The Burleigh Heads Walking Track is a must-do when you are in the Gold Coast and is a firm favourite on any Sydney to Brisbane road trip.
The walk up the iconic Burleigh Hill and out over the Burleigh Headland is one of the most popular free things to do in the Gold Coast.
Not only that, but the suburb of Burleigh Heads itself is a lovely place to spend the day or a few hours.
Go for a surf, sunbake on the beach, go for a dip in the ocean, enjoy the buzzing cafe scene here or sit on the grass with a picnic – there’s always something to do in Burleigh Heads!
Where Is Burleigh Heads?
Burleigh Heads is a suburb located in the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. Burleigh Heads is known for its stunning beach, as well as Burleigh Headland and the walking tracks you can do there.
The Burleigh Heads walking track is popular with both locals and tourists as it provides sweeping views up and down the coast.
There are several walks you can do up the Burleigh Headland of varying lengths and difficulties, so whether you’re after a leisurely walk or for a more challenging hike you’ll be able to find a hike that suits you.
Along the headland you’ll find several viewpoints that are perfect for taking a break, admiring the views and getting some photos.
How To Get To Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Heads is located in the middle of the Gold Coast, roughly halfway between Surfers Paradise and Currumbin Beach. It is 90km from Brisbane to the north (about 1.5 hours driving or 2 hours on the train) and just over 1 hour drive from Byron Bay to the south.
There are ample public buses in the Gold Coast, with buses to Burleigh Beach running every 15 minutes or so along the Gold Coast Highway.
What Time Should You Visit Burleigh Heads to Do The Burleigh Hill Walk?
Ideally you’ll want to get to Burleigh Heads in the early morning for two reasons: to avoid the midday sun and crowds, and so you can get a parking space next to the beach easily if you’ll be driving!
The southern end of Goodwin Terrace and the car park at the end by Burleigh Hill are the most convenient places to park if you can get a spot.
Weekends get very busy at Burleigh Heads so aim to come on a weekday if you wish to enjoy the beach and the headland with less people around and don’t want to be driving round for hours looking for a parking spot near the beach!
Late afternoon is also a nice time to visit Burleigh Heads as you’ll be able to watch the sun set over the skyscrapers in Gold Coast City and Surfers Paradise.
Just be prepared that finding a parking spot might take a bit longer.
Always check the parking signs as some spots are free parking for 3 hours (they will say 3P and there won’t be any parking meters around), and some charge roughly $4 an hour to park.
Burleigh Heads Walking Track
Burleigh Headland is a prominent hill to the south of Burleigh Beach – it’s definitely hard to miss! It is actually a National Park (Burleigh Head National Park) that is 27 hectares big.
It comprises not only of walking tracks amongst the rainforest and panoramic vistas, but also some beautiful beaches and even tidal sandbars!
There are two footpath entrances to Burleigh Head National Park – the main entrance is on the north side by Burleigh Hill (near the car park on the southern end of Goodwin Terrace mentioned above).
There is also an entrance on the southern side of Burleigh Head by the car park at Tallebudgera Creek.
Burleigh Heads Walk
If you look on Google maps you’ll see there are three main walking tracks in Burleigh Heads National Park, all roughly 1.2km long and all fairly parallel to each other with a bit of cross-over.
The two most picturesque walking tracks are The Ocean View Lookout Track and The Ocean View Track. The third track: the Rainforest Track is more inland than the other two walking tracks and so the viewpoints are minimal.
However if you look at the map on the Parks website, you’ll see that they have labelled 5 tracks, which looks very confusing as some tracks are just small paths that are the beginning to other paths.
Personally I found the Google maps map much easier to understand so I will work from that.
Ocean View Track:
The Ocean View Track doesn’t take you at as high an elevation as the other tracks.
Rather it takes you along the rocky foreshore of the southern end of Burleigh Beach, before wrapping around the headland into Tallebudgera Creek and adjoining Echo Beach – which are both must visits when in Burleigh.
You should definitely go in for a swim after the walk!
Ocean View Lookout Track:
The Ocean View Lookout Track takes you to Tumgun Lookout where you can get stunning aerial photos of Tallebudgera Creek and south towards Coolangatta. This is many people’s favourite Burleigh Heads walking track.
On the Ocean View Lookout Track you can also find the Cock Rock, which overlooks Burleigh Point Surf Break.
The Rainforest Track leads you more into the interior of Burleigh Head National Park. At both ends of the park the Rainforest Track joins on to the Ocean View Lookout Track so you can make a circuit loop of the park.
It’s easy enough to go from one walking track to the other as they all interlink at the southern end of Burleigh Head, so you can make the walk as long or as short as you want.
