Curtis Falls

by | Nov 23, 2022

Tamborine National Park is a lush mountain plateau nestled in the Gold Coast hinterland. The park protects precious remnants of subtropical rainforest, wet eucalypt forest, open eucalypt forest and woodland. Basalt columns, cliffs, rocky outcrops and waterfalls are a 23 million year old legacy of the Tweed shield volcano. The park is on the northern end of the biggest erosion caldera (a large cauldron-like hollow) in the southern hemisphere and one of the largest on Earth!

Tamborine Mountain is about 80km south of Brisbane via Beenleigh and Tamborine Village or via the Pacific Motorway (M1) and Tamborine–Oxenford Road. Travelling north from the Gold Coast, Tamborine Mountain is 36km from Southport via the Pacific Motorway (M1) and Tamborine–Oxenford Road or 28km from Nerang via Beaudesert–Nerang Road.

Mt Tamborine


The placename ‘Tamborine’ comes from the local Yugambeh word Jambreen. It means wild lime and refers to the finger lime trees (Citrus australasica) that grow wild on the mountain and are eaten by the First Nations people as a tangy thirst quencher.

Take a scenic escape into the heart of the Gold Coast hinterland and lose yourself in the shade of subtropical rainforest thick with Piccabeen Palms. Walk past white-washed flooded gums and silvery eucalypt trees, letting the fresh mountain air revitalise every step. Admire striking views from numerous lookouts, have a family picnic or barbecue, or enjoy strolling along one of many bushwalks on offer. Peaceful waterfalls and tranquil pools offer the perfect place to stop, rest and take in the natural mountain surrounds.

The Witches Falls section of the park was declared in 1908, making it Queensland’s first national park. Over the years additional reserves have been declared and today the park is made up of 14 sections of land, protecting over 2,000ha. There are 6 park sections with walks to explore: MacDonald, Witches Falls, Cedar Creek, Palm Grove, The Knoll and Joalah.

Walking Track

Curtis Falls Walking Track

Joalah is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘haunt of the lyrebird’ and this section is one of the best locations to experience the loud calls and mimicry of the male Albert’s lyrebird during Winter.

Wind your way down through lush, shaded rainforest and enjoy views of Curtis Falls from the viewing platform. The rock pool and surrounding basalt rock face provides important glow-worm habitat. Make sure you stay on the track so as not to damage it.

Step it up a notch by adding the Lower Creek circuit as well. It branches off the Curtis Falls track and will add another 2km (approx. 1hr) to your walk. This way lies creek crossings, rock-hopping and rougher track surfaces, so it’s only for those who are a bit adventurous. The track length is 1.1km return (30mins) with a difficulty of Class 3 – Uneven surface and steps and slippery when wet. You can find the track entrance at the Joalah section, Tamborine National Park, off Dapsang Avenue and Eagle Heights Road. There are toilets at Joalah day-use area and many cafés nearby. Larger vehicle parking is available.


This enchanting walk begins in wet eucalypt forest beneath towering man-garagin (flooded gums). Feel the temperature drop as you descend into lush rainforest. Look up to a ceiling of beautiful jumbil (bird’s nest ferns) and dumbin (staghorn ferns) growing in the canopy above. There are over 100 steps on this walk, so be prepared for the uphill return!

TRACK MAP – Curtis Falls Section

Curtis Falls

Curtis Falls & Cedar Creek Falls

In this region it’s essential you chase waterfalls, especially when they’re as stunning as Curtis Falls. Enjoy a magical walk through a eucalyptus forest before the foliage opens up to a lush waterfall. Keep your eyes peeled for basking turtles and platypi too. Cedar Creek Falls is another must-see spot. A dramatic gorge with several streaming falls, makes this the perfect destination on a hot day.

With waterfalls and a large, grassy picnic area with tables and wheelchair-accessible toilets it’s easy to see why Cedar Creek is a popular family destination. Listen to rushing cascades and bird life chirping overhead amongst the towering open eucalypt forest. For your safety, access is not permitted to some of the rock pools and parts of the gorge, as indicated by signs on site.

Green Tree Frog

Wildlife at Curtis Falls

With its diverse forest vegetation, Tamborine National Park provides an essential wildlife refuge from surrounding urban and residential development. Listen for strange gurgling sounds coming from the forest floor—these may be giant Tamborine earthworms, up to 1m long, travelling through their underground burrows.

In summer, colourful jalngay-ngarian (Richmond birdwing butterflies) and jahwun-gawang (noisy pittas) add vibrancy to the forest greenery. Look around for wagun (Australian brush-turkey) mounds—a huge pile of leaf litter used to incubate eggs—scratched together by the male bird.

While walking in the cooler months, you may be lucky enough to hear mimicry of the near-threatened kalbun (Albert’s lyrebird). The lyrebird mixes its call, a mellow, far-crying ‘caw-cree-craw-wheat’ with other rainforest noises —including the calls of bowerbirds, nyimara (whipbirds) and bilin (rosellas).

Freshwater creeks and rock pools provide the perfect sanctuary for taran (cascade treefrogs), tusked frogs and jurun (long-fin eels). At night, white-striped freetail bats come out to feed, flying above treetops as they hunt their insect prey. The park’s old growth trees provide hollows that are essential nesting sites for bats, owls and gliders.         

You could also spot red-necked pademelons bound across the forest floor and large land mullets bask in warm patches of sunlight.

Make sure you get to see and learn all about this stunning national park with its abundant waterfalls, flora and fauna. Book a Taste of Tamborine Mountain tour with Southern Cross Tours  HERE

Our expert friendly guides and small group tours will ensure you receive that personalised touch to enhance your natural experience. Our guides are passionate about the area and their goal is to fulfil you with a love and appreciation for the beauty of our hinterland.     

See Curtis Falls on the Tastes of Tamborine Tour

Experience Tamborine Mountain through the eyes of a local. Taste locally grown produce, the region’s best coffees and artisan spirits. Witness the wonder of the magical Curtis Falls. 

Curtis Fall Tour

Adults $179

Seniors $175

Children $159

Paul took us to stunning rainforests, waterfalls and lookouts. He was an enthusiastic knowledgeable guide. Thoroughly enjoyed the tour.

Twiggystix Google Review

Maxine Peacock-Smith

Such an amazing experience. The perfect way to see beautiful rainforests and waterfalls in Queensland. We highly recommend taking a tour with Southern Cross Tours.

Jennifer Segail Review

Our Dreams In Squares

We had a fabulous Mt Tamborine day and enjoyed the coffee experience, the delicious lunch, rainforest walk, and finished off with a gin tasting. Excellent tour guide, great company in this small group tour. Thanks Andy for a great day.

Melissa Craig Review

Lynn Rogers

Zoe Abrahams

About the Author – Zoe Abrahams

Zoe has worked in the Gold Coast tourism industry for nearly 20 years and is the marking manager for Aquaduck Gold Coast, Aquaduck Sunshine Coast, Southern Cross Tours and Gold Coast Sunset Cruise.

Find out more about Zoe


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