When life gets stressful, it’s time to get off your laptop and into nature to unwind. Fortunately, the Gold Coast has a steady supply of trails to keep your mind calm and body energised through every semester of your Bond degree.
We’ve put together seven scenic walks to explore in your study downtime. From leisurely strolls to more challenging hikes, choose your path depending on the time available, and your appetite for adventure.
1. Elabana Falls, Lamington National Park
If you’re looking to chase waterfalls during your study breaks, you’ve come to the right place. The Gold Coast is home to some pretty incredible waterfalls, including the iconic Elabana Falls. You’ll find this Instagrammable backdrop in Lamington National Park in the Gold Coast Hinterland, around a 1.5-hour drive from Bond. Starting from O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, take the Box Forest circuit track past Nugurin Falls, Darragumai Falls, Boxlog Falls and finally, the cascading Elabana Falls.
At four hours, this walk is on the longer slide but trust us – it’s worth the effort.
Walk name: Box Forest Circuit
Distance from Bond: 1 hour 30 minutes (70.7km)
Walk duration: 4 hours (10.9km)
Local’s tip: Pack a picnic and enjoy a swim and lunch at Picnic Rock, just past Elabana Falls, before making your way back to the car.
2. Centenary Track, Lamington National Park
For a shorter walk in Lamington National Park, try the Centenary Track. Starting from the Green Mountains car park, the picturesque trail shows the World Heritage-listed rainforest at its best. With a sealed track, this is one of the easier walks in the area. There are plenty of benches along the way, so you can stop and look for the beautiful birds that call the National Park home.
Walk name: Centenary Track
Distance from Bond: 1 hour 30 minutes (70.4km)
Walk duration: 1.8km (1.5 hours)
Local’s tip: Keep an eye and ear out for the diverse birdlife that can be found in the area, including lyrebirds, satin bowerbirds and eastern yellow robins.
3. Natural Bridge, Springbrook National Park
The Natural Bridge is a must-see for every Gold Coast local or visitor. Located in the Springbrook National Park – known for its cool rainforests and idyllic streams – it’s part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. The National Bridge circuit winds through the rainforests to the arched cave of the Natural Bridge. At night, the cave lights up from the glow worms that inhabit the area.
Walk name: Natural Bridge Circuit
Distance from Bond: 50 minutes (47.7km)
Walk duration: 1km (1 hour)
Local’s tip: Take a look up at the hoop pines during your walk. Known as ‘living dinosaurs’, they’re straight out of the Jurassic Age – 180 million years ago – and are simply incredible.
4. Federation Walk, Main Beach
Spectacular walking scenery isn’t reserved for the Gold Coast Hinterland – there’s plenty to see along the city's coastline. At the northern end of the coast you’ll find Federation Walk Coastal Reserve, a seaside stretch of paths and tracks amongst 93 hectares of coastal dunes and history. Starting at the car park opposite Sea World theme park, follow the path to the Gold Coast Seaway. From ocean views to sand dunes and lush vegetation, this walk has it all.
Walk name: Federation Walk
Distance from Bond: 25 minutes (16.8km)
Walk duration: 2 hours (7km)
Local’s tip: Take in the view of the coast from the Gold Coast Seaway.
5. Coombabah Lakes Conservation Area, Coombabah
Spanning more than 1,200 hectares, Coombabah Lakes Conservation Area in the northern Gold Coast features estuaries, mangroves and eucalypt forest. With many paths winding through the reserve, choose your own adventure – and you may even spot a few kangaroos along the way.
Walk name: Coombabah Lakes Conservation Area
Distance from Bond: 35 minutes (28.1km)
Walk duration: 1 hour (5km)
Local’s tip: Cycling is allowed if you’d prefer to explore the reserve on two wheels.
6. Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens
In the heart of the city, the walking trails of the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens can take you on a journey through a number of historical and cultural experiences. Take the Mangroves to Mountains trail and learn about the Gold Coast ecosystems, learn about the local Yugumbeh people and follow the Aboriginal plant use trail, see the Butterfly Garden or stop to smell the roses in the Rose Garden. The Gardens offer free guided walks for a true local’s guide, or just take it at your own pace and spend an afternoon wandering the parkland.
7. Oceanview Walk, Burleigh Heads National Park
Accessible from the famous Burleigh Hill, the Oceanview Walk wraps around the coastline from Burleigh Headland to the mouth of Tallebudgera Creek. A combination of shady groves, rocky headland and hidden beaches, the National Park is a favourite amongst locals and visitors alike. When you reach the end of the track, return the same way or venture further up the hill to enjoy even more spectacular views.
Walk name: Oceanview Walk
Distance from Bond: 15 minutes (9km)
Walk duration: 30 minutes (1km)
Local’s tip: Bring your swimmers and enjoy a dip in Tallebudgera Creek from the sheltered Echo Beach along the way. The track is sometimes closed after heavy rain, so if it's not accessible, we recommend taking a stroll along the esplanade instead.