The Wilds of Suburbia: Burleigh Head National Park, QLD.

Disclaimer: Not sponsored. But you know that by now.

Burleigh Heads is a little town on the Gold Coast that’s like a ‘best of’. It has everything on the Goldie in one place (well, except for the theme parks) but on a smaller scale; gorgeous beaches and surf breaks, a wildlife park just up the road, cafes and restaurants, parks and public spaces, local fashion and artists’ shops, accommodation, ocean views for days and even a national park! It has its very own petite 27.6 hectare slice of untouched rainforest just a short walk from the bustle of central Burleigh.

We love taking the boys there for the kid-sized bushwalks; we’re gradually working them up to longer ones but when we want a nature fix it’s much closer than the Hinterland. Parking can be a bit of a bitch though, especially by midmorning on weekends. The northern entrance is at the end of Goodwin Terrace just a few minutes walk along the beachfront from James Street.

Burleigh Point
Burleigh Point Lookout is also at the end of Goodwin Terrace!  It’s one of the best places on the Goldie to watch the sun rise over the Pacific.
17 view from Burleigh Point Lookout
It’s a fantastic spot to watch the surfers ripping it up too. And sometimes spot dolphins and migrating humpback whales swimming by. And sea eagles soaring overhead… and do the odd outdoor fitness class…

On our outward leg we usually take the Oceanview path (1.2 kilometres one way) as it’s flat and easy and good for a warm up and the water is just… *sigh*. There’s beach access from the path at several points for exploring too.

There's access to the beach from the path at several points, and surfers blithely hop across the rocks and into the water without getting smashed on the rocks.
And for marvelling at surfers blithely hopping across the rocks into the water, by some sorcery never slipping or getting dumped. That we saw, anyway. It must be very hairy on big swell days, though apparently still much easier than trying to paddle across from the beach.
The rocks are awesome! Black, hexagonal basalt columns gradually tumbling off the headland. They're lava that flowed from the Tweed shield volcano about 20 million years ago.
The rocks are awesome! Black, hexagonal basalt columns that are gradually tumbling off the headland. It’s lava from when Burleigh was part of the 40 kilometre wide caldera of the massive Tweed shield volcano, last active about 23 million years ago. Which is about how active I like the volcanoes I live in to be.
Bit wistful there, Finny?
Want to get out there too, Finny?

feat. surfer from Burleigh Headland Walk

 

13 Surfers Burleigh Point rocks

12 surfing Burleigh Headland

09 Burleigh Headland Walk
That’s the Surfer’s Paradise skyline on the right.
07 Burleigh Headland Walk Oceanview Circuit
I just love pandanus palms. Not the best for shade I’ll admit, but they look amazing. So tropical and beachy!

06 Burleigh Headland Walk Oceanview Circuit

05 Burleigh Headland Walk Oceanview Circuit

04 Burleigh Headland Walk Oceanview Circuit
Yeah… that’s an old rockfall. A big one.

The processes of erosion which put those cool basalt columns on the beach are slow, but occasionally take a leap forward. Or… a tumble. It’s usually because there’s been a lot of rain, or it’s been frosty, or even really windy. In December 2014, after heavy rains, there was a massive rockfall from high on the headland which ploughed through the forest and the track on its way to the ocean. Rangers had to fence off the area (people were still walking the path despite warning signs and it being strewn with rocks and debris) for eight months while they removed dangerous boulders and geo-technical crews repaired the track. Permanent gates have also been installed to close the track during inclement weather, so if it’s pissing rain, a bit frosty or blowing a gale when you’re visiting come back another time.

Anyway it was a massive job; crews removed 52 large, unstable boulders plus another 117 boulder fragments; I think this involved pushing them downhill then fixing up the damage afterwards – that actually sounds like fun.

Those ‘large, unstable’ boulders though… want to know how large we’re talking? While researching this post I found this photo and nearly shit myself:

OMG KIDS GET DOWN FROM THERE!!! Picture by Scott Fletcher, Gold Coast Bulletin.
OMG KIDS GET THE HELL DOWN FROM THERE!!!
Picture by Scott Fletcher, Gold Coast Bulletin. Headline reads “Youths climbing on dangerous Burleigh Headland rock wall could kill themselves or others”

They didn’t, thank God. This was last July, when workers were still triggering rockfalls just metres away. I’m sure as a damn fool teenager I would’ve been totally into that but now as a parent all I see are flashing neon warning signs.

All sorted and made safe now! (Don’t stress, Mum!)

Made it safely around to the southern side of the park which overlooks Tallebudgera Creek. Tempting glimpses of ‘Talley’ Creek Beach on the opposite shore – remember Talley?

02 Tallebudgera Creek Beach from Burleigh Headland Walk Oceanview Circuit

01 Tallebudgera Creek Burleigh Headland Walk
Echo Beach… isn’t that a song?

Mangroves and gum trees shelter Echo Beach – it’s super sheltered and shallow and families love swimming here, but not at high tide as your towel will get wet. The bridge you can see is the Gold Coast Highway, and parking for the southern end of the track is at the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre. Or across the highway if it’s full.

