The Natural Bridge

One of the most picturesque hikes around Brisbane is in Springbrook, off the Gold Coast hinterland. If you drive up into the mountains, you’ll take winding roads through farms and forests — the drive alone is worth the trip. If you’d like to, in the same day you can also go to another trail in Springbrook (Purling Brook Falls), Hinze Dam, Byron Bay beach, or even a little place off the main coast called the Crystal Castle.

Once you get there, you’ll come up to a parking lot that weaves around. It gets busy in the summer and the months leading up to it, but if you head in early in the morning you will be fine to get a park.

If you go during the day, you walk down the path to a big cave and bright greens and golden tones literally surround you. You might have to patient, depending on how busy it is on the day that you go, and walk down slowly. There are two main viewpoints of the natural bridge – from beneath it, and from above it. From beneath, you see the underside of the waterfall and the creek.

From above, you see the top of the waterfall as it barrels into the hole at the top of the cave. The waterfall breaks over a fallen tree, and the result is something that seems out of a fairytale – you’re in a cave, watching a waterfall break and churn into a creek that flows between a rainforest. You used to be able to swim there but since it has gained popularity, this has stopped.

Because there are guides going down to the natural bridge every hour or so on most days – and even more so at night – the tour guides and the national park rangers get quite angry. It is actually not allowed for safety reasons – it is a cave, so any persons swimming in it must be aware that, as caves go, it is not entirely stable in itself and they don’t want any accidents. So just enjoy the beauty of it from behind the safety rails, or swim at your own risk. You can jump off the pathway and swim further down the creek, but it’s slippery and you have to be insanely careful.

At night time, you can go down and see it. It sounds strange, to go and see a cave waterfall at night. In the dark. But here is the cool thing — at night, the entire underside of the cave (and some sections along the trail going down) light up with hundreds of glow worms. It is impossible to do justice in photographs.

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