Curtis Falls

Tamborine National Park, Queensland, Australia

About Curtis Falls

Hiking Distance: 1.3km round trip
Suggested Time: 30-45 minutes

Date first visited: 2022-07-06
Date last visited: 2022-07-06

Waterfall Latitude: -27.92527
Waterfall Longitude: 153.19304

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Curtis Falls is an easy-to-visit waterfall where Cedar Creek drops a modest 10-12m within the Joalah section of Tamborine National Park in the Gold Coast Hinterland.

At first glance, there didn’t seem to be anything extraordinary about this waterfall, especially since there were quite a few more impressive ones within the reserve like Cedar Creek Falls and Cameron Falls among others.

Curtis_Falls_059_07052022 - Curtis Falls
Curtis Falls

In fact, there was even a noisy road that was right above the waterfall, and you’re not allowed to swim in its plunge pool due to restricted access.

However, what made this waterfall stand out was the opportunity at combining a visit with witnessing wild glow worms!

It was also possible to spot a platypus in the creek though it might have to happen when not so many people are around.

Speaking of lots of people, the family-friendly and short 1.3km return walk (according to my GPS logs) began from a well-signed and well-established car park (see directions below).

Curtis_Falls_029_07052022 - Checking out the lush rainforest scenery at the Joalah Lookout on the way down to the Curtis Falls Lookout
Checking out the lush rainforest scenery at the Joalah Lookout on the way down to the Curtis Falls Lookout

We then followed a gently descending track that through the rainforest just as we crossed back into the boundaries of Tamborine National Park.

Along the way, there was a Joalah Lookout, which was basically a lookout within the confines of the rainforest.

The short track ultimately descended to a trail junction where the reaminder of the walk proceeded upstream along Cedar Creek to the Curtis Falls Lookout at its end.

Overall, this short walk took us less than 45 minutes away from the car.

Curtis_Falls_074_07052022 - Tahia dwarfed by a large strangler fig tree along the Curtis Falls Track
Tahia dwarfed by a large strangler fig tree along the Curtis Falls Track

After having our fill of our late afternoon visit of the Curtis Falls, I did notice that on the way out, several families were going the other way towards the waterfall in the hopes of seeing glow worms.

Well, according to our guide at the nearby Glow Worm Caves on the Cedar Creek Estate, the best conditions for seeing glow worms would be in the humid summer months when there’s more moisture and the bugs are more active.

That brings out more glow worms looking to feast on the increased insect population, and hence that would cause more of them to light up the darkness.

Since our July 2022 visit was in the midst of the Australian Winter (typically the Dry Season), the conditions weren’t right for a good display of glow worms even though the La Nina rains produced a lot of moisture.


