Walk around Burleigh Heads National Park
Located on the Southern Gold Coast, Burleigh Heads National Park is a favourite for both backpackers and locals. The easy 30 minute walk winds around the headland through lush greenery set on a backdrop of stunning coastal views. The trail ends at Tallebudgera Creek. Breaking-off from the ocean, the crystal clear waters meet soft white sand shores, giving you beach space minus the crashing waves. These calmer waters make the area great for Stand-Up Paddle Boarding (SUP).
Stand up paddle boarding at Tallebudgera Creek
If you feel like trying SUP, you can hire boards for $20/hour from a small shack located on the busier side of the creek. Just cross over the bridge from the end of the Burleigh Heads National Park walk to get here.
Eat, drink and shop in Burleigh Heads
Many of my favourite things on the Gold Coast are packed into this quaint little town. Wander down James Street and pop your head into all the boutique shops. Grab a bite at one of the many delicious eateries, with plenty of great options for the vegans and vegetarians amongst us. Finish off with a fresh juice from the local grocer while overlooking the beach from Burleigh Hill. From here you can walk around the Burleigh Heads National Park.
Hike through Springbrook National Park
Here you can find various walks through dense rainforest filled with creeks, waterfalls, panoramic views, glow worm caves and ‘The Natural Bridge’, a crowd favourite. Located about 40 minutes from Surfers Paradise, Springbrook National Park is often overlooked by backpackers because there is no public transport access. If you don’t have your own car, your best options are to hire a car from the many Gold Coast car rental companies or organise to carpool. When you split the costs between several people, a day trip to Springbrook National Park is possible on a backpacker’s budget.
Climb Mount Warning and be the first to catch the sunrise in Australia
The hike to the top of Mount Warning is challenging but well worth the views. Mount Warning is the first point in Australia touched by the sunrise. Hence, the more enthusiastic and motivated amongst us choose to head up in the early hours of the morning and climb in the darkness in order to reach the peak in time to watch the sunrise. But don’t stress if you are not an early bird. The views are epic no matter what time of day you are there.
Visit some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches
My general rule for backpackers is: the further south you head, the more beautiful the beaches get. Many tourists flock straight to the Main Beach of Surfers Paradise. While this is still a great beach it is crowded with people and congestion due to its location at the end of the main tourist strip. And you will spend a majority of your time fending off seagulls while dodging footballs. This makes it a bit difficult to enjoy a relaxing day at the beach like you saw in all the adverts before you came here.
Instead, I recommend heading 20 minutes or so down to the southern area of the Gold Coast. Hop off anywhere from Burleigh Heads beach and south. Currumbin, Coolangatta and Kira beach are my personal favourites.