Natural Bridge

Springbrook National Park, Queensland, Australia

About Natural Bridge


Hiking Distance: 1km loop
Suggested Time: 45-75 minutes

Date first visited: 2008-05-10
Date last visited: 2008-05-10

Waterfall Latitude: -28.23054
Waterfall Longitude: 153.24346

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.

Natural_Bridge_Springbrook_081_05092008 - The Natural Bridge Waterfall in Springbrook National Park
The Natural Bridge Waterfall in Springbrook National Park

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 came from ancient lava flows from Mt Warning, which deposited the hard rock layer that then eventually wore away by the flow of Cave Creek.

Experiencing Natural Bridge

Julie and I experienced this attraction in a short one kilometre, well-developed circuit walk with interpretive signs throughout.

Natural_Bridge_Springbrook_021_05092008 - Once we descended to the bottom of the track, we walked along Cave Creek, which was responsible for the waterfall flowing in and out of Natural Bridge
Once we descended to the bottom of the track, we walked along Cave Creek, which was responsible for the waterfall flowing in and out of Natural Bridge

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.

They strategically placed these lookouts, which allowed us to 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 we did the track in this manner.

The clockwise route started by following wooden boardwalks, which descended a series of steps as it entered a lush rainforest setting.

Natural_Bridge_Springbrook_043_05092008 - The stairs leading right into the Natural Bridge's mouth
The stairs leading right into the Natural Bridge’s mouth

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).

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.

Natural_Bridge_Springbrook_076_05092008 - Even though glow worms are in the Natural Bridge, it was still too bright to see them during our visit
Even though glow worms are in the Natural Bridge, it was still too bright to see them during our visit

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.

During our visit, even the cave we were in didn’t have enough darkness to allow us to notice these intriguing worms.

As we made our way further up the track, we eventually went up and around the top of the waterfall.

We ultimately 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.

Natural_Bridge_Springbrook_101_05092008 - Looking at where the waterfall spilled into the top of the Natural Bridge
Looking at where the waterfall spilled into the top 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.

Authorities

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.

Natural_Bridge_Springbrook_002_05092008 - We saw this interesting bird near the car park for the Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park
Natural_Bridge_Springbrook_027_05092008 - Looking towards the opening of the Natural Bridge with the base of the waterfall visible through the opening
Natural_Bridge_Springbrook_038_05092008 - Getting closer to the opening of the Natural Bridge
Natural_Bridge_Springbrook_088_05092008 - Looking back at a direct view of the Natural Bridge revealing the base of the falls
Natural_Bridge_Springbrook_095_05092008 - Looking directly at the Natural Bridge Waterfall disappearing into the Natural Bridge itself
Natural_Bridge_Springbrook_106_05092008 - Closer look at the waterfall spilling into the Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park

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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.

Driving from the Gold Coast

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.

Driving from Byron Bay

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.

For context, Gold Coast was 78km (about an hour drive) south of Brisbane and 94km (over an hour drive) north of Byron Bay. We actually stayed in Surfers Paradise, which was a resorty area by the beach within the Gold Coast.

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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Tagged with: springbrook, national park, gold coast, brisbane, hinterland, natural arch, natural bridge, glow worms, queensland, australia, waterfall, cave creek, mt warning, mount warning, tweed valley



Visitor Comments:

Not a lyrebird August 21, 2011 3:31 am by Ben - Hey Johnny, that's actually a bush turkey. Very common to the area. Lyrebirds tend to be a little more rare ...Read More

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of 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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