A visit to Cougal Cascades in Currumbin Valley is low-key one of the best adventures to be had on the Gold Coast!
Cougal Cascades features a lush rainforest walk that leads upstream through Currumbin Valley, passing by multiple waterfalls, cascading swimming holes and epic viewpoints along the way.
In this guide, I have included some useful information on how to get to Cougal Cascades, the best time to visit, things to know before you go and what to expect when you’re there!
Also, at the bottom of this Cougal Cascades post, you can see my recommendations on where to stay on the Gold Coast, a list of awesome tours to try and links to more of my Gold Coast travel guides that you might like to check out!
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HOW TO GET TO COUGAL CASCADES
Cougal Cascades is located in Currumbin Valley at the southern end of the Gold Coast.
From Surfers Paradise, it’s approximately a 45-minute drive. From Coolangatta, the journey takes just 30-minutes to reach Cougal Cascades and Currumbin Waterfalls.
There is no public transport to access Currumbin Valley and Cougal Cascades, so you will need to have your own vehicle to make the drive out.
The way is clearly signposted, you can simply follow the road to the very end of Currumbin Creek Rd until you come to a dead-end. This is where you will find the parking lot and jump-off point for Cougal Cascades.
Currumbin Rock Pools is also located on the same road leading out to Cougal Cascades and it’s definitely worth stopping in here for a swim!
The road leading out to Cougal Cascades is unbelievably scenic so I urge you not to rush and soak in the nature that surrounds this area.
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Cougal Cascades Currumbin Valley
BEST TIME TO VISIT COUGAL CASCADES
The best time to visit Cougal Cascades is from mid-morning to mid-afternoon when there is plenty of sunshine around to warm up the natural swimming holes and waterfalls.
The water temperature can be quite cold in the early mornings and late afternoons, just a heads up.
If you can time your visit to Cougal Cascades for a weekday, chances are you will get to enjoy this epic spot almost completely to yourself with fewer tourists around.
Cougal Cascades and Currumbin Waterfalls are known to be very popular on weekends so you can expect it to be very busy with many families, bushwalkers and groups of friends hanging out here.
RELATED ARTICLE → 3 DAY GOLD COAST ITINERARY
COUGAL CASCADES – THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Cougal Cascades is the perfect place to spend a few hours or the entire day, so be sure to also bring something to eat and drink with you.
There are no rubbish bins provided at Cougal Cascades, so if you do have any trash or see any trash around the area, please pick it up, take it home and dispose of it correctly.
Cougal Cascades flows to our beautiful Gold Coast beaches and we wouldn’t want any trash ending up there.
There are also toilet facilities and picnic areas with tables and chairs for visitors to use. You can find these in the Cougal Cascades parking lot.
Tranquil scenery at Cougal Cascades
Toilet facilities at Cougal Cascades
Cougal Cascades Gold Coast
ARRIVING AT COUGAL CASCADES CURRUMBIN
When you arrive at Cougal Cascades, there are around a dozen spaces in the parking lot where you can park your car safely, or if there are no available spaces here, it’s also possible to park your car on the edge of the main road near the bridge.
From here, the trailhead is clearly signposted and it’s a short 5-minute walk until you reach the first Currumbin waterfall.
RELATED ARTICLE → 11 BEST GOLD COAST BEACHES
Cougal Cascades Parking Lot
The trailhead to Cougal Cascades
In search of the first waterfall
WHAT TO EXPECT AT COUGAL CASCADES CURRUMBIN
The best thing about Cougal Cascades is that there is not just one attraction to see when venturing here. There are lots of things to see and do during your visit which is suitable for people of all sorts and all ages!
Here’s a quick overview of fun things to do at Cougal Cascades:
- Enjoy a rainforest bushwalk
- Visit the old Sawmill
- Go swimming in the cascades
- Cliff jumping for the thrill-seekers
- Discover several epic waterfalls
- Slide down the natural rock slide
- Take a million photos of Cougal Cascades
Hanging out at Cougal Cascades
BUSHWALKING AT COUGAL CASCADES
The bushwalking trail at Cougal Cascades is a combination of tar-sealed footpaths, wooden bridges and dirt tracks which takes around 15-20 minutes from start to finish.