03 Burleigh Headland Walk Oceanview Circuit
Back into the jungle!

At Echo Beach the track splits and the Rainforest Circuit (2.3 km return) starts heading uphill. The environment changes dramatically from the pandanus palms, grasses and mangroves of the Oceanview Track to the kind of eucalypt forest and surprisingly dense rainforest that you’d expect more at Binna Burra than in the middle of the suburbs. Complete with bush turkeys. But that’s why it’s so special!

21 Burleigh Rainforest Circuit

22 Burleigh Rainforest Circuit fungi

There’s a bit of an uphill climb, and then you pop out of the trees to be rewarded by this:

The view from up the 'top' at Tumgun Lookout, looking over the Tallebudgera Creek estuary and south to
The view from Tumgun Lookout, looking over the Tallebudgera Creek estuary and south. The first point you can see is Currumbin (of totally our favourite beach fame) and beyond that Coolangatta, aka ‘Cooly’.

23 Burleigh Rainforest Circuit

Every time we passed a decent sized rock on the side of the track (every few metres), the boys used it as a launchpad. In this fashion we headed rapidly downhill back to Burleigh.

24 Burleigh Rainforest Circuit

On the way we stopped in at the other lookout, this one with a great view of Surfer’s and a handy bench seat for canoodling.

Finn: Ew what are you doing.
Finn: Ew what are you doing.
19 Burleigh Rainforest Circuit lookout
Will we ever tire of gazing out into that neverending turquoise ocean? Doubt it.

I love living near the ocean; it’s so calming. I’ve been living 5-15 minutes from a beach pretty much my whole life and I get a bit antsy if I can’t get a regular fix.

Do you live near water? Have you even seen the sea? I know a lot of people haven’t, which was strange for me to find out as it’s something I’ve always taken for granted. If not the ocean, do you have a favourite piece of nature to recharge in?

– Michelle

 

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. WOW those pictures!!! this is where I write ‘I envy you being so close to such beauties’ 🙂

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    1. Michelle says:

      Thanks Laura! I was hoping my pics would do Burleigh a bit of justice and they do give an idea of just how gorgeous it is. The oceanview track is one of the most photographed places on the Gold Coast, for good reason! If you want to see some really incredible stuff from our local professionals I strongly recommend Sean Scott (seanscottphotography.com.au), Matt Robertson (mattrobertson.com.au) and Marc James (markjames.co) – they are amazing!
      PS I also envy you; having access to cuddlesome fur and feather kids and periodical snow!! 🙂

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  2. Christopher says:

    There’s something deeply reassuring about knowing that you live in such a place and yet never get tired of looking at it.
    The damage caused by erosion and the subsequent cleanup reminded me of a place I like to go to “recharge” called Radnor Lake. It’s an artificial lake that was created in the early 20th century for the now-defunct railroads. In 1973 it was set aside as a natural preserve.
    A massive flood in 2010 damaged roads and trails around it and parts are still being repaired. Just two weeks ago I was part of a cleanup team working on a trail.
    It’s small but what makes it special is it’s a natural and historical area that’s been preserved in the middle of a major city, and I believe it’s the only park of its kind in the world.

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    1. Michelle says:

      Yeah I’ll never get tired of it. You guys might though! 🙂 I checked out
      Radnor Lake – looks beautiful and peaceful… looks like it’s in the middle of nowhere! Natural places are so important, no matter the size, and I wish town planners would take that into consideration before they clear fell the bush for new suburbs. Though there does seem to be a bit of a shift back towards shared public parks and green spaces… at least in forward thinking shires…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. moseynmidgie says:

        Are you still awake!!

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      2. Michelle says:

        Yup. Just finished watching Highlander 😀 Heading to bed now though… And where the hell have you been missy?

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      3. moseynmidgie says:

        Nowhere sadly. Saturday night and I couldn’t be bothered going out. Doesn’t help that it’s been hailing here.

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  3. Michelle says:

    Yuk. You need to get yo ass over this side – midwinter and today was sunny and 20C. And then us old farts just stay home anyway. Oh and I totally mopped and *EVEN MR SHEENED* your room today so you don’t break out in hives the second you walk in there.
    Anyway better get off to bed noo… gnite poobum xx

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  4. Gosh we are lucky to live where we do. I love that we are less than an hours drive away from all that beauty. And it’s going to hot this weekend – might have to go to the beach 🙂

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    1. Michelle says:

      Yeah I hope the weather’s good because Mosey is visiting and we’re planning on brunch in Currumbin then hopefully a ride along the beachfront. 🙂 I read yesterday that our country has over 10,000 beaches and if you went to a new one every day it would take nearly 30 years to see them all.
      … If I could be bothered tallying the ones I’ve been to I reckon I’d be over 50 but under 100. Talk about spoilt for choice 🙂

      Like

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