Those boots are made for walking – the best trails to hike in and around Brisbane
In these uncertain times where we keep yo-yo-ing back and forth between freedom and confinement, the opportunity to get outside for some precious nature time is one that we should grab with both hands. To celebrate some of our state’s best natural resources (and to encourage everyone to embrace being allowed outside), we’ve rounded up some of the best hikes around Brisbane and the Gold Coast so that you can get your state-sanctioned dose of fresh air. Are you ready, boots? Start walking!
Mt Coot-tha Reserve offers a variety of walking tracks with the most popular being the iconic (and ‘gramable) Summit Track. Just a 15-minute drive from the CBD, this trail starts at the Mt Coot-tha lookout and traverses down to the JC Slaughter Falls picnic area. It sits amongst a beautiful eucalypt forest with crystal-clear creek beds and amazing views over the city from the summit. If you’re planning to make tracks here, we recommend timing your trip to catch the sunset – it’s arguably the best view in town. Psst … the 2.4-kilometre Spotted Gum Trail linking the Mt Coot-tha summit to the Botanic Gardens at its base opened just last year, so be sure to check it out!
Springbrook National Park
Located about 100 kilometres south of Brisbane, Springbrook National Park has plenty of awesome walks and hikes. With difficulty levels ranging from a class one (suitable for disabled patrons with assistance) through to a class four (moderate fitness with previous experience recommended), the park offers up tracks and trails that boast a breathtaking background of ancient forests and flowing waterfalls – make sure you visit Natural Bridge, the prize jewel of the Gold Coast hinterland.
This mighty mountain is not for the faint-hearted. Known for pushing fitness levels to new limits, Mount Tibrogargan can be found at the Glass House Mountains in the Sunshine Coast (less than a one-hour drive from Brisbane City). If you start on the Tibrogargan circuit walk with a plan to reach the summit, be sure you’re ready for some sore buns the next day. This trail goes up rather steeply until you get to the base of a cliff where you then must climb your way to the top. Eventually, you’ll find yourself at the 364-metre ear-popping summit – with amazing views, we might add.
Another one for the more experienced hikers, the 2.6-kilometre Mount Beerwah trail is another great hike to tackle if you’re looking to travel up the coast. This summit is still pretty serious business – some rock scrambling experience is essential, so be sure to wear the proper attire. Don’t be disheartened, this hike is definitely worth the extra effort – sweeping views of the Sunshine Coast hinterland will greet your pretty peepers when you reach the top.
Lamington National Park
Lush forestry, ancient trees and incomparable views surround Lamington National Park, a natural wonder packed with a range of walks suitable for every type of hiker. Stretch your legs through the rainforest circuit or centenary track, or take your time traversing the Python Rock track. There are plenty more advanced trails that are accessible from both the Binna Burra section and Green Mountains section of the park, for the more dexterous amblers willing to take their time.
Not too far from both Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Tamborine Mountain is well known for its incredible rainforest walks. Find your feet at the Sandy Creek Circuit or Witches Falls, or try spot a platypus or two at the enchanting walk through Curtis Falls – wherever you choose, these picturesque hinterland trails are perfect for those looking to stroll a bit more slowly. Cooler temperatures, bountiful greenery and great lookouts promise any walkway on Mount Tambo is worth the drive.
Mount Barney National Park
There’s a reason Mount Barney National Park is so popular with hiking enthusiasts. There are a number of walks around the base of Mount Barney that will guide you through the awe-inducing natural landscapes, as well as tracks leading to the sky-high summit. For the serious hikers, Mount Barney has some of the best remote bushwalking opportunities – just remember to check in with the Department of National Parks for tips and advice.
D’Aguilar National Park
Only a half-hour drive from Brisbane, D’Aguilar National Park has plenty to see – remote gorges, green eucalypt woodland and spectacular views of the Moreton Bay region. Whether you’re a beginner when it comes to hiking or more of a trained pro, there are a few different trails you can take, depending on your abilities and experience. We suggest the 1.9-kilometre Rainforest Circuit for first-time visitors – it’s a real treat.
Springwood Conservation Park
Hidden in the middle of suburbia just a stone’s throw from Brisbane, is Springwood Conservation Park. This nature reserve features a fern-filled forest, a gorge, a stellar lookout and some very cute wildlife (hello sugar gliders!). The main walking track, the Gorge Discovery Circuit, is about one kilometre around and includes 132 stairs infamously labelled by locals as “The Stairs of Death” – these bad boys are guaranteed to get your heart rate going.
Thankfully, lots of experience isn’t necessary when it comes to navigating the Booloumba Falls walk. Found in Conondale National Park, this trek abounds with spectacular scenery. From the vast and varied landscape full of ancient rainforest, cascading waterfalls and Mother Nature’s best efforts – this trail makes for the perfect weekend adventure. Get moving!
Burleigh Headland National Park
If you’re planning a road trip down the coast, then this beachside walking track is for you. The Burleigh Headland walk is perfect for a pre-dip weekend stroll and features stunning ocean views, eucalypt forest, pandanus groves, and the occasional whale siting. There are a few different tracks to choose from (depending on how much time you have and whether you chose to don sneakers or thongs). Just remember to pack a picnic so you can fuel up pre or post-hike atop the beautiful Burleigh Hill.
Another Gold Coast gem, the Cougal Cascades track follows Currumbin Creek alongside spectacular rock pools and waterfalls. Peep the cascades in all their glory from the viewing platforms then discover the historic sawmill at the end of the track. This easy 1.6-kilometre stroll is suitable for all fitness levels and can be followed by a quick dip in the creek – in the warmer months, of course.