Ask us what our favourite way is to explore a destination and more often than not we’ll say by walking.
Whether it’s finding a hidden beach or backstreet cafe or hiking to the top of a hill, you can experience more things just by wandering around.
The Gold Coast is no different and there are many Gold Coast walks for you to choose from.
Sure the Gold Coast has its imposing concrete skyline, but it’s built around the great outdoors and the local council has done a great job in providing excellent footpaths, walking tracks and cycle ways for the active locals to enjoy their own backyard. (It’s one of the reasons we love living on the Gold Coast)
Get up at 6 am on the Goldy and it feels like midday with everyone out walking, cycling, and surfing. You can’t help but get caught up in the energy of the place.
And the great thing about taking a bush walk on the Gold Coast is that it’s FREE and you’re seeing things at a slower pace, which means you’ll take more in and appreciate an area more. The Gold Coast is so great for walking we live here and don’t own a car.
You’re not sitting in traffic or rushing around on public transport, instead, you’re soaking up the local landscapes and walking off the overindulgence of eating on your holiday.
So once you’re done with the theme parks and laying on the beach, get active and get beyond the concrete skyline and choose one of the many fantastic bush walks on the Gold Coast.
4 Gold Coast Walks not to miss
1. Burleigh Heads National Park
Burleigh Heads is one of our favorite spots on the Gold Coast, but for reasons I can’t answer, we’d never ventured into Burleigh Heads National Park before.
We’ve been recommended this walk many times as one of the best and most popular walks on the Goldy. Finally, we’ve done it.
We suggest getting up early for this Gold Coast hike. Grab a takeaway coffee from Nook Espresso then head to the point and catch the magnificent sunrise whilst watching the surfers at one of Australia’s most famous point breaks.
After the sun has risen and you’ve had your coffee fix and been inspired by the surfers, head off on the ocean view walk around the rocky headland.
A wild, natural headland in the heart of the Gold Coast offers walks along the rocky foreshore and through rainforest, and the chance to see whales in spring and sea-eagles soaring along the coast.
At Burleigh Head, where ancient volcanic columns meet the sea, this park features rainforest, eucalypt forest, pandanus groves, tussock grassland, coastal heath and mangroves.
Its northern side is one of Australia’s most famous surfing point breaks. Walk the Ocean view walk around the rocky headland from Tallebudgera Creek and look at the tumbled masses of six-sided basalt columns.
Explore the Rainforest circuit, wandering through a living museum of plants, and watch for humpback whales from Tumgun lookout in winter and spring. See Australian brush-turkey nesting mounds, seabirds and water dragons.
Picnic on Burleigh foreshore or relax on Echo Beach.
It’s a beautiful start to the Burleigh Heads National Park hike as you round the bend getting awesome ocean views combined with walking through eucalypt forest.
After you round the Burleigh headland, you’ll come upon what must be one of the Gold Coast’s hidden gems, Tallebudgera Creek. I’m sure only the locals, or those in the know, spend time at this Talle.
We stopped at secluded Echo Beach whilst the kids played in the sand and climbed on the rocks, and watched a few kayaks and paddle boarders cruise down picturesque Tallebudgera Creek.
When you finally drag yourself away from here head uphill and begin the rainforest walk which loops you back to the starting point at Burleigh.
About half-way back you’ll come to Tumgun Lookout which offers awesome views back over Tallebudgera Creek and Palm Beach off in the distance.
It’s pretty much downhill from here and once you get back to the Burleigh foreshore grab a seat on the grass with a drink, or maybe even a picnic, and enjoy the view of Burleigh Beach.
The coastal walk combined with part of the rainforest circuit is about 2.5 km all up. It’s not difficult as both of our young kids walked most of the way, just keep an eye on your young ones on the ocean part of it.
2. Coolangatta to Point Danger, Southern Gold Coast Walk
This is a great little Gold Coast walk we did over and over again whilst staying in Coolangatta for 5 days.
If you only do it once, we suggest saving it for late afternoon as the sunset views you get at the end are magical, as you’ll see in a moment.
This walk may not take you long, it’s about 2 km in total, but that really depends on how often you stop as the scenery along the way will have you reaching for your camera at every outlook.
