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9 Challenging Gold Coast bushwalks for adrenaline junkies

Emily Toxward | April 30, 2021

If you’re an adrenaline junkie always up for a new adventure, why not run or cycle your way through some of the Gold Coast’s most challenging trails.


With 691 kilometres of recreational trails and 35,000 hectares of bushland reserves, conversation area and national parks across the city, you’re spoilt for choice.

You can also join guided walks, trail runs and connect with everything that’s Naturally Gold Coast through the NaturallyGC program, provided by The City of Gold Coast. Whether you like to bird watch, photograph, picnic, kayak or just relax in nature, there is something for you.

But for those seeking a challenging bushwalk to traverse creeks, bridges, rocky outcrops and steep steps, we’ve got just the thing.



A rugged area with various trails with steep hills and challenging terrain, the Lower Beechmont Conservation Area covers 775 hectares and is one of the largest conservation areas managed by the City. Frequented by horse riders, mountain bikers and bushwalkers, you’ll have to be self-reliant in this natural environment, and with trail names such as Hellfire Pass, you know it’ll be difficult.


Lower Beechmont


Cabello Road – Eagle Heights

This double black diamond downhill mountain bike track is suitable for highly experienced and skilled riders; protective gear is a must. Known as ‘Old Tambo’ it features fast flowing corners, rollers, dips, gaps and a chill-out section as well as tight and technical bermed corners, drop offs and steep grades. Limited parking is available above the trail head via Wongawallan Road from Tamborine Village.


Old Tambo Track


The Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk – Springbrook to Lamington National Park

This 54km walk takes you through ancient rainforests and along the shield of an historical volcano and features steep slopes and unformed creek crossings; it usually takes about three days to complete. It’s popular with keen bushwalkers, trail runners and marathoners. Most people walk from west to east and start at Lamington National Park in Green Mountains section (near O’Reillys), and finish at Springbrook National Park.


The Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk


Hinze Dam – Advancetown

These trails are a hit with runners and cyclists wanting a picturesque way to get their exercise fix but there’s also more difficult walks. Popular with horse-riders, mountain bikers and runners, you can weave your way through some of the fire trails and a dedicated MTB single track through catchment land around the lake. There’s also links to the trail network within the adjoining Springbrook National Park. A café and amenities are on site.


Hinze Dam


Warrie Circuit – Springbrook

This 17km challenging loop track takes you from Springbrook Plateau down through the valley and back, crossing creeks, walking through waterfalls and among some giant historic rainforest. The waterfalls are particularly stunning after rain; bring good shoes and a sense of adventure.


Warrie Circuit, Springbrook


The Border Track – Tugun to Currumbin Valley

Just a few minutes from Tweed Heads, this 22km return track is popular with mountain bikers. It’s a great way to knock out some kilometres but be prepared to grind up a few hills; you’ll have stunning views across the Gold Coast. This track is also busy with trail runners looking to push themselves. Just follow the border fence that divides QLD and NSW from Tugun to Bains Road Currumbin Valley.


Nerang National Park

Home of the mountain bike race during the 2018 Commonwealth Games, this park has steep stony trails that are also suitable for strong walkers, but walkers be sure to avoid the dedicated MTB tracks. The bike trails range from easy to expert and scenery is dry rainforest and open eucalypt forests. Horse riding is allowed on a designated track. In rainy weather the steep trails are super slippery.


Nerang National Park. Image credit: Judd Adventures (


Polly’s Climb and Pages Pinnacle – Neranwood

What goes up, must come down! Polly’s Climb is a steep quest to the summit with an exhilarating descent. Push yourself to the limit with added trails to Pages Pinnacle – an impressive 400m volcanic plug sitting proudly between Springbrook and the Numinbah Valley. This one is not for the faint hearted but the views are well worth it.


Polly’s Climb. Image credit: Judd Adventures (


Burleigh headland to West Burleigh return

It doesn’t get much prettier than this 10km return circuit starting at either Burleigh National Park or Tchoobey Reserve in Loman Lane. With picturesque views at every turn, it’ll take you from the beach, through the hills and along Tallebudgera Creek. Don’t forget to pack your swimmers to cool off afterwards.


Burleigh to Tallebudgera


Bushwalking tips for adrenaline junkies

  • Don’t forget your phone or GPS, not just so you can track your awesome trek but also for safety reasons.
  • Be prepared for the worst and carry spare tubes or puncture kit in car or on you, also basic first aid gear.
  • Tell someone your plans in case you have a bad stack or lose your way.
  • Always carry plenty of water to stay hydrated and be sun smart.
  • Stick to the trails, take rubbish with you and check the weather forecast for warnings.