednesday 23rd of September 2015
Thanks Toni, your blog is now my go to guide for Queensland bushwalks! The national parks sites are great but your posts have these gorgeous images that inspire me to visit :)
2 Aussie Travellers
Wednesday 23rd of September 2015
Thanks for that Kira. We're so lucky with all the beautiful parks and walks we have in Australia.
Wednesday 26th of August 2015
Excellent information. The waterfall reflection photo is gorgeous. 24 degrees is chilly swimming for Queenslanders agreed? this is a great post!
Thursday 27th of August 2015
Thanks Jan. Did you get a chance to explore the National Parks while you were down on the coast?
Janeen @ Green Global Travel
Friday 24th of July 2015
Beautiful pictures! It's amazing to be in an area that existed so long ago. Thanks for sharing!
Thursday 23rd of July 2015
I'm going to the Gold Coast next month and I'd love to do a hike. This looks amazing. What sort of elevation is the hike?
Friday 24th of July 2015
Hi Sandra, I hope you get into the hinterlands while you are here, it really is beautiful. The elevation at the highest point in Springbrook NP is around 1000 metres above sea level, this walk is high enough for fantastic views but isn't the top. I don't have the gear to measure the elevation of the walk itself but you go from road level gradually down to the tops of the waterfalls then down to the base of the falls and work your way back up. The track is slope or steps all the way so no climbing skill required. Have fun!
Natalie - From Tourist 2 Local
Monday 20th of July 2015
I am not sure what I would do if I saw a python while hiking. I would probably be too scared to take a picture actually! But, great shot! The hike seems really fun :)