Cascade Gardens Memorial Walk
Northern Gold Coast Walk
Cascade Gardens is a peaceful sanctuary set back from the Gold Coast Highway just between Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.
The gardens, which are open 6am to 6pm are easily missed, largely tucked behind the inconspicuous entrance and access road on the left side of the highway. Yet once you’ve found them, you’ll be glad you did – there is so much to explore here.
Not only do the gardens feature serene rainforest walks, traces of aboriginal culture and an enclosed sanctuary for water birds, but they are also home to the the Kokoda Memorial Walk and the Korean War Memorial.
Based on famous wartime photographs, the memorial tells the story of the WWII Kokoda Campaign and the Australian troops' journey, through sculptured images on a wall in the shape of infamous Kokoda Track.
Beyond the memorial, you’ll find a Mini Kokoda Trail marked with plaques similar to those existing along the actual Kokoda Track, explaining the significance of different points along the Kokoda Track. The walk pass through tropical rainforest reminiscent of the fetid jungles in which fierce battles were fought on the Kokoda Track.
The mini track passes through vegetation that is an important sanctuary, hosting the Cascade Gardens Flying Fox colony.
These colonies are increasingly rare and are important to ensure Flying Foxes continue to pollenate flowers and spread seeds to maintain and create new forests.
You’ll notice the strong scent the animals use to communicate (and attract a mate) and the noise if they are disturbed. Best not to disturb or risk being scratched or bitten as these important animals do carry a virus which can infect people.
Heading toward the northern end of the park you’ll come across the Korean War Memorial with ten commemorative murals representing the Australian armed forces, the Korean peoples' struggle for freedom, the unknown Australian, veterans, prisoners of war, the Busan war grave and servicemen missing in action.
The central prominent sculpture depicts a sentinel at ease overseeing the commemorative site. The memorial is flanked by a Korean Garden and is an important pace for quiet reflection.
As you head west from the memorials, the path takes you through a variety of vegetation.
You’ll come to the beautiful banks of the Nerang River, home to a multitude of water birds.
Here you’ll find more treasures in the shape of a historic pavilion (perhaps you call it a rotunda or gazebo), popular for weddings.
Following the river further west you’ll discover the delightful seniors garden adjacent to the children’s playground.
This place is lovely – the seniors garden hosts a wishing well, a mosaic succulent tub and the friendly bench, whilst the children’s playground features a liberty swing designed for children in wheelchairs. To really appreciate this hidden gem, you’ll want to stay a while after your walk!
Track Length: Allow at least an hour and expect to cover a kilometre or two to take in the Kokoda Memorial track, the flying fox colony, the Korean Memorial, the river, rotunda, seniors garden and children’s playground, and back to the carpark at Herb Fennell and Noel Watson Memorial Park.
Track Difficulty: Easy flat paved path.
Facilities: There is a 50-bay carpark plus 5 disabled parking spaces located within the park. There are toilets, bubblers, shaded benches, barbeques and picnic tables.
By Michaela Lyons
Track Entrance: 2690 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach