Burleigh Ridge Park Walk
Most people have heard of Burleigh Headland, but few know about Burleigh Ridge Park. This 3.94 km walk, which is a combination of urban and bushland with an unexpected spot of history, features stunning views of the Gold Coast and hinterland that are different to the postcards and that most tourists never see.
The whole park is undergoing rejuvenation with some trees only a few decades old and some 150 years plus, and it supports a rich variety of flora and fauna, including koalas. So take the time to stop and look up from time to time, with the chance of being rewarded with a sighting. While most views are from the ridge top, depending on the conditions there may be breaks in the trees where Tallebudgera Creek and Palm Beach are visible below.
There are 4 access points to enter this park; to follow are 2 options to get to the ridge, the first moderate grade, for the fit easy and the second easy grade.
1. Start on foot at the end of James Street and walk up West Street and Wairoo Street to the top of the hill where the water tanks are located; this is only for the fit, the hill is quite steep. Burleigh Ridge walk is only suitable for those in reasonable physical shape. or
2. Drive up West Street and Wairoo Street and find a park along George Street, which is part of Burleigh Ridge. At both ends of the street, George Street comes to a dead end and to the right is a small car park where the gate to the track is situated. (N.B Take care and be discreet as this is a residential area). From here check out the views to the north and east, which are very different to the standard postcard views of the Gold Coast.
3. Once on the track, continue straight, heading towards the Gold Coast Hwy, with the roar of traffic behind and walk down quite a few dozen steps. (Note that you have to walk back up the same way). There is a little piece of history waiting at the bottom.
4. At the bottom of the ridge is Koala Park, a residential estate that was developed in the sixties. Before that the whole area was mud flats and mangroves. Upon reaching the bottom of the steps look to the right - there’s the grave site of a mother and child who tragically drowned in Tallebudgera Creek in 1922. While Burleigh Ridge Park was originally destined to be a grave yard, this grave, of Emily Elizabeth West and her young son Thomas William West is the only one known to be in existence. * The tragic story behind it is of a family, husband and wife with their two young boys who, while holidaying on the South Coast were enjoying the pristine waters of Tallebudgera Creek when tragedy struck. Only the husband survived and unfortunately the other child was never found.
5. Retrace the steps back to the top and continue along the track, which eventually arrives at Marjorie Saint Henry Park. From here head back again …. on the way back, when the track curves to the right, is a ‘goats trail’ going up the ridge. For the adventurous this is a short cut to the top of the ridge, which finishes at the water tanks. But take care if the track is damp or it has been raining - it can be quite slippery with loose rocks.
6. Most will prefer to stick to the main track, in which case keep an eye out to the left for the track leading back up to George Street, (if you miss it you will end up back at the Gold Coast Hwy. If this should happen just head to the left and follow the Gold Coast Hwy back into Burleigh Heads).
Take a tip: Look closely at the Google Map for details and access points to enjoy this unique urban bush walk, which is only a stone’s throw from a coffee at Burleigh Village.
Need to know: Take water, a sun hat and sturdy walking shoes. There are no toilet or water stops on the way.
*This little piece of Burleigh Ridge history was very close to being lost forever, if it hadn’t been for an elderly lady who lived in the area alerting council workers while cleaning up to be careful because of an unmarked grave. Credit must also go to the supervisor for listening and taking the time to check the records, otherwise this historic site would have been forgotten.
by Gillian Callcott
Burleigh Ridge Park Walk