Curtis Falls resides in the Tamborine National Park near the Gold Coast, Queensland. It is administered by the State of Queensland Department of Environment and Science. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Curtis_Falls_002_07052022 - Looking towards some spillover parking for Curtis Falls, which indicated that this place was still pretty busy even though it was getting towards the end of the day on our July 2022 visit
Curtis_Falls_005_07052022 - Julie checking out some of the interpretive signs at the trailhead for Curtis Falls
Curtis_Falls_007_07052022 - Looking towards a sign indicating that we were in the Joalah Section of Tamborine National Park during our Curtis Falls visit in July 2022
Curtis_Falls_011_07052022 - Tahia being dwarfed by tall trees while walking the track leading us down to Curtis Falls in July 2022
Curtis_Falls_014_07052022 - Walking by some gum trees with some blackened bark near their bases on the way to Curtis Falls during our July 2022 visit
Curtis_Falls_018_07052022 - Continuing down the Curtis Falls Track between some tall trees as seen during our July 2022 visit
Curtis_Falls_020_07052022 - Looking towards more dark-barked trees besides the Curtis Falls Track during our July 2022 visit
Curtis_Falls_022_07052022 - Closer look at another one of the tall gum trees with blackened bark and knobs as seen along the Curtis Falls Track in July 2022
Curtis_Falls_023_07052022 - Looking up towards one of the taller gum trees alongside the Curtis Falls Walking Track during our visit in July 2022
Curtis_Falls_024_07052022 - Looking towards what appeared to be a strangler fig tree from nearby the Joalah Lookout along the Curtis Falls Track
Curtis_Falls_033_07052022 - Descending the Curtis Falls Track as we were approachign the next trail junction closer to Cedar Creek during our July 2022 visit
Curtis_Falls_039_07052022 - Following the final stretch upstream along Cedar Creek towards the Curtis Falls Lookout during our July 2022 visit
Curtis_Falls_041_07052022 - Looking back past one of the strangler fig trees alongside Cedar Creek while heading further upstream towards the Curtis Falls Lookout in July 2022
Curtis_Falls_049_07052022 - Tahia and Julie arriving at the Curtis Falls Lookout on our July 2022 visit
Curtis_Falls_052_07052022 - An interesting juxtaposition of Curtis Falls with a car whizzing by on the road above it to the topright in this photo from our July 2022 visit
Curtis_Falls_054_07052022 - Portrait look at the diminutive Curtis Falls as seen from the lookout at the end of the short trail in July 2022
Curtis_Falls_061_07052022 - Long-exposed look at Curtis Falls from our visit in July 2022
Curtis_Falls_068_07052022 - Another look at Curtis Falls and a car going past on the topright during our visit in July 2022
Curtis_Falls_071_07052022 - Broad context of Curtis Falls fronting by lots of railings at its lookout in our July 2022 visit
Curtis_Falls_075_07052022 - After having our fill of the Curtis Falls, Tahia started heading back on the trail during our July 2022 visit
Curtis_Falls_077_07052022 - Curtis Falls is actually an upside down hike, but it was easy and short enough to not be very strenuous during our July 2022 visit
Curtis_Falls_083_07052022 - Tahia continuing to go up towards the car park after having her fill of the Curtis Falls during our July 2022 visit
Curtis_Falls_088_07052022 - Back at a flatter part of the Curtis Falls Track as we were getting back to the car park to end our July 2022 visit
Curtis_Falls_092_07052022 - Making it back to the Curtis Falls car park just at or around sunset during our July 2022 visit

Curtis Falls resides on Tamborine Mountain, which is near the Gold Coast as well as south of Brisbane.

From the Esplanade in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, we drove north 750m on the Esplanade before turning left onto Ocean Ave then making a right turn onto Gold Coast Hwy (State Route 2) 220m later.

Curtis_Falls_003_07052022 - Context of the pretty spacious car park for Curtis Falls
Context of the pretty spacious car park for Curtis Falls

Next, we’d follow the Gold Coast Hwy for about 4km before turning left onto North Street (State Route 10).

From there, we’d drive on State Route 10 for about 8km to merge onto the M1 Motorway.

After about 4.5km on the M1 Motorway, we then got off at the Helensvale (North) off-ramp (exit 60), where we’d then follow Entertainment Road for 500m towards a roundabout with Michigan Drive.

Once on Michigan Drive, we then followed this road west for about 3km before turning onto the Tamborine-Oxenford Road (State Route 95).

Curtis_Falls_004_iPhone_07062022 - Our visit to Curtis Falls in July 2022 happened near the end of the day
Our visit to Curtis Falls in July 2022 happened near the end of the day

Then, we’d follow this road for a little over 19km before turning right onto Dapsang Drive (there should be Curtis Falls signs by this point).

Finaly, we’d take Dapsang Drive to a three-way intersection right next to the Curtis Falls car park.

Overall, this drive would take under an hour, typically.

For context, Gold Coast was 78km (about an hour drive) south of Brisbane and 94km (over an hour drive) north of Byron Bay

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Brief back and forth sweep with zoomed-in panning on the falls

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Tagged with: cedar creek, glow worms, glow worm caves, tamborine, queensland, gold coast, hinterland, surfers paradise, joalah

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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