Box Forest Circuit is rated as one of the best Lamington National Park walks through the UNESCO Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforest.
Box Forest is a 10.9km round-trip hike that takes around 4 hours to complete from start to finish. Boasting four epic waterfalls known as Elabana Falls, Box Log Falls, Darragumai Falls, and Nugurin Falls, I think it’s safe to say that this circuit is not to be missed on your visit to the Green Mountains section in Lamington National Park!
In this guide, I have included useful information on how to get to Lamington National Park, the best time to visit, and what to expect on the Box Forest Circuit hike.
Also, at the bottom of this blog post, you will find my recommendations on where to stay in Lamington National Park, a list of fun-fuelled Gold Coast tours, and more of my Gold Coast travel guides that you might like to check out!
WHERE IS BOX FOREST?
Box Forest Circuit is located in Lamington National Park, Gold Coast, Queensland.
From the main tourist hub on the Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, it’s approximately a 1.5-hour drive to reach 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 plan to visit from here, the journey time is approximately 2 hours.
HOW TO GET HERE
There is no public transport to access Lamington National Park so you will need to have your own vehicle to visit.
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!
BOOK NOW → LAMINGTON NATIONAL PARK TOUR
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BEST TIME TO VISIT
Box Forest Circuit is 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 rainforest hike with fewer people.
The best time to visit is between 9 am and 3 pm as you’ll need around 4 hours to complete the 10.9km return hike.
If you are planning to spend an entire day exploring Lamington National Park, I recommend pre-packing a lunch and taking your reusable water bottle 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.
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The Box Forest Circuit trail, as mentioned earlier, is a 10.9km, 4-hour return hike.
The trailhead is located directly across the road from the main reception area at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat.
There is a large parking lot next to O’reilly’s Mountain Cafe with plenty of free car parking spaces available and the trailhead is clearly signposted.
You will first have to head along the Main Border Track towards Elabana Falls, and a few kilometers down you will see signposts for the circuit trail which branches off to the left. I recommend walking clockwise on the circuit as this way you’ll be rewarded with the waterfalls towards the end of the hike.
There are also toilet amenities and picnic areas next to O’reilly’s Mountain Cafe which you can make use of before and after the hike.
RELATED ARTICLE → 3 DAY GOLD COAST ITINERARY
WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE CIRCUIT
Box Forest is the longer, but more scenic way to reach Elabana Falls and I highly recommend taking this route if you have the time. It took us around 4.5 hours from start to finish, including plenty of stops to take photos at multiple waterfalls which can be found along this trail.
The trail is a combination of tar-sealed pathways, rock steps, creek crossings, and clearly marked dirt tracks, making it suitable for the average person with some hiking abilities.
The circuit trail will lead you through the lush Gondwana Rainforest that makes up the Green Mountains section of Lamington National Park.
There are some fun obstacles along the way that you will encounter such as hanging vines, enormous Strangler Fig trees, flowing streams, and creek crossings.
Also, don’t forget to bring a good pair of walking shoes or boots when exploring Lamington National Park.
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The first set of falls you will encounter on the circuit is Nugurin Falls.
Nugurin Falls features a large freshwater pool and a mellow surge of water that flows down a small rock face. The water flow through this particular valley is all fed from upper Canungra Creek.
Darragumai Falls is the second waterfall you will encounter, featuring a wide set of falls that flows effortlessly down a slanted rock face and into a natural pool below.
Spend a few moments here marveling at Darragumai Falls from below before continuing upstream along the trail to the next set of falls.
You will also have to cross over the creek at the top of Darragumai Falls which can be quite fun as you rock-hop from one side to the other. However, some of the rocks are covered in moss and can be quite slippery so please take extra caution and watch your step.
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BOX LOG FALLS
The second last waterfall you will come to on the Box Forest Circuit is the more popular Box Log Falls.
Featuring a cavern-type waterfall that is much larger than Nugurin Falls and Darragumai Falls. Standing tall at around 5 or 6 meters, Box Log Falls is one of the best natural attractions along the trail.
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Last but not least on the circuit is Elabana Falls and one of the most popular waterfalls in Lamington National Park.
When you first lay eyes on Elabana Falls I guarantee you will be in complete awe. This Lamington National Park waterfall boasts not just one, but two epic waterfalls.
Elaban Falls features an upper waterfall that looks like a curtain threaded with satin silver and a lower cascade that consists of multiple streams of water flowing into a natural swimming hole.
It’s possible to explore and go swimming in the natural pools at Elabana Falls, but take extra care and watch your step as it can be quite slippery when wet.
You could easily spend around 30 minutes here, swimming at Elabana Falls and marveling at the lush green nature that surrounds this one-of-a-kind waterfall in Lamington National Park.
PICNIC ROCK LAMINGTON NATIONAL PARK
Continuing on from Elabana Falls is Picnic Rock, located just 2 minutes walk upstream.
The name speaks for itself, featuring a large flat rock perched right on top of a freshwater stream. I recommend stopping at Picnic Rock after visiting Elabana Falls as it’s an excellent spot to go for a swim and take a rest.
From here, the last leg of the circuit trail, back to the starting point at O’reilly’s Rainforest Retreat takes approximately 45 minutes to 1-hour.
BEST GOLD COAST TOURS
WHERE TO STAY IN LAMINGTON NATIONAL PARK
There are only a few places to stay in Lamington National Park 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, SEE MY COMPLETE GUIDE ON WHERE TO STAY ON THE GOLD COAST
WHAT TO PACK FOR LAMINGTON NATIONAL PARK
When visiting Lamington National Parl, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you:
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