The Elabana Falls are some of the most beautiful waterfalls you may ever see. And they’re only a couple of hours from Brisbane. I immediately fell in love with the lush rainforest and the stunning waterfalls: the Box Forest Circuit made it to the list of my favourite hikes near Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Distance: 11 km
Time: 4 hours
Disclaimer: the hiking time and difficulty are based on our experience. We’re experienced hikers with a good level of fitness and are used to hiking long distances and scrambling. We have good navigation skills and use a Garmin watch* with a GPS navigation map. Always check the park alerts and notes; trail conditions change over time which can impact the level of difficulty of the hike.
If you don’t have a car, you can join a tour from the Gold Coast to explore Lamington National Park, Elabana Falls and the Box Forest Circuit. Click here for more information*
Elabana Falls and the Box Forest Circuit
The Box Forest Circuit is my favourite “short” hike in Lamington National Park to reach the fantastic Elabana Falls.
It starts at O’Reilly’s, in the Green Mountains part of the park (i.e., not the Binna Burra part). The drive to reach the start of the track is already lovely and a great experience by itself. At the resort, they organise bird feeding that will give you the closest bird encounter one can ever get.
Back to hiking. It took us four hours to do the 11km circuit, with short breaks to enjoy the beautiful waterfalls on the way. If you’re not up for the full loop, you can choose to only walk to Elabana Falls (7 km return), and push to Box Log Falls if you can. They’re different and original.
It is a great and enjoyable hike. The lush forest is fascinating and entertaining with all the massive trees and funny bird noises. Going from one waterfall to another was exciting. The creek crossing can be a bit challenging but just enough to keep it fun!
My photo of Elabana Falls on Instagram receives a lot of comments saying it looked like paradise. It does. But the walk to Elabana Falls is also a leech, slippery heaven. As for most bushwalks in Australia, don’t underestimate it. Don’t think about wearing thongs: you’ll need good shoes (waterproof would be more comfortable!). And socks and long pants are recommended to avoid feeding leeches.
Also, don’t be too surprised if you meet bright blue crayfish walking in the forest. It’s just going from one creek to another, like you.
When is the best time to visit Elabana Falls in Lamington National Park?
You can visit Elabana Falls and Lamington National Park all year round.
Lush rainforest and lovely waterfalls… Whether you want to escape the heat or take advantage of the humidity of the Sunshine State, a trip to Lamington National Park during summer is an excellent idea. Lamington National Park is located on a plateau, so temperatures are often cooler than on the coast. The rainforest blocks most of the sun rays, so you’ll walk in the shade.
After the rain, the forest is lively, very green and, most of all, the waterfalls are powerful. However, too much rain can make the creek crossing hazardous, so Lamington National Park isn’t the best choice after a big storm. Always check the Park Alerts for information or talk to the tourist information office.
I love the start of Autumn there as temperatures are still lovely, the waterfalls are full after the wet season but the risk of rain is lower than during summer.
Winter and Spring will be better for those who want to get easier creek crossings as the water levels are likely to be lower. But don’t forget your jackets!
Where to stay in Lamington National Park
You can visit Elabana Falls on a day trip from Brisbane or the Gold Coast. But it’s also lovely to spend the entire weekend in the national park. We usually camp at the Green Mountains campground next door. It costs $12.70 for two people.
If you don’t like camping, the O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat (click here to book*) is the closest accommodation you can get in Lamington National Park. It’s quite expensive, but it can make a romantic getaway if you book the Canopy Suite with a spa bath, a fireplace and a balcony with stunning views. You will have to drive the winding road again, but you may find cheaper deals down in Canungra (click here to book*).
Have you been to the Elabana Falls in Lamington National Park? Share your experience in the comments below!
Where are the Elabana Falls in Lamington National Park?
Lamington National Park is in the Gold Coast hinterland, just west of Springbrook National Park, at the border between New South Wales and Queensland. It takes two hours to drive there from Brisbane and it’s only 1.5 hours from the Gold Coast.
The park is divided into two parts: Binna Burra and the Green Mountains. Elabana Falls and the Box Forest Circuit are in the Green Mountains section.
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