For many of us, trekking can be like meditation we leave our usual home life far behind as we experience some truly extraordinary views, lookouts and man the walking pace make us really chill!
Over the past days I have spent a great deal of time around Springbrook National Park, and here are my favourite top track:
1| Best of All Lookout Track
We’ve reached The Best of All Lookout via Lyrebird Ridge Road from Springbrook. As we were walking through the ancient Antarctic beech forest I knew I was in for some spetacular views of northern New South Wales dominated by Mount Warning (1,156m). The small pocket of Antarctic beech forest Nothofagus moorei is one of our remaining links to the ancient forests of Gondwana. This type of forests were once widespread across Australia and provided a habitat for many animals that have long been extinct. You’ll only find them around here and in northern New South Wales. Make sure you take your time to admire the gnarled and twisted roots of these ancient giants.
2| Purling Brook Falls Circuit
At Gwongorella Picnic Area, just off Springbrook Road, the lovely Purling Brook Falls drop 109m into the rainforest. There are two easily accessed lookouts with views of the lush canopy and towering falls, and a number of walking trails including a 6km-return walk to Warringa Pool, a beautiful swimming hole. The circuit took us through an open eucalypt forest of New England ash ‘Eucalyptus campanulata’, where fire-adapted species such as lepidozamias, hakeas and various wildflowers grow. After we passed through the forest we started the descend into the gorge to view the falls from below. I was quite excited about the suspended bridge but need to confess that its a bit of an arduous walk, specially for us that need to carry Noah in our Kathmandu backpack.
While walking this circuit care must be taken at all times as there are sheer cliffs and waterfalls which could be dangerous, so make sure you keep on track. The track is easier to do if you walk in a clockwise direction. Also,after significant rainfall, parts of the Purling Brook walking track may be closed, so make sure you check the Park alerts before you go.
3| Natural Bridge Circuit
Natural Bridge is a short and yet stunning track, which takes you through the rainforest, across Cave Creek and into the naturally arched cave to witness the waterfall plunging from above into a swimming hole. At night (specially in summer) the cave is illuminated by thousands of glow worms’ tiny green lights. On summer nights, you can see luminous fungi and fireflies. During the day, you can hear the calls of paradise riflebirds, green catbirds and wompoo fruit-doves.
The hoop pines ‘Araucaria cunninghamii’ that emerge through the thick greenery of the surrounding rainforest are living relics of the Jurassic Age, the age of the conifers, about 180 million years ago. These pines are ‘living dinosaurs’; they are among the most primitive of conifers.
4| Twin Falls Circuit
We followed the track in an anti-clockwise direction, which guided us through different forest types. The track took us behind two waterfalls, through rock clefts and among palms and treeferns – it’s truly stunning. As you walk along the circuit notice the smooth, pink bark of the brush box ‘Lophostemon confertus’ that occur along the track. Similar brush box in other parts of this World Heritage area have been radiocarbon-dated at 1500 years, making these trees the oldest ever carbon-dated on Australia’s mainland.
5| Warrie Circuit
The Warrie Circuit is the longest and most interesting track on the plateau, I think. We started at Canyon lookout and follow the base of The Canyon cliffs to Goomoolahra Falls before descending into the mossy green depths of the rainforest. The track, named with the Aboriginal word ‘Warrie’, meaning ‘rushing water’, crosses several creeks and gullies. The track reaches the ‘Meeting of the Waters’, where all watercourses draining. The Canyon meet, then climbs up the western side of the gorge. The moist and shady conditions at the base of Goomoolahra Falls provide an ideal habitat for the giant spear lilies ‘Doryanthes palmeri’. This succulent herb is one of only two members of the Doryanthiacea plant family, which is endemic to Australia.
When we did the track it was OK to do the creek crossings, however it may be impassable after heavy rain.
To do the full track took us almost 7 hours. We did take our time to enjoy the track and also made sure we gave Noah enough playtime out of his backpack. make sure you allow enough time to finish the walk in daylight hours.