Sunday dawned like most days here in the Australian summer, crystal blue skies and a rising temperature.
Feeling at loose ends, and with no particular agenda in mind I decided on the spur of the moment to head out and go for a hike.
As I mentioned in a prior essay, my beautiful home state of Queensland has 1,000 National Parks. Fortunately with many only a short driving distance from home.
I consulted my AllTrails app on my phone (cos, that’s what we do now) and punched in “falls”. I wanted something spectacular and awe inspiring – definitely in the mood for that.
Up popped Springbrook National Park.
Within the park there were a number of recommendations, but for some reason Purling Brook Falls jumped off the page at me…
As you know, I always go with my gut and something told me to try this one.
After quickly packing some drinks in my small esky (Australian cooler), and putting on the hiking boots I set off on my 1.5 hour drive south to Springbrook.
Although the traffic through Brisbane was a little slow especially with an accident on the highway the drive was still relatively easy.
Springbrook National Park is situated within the World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia region in southern Queensland.
There’s something magical about mountains and rainforests that brighten my soul and so was therefore very excited about my pending hike.
The park covers some 62 square kilometers and situated on the McPherson range in the hinterland adjacent to the Gold Coast.
For those of you that don’t know the Gold Coast is similar to Miami Beach in Florida.
This are is best known for its wide, white sandy beaches and temperate subtropical climate. It also has some of the best surf beaches in Australia.
The Gold Coast is lined with hotels and condo towers for as far as the eye can see, not exactly my cup of tea. 🙂
Although the perfect playground for the rich and famous and lots of local holiday makers. Australia’s playground if you will…
The Springbrook National Park is situated 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of the Gold Coast.
The drive into the park itself is very steep as it winds its way over ridges and saddleback mountains with lots of hairpin turns. Careful if you get motion sickness!
Upon arrival a point to note is that the car park is relatively small given the scale and size of the falls. I therefore had to park on the road leading in which wasn’t a huge inconvenience.
A short walk from the car park finds the first viewing platform of Purling Brook falls. I have to say it’s pretty awesome!
I decided to follow the track in a clockwise fashion down to the base of the falls. The best part was that there were very few people on the trail.
Just imagine standing in the middle of an old growth rainforest with the canopy some 100+ feet above you, surrounded only by the sounds of nature…
Yeah, it was that sort of hike.
The views from the steep path down (many switchbacks and steps) was incredible with the valley and mountains stretching out before me.
I felt like I was the only person on earth at that moment.
And loved being personally serenaded by cicadas, song birds, including a pair of kookaburras high above me who seemed to take great joy laughing and giggling to their heart’s content. Nice!
As I meandered along the path I passed underneath a secondary waterfall and captured a beautiful rainbow with my camera.
It’s difficult to fathom the scale of the falls until you stand next to the pool at the base.
It’s very high as the water plummets some 106 meters (348 feet) over the escarpment into the large rock pool at its base. To give you a sense of scale it’s twice as high as Niagara Falls…
The water was chilly which was quite a contrast to what I expected. There were a few people swimming and luxuriating in the cool waters after their hike down.
I was however, not one of them! Even a little too cold or me 🙂
The hike back up the other side to the car park was again very quiet with few people about. I suppose this is expected given that there are no international tourists allowed into Australia at the moment.
The Springbrook National Park has so many trails and landmarks that it will definitely be on my ongoing list of places to visit and explore more of.
I realize that I am extremely lucky to live in a country that is not currently at the mercy of the pandemic, but also that has such a seemingly infinite number of National Parks and natural wonders to explore.
So far my adventures have only taken me about 150 kilometers from home and yet to discover the infinite number of beautiful places Australia has on offer.
Clearly I’m just getting started on my adventures here so you’ll have to stay tuned!
Until next week