Natural Bridge

Springbrook National Park / Gold Coast Hinterland, Queensland, Australia

Rating: 3     Difficulty: 2
The Natural Bridge Waterfall
The Natural Bridge was an unusual feature of Springbrook National Park in that Cave Creek actually spilled into a hole and emerged from the dark cave within through its opening. The combination of the hole and cave opening was what constituted the namesake bridge feature. Julie and I couldn't remember when we had ever visited a reliably flowing waterfall with a natural arch or bridge in the same setting. Thus, for this reason alone, we found it to be one of the more memorable and unique waterfall attractions in Australia (or even the world, for that matter!). The geology that gave rise to this unusual nature feature was said to be from ancient lava flows from Mt Warning, which deposited the hard rock layer that then eventually wore away by the flow of Cave Creek.

Julie and I experienced this attraction in a short one kilometre, well-developed circuit walk with interpretive signs throughout. We spent about 75 minutes on the track, but we really took our time and spent plenty of time admiring the waterfall and natural bridge from its sanctioned lookouts strategically positioned to let us look at the falls and arch from a variety of angles and positions. The railings at the lookouts also had the benefit of letting me take long exposure photographs without a tripod. The park recommended doing the track in a clockwise manner due to the presence of steps, and I think that was how we did it. The clockwise route started by following wooden boardwalks descending a series of steps as it entered a lush rainforest setting.

At the bottom of the walkway, the rainforest walk then started to follow Cave Creek upstream towards the opening of the cave-like archway. There was a set of wooden stairs leading right into the dark cave-like archway, where we were able to see the base of the waterfall as seen in the photo at the top of this page. If we had a very wide angle lens, then perhaps we could've juxtaposed both the waterfall and the natural bridge in one shot (instead of the partial view you see in the photo above). This cave was dark enough to require a tripod or some kind of steadying structure in order to take meaningful photographs from within its depths. And according to some of the signage here, there were supposed to be glowworms in the area all year long (though less so in the Winter months), but I'd imagine they'd only be seen at night when it would be dark enough to notice them. During our visit, even the cave we were in wasn't dark enough to allow these intriguing worms for us to notice them.

As we made our way further up the track, we eventually went up and around the top of the waterfall until we reached a spur track leading us right to a frontal view of where Cave Creek disappeared into the top of the hole comprising one end of the Natural Bridge. After having our fill of this lookout, we then completed the circuit walk along a pretty flat track amidst more ancient rainforest settings. Speaking of the rainforest settings, we consistently saw signs throughout the walk closing off old trails and scrambles that probably would've probably shortened the walk. We respected these barriers due to the fragile nature of the ecosystem here.

Directions: Perhaps the most straightforward route to get to Natural Bridge would be to start from the Gold Coast then work your way up to Springbrook National Park. Starting from Robina Towne Centre exit on the M1 (Pacific Motorway) in the Gold Coast, take the roundabout going right onto Regency Pl. Then, at the next roundabout, take the first exit left onto Hwy 99 (starting off as Railway St then becoming the Gold Coast-Springbrook Rd). Follow Hwy 99 for about 20km before turning right onto Pine Creek Rd. Follow Pine Creek Rd for about 7.2km, then turn left onto the Nerang-Merwillumbah Rd (Hwy 97). Continue on Hwy 97 south for the next 15km to the turnoff for Natural Bridge on the left. Shortly on this unsealed turnoff will be the car park.

Alternatively, Julie and I drove up here from Byron Bay so we'll describe this route. We first drove west on Ewingsdale Rd to the Pacific Hwy (Hwy 1), then we proceeded north on Hwy 1 for about 46km to the Tweed Valley Way exit (in hindsight, we should've taken the first Tweed Valley Way exit about 26km north of the aforementioned freeway entrance west of Byron Bay). Anyhow, we then took the Tweed Valley Way for 17km to the town of Tweed Valley.

Then, we turned right onto Alma St (which then became Wollumbin St) for 1.1km, then turned left onto Riverview St (becoming Kyogle Rd along the way) for almost the next 3km to Hwy 97 (starting off as Park Ave). We then followed Hwy 97 for the next 26km crossing over the NSW-QLD border along the way. Then, we turned right onto the signposted turnoff for Natural Bridge, where we then found the car park and start of the walk.




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PHOTO JOURNAL
Looking at the Natural Bridge Waterfall where Cave Creek disappeared into the cave before re-emerging through the other Natural Bridge cave opening
Althrough Byron Bay wasn't the closest town to get to the Natural Bridge, it was still less than a 90-minute drive and therefore a reasonable half-day to full-day trip from there
Perhaps the nearest base for Springbrook National Park (including the Natural Bridge) was from the Gold Coast of which Surfer's Paradise (pictured here) was also a part of
We saw this interesting bird near the car park for the Natural Bridge in Springbrook National ParkWe saw this interesting bird near the car park for the Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park

Once we descended to the bottom of the walk, we eventually got to a part where the track followed along Cave CreekOnce we descended to the bottom of the walk, we eventually got to a part where the track followed along Cave Creek

Looking towards the opening of the Natural Bridge with the base of the waterfall visible through the openingLooking towards the opening of the bridge with the base of the waterfall visible through the opening

Getting closer to the opening of the Natural BridgeGetting closer to the opening of the bridge

Julie checking out the waterfall in the Natural Bridge before continuing deeper into the caveJulie checking out the waterfall in the bridge before continuing deeper into the cave

Looking out the opening of the Natural Bridge from within the cave areaLooking out the opening of the bridge from within the cave area

Looking back at a direct view of the Natural Bridge revealing the base of the fallsLooking back at a direct view of the natural span revealing the base of the falls

The top of the falls entering the arched cavewayThe top of the falls entering the arched caveway

Closer look at the waterfall spilling into the Natural Bridge in Springbrook National ParkCloser look at the waterfall spilling into the Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS

Looking into the natural bridge with the base of the falls in the backdrop illuminating the darkness


Looking at the base of the waterfall from within the darkness of the cave area


The waterfall falling into the hole


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MAP OF THE FALLS

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TRIP REPORTS
For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES



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NEARBY WATERFALLS


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Not a lyrebird 
Hey Johnny, that's actually a bush turkey. Very common to the area. Lyrebirds tend to be a little more rare

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