There is no circuit trail here at Cougal Cascades, it’s one way in and one way out.
An abundance of flora and fauna can be found out here in Currumbin Valley, so take it slow and keep your eyes and ears open to spot some of Australia’s iconic wildlife.
You’ll also find a couple of viewing platforms along the trail where you can stop and marvel at the surrounding nature in the valley.
The first set of falls you will come to along the trail is the main attraction at Cougal Cascades and most people stop here and don’t go any further up the valley…
I recommend saving this spot for last and continuing along the trail upstream to the very end and then work your way back down the cascades, stopping at each spot.
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Cougal Cascades bushwalk
Deep in the rainforest at Cougal Cascades
Rock hopping at Cougal Cascades
DISUSED SAWMILL AT COUGAL CASCADES
When you reach the very end of the rainforest path, this is where you can find the old Sawmill which was once operational between 1945 – 1951.
Seven men worked this Sawmill round the clock to produce terrific timber, post-war during the housing boom.
It’s a step back in time and very interesting to see all the metal components that were once used during these historic times including a breaking-down bench-saw, steel carriages and rusted-out engine parts.
Surrounded by towering trees, lush nature and a running stream, it wouldn’t have been a bad spot to work a Sawmill if you ask me!
Disused Sawmill at Cougal Cascades
Rusted-out engine parts
They don’t build them like this anymore!
Steel carriage used for hauling timber
CLIFF JUMPING AT COUGAL CASCADES
This one is for the thrill-seekers! Cougal Cascades has a number of spots for cliff jumping though you must exercise caution and do so at your own risk.
There is a sign at the very beginning of the trail which clearly states that it’s dangerous to go cliff jumping and sliding down waterfalls as it may cause serious injury or death.
To be fully transparent, there has been a number of cases of people injuring themselves here at Cougal Cascades so I can’t stress enough to take extra care when cliff jumping.
My favorite spot for cliff jumping, and safest in my opinion, is at the third waterfall along the trail, closest to the old Sawmill.
Featuring an almost vertical rock wall and a deep catch basin, this cliff jump ranges from 5 meters and up to about 7 meters. As always, make sure to do a depth-check before jumping.
If you’re not keen on cliff jumping at this particular spot, you can simply go for a dip in the natural swimming pool and check out the small waterfall at the top.
7-meter cliff jump at Cougal Cascades
Continuing downstream from the cliff jumping spot, you’ll find an epic little waterfall that is quite easily accessible by walking along the rocks. This spot features a wide set of falls that flows into a large catch basin, perfect for a refreshing dip.
From here, follow the shallow cascades further downstream, which will bring you back to the main set of falls that you would have seen along the path when you first arrived.
It is clear why this Currumbin waterfall is the main attraction at Cougal Cascades, featuring a set of twin falls and a natural slide into a circular rock pool.
If you want to access this waterfall from the main walking path, it’s a bit of a steep scramble down a dirt track located next to the viewing platform. It can be very slippery when wet, so take it slow and use your hands to grab on to the trees as you climb down.
Rock hopping downstream
Epic little waterfall at Cougal Cascades
Elle having a moment to herself
Ultimate rainforest vibes
The main falls at Cougal Cascade
Circular rockpool at the main falls
THE MAIN FALLS AT COUGAL CASCADES
One of the best attractions at Cougal Cascades is the natural rock slide which spits you out into a small rock pool at the bottom of this Currumbin waterfall.
I’ll say it again, please use extreme caution if you decide to go sliding down the cascades and if you are unsure, it’s probably better to not try it at all.
There is a wide rock face on the left-hand side of the falls where you can set down your belongings and perch up in the sun for a while.
From here, it’s easy enough to traverse across the rock face and go for a refreshing dip in the small circular rock pool or head right down to the bottom and swim out into the larger pool to cool off.
This area of Cougal Cascades is my favorite spot to hang out as it’s completely surrounded by tropical plants and the scenery is phenomenal. Be sure to whip out your camera here to capture the good times!
