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The best Gold Coast Hinterland cycling trails

The Gold Coast has much more to offer than sandy beaches and surf. The rolling green hills and mist-shrouded mountains of the Gold Coast Hinterland are home to some of the best cycling trails in Queensland, and there’s no better way to experience the natural beauty of this region than by bike.

There are one-way rides and loops to cruise, most riddled with challenging pinches made sweeter by the fact you’re riding in ancient Gondwana Rainforest and passing farms and vineyards.

So, whether you’re a Brisbane local who hasn’t ventured further than Mt Coot-tha, or an interstate group looking for an active holiday on the Gold Coast, then best click your cleats and grit your teeth; these Gold Coast Hinterland cycling trails are waiting to be explored.

1. Mount Tamborine

Tamborine Mountain | Gold Coast cycling trails

Distance 43-kilometre loop
Start/Finish Canungra
Total Climb 577 metres
Rating Challenging

Park and ride from the township of Canungra to access the Mount Tamborine loop.

Turn the legs over on the long stretch through Tamborine, as you pass horse-racing studs and the famed Albert River Wines vineyard. Head right at the Bearded Dragon Hotel at the roundabout and soon you’ll begin to enjoy the climb to Mt Tamborine – a volcanic mass formed 20 million years ago.

Smell wafts of log fires burning in winter and the damp rainforest canopy in summer (it’s always around 5 to 10 degrees cooler here than the coast).

Arrive on top of the world and look down over the town and surrounds – you’ll understand why it’s called the Scenic Rim. If you’re lucky, you can even catch hang gliders launching themselves from the side of the mountain.

Take it easy down the Main Western Road, known to locals as the Goat Track, as it’s narrow with tight switchbacks.

If you’ve got a backpack, stop for ripe avocados and tart rhubarb straight from the many road-side stalls, or indulge in a curry pie from the Outpost Cafe in Canungra.

2. Little Nerang Dam to Springbrook

Distance 23.2 kilometres
Start Little Nerang Dam
Finish Springbrook (Best of All Lookout)
Total Climb 983 metres
Rating Challenging

Park at Little Narrow Dam and enjoy the easy cruise downhill before it begins to climb as soon as you hit Gold Coast Springbrook Road. Take extra care crossing the timber bridges, which can get slippery in winter.

The road splits into two and you’re rewarded with edgecliff views over Springbrook National Park where you can unclip for a selfie at the lookout. You’re halfway there.

Pass through the Springbrook village and turn right onto Repeater Ridge Road before arriving in 3.8 kilometres to the Best of All Lookout (you’ll understand the name when you see the view). The lookouts are often shrouded in clouds, even on the sunniest days, offering a cool end to your ride.

Pack a lock for your bike and walking shoes and enjoy the scenery on foot. The park is part of Gondwana Rainforests, an Australia World Heritage area where the plants and animals here remain relatively unchanged from their ancestors. Get walking and you’ll discover magnificent waterfalls and ancient Antarctic beech forest.

Once you’ve had your fill of clean mountain air, grab a lift back from the lookout, or simply ride back to Little Nerang Dam.

3. Hinze Dam

Hinze Dam

Photo by @jhewww_

Distance 60.6-kilometre loop
Start/Finish Little Nerang Dam
Total Climb 983 metres
Rating Super challenging

Little Nerang Dam is a popular spot to park and ride, and you should plan to spend the day exploring after you’ve exerted yourself – there are many waterfalls, walks and townships nearby.

But first you have to earn your relaxing afternoon, so get riding, first down then uphill, before turning right onto Pine Creek Road. You’ll cruise through the Numinbah State Forest and also Murwillumbah township (located in New South Wales), then back to Hinze Dam where you’ll roll directly over the dam structure.

Stop at the kiosk for some refreshments before heading back via Mudgeeraba and again hitting the Gold Coast Springbrook Road. You’re on the home stretch now.

(If very challenging rides are more your speed, be sure to check out the off-road trails around Nerang.)

4. Currumbin Valley

Distance 20.5 kilometres
Start/Finish Currumbin
Total Climb 189 metres
Rating Moderate

Take it easy through the hustle and bustle of Currumbin before entering the Gold Coast Hinterland. You’ll know you’re there when you spot the small hobby farms and honesty boxes lining the streets.

If you’ve brought a lock and shoes, pull up and explore the platforms and views in Springbrook National Park. If not, turn 180 degrees and enjoy the cruise home through the countryside.

And any trip to Currumbin isn’t complete without a Wildlife Sanctuary detour. Meet the family after your ride for a bird show, see an Aboriginal performance, and get up close with kangaroos and koalas.

5. O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat

Distance 70 kilometres there & back
Start/Finish Canungra
Total Climb 927 metres
Rating Challenging

A route endorsed by Triple World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss should be on any  cyclists’ radar. Add in picturesque scenery and vineyards, and you’ll understand why this is one of the best Gold Coast Hinterland cycling trails.

Park and ride from Canungra township and make your way along Lamington National Park Road. Approximately eight kilometres past grazing farm land, a quick stop at O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards is a must before starting the 2.5-hour incline after the Sarabah dirt road.

Wind through ancient Gondwana Rainforest and be rewarded after one final pinch with a cold drink at the O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat rooftop bar. Pioneers of eco-tourism in Australia, the exceptional O’Reilly’s property has been in operation for over 100 years and is well worth exploring for an afternoon. Then, go easy on the breaks and enjoy the exhilarating ride downhill.

If cycling the Gold Coast Hinterland’s best trails has taken your breath away in more ways than one, here’s the ideal itinerary for a weekend on the Scenic Rim.