Sunday, 14 January 2018

Twin Falls Circuit (Springbrook National Park)

A spectacular walk in Springbrook National Park, the Twin Falls Circuit loops around a series of cliffs. Starting near the top, the trail descends to the bottom as it heads to an incredible waterhole at the base of Twin Falls. Continuing along, the trail passes through beautiful rainforest before passing behind Blackfellow Falls and rising to continue along the clifftops. A definite contender for one of the best shorter walks in Australia

Distance: 4 km (loop)
Gradient: A mix of gentle, level walking and steep descents and ascents via switchbacks
Quality of Path: Generally clear and well maintained trail with constructed steps and railings in places
Quality of Signage: Clear and easy to follow trailhead, but no markers along the way. Some trail junctions are unclear
Experience Required: Some Bushwalking Experience Recommended
Time: 2-3 Hours (depending on if you swim or not)
Steps: Many steps, particularly leading up and down the cliffs
Best Time to Visit: All year round
Entry Fee: No
Getting There: The trail starts at the Tallanbana Picnic Area on Springbrook Rd. The usual route is to take Gold Coast Springbrook Rd until it becomes Springbrook Rd, however at time of writing a section of the road is closed due to landslips. Check with National Parks and Main Roads for current road conditions. 

Having had an enjoyable introduction to walking in South East Queensland on the Sandy Creek Circuit, Simon, Alissa and I headed out slightly further afield to check out Springbrook National Park. Frequently held up as one of the best national parks in Queensland, Springbrook was one of my must-visit parks while living on the Gold Coast and we were immediately sold on the Twin Falls Circuit after reading about being able to walk behind not one but two waterfalls.

Before checking out the Twin Falls Circuit, we decided to make a short detour to check out Natural Bridge and Cave Creek. An absolutely breathtaking formation, the Natural Bridge features a waterfall that flows through a hole in the top of the cave and into the river below. While the loop walk to the Natural Bridge is too short to really qualify as a hike, the Natural Bridge itself is spectacular enough to warrant a quick visit on the way to one of the other more substantial walks in the national park.

Continuing along the road in the park, Simon, Alissa and I parked at the Tallanbanna picnic area and began the Twin Falls Circuit. From the picnic area, the trail runs along a return track to the main loop. Given that the walk passes many sheer cliffs and waterfalls along its way, a warning sign has been placed right at the start of the walk to make it clear to walkers what potential dangers await them.

The trail descends to a long series of cliffs as it heads right towards Twin Falls. Heading along the cliffs, the trail actually crosses near the head of Twin Falls while providing spectacular views down to the valley and the cliffs on the other side.

After the falls, the trail continues along the cliff line with a metal railing running alongside. While the trees to the left of the track obscured sustained clear views, we nevertheless had some excellent glimpses of the surrounding landscape through the trees.

The trail then descends via a steep switchback as it leads to the foot of Twin Falls. Looking at the somewhat minimal map that had been provided by Queensland National Parks, I had not quite understood why Twin Falls looked to be such a narrow circuit, however it all made sense as we began our descent; the walk would take us along the bottom of the cliffs before we would rise up again and see the same section from up above.

At the bottom of the switchbacks, the trail passes a rocky chasm that features a large boulder lodged above. As a fan of rugged terrain and walking, this was a pretty exciting natural feature.

At this point, the Twin Falls Circuit branches off from the longer Warrie Circuit as it leads on to several other waterfalls and features. The Twin Falls Circuit passes through another stunning chasm as it now runs westwards to Twin Falls.

After descending another series of switchbacks, the trail passes by a cliff face with water running down it. A waterfall would probably be too generous a term for it, but it was a good sign of what else we could expect to see further along the walk. 

As we came to a series of cascades along a small waterfall, Alissa, Simon and I could hear the roar of a much larger waterfall just behind it.

This was Twin Falls, a spectacular and aptly named waterfall due to the fact the water falls in two distinct courses from the creek above. Below the falls is a perfect swimming hole. Large and deep enough to swim in, Alissa, Simon and I decided to take a break from the hike while cooling off in the water.