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The main set of falls
Natural rock slide at Cougal Cascades
Not a bad spot to perch up
Plenty of space to hang out at Cougal Cascade
FINAL THOUGHTS OF COUGAL CASCADES
I have visited Cougal Cascades many times in my teenage years (that’s right, I was born and bred on the Gold Coast) and I’m so glad I revisited this epic swimming spot to put together this adventure guide for you to follow.
Cougal Cascades is the perfect place to go to escape the hustle and bustle of Gold Coast City and spend a day swimming, adventuring and relaxing in nature with your friends and family!
I guarantee that you will enjoy this place as much as I have and feel free to let me know how your experience goes in the comments below!
COUGAL CASCADES MAP
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WHERE TO STAY ON THE GOLD COAST
The Gold Coast is a popular tourist hub so there is no shortage of accommodation options. It’s first in best-dressed, especially in the peak holiday season which is the summer months between December and February.
I have narrowed it down to a few of my favorite places to stay on the Gold Coast to fit the needs of budget backpackers and luxury travelers. See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Luxury: Luxury Beachfront Sky Home
Centrally located in Burleigh Heads and a stone’s throw from the beach. This 5-star accommodation features an outdoor swimming pool, garden, fitness centre and free wifi. The apartments are spacious and include a fully equipped kitchen, living and dining room, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, hot tub, flat-screen tv and ocean views. Perfect for families and couples.
Mid Range: Outrigger Burleigh
The best and most affordable hotel in Burleigh Heads. The Outrigger is a two-minute walk from Burleigh Beach featuring an outdoor pool, hot tub and ocean views! The rooms are spacious, air-conditioned, equipped kitchenette, living room, private bathroom and balcony. Close to supermarkets, cafes, restaurants, bars and public transport. Perfect for couples and families.
Budget: Komune Resort & Backpackers
Komune Resort is located south of Burleigh Heads in Coolangatta and it’s one of the cheapest and best backpackers on the Gold Coast! Located a stone’s throw from the beach, Komune Resort features a beach club, outdoor pool, table tennis, hammocks, pool bar and nightclub. There are dorm rooms and private apartments available, perfect for friends and solo travellers.
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN BURLEIGH, SEARCH ON AGODA OR SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM
BEST GOLD COAST TOURS
BEST TIME TO VISIT GOLD COAST
The Gold Coast is one of the only places on the East Coast of Australia that sees glorious sunshine almost all year round.
If you want the best of the best conditions weatherwise, I recommend visiting between May and October (Autumn – Spring) which is most ideal for beach bumming, nature walks and water sports.
Summer on the Gold Coast is between December and February which sees hot temperatures and a lot of rainfall.
AIRBNB GOLD COAST
Another option for accommodation in Gold Coast is to stay at an Airbnb, which generally has some great deals on the Gold Coast.
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MORE AUSTRALIA TRAVEL GUIDES
- Gold Coast: 3 Day Gold Coast Itinerary
- Gold Coast: 11 Best Gold Coast Beaches
- Springbrook: Springbrook Waterfalls
- Currumbin: Currumbin Rock Pools
- Brisbane: Things To Do In Brisbane
- Byron Bay: Things To Do In Byron Bay
- Sydney: Things To Do In Sydney
- Melbourne: Things To Do In Melbourne
- Fraser Island: Fraser Island Day Trip
LONELY PLANET – AUSTRALIA
One of the best books to take on your trip is the Lonely Planet Australia Travel Guide!
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WHAT TO PACK FOR AUSTRALIA
Everyday Backpack: One of the best backpacks on the market! The Nomatic 20L Backpack is perfect for on the go adventures. Featuring multiple storage spaces for valuables, drink bottles, chargers, notebooks and more. This sleek backpack was designed for you.
Universal Power Adapter: Don’t leave home without one! I highly recommend getting this Universal Power Adapter so that you are able to charge all of your electronics when you’re on the road. Compatible in Asia, UK, Europe, Africa, USA, SA and Australia.
