Guide to Hikes in Tamborine National Park, QLD

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Tamborine Mountain is located 80km South of Brisbane and will take you approximately 1 hour to drive there from the CBD. If you are travelling from the Gold Coast, it is 36km from Southport or 28km from Nerang. Home to some beautiful scenic walks, it’s a great spot to spend a day or afternoon exploring on the weekend.

A wooden sign next to a path that reads Tamborine National Park Knoll Section

Enjoy the walks in Tamborine National Park. 

Background and history of Tamborine Mountain

Prior to the European’s arriving to Tamborine Mountain in 1875, the Yugambeh people lived amid the rainforest with its abundance of resources providing food, water and shelter. However, when Europeans arrived large areas of forest were felled, making way for farms and it was not until 1908 that the first section of Tamborine Mountain was declared a National Park. In fact, the Witches Falls section at Tamborine Mountain was the first National Park in Queensland.

There is a wide range of flora and fauna to see at Tamborine Mountain including the lyrebird as well as glow worms (at night), snakes, pademelons, and Eastern whipbirds. If you are lucky, you may also see a short-beaked echidna or sooty owl. Some plants that you would see at Tamborine National Park include the flooded, spotted and scribbly gums, bloodwoods, iron barks, piccabeen palms, ferns, and strangler figs.

Tamborine Mountain is divided into 14 sections of land. There are six main sections for hiking which include Joalah, Knoll, Palm Grove, Witches Falls, MacDonald, and Cedar Creek. For the latest health and safety updates on this park including what is open and closed, check out this link here.

A man walks along a hiking trail in a lush rainforest

Explore the plants and animals native to the area. 

Staying the night

Camping is not permitted in the National Park however there are a number of private campgrounds available. Alternatively, there are also accommodation options such as hotels or bed and breakfasts.

Places to eat

Tamborine Mountain is very touristy and has a range of cafés, convenience stores, restaurants, bakeries and fudge stores. Tamborine Mountain also has a Woolworths and an information centre.

Other tourist attractions at Tamborine Mountain include the glow worm cave, rainforest skywalk, treetop challenge (zip-lining), wineries, botanical gardens and mountain bike tracks.

Water flows along a rocky creek in the rainforest

Water flowing along the Curtis Falls track. 

Joalah Section – Curtis Falls track / Lower Creek Circuit

Curtis Falls is in the Joalah Section of Tamborine National Park and although the creek itself is called Cedar Creek, the falls are named after one of the early European families who settled in the area.

The Curtis family moved to Tamborine Mountain in the late 1870s and set up a small steam mill which included a 7.3 metre water wheel about 40-60 metres upstream of the falls. Timber such as cedar, beech, bollygum, hoop pine and hardwoods were all processed but due to poor market prices, the mill closed in the mid-1890s.

From the car park, the return walk to Curtis Falls is approximately 1.1km with a slight decline on the way. From the waterfall, you can extend your walk along the creek by doing the “Lower Creek circuit” which is an additional 2.5km. The Joalah section is very popular and therefore is best to do the hike before the crowds turn up.

A waterfall and rockpool surrounded by rainforest

The falls is a must see on your trip here. Image: Visit Tamborine Mountain

Knoll Section – Sandy Creek Circuit / Cameron Falls

The Knoll section is a great spot for a picnic with BBQ facilities, tables and benches, toilets, and plenty of grassy spaces for kids to play around. There’s also a stunning lookout offering views of Flinders Peak, Mount Perry, Birnam Range and Yarrabilba.

The “Knoll Walking Track” also known as the “Sandy Creek Circuit”, is a 2.6km return walk and follows Sandy Creek towards Cameron Falls. Be sure to have your camera ready as there’s a fabulous view of the falls along the way.

The view from Knoll lookout

This is a perfect location for a picnic.

Palm Grove Section – Palm Grove Circuit / Jenyns Circuit

The Palm Grove section is named after the piccabeen palms found throughout this area of Tamborine National Park. Piccabeen palms have aerial roots that are exposed above the soil surface which allow them to absorb oxygen and thrive in the waterlogged soils of this area.

There are two hikes in this section. For a shorter hike, it is best to do Palm Grove Circuit which is 2.7km. However, you may wish to complete Jenyns Circuit which is an additional 2.1km and provides a little more exercise with the total distance of 4.8km.

Jenyns circuit leads into drier eucalyptus forest and it is important to stay on the path as the track does tend to go close to steep cliff edges. For the longer hike, it’s recommended you pack water and snacks, and allow yourself plenty of time.

A trail through thick rainforest

There are two hikes to choose from in this section. 

Witches Falls Section – Witches Falls Circuit / Witches Chase track

It is best to park at Main Western Road for this area. There is a picnic spot with BBQ facilities and toilets if you fancy stopping for lunch before or after hitting the trail.

The more popular hike in the Witches Falls Section is the “Witches Falls Circuit” which is a 3.6km loop track. On this track you will see banksia trees, piccabeen palms, strangler figs and of course, Witches Falls with perfect photo opportunities of the waterfall from the viewing platform.

To extend the hike, you may want to do the “Witches Chase Track” which ends up at Beacon Road. Along the Witches Chase Track, you will pass large red cedar trees and eucalypt forest, then return to the car park by going back to the lookout and linking onto the “Witches Falls Circuit”.

A woman looks up at an old strangler fig tree

From this track you can find a lookout platform to view the waterfall. Image: Brandan Trudinger

Cedar Creek Section – Cedar Creek Falls track to rock pools

If you plan to go to the Cedar Creek section, please make sure you access the park during permitted hours (please see the QLD National Parks website). The walk to the lookout (500m from the carpark) is wheelchair accessible. However, for a longer walk, there is a 1.1km return track that leads down to the rock pools.

A family sit beside a rockpool next to a waterfall

You’ve got a few options to walk in the Cedar Creek Section. Image: National Park Odyssey

Rotary Lookout

One of the best lookouts at Tamborine is the Rotary Lookout. This vantage points allows you to look West of Tamborine where you can see Main Range, the Cunningham’s Gap and Flinders Peak.

2 men sit at the top of a grassy hill, looking out over the countryside below, with far mountains in the distance

Stop for a rest and check out the view. 

MacDonald section – MacDonald rainforest circuit

This loop track is 1.4km return and takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. The track meanders through piccabeen palms and strangler figs.

A woman walks along a sunlit path in the rainforest

The MacDonald Section of the park. Image: My Walkabout Plants, Simon Schubert

 

What’s your favourite local national park to hike in?

About the writer...

Sabrina Blaas

Sabrina is an avid hiker from Brisbane. She hikes as a way to unwind after a busy week working on her PhD. She’s explored many of the popular tracks around South East Queensland and is always up for a bigger challenge! She has a long list of hikes she would like to do around Australia and overseas in the future.

Joined back in April, 2016

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