About Natural Bridge
The Natural Bridge Waterfall 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 constituted that namesake natural bridge feature.
When we first visited this place in May 2008, Julie and I couldn’t remember ever having visited a reliably flowing waterfall that fell right through a natural arch or bridge in this manner.
Therefore, we found it to be one of the more memorable and unique waterfall attractions in Australia (or even the world, for that matter!).
Of course in the ensuing years, we’ve managed to visit other combinations of waterfalls dropping right through natural bridges and arches in places like Curly Creek Falls, Natural Bridge Falls, Pistyll Rhaeadr, and Donut Falls among others.
So apparently the geology giving rise to this combination of waterfalls and natural arches and bridges aren’t all that rare in Nature.
In the case of the one in Springbrook National Park, the ancient lava flow was sourced by Mt Warning, which was then worn away by the flow of Cave Creek after the lava had hardened.
Further adding to the scenic allure of this waterfall was that it was said to harbour one of the largest natural glow worm colonies in Australia.
Of course, we’ve never showed up when it was dark enough to even see them, but I’ve been told that they need more moist and humid conditions, which tends to bring out more bugs for them to feed on.
So maybe one of these days, we might show up in the Wet Season and try to time a visit for an evening at the Natural Bridge Waterfall to actually witness glow worms around a waterfall.
The Natural Bridge Experience
We’ve experienced this attraction in a short one kilometre, well-developed circuit walk with interpretive signs throughout.
On each of our visits to this waterfall (I also visited this place for a second time in early July 2022), we’ve noticed signs placed by park authorities having us do the circuit walk in a clockwise manner.
I think the main reason for this is that with the increase in popularity of this attraction, by having everyone walk in one direction, you get more space between visitors and hence a more improved overall experience.
Anyways, for each time I’ve done this track, I’ve spent about 75 minutes or less on the track, but I never felt like I was in a rush so I suppose it could have been an even shorter visit.
Throughout the well-maintained and mostly-paved circuit walk, the authorities have strategically placed lookouts that pretty much allowed visitors to look at the falls and the natural bridge from almost all angles imaginable.
Indeed, we’ve been able to look down at where Cave Creek disappeared into the natural bridge (from both sides of the creek) as well as experience the mouth of the natural bridge.
The walking path even went into the dark confines of the natural bridge to peer right at the bottom of the waterfall as well as provide an opportunity to see glow worms under the right conditions.
By the way, the railings at the lookouts also had the benefit of letting me take long exposure photographs without a tripod.
Trail Description Of The Clockwise Circuit Walk
From the well-signed and well-established car park (see directions below), we briefly descended past some restroom facilities then towards a boardwalk junction next to some huge strangler fig trees.
Then, the clockwise route started by following wooden boardwalks past the strangler figs before descended 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.
A set of stairs led right into the dark cave-like archway, where we could see the base of the waterfall together with the mouth of the natural bridge.
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 at the top of this page).
Anyways, this cave had enough darkness 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, we could have seen glow worms in the area all year long (though less so in the Winter months).
Nevertheless, I’d imagine they’d only be seen at night when it would be dark enough to notice them, and I’m keen to actually time a visit for the right conditions to see them in a place like this.
After having our fill of the dark interior of the natural bridge, we then made our way further up the track, where we eventually went up beside one lookout peering at where Cave Creek disappeared into the natural bridge.
Then, the track continued further upstream to go around the top of the waterfall before ultimately reaching a fork with a spur track.
That spur track led us right to another frontal view of where Cave Creek disappeared into the top of the hole comprising top 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 restriction signs prohibiting access to anywhere above and around the natural bridge except for the sanctioned walkways.
I believe this is to protect the glow worm species while also limiting injuries to people as well as the ecosystem, and thus we had no issues respecting these restrictions.
Natural Bridge resides in the Springbrook 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.
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.
I’ll also describe the driving directions from Byron Bay since we did that route when we first visited in May 2008.
Driving from the Surfers Paradise (Gold Coast)
Starting from the Esplanade in Surfer’s Paradise, we’d drive 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.
Next, we’d follow the Gold Coast Hwy for about 2.5km before turning left onto Queen Street (State Route 20).
From there, we’d drive on State Route 20 for about 13.4km going through the suburb of Nerang, where the route will eventually become the State Route 90 before splitting off with State Route 97.
Keeping left to stay on State Route 97 (Nerang-Murwillumbah Road), we’d then drive another 33km before turning left onto the signposted Bakers Rd leading to the car park for the Natural Bridge.
Overall, this drive should take around an hour give or take (it depends on a combination of traffic and traffic lights).
Driving from Byron Bay
Coming up from Byron Bay, we took Ewingsdale Road for 7km to the M1, and then we drove north on the M1 for nearly 17km to the Tweed Valley Way exit towards Murwillumbah (State Route 40).
Then, we drove for about 28km on the State Route 40 towards the town of Murwillumbah, where we’d then continue following the signs towards State Routes 34 and 42 (taking us onto Queensland Road).
After about 1.6km on Queensland Road, we then turned left onto State Route 34 (Numinbah Road), where we’d then drive for nearly the next 28km to the Natural Bridge turnoff to our right.
Note that State Route 34 becomes the State Route 97 once it crosses the New South Wales-Queensland Border.
Once on the signed turnoff for Natural Bridge, then we’d take Bakers Rd for the final 350m to the Natural Bridge car park.
Overall, this drive would take around 90 minutes or so.
For context, Gold Coast was 78km (about an hour drive) south of Brisbane and 94km (over an hour drive) north of Byron Bay.
Note that for each of our Natural Bridge visits, we actually stayed in Surfers Paradise, which was a resorty area by the beach within the Gold Coast.
Find A Place To Stay
Related Top 10 Lists
No Posts Found
Trip Planning Resources
Featured Images and Nearby Attractions
Visitor Comments:Got something you'd like to share or say to keep the conversation going? Feel free to leave a comment below...
Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:If you have a waterfall story or write-up that you'd like to share, feel free to click the button below and fill out the form...
No users have submitted a write-up/review of this waterfall