Hidden Money Belt: I never go on a trip without one! The best thing is they are always out of sight, hidden beneath your clothing. With RFID blocking, they are perfectly designed to keep your credit cards, cash and other valuables safe when you’re out adventuring!
Waterproof Phone Case: A waterproof phone case is a must-have item! This universal case will keep your phone safe from water damage, sand and scratches during your adventures. Suitable for all smartphone models.
Portable Charger: One of the best portable chargers on the market! The Anker Power Bank keeps your phone and accessories charged on those longer adventures. Featuring 2 USB charging ports, rechargeable battery, works with iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Oppo and Android.
Microfibre Travel Towel: To pack a towel or not to pack a towel? A standard bathroom towel can take up a lot of space in your travel bag. Get your hands on a quick-dry Microfibre Travel Towel which is perfect for the beach, backpacking, camping and general traveling.
Rain Jacket: A light-weight rain jacket is an absolute must when traveling! North Face waterproof rain jackets come in both men and women sizes, featuring a breathable mesh lining and adjustable hood that can be tucked away inside the collar.
Kindle: The best alternative for books! Kindle e-readers are perfect for long haul flights, reading on the beach or a quiet evening away from the bars. Kindle’s are waterproof with rechargeable batteries and adjustable light settings to suit indoor/outdoor conditions.
Packing Cubes: My favorite item in my backpack! Perfect for organizing your shirts, pants, jackets, socks, underwear and more. This 5 Set Packing Cubes makes packing easier and more efficient, adding extra space in your bag for your next trip.
Activated Charcoal Tablets: Want to avoid food poisoning? Most of us have been a victim of travelers diarrhea from eating street food. Organic Activated Charcoal Tablets are fast-acting and will rid your system of the bad bacteria that causes stomach upset.
MY CAMERA GEAR
Everyday Camera: The most affordable mirrorless camera on the market! I personally use the Sony A7ii Mirrorless Camera on all of my adventures. It’s compact, lightweight and super easy to use for all levels of photography. A 28-70mm Sony lens is also included.
Drone Camera: Take your photography to new heights! The DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone is at the top of the game when it comes to high-quality images and video, easy to control functions and traveler-friendly capabilities. I guarantee you won’t regret purchasing one.
GoPro Hero 8: One of the most popular cameras on the planet! I love using the GoPro Hero 8 for all of my underwater shots and fast-paced adventures. The GoPro Hero 8 captures the best moments with its wide range of functions that are very simple to use!
Camera Bag: My favorite camera bag I have ever owned! The Lowepro Protactic 450 AW II Camera Bag features a waterproof rain cover, drink bottle holder, padded compartments for cameras, drones, lenses, accessories and it also has a laptop pocket.
Selfie Stick: Everyone loves a good selfie, right!? The Sandmarc Metal Edition Selfie Stick is sleek, stylish and can extend to 1.2m. I find it much easier to take photos and videos with the GoPro when it is mounted to the Sandmarc Selfie Stick!
Camera Tripod: The Joby GorillaPod is suitable for all cameras. This tripod is easy to use and perfect for setting up a time-lapse video or even using it as a selfie stick. The legs are flexible so you can wrap it around a tree or a pole to get creative with your shot.
GoPro Dome: Have you ever wanted to capture those under/over water shots with the GoPro? This epic underwater GoPro dome housing is the best camera accessory to have to create the perfect 50/50 shot. I use mine every time I am in the ocean!
Memory Card: The best thing about SanDisk Extreme Pro is that it delivers maximum speed for images and videos. Having 64GB of storage means that you can store hundreds of files on this SD card for 2-3 days and not have to worry about running out of space.
External Hard Drive: As a photographer, my images and video files take up a lot of space on my MacBook so I use the WD Elements External Hard Drive to store everything. With 4TB worth of storage space, this is more than enough for 1 years worth of content.
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Before you go, don’t forget to check out My Online Shop!
I’ve got a wide range of digital products for sale and I’m sure you’ll find something that will come in handy during your travels!
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I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and that it finds you well on your Cougal Cascades and Currumbin Waterfalls adventure!
If you have any further questions, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will reply as soon as I can!