Springbrook is a rural town of nearly 700 people, 28 km west of Tweed Heads. The main access road is from Mudgeeraba.
The Springbrook plateau is the most easterly spur of the McPherson Range. It has an average yearly rainfall of 120 inches or 300 cm, and a sub-tropical maritime climate. As well as having sub-tropical vegetation, the plateau has warm and cool temperate rain-forests.
After a survey of the plateau in 1905 a small group of farm selections were taken up by the 'Springwood' selectors. They soon became tree-fellers, and their name changed to Springbrook in 1906. Dairying was the main farm occupation. A primary school was opened in 1911 and in 1914 a track to Mudgeeraba was upgraded for wheeled traffic. An improved road with lower gradients was built in 1925-28, in time for tourism and guesthouses. The first guesthouse, Rudders, had opened in 1925, and by the end of the 1930s there were seven, along with cafes and self-contained accommodation. A bus also brought visitors from Southport for wholesome holidays at Queensland's 'premier mountain resort'.
Until the early 1960s Springbrook was a tourist drawcard, but it went out of fashion in the heyday of beach tourism. By the 1970s the estimated population was 50, as dairying declined and the school was closed (1971). A revival came in the next decade, led by retirees, alternative life-stylers and day-trippers seeking scenery and local crafts. A new school was built in 1984.
There were two national parks, Warrie (1937) of about 1400 acres and Gwongorella (1940) of about 340 acres. In the early 1990s most of a forest reserve was added, increasing the national park to over 3000 ha. It is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, World Heritage Area (1994). The southern part of the National Park, known as The Canyon, has the headwaters of the Little Nerang and Mudgeeraba Creeks, with spectacular waterfalls and lookouts. West of there, the Natural Bridge section makes up the balance of Springbrook National Park. (The Natural Bridge is a cave formation with a glow-worm colony.)
The town backs on to the National Park and has walking-track access to the single-drop 106m Purling Brook Falls. Springbrook has several accommodation resorts, an astronomical observatory, a public hall, a chamber of commerce and an information centre. Its census populations have been:
Pamela Hall, Springbrook: where the clouds touch the earth, Springbrook, the author, 1990
Robyn Burrows, Dairies and daydreams: the Mudgeeraba story, Brisbane, Boolarong Publications, 1989