Start this walk on the path that runs parallel to Coolangatta Beach and head towards Greenmount Beach. If you desire, grab a coffee from the Go with the Flo Cafe at Greenmount surf club then start heading around the Greenmount headland.
Greenmount Beach is our little piece of paradise on the Gold Coast, family friendly for a swim and from the pathway you get a nice view back over Coolangatta.
The point is also a popular surfing spot for the locals.
Once you’ve seen the surfers catch a few waves keep heading around the headland and shortly you’ll get to Rainbow Bay which is also a top spot for families.
From here you have two options. Walk on the sand up to Rainbow Bay Surf Club, or simply stay on the path. Along this section of pathway is a playground for the kiddies to enjoy whilst you take a seat on the grass and admire the beach.
Continuing past the Surf Club you’ll come to Snapper Rocks, one of the most famous surf breaks in the world and home of the Quiksilver Pro surfing contest.
If you have done this walk in the afternoon, now is the perfect time to grab a cold drink or even dinner on the west facing deck at Rainbow Bay Surf Club.
You can’t beat the views of the sun setting over the Gold Coast and the Surfers Paradise skyline from here!
For a place to stay at Coolangatta we recommend the Mantra. It has the best views on the Gold Coast!
3. Lamington National Park Hike, Gold Coast Hinterland
Fancy a bit of Rainforest bushwalking?
Lamington National Park is in the Gold Coast hinterland, and the place to stay up there is O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. You could do a day trip, but it’s a windy road and a good 3 hour return trip from Surfers Paradise.
Once you’re at O’Reilly’s, there are two short walks beginning near the entrance to O’Reilly’s Reception, The Booyong Walk and the Tree Top Walk.
O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk allows you to walk through a canopy of flowering and fruiting trees covered by vines whilst you explore the epiphytic orchids and ferns surrounded by the many birds and animals that inhabit the tree tops.
The Tree Top Walk, was the first of its kind in Australia, is 180 metres in length and is made up of nine suspension bridges, with much of the walkway being 15 metres above the ground.
Profiles depicting the rainforest flora close by have been placed along the walkway to assist visitors in identifying the plants in the immediate vicinity.
Two observation decks have been constructed in a Strangler Fig above the walk way, the highest one being 30 metres (approximately 110 feet) above the ground.
The Tree Top Walk is a unique and innovative structure that gives visitors what can only be described as an exhilarating experience – a chance to observe life in the rainforest canopy at close range for the first time in their lives.
The Tree Top Walk consists of 9 suspension bridges up to 16 metres above ground allowing you to walk through a canopy of trees and at the end of one bridge is a ladder up a fig tree which leads to a deck 30 metres above ground.
The Booyong Walk in the Lamington National Park is easy to navigate and suitable for young kids in a stroller, and it’s popular for the bird lovers out there.
- Check out these 3 Gold Coast Hinterland accommodation options
- Gold Coast Hinterland to Binna Burra Lodge
4. The Gold Coast Oceanway
The Gold Coast Oceanway is a 36 kilometre network of pathways along the beaches of the Gold Coast, from Point Danger Lighthouse (Coolangatta) in the south to the Gold Coast Seaway (The Spit) in the north. It’s an epic Gold Coast walk!!
Once our kids are older it’s on our list to one day walk the entire length but on this recent visit we managed to walk a 10km section one-way from Burleigh Heads to Surfers Paradise which took us 2 hours with minimal stops.
If you want to replicate this walk on the Gold Coast, grab yourself a juice from the kiosk underneath Burleigh Surf Club, pack some snacks and water in a day pack and off you go.
At the North Burleigh end you’ll climb a hill and some steps to a lookout over Surfers Paradise.
You might also want to bring your swimmers and towel for a dip along the way, and if you want a lunch or coffee break we recommend the BSKT Cafe in Nobby’s Beach.
We did most of this walk on the pathway, but as we got closer to Surfers Paradise we did the last section on the beach.
We didn’t get great weather on this walk, but this is what the Oceanway looks like on a nice day in Surfers Paradise:
Want more tips for the Gold Coast?
Gold Coast tours we recommend