All the tracks traverse across the headland from north to south, so you can start in one place and finish in the other (more ideal if you didn’t come in a car), or you can just walk back on yourself or on a different track to your original starting point.
The trails go through woodland and if you look up you’ll often see kookaburras in the trees!
How To Get To Tumgun Lookout – Burleigh Headland
The quickest way to reach the beautiful Tumgun Lookout is to start at the northern entrance to the National Park. When the path first splits into two, take the right hand path and follow it up.
You’ll go past the Jebbribillum Lookout, pause for a photo of the view if you like, and then continue along the path.
You’ll then see a path coming off the main path on the left hand side – take this path and this will lead to Tumgun Lookout.
The view from Tumgun Lookout of Tallebudgera Creek is really stunning and the photos look like they were taken from a drone!
How To Get To Cock Rock – Burleigh Headland
Another popular spot on the Burleigh Headland is Cock Rock.
The Cock Rock is located roughly 30 metres before you reach Tumgun Lookout – you’ll see an opening of trees, and some large hexagonal rock boulder formations behind a fence.
If you follow these boulders down the hill as far as you can go, you’ll see Cock Rock sticking out. If you do decide to go here please be very careful.
What Is There To Do In Burleigh Heads Besides The Burleigh Hill Walk?
Burleigh Beach is beautiful, so make sure to enjoy some time on the beach and go for a swim in the ocean – always swim between the flags!
There are free showers and bathrooms right by the Burleigh Pavilion on the beach if you need to shower afterwards.
Even if you don’t walk up Burleigh Hill, you can still appreciate the stunning Gold Coast skyline from Burleigh Beach.
If you are here between May and September look out in the ocean and keep an eye out for the humpback whales making their annual migration along the east coast of Australia.
Surf at Burleigh Point
If you’re a surfer, you’re in luck. Grab a board and head to Burleigh Point as the surf is really epic – some of the best along the whole of the East Coast of Australia!
In fact, Burleigh Point is actually a World Surfing Reserve and surfers from all over the world come here to experience the right hand point break here!
As a result, it gets busy out on the waves, but this is great for those of you who love to stand watch the surfers all day!
Watch The Sunset With A Picnic
Another popular activity to do at Burleigh Heads is to get a picnic and sit on Burleigh Hill – the grassy area by the car park right before the National Park. It’s the perfect spot to watch the sunset.
If you’re after a cheap and cheerful place for lunch or dinner, head to Burleigh Heads Surf Life Saving Club. The SLSC’s in New South Wales are known for having great food at very good prices – something that you just don’t find elsewhere!
There is also a buzzing cafe scene in Burleigh Heads, host to some of the best cafes in the Gold Coast!
There are many cafes, but some of the best are on Connor Street which include The Coffee Shack, Burleigh Tropicana Cafe, Connors and The Pantry Cafe. Connor Street is where you’ll find lots of boutique shops.
In the evening you’ll also find many restaurants and bars in and around Connor Street, James Street and Laneway so have a browse and see what takes your fancy.
Tallebudgera Creek – known as ‘Talley Creek’ by the locals, has incredibly clear aqua-blue water.
It’s a fantastic place to go swimming and paddle boarding as the water is calmer in the creek (although do watch out for the odd boat and rip!).
Echo Beach is a small cove tucked under the southern side of Burleigh Head that you must also visit. You can actually walk straight to this beach if you follow the Ocean View Tack when you are doing the Burleigh Head walk.
If you happen to be at Tallebudgera Creek at low tide you’ll see some sand bars appear, which are fun to relax on!
You can either get to Tallebudgera Creek from doing the walk around Burleigh Head, driving to one of the car parks on either side of Tallebudgera Creek Bridge, or snorkelling across from Burleigh Beach if you’re a good swimmer and the water is calm!
Accommodation in Burleigh Heads
There is plenty accommodation available in Burleigh Heads, from hotels to serviced apartments.
You’ll ideally want to pick somewhere near the beach close to The Esplanade such as the Outrigger Resort – one of the most affordable mid-range hotels in The Gold Coast located just two minutes from Burleigh Beach!
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Catrina is a Travel Writer, SEO Specialist and ex-Flight Attendant based in Sydney, Australia. She has visited 85 countries and lived in several – including Italy, Australia, United Arab Emirates and England. Her work has been featured in a variety of popular travel publications including Fodors, Escape, Australian Traveller and Bear Grylls, as well as several international aviation and travel companies. The majority of her work however features on her own website – 24hourslayover.com where she has written over 500 travel articles!