Morans Falls is one of the best waterfalls to explore on the Gold Coast which can be reached via an easy walking trail that takes around 20-30 minutes each way.
Located in the Green Mountains section of Lamington National Park, Morans Falls is an awe-inspiring plunge waterfall that is not to be missed when visiting the Gold Coast hinterland.
In this guide, I have included useful information on how to get to Morans Falls Lamington National Park, the best time to visit and what to expect on the short hike down to Moran Falls.
Also, at the bottom of this Morans Falls blog post, you will find my recommendations on where to stay in Lamington National Park, a list of fun-fuelled Gold Coast tours 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 MORANS FALLS
Morans Falls is located in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests in Lamington National Park, South East Queensland.
From the main tourist hub on the Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, it’s approximately a 1.5-hour drive to reach Morans Falls Lamington National Park. From the southern end of the Gold Coast, Coolangatta, the journey time is around 1-hour and 40 minutes.
If you are based in Brisbane and wish to visit Morans Falls from here, the journey time is approximately 2-hours.
There is no public transport to access Lamington National Park so you will need to have your own vehicle to make the drive up to Moran Falls.
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The road leading out to Lamington National Park is unbelievably scenic with a few lookout points along the way that are clearly signposted and worthy of stopping at to take a quick photo.
LAMINGTON NATIONAL PARK TOURS
Alternatively, you can book a tour to Lamington National Park departing from either Brisbane or Gold Coast which includes return transfers from your hotel, a tour of Lamington National Park and its waterfalls, breathtaking views on the O’Reilly’s Treetop Walk and much more!
Sunset at Morans Falls
Morans Falls lookout
BEST TIME TO VISIT MORAN FALLS
Morans Falls is quite a popular tourist attraction and it can get quite busy on the weekends. If you can time your visit for a weekday, you will get to enjoy this beautiful location with fewer people.
The best time to visit Morans Falls, in my opinion, is between 3 pm and 6 pm for sunset. This is the time which I visited and due to its west-facing position, you’ll get to witness incredible colors fill the valley as the sun sets over nearby mountain ranges.
Do note that if you visit Morans Falls at sunset, you’ll most likely have to walk back to the parking lot in the dark so be prepared and pack a torch.
If sunset doesn’t appeal to you, visiting Morans Falls at any time during the day is just as good.
If you are planning to spend an entire day exploring Lamington National Park, I recommend pre-packing a lunch and plenty of drinking water before heading up the mountain. There is only one cafe which is O’Reilly’s Mountain Cafe, though their menu can be quite expensive if you’re on a tight budget.
RELATED ARTICLE → 3 DAY GOLD COAST ITINERARY
Sunset at Moran Falls
Morans Falls Lamington National Park
ARRIVING AT MORANS FALLS
There are two different entry points to access Moran Falls, one is located at the jump-off point for Pyhton Rock (about 1km before O’reilly’s Rainforest Retreat) and the other trailhead is located near the main parking lot at O’Reilly’s Mountain Cafe.
Both jump-off points have free car parking spaces available and the trailheads are clearly signposted.
There are also toilet amenities and picnic areas next to O’reilly’s Mountain Cafe which you can make use of before and after your Morans Falls adventure.
MORANS FALLS SHORTCUT TRAIL
Most visitors don’t know this, but there is a shortcut trail to reach Morans Falls which takes around 20-30 minutes each way and I recommend taking this trail if you are pressed for time.
Follow the signposts for Morans Falls which is located on the opposite side of the parking lot to where O’Reilly’s Cafe is. Walk for 2 minutes till you come to a driveway on your left-hand side which is the entrance to O’reilly’s Lost World Spa. You will see a boom gate with a stop sign on it but you can simply walk around the gate by taking the passenger pathway on the right-hand side.
The road is quite steep here so please take your time walking down. You will then come to a fork in the road and see another sign with an arrow pointing left to the Villas Conference Center and Day Spa, and an arrow pointing right to O’reilly’s Staff Vehicles Only – Hiker’s Welcome. Turn right at the fork when you see this sign.
The main parking lot at O’Reilly’s
Signpost at the end of the parking lot
Shortcut entrance to Moran Falls
Turn right at this fork in the road for Morans Falls
Continue walking downhill for another 5 minutes or so and you will see another sign for Morans Falls (450m) and Hidden Gully (80m). If you’re up for a quick detour, follow the 80m trail down to Hidden Gully to where you will find some wooden seating nestled beneath the rainforest canopy where you can take a moment to rest.
