Natural Bridge is a rock formation, making an arch over Cave Creek. The arch is made from the waterfall cut a hole through to a cave. The cave is home to glow worms and micro bats.
It is about a 1km walk through the rainforest, winding down towards the rock arch. The enclosed rainforest canopy for much of the walk provides a well shaded walk, with the occasional glimpses of sun.
From the parking area, there is a covered shelter near the toilets. The shelter has information you can read, but no picnic tables. There is a shelter with a picnic table near the start of the walk a little further on.
The walk initially starts steep, going passed the picnic table, and coming to a junction at a tall strangler fig tree. Head to the left to walk the full circuit in a clockwise direction, taking you downstream of the Natural Bridge to cross over Cave Creek.
The path then heads back towards the Natural Bridge arch. As the arch is approached, the beauty of the waterfall appearing into the cave stands out. Steps lead down into the cave, to view the waterfall from within.
The cave is fairly open so it isn’t too dark. Inside the cave, the air feels noticeably cool and humid. There is plenty of space for quite a few people, but on a busy day, patience is needed to be at the front of the crowd for the best photo shoots.
Deeper into the cave, micro bats could be seen flying around. There are glow-worms in the cave also, but they cannot be seen during the day. I have been to other glow-worm locations and it needs to be very dark because the glow is not very bright.
Climb back up from the cave, the path leads up to above the cave, where you can view Cave Creek flowing into the hole into the cave, and up the creek leading to it.
The path then follows upstream a short way before crossing the creek and leading to another viewpoint of the creek flowing into the hole. It looks directly towards the creek coming towards you before entering the hole.
The path then leads back uphill to towards the juncture with the tall fig tree, and to the parking area. The walk is fairly easy, sealed the entire way with bitumen. For the most part, the path is slopped, with a few stairs along the way and near the natural rock arch to climb down into the cave area and climb over the top of the cave.
The path is enclosed the whole way. Leaving the path is not allowed for any reason without permits from the national parks. Swimming is not allowed either, to ensure the area is not disturbed in any way, to ensure the sensitive ecosystem and the glow-worms are protected.
Wildlife surrounds the area, even though there were a lot of people around. A tree snake slithered across the path at one point where the sun was breaking through the canopy and appeared to be picking up insects along the edge of the path. It hadn’t occurred to me that insects are a diet of snakes before.
Natural Bridge is a separate section from the main part of the Springbrook National Park. Most of the brown sign destinations are along Springbrook Rd within a few kilometres from each other. Natural Bridge is along the Nerang Murwillumbah Rd, 23km from Wunburra Lookout (the closest brown sign destination along Springbrook Rd).
Natural Bridge is a popular spot. On the day I was there, a warm late Sunday morning, an ice-cream van was making a good trade with a queue of people. While getting a park wasn’t difficult, the available parking spots were getting thinner when I returned after the walk around the circuit.
Planning to have a picnic lunch at Natural Bridge could be a punt. No one was using the picnic table, so you could very well be able to use it, but there aren’t any other alternative spots if it is already being used. There is a park with a playground about 4 kilometres north of Natural Bridge that has more space that could be a good alternative not too far away.
To get there:
From the M1 motorway, take the Nerang Exit (exit 71). If coming from the north, turn right towards Nerang West, and after 650m turn left onto Price St. If coming from the south, turn right onto Station St, then after 600m turn left towards Nerang West, and after 650m turn left onto Price St. From turning into Price St, follow the road straight ahead for 37km, and turn left into Bakers Rd. The parking area for Natural Bridge begins after 200m
Wheelchair accessible: No