I found Kristin’s fabulous travel blog, A Pair of Boots and a Backpack. and her entry High Above Tamborine Mountain on the Skywalk | A Pair of Boots and a Backpack which reminded me of a short break I took, in UNESCO world heritage listed Springbrook national park. Memories of the waterfalls, the soft spray that caresses your face, the cool refreshing humidity, the awesome views – that is Springbrook National Park.
Springbrook is an easy 1- 2 hour drive from Brisbane, Australia, and whilst a small township, with several cafes, basic amenities, and art/ craft gallery, its forte is nature-based walking tracks and trails. In short, it is national park full of private retreats, awe-inspiring lookouts, picnic areas, walking tracks and spectacular nature. Aiming for a relaxing holiday, we found ouselves walking up to 9 kilometres, through open and closed Eucalypt and rainforest, Palm and Picabeen groves, and splashing in rock pools, fringed with waterfalls, each and every day.
As long as you have an adequate water bottle and snack, the shaded, mostly- level walk makes the 6 or 9 km circuit pleasant for anyone with moderate fitness, (Miss 9 certainly managed the 9k with only a few grumbles). At times, it was all very ‘Lord of the Rings’, as the path criss-crossed gorges and behind waterfalls, under overhanging rocks and between rock crevices. I did not have a good quality camera at the time, but nevertheless some pics turned out:
We stayed at Springbrook Mountain chalets, a private self contained stand alone group of houses, separated from each other with lush rainforest and tall trees. If you want to get the sense of living in the forest, with all the comfort of home, plus a few more, like a 6 person spa, this is the place. On the upstairs rear balcony of the house, you are level with the low tree tops, as the valley falls away sharply beside the house. The bush is literally all around you, and the birds are almost constantly active, save for their midday siesta ( the hottest part of the day). It can get cold and rainy up here, even in summer, so bring a cardi!! If desperate, there is always the log fire.
Another walk on the southern side of the township is only 500 metres in length and takes you to a lookout in the clouds. Being so cool and moist on this side of the plateau, 600 to 1000 m above sea level, you are standing, literally, in the clouds, even on a relatively clear day. If you are patient, the breeze will part the clouds revealing views to the coast beyond.
Along the way, take a moment to admire the ancient trees, “Nothofagus”, I believe, which make me feel like LOTR was filmed here and not in New Zealand. My Botany lessons all those years back in Uni, taught me that trees, such as these, were part of the remnant flora that was called the ‘Antarctic element’. Millions of year ago, prior to commencing its continental drift southward, the Australian continent was part of a huge super-continent called Gondwana. Gondwanaland consists of modern day Australasia and Antarctica, and as the landscape was not as dry as today, Nothofagus trees, (found in wet sclerophyll rainforest), such as these examples, thrived. As such, they deserve our respect and protection. These could possibly be several hundreds of years old.
How long have these trees been standing here like Three kings? Something I pondered about when visiting Springbrook. I hope you find your visit as energising and invigorating as I did.
Jan 2014 update: Recent storm damage has closed parts of the Purlingbrook circuit due to landslips, but it is still possible to see the falls, as long as you return up the same path.