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Signpost for Morans Falls and Hidden Gully
Hidden Gully Lamington National Park
After you’ve checked out the Hidden Gully, head back on the same trail till you reach the road again, continue down the road for 100m and you will see another sign for Morans Falls (350m) on your right-hand side. Take this trail which runs parallel with Morans Creek and down to the falls.
Be mindful that this shortcut trail to Morans Falls can be muddy and slippery when wet, and there are a couple of small creek crossings along the way. Be sure to wear a good pair of walking shoes or boots.
The trailhead to Moran Falls
Shortcut trail to Morans Falls
MORANS FALLS TRAIL FROM PYTHON ROCK
If you don’t wish to take the shortcut to Morans Falls from O’Reilly’s Cafe, the other trailhead is located at the entrance to Python Rock lookout, about 1km down the road from the cafe.
This trail is a little longer with a 6.2km return trip that takes around 45-minutes each way. It’s a nice and peaceful walk through the Gondwana Rainforest and it’s reasonably flat making it suitable for everyone.
It doesn’t matter where you begin the hike down to Morans Falls, whether you head down the shortcut trail or you decide to take the longer trail from the Python Rock entrance. Both trails will take you to the Morans Falls lookout points and also to the plunge pool at the top of the falls.
The Morans Falls trail is a combination of tar-sealed pathways and dirt trails that will lead you through the lush Gondwana Rainforest that makes up Lamington National Park.
RELATED ARTICLE → 5 BEST SPRINGBROOK WATERFALLS
The parking lot at Python Rock entrance
Trailhead to Morans Falls at Python Rock entrance
Follow this signpost for Morans Falls
MORANS FALLS LOOKOUT
There are two Morans Falls lookout points that offer incredible views of the falls itself and also the mountainous hinterland region to the west of Lamington National Park.
One is called the Morans Falls lookout and the other is called the Moran Falls clearing.
Both Moran Falls viewpoints are worthy of stopping at for a few minutes to let the beauty of the surrounding natural landscapes soak in. Oh, and be sure to have your camera at the ready as you’ll want to take some happy snaps at these epic viewpoints.
Morans Falls lookout
View of Morans Falls from the lookout
Signpost for Morans Falls lookout
Morans Falls clearing
MORAN FALLS PLUNGE POOL
Moran Falls plunge pool is what makes this location so unique compared to most other waterfalls on the Gold Coast. Morans Creek flows calmly down the mountainside and creates a natural infinity pool at the top of an enormous cliff face that drops down into a densely rainforested valley.
To reach the plunge pool at the top of Morans Falls, you will have to navigate your way across the large boulders on the edge of Morans Creek and down towards the cliff edge.
Please take extra caution when exploring the Morans Falls plunge pool as there are no fall-restraints and it’s a very long way to fall if you accidentally slip over the edge.
There is a large flat rock next to the plunge pool at Morans Falls which is a great spot to lay down a rug and watch the sunset from this epic vantage point.
As I mentioned earlier, don’t forget to pack a torch if you plan to visit Morans Falls at sunset as you will need it for the walk back to the parking lot in the dark.
Morans Falls plunge pool
Epic vantage point at Moran Falls
View from Morans Falls Lamington National Park
Sunset at Moran Falls
MORANS FALLS MAP
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WHERE TO STAY IN LAMINGTON NATIONAL PARK
There are only a few places to stay near Morans Falls in Lamington National Park which I have listed below to suit the needs of budget backpackers, luxury travelers and everyone in between.
See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
LUXURY: O’REILLY’S RAINFOREST RETREAT
MID-RANGE: CANUNGRA HOTEL
BUDGET: THE CANUNGRA MOTEL
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY NEAR MORANS FALLS, SEE MY COMPLETE GUIDE ON WHERE TO STAY ON THE GOLD COAST
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.
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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
BEST GOLD COAST TOURS
AIRBNB GOLD COAST
Another option for accommodation in Gold Coast is to stay in an Airbnb, which generally has some great deals!
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WHAT TO PACK FOR GOLD COAST
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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FINAL THOUGHTS OF MORANS FALLS
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions at all about Morans Falls Lamington National Park, please leave a comment below and I will reply as soon as I can!