Even with such inviting beaches along the Bibbulmun and Cape to Cape Tracks back home in WA, Alissa and I are not often inclined to go for a swim while on a hike. With warm, tropical humidity at play however, the cooling dip was exactly what we needed, and I decided to swim in my hiking pants and shirt as it would provided a bit of 'air conditioning' for the rest of the hike, and was even dry by the end of it!

After about 45 minutes of swimming, the three of us continued along the trail which passed through more of the typically lush subtropical rainforest common to the Gold Coast Hinterland.

This section of the trail basically runs between the base of the cliffs and start of the steeply sloping valley below, and passes by many rugged overhangs and platforms. While much more humid than the Blue Mountains and not heading through slot canyons, some of these sections reminded Alissa and I of walking the Grand Canyon Walk in the Blue Mountains.

With the warm weather, we had all been keeping any eye out for snakes on the trail, and we did not encounter a single snake over the entire walk. We did however spot a number of lizards crossing the track, including the moderately large specimen pictured above.

While the walking had been mostly excellent, the one criticism I would have of the Twin Falls Circuit is that the trail regularly reaches short trail junctions without any explanation as to which is the main trail.

Taking the stairs to the left leads to an overhang at a dead end. While interesting enough, it is not really worth the detour and it would have been nice if there had been some explanation or a directional arrow to help guide us at these slightly confusing points.

Not long after the overhang, we descended another series of switchbacks.

Along the descent and continuing along the trail, we were privy to some excellent views of the valley beyond.

About 25 minutes after having left Twin Falls, Alissa, Simon and I reached the second waterfall of the walk. Given the slightly unfortunate name of Blackfellow Falls. While Aboriginal English term 'Blackfella' is not a derogatory term (unless used with malice), the more formal 'Blackfellow' reads as a bit dated, not unlike the frequent use of 'Chinaman' to name other places in Australia.

Blackfellow Falls in Springbrook National Park - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Regardless of name, Blackfellow Falls is quite spectacular, and has a similar appearance to Twin Falls due to the fork in the water's flow providing two distinct channels of falling water.

While Twin Falls had a side track that goes behind the waterfall, the Twin Falls Circuit itself actually passes behind Blackfellow Falls. This is one of the most beautiful parts of the entire walk, and was even better than the waterfall we walked behind when we did the Grand Canyon Walk in Blue Mountains National Park.

After the waterfall, the trail heads through more beautiful rainforest before rising up a series of switchbacks to the clifftop above.

Just as the walk had passed by the head of Twin Falls, the trail takes walkers to the head of Blackfellow Falls as well, with superb views across the valley and the surrounding landscape.

Taking a slightly dangerous scramble down to a ledge, I was able to reach a perfect vantage point from which to view the falls in action.

After enjoying the waterfalls from the top, we continued along the trail. From the high cliffs, we were gifted with even more spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. This once again had strong similarities to the Blue Mountains, albeit with somewhat different vegetation.

Further along, we reached a lookout point near the alternate start for the Twin Fall Circuit. Unlike the lookout near the start/end of the Sandy Creek Circuit, this lookout point had unobstructed views of the mountainous Hinterland landscape.

We knew we were on the home stretch when we could see Twin Falls across the way, as from there it was only a short walk to the end of the loop and a return along the connector trail that leads back to the picnic area and its quaint solid fuel barbecue stoves.

While the description of the walk passing behind two waterfalls sounded incredible, the actual experience of walking the Twin Falls Circuit was ever better, and would easily rank as one of the best short walks under 5 kilometres that I've had the pleasure of walking. For not very much effort, walkers are rewarded with two incredible waterfalls and a great swimming hole; throw in the lovely subtropical rainforest and the excellent views and it all adds up to a cracker of a walk that I would happily repeat again some time in the future. 


  1. Loved your Vietnam posts guys, we are heading over next Christmas:) Looking forward to more Qld adventures too, I love a walk that involves a swim as well. I've got a rough plan to head up to SE Qld later in the year to do a bit of walking so I'll keep an eye on your blog for ideas.
    Cheers Kevin

    1. Hi Kevin,
      Vietnam was amazing - I can't believe that more people don't talk about Phong Nha as a hiking destination because it blew us away.

      South East Queensland has been great for bushwalking. While I don't love hot weather it is nice that the rivers and waterfalls are flowing unlike summers in Perth.