The Federation Walk Coastal Reserve

The Federation Walk Coastal Reserve

Hidden from the road

Over the years I’ve driven down Sea world Drive, picnicked at the Spit, walked the rock wall and gazed at South Stradbroke Island while watching boats negotiateFederation Walk the Seaway.

Maybe once or twice I’ve glanced at the bushland along the side of the road and wondered if there was a trail and occasionally stopped and accessed the beach.

Unfortunately it was usually the summer months so going exploring was less likely, there’s nothing more unpleasant than hot sand under your feet.

In 2000 the Federation Walk was opened and I am ashamed to say that I didn’t walk the trail till late last year.

However I know I’m not alone and I can guarantee that many permanent residents that only live a short distance away are not aware of its beauty.

Many of us are so caught up in day to day living that we don’t stop to smell the roses, this isn’t unique to the Gold Coast it’s a general trend everywhere and I suspect has been happening since the dawn of time.

Earlier this year all that changed, it was time to walk the entire length of bushland including the Federation Walk.

After checking the map on the Federation site and Google Maps (love those maps) I planned my Saturday morning walk.

I parked in the car park, where The Golden Day Spa is located opposite Marina Mirage and walked towards the beach and onto the concrete walkway heading north.

Where does the Federation Walk start?

The official walk starts at Philip Park, opposite the entrance to Seaworld, but my plan was to ‘mapmywalk’ by walking the entire length of the trail to the Spit, have breakfast and walk back.

Being aware it might get warm, I started early around 6.00am.

Gold Coast Spit

Although I did some homework before hand I still wasn’t clear where the official Federation Walk started, so I commenced from the car park. The distance there and back was around 11km.

The first section of the walk was busy with all the usual early morning traffic in the form of runners, cyclists and walkers.

It was cloudy and rain was a real threat, I know from past experience that being caught out in an isolated place during a storm can be pretty scary and with this walking trail there are long stretches where there isn’t any shelter or buildings to run too.

Always check the weather forecast

Map of walk
I decided to take a chance and keep going, it was only cloudy and the worst thing was I was going to get soaking wet, which could be a little uncomfortable.

However I will say now this walking trail and any others for that matter shouldn’t be walked if there is a storm warning.

It can get scary being in an isolated area.

A few years ago I experienced this just on a local beach when a storm rolled in; you can read about it at this link.


Click here for active map.

Warning… only do this walk in the early morning during the summer months, winter would be the ideal time.

Ever changing landscape

Federation WalkI had a preconceived idea that this area was mainly scrub-land and views of the beach, but it was much more diverse than I expected.

 There were open spaces of coastal heath with the occasional ghost like dead tree breaking the landscape.

The rustic trail meandered around She Oaks and through pockets of rainforest and groves of Macaranga trees.

Some of the sand dunes were huge and blocked the view of the ocean and paths trailed off around them to access the beach.

It’s also strange to be in such a secluded spot, and see the tops of high rises in Main Beach above the bushland, it’s like expecting a movie camera to start moving forward and rush to the top of the buildings.

Secluded location

The weather was now deteriorating which curtailed some of my exploring.   It is a quiet and isolated area; it would be best if you took a companion with you.

Recently I walked another isolated trail at Elanora Wetlands, and encountered a snake.

It’s a reminder that once away from the urban sprawl we are vulnerable to the elements and what nature can throw up.

In future I will carry a compression bandage with me.

‘What should you do if bitten by a snake’? Click here for advice

Getting back to Federation Walk, I eventually reached the Seaway and was looking forward to breakfast in a café, where I like to sit and check my photos. But this was to be a disappointment.

I was too early it didn’t open till 7.30 it meant hanging around for 3o minutes.

I walked the rock wall, watched the surfers ride the waves and decided to walk back, by now the weather was very threatening, picking up my pace I hurried back along the trail to the car park and had breakfast at Marina Mirage.

Friends of Federation Walk

This is a Community group whose objective is to maintain the Federation Walk Coastal Reserve as a natural public open space for the benefit of the community. Along with volunteers and community planting days they work tirelessly to keep the area maintained.

You can become a member for a very small amount and sponsoring from a  business perspective you have the opportunity to involve yourself in a community project that will not only benefit you, but flows on to local Gold Coasters, in addition it contributes to the sustainability of the region.

Friends of Federation Walk Inc

3 Responses to The Federation Walk Coastal Reserve

  1. This has been on my ‘to do’ list for some time but living at the other end of the coast it seems so far away and I never get round to it. I have holidays looming so I might make it a challenge for then.

    Speaking of snakes, we encountered one at Schuster Park a week ago. Prompted me to pack my hiking first aid kit into the bottom of my backpack.

    • Susan, when you decide to do the Federation Walk start early, the weather is warming up and it can get quite warm on that track. Snakes! Yes I wrote a post on Schuster Park tried to walk around the whole Island and encountered a large Python. I think that’s something we should be prepared for.

Leave a reply