Five Epic Mountain Walks to Try Near Brisbane
These scenic hikes will have you feeling like you're on top of the world.
When most folks think about Queensland, locals included, they think about the enticing coastline. The Sunshine State is known for its surf and sand — and, obviously, sun — after all. But if you're looking for an escape into nature that doesn't involve the sea, southeast Queensland is also home to more than a few rocky, towering peaks. They're perfect for scenic hikes and, when you walk along them, they'll have you feeling like you're on top of the world.
Even better: if you're eager for a mountainous trek but you're also keen to spend more time on your feet than driving, plenty of spots sit within a short distance from Brisbane. And if you're not quite sure where to head, we've rounded up five epic locations for you to add to your must-walk list.
MOUNT BARNEY NATIONAL PARK
Queenslanders can thank a volcanic eruption 24 million years ago for this mountainous patch of the state, which boasts several peaks. There's Mount Barney, of course, as well as Mount Maroon, Mount May, Mount Lindesay, Mount Ernest, Mount Ballow and Mount Clunie. Accordingly, the Mount Barney National Park offers up a choose-your-own-adventure-style roster of treks, all slightly south of Brisbane and all best for experienced bushwalkers. Among the plethora of trails awaiting your footsteps, you can choose between two types: walking tracks or, for those experienced with rock scrambling, summit routes. Our pick: the Cronan Creek Falls trail, where you'll mosey along the rugged mountainous landscape and also see tumbling water, as the name suggests. It spans 12 kilometres, and will take you around four hours.
GLASS HOUSE MOUNTAINS
Sometimes, it's easy to overlook things that are virtually in your own backyard. For many Brisbanites, the Glass House Mountains fall into that category. We all know that they're there, sitting between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast — but, because they are always there, you mightn't have taken the time to visit them. Redressing that quick smart is recommended, because this range is simply stunning, even if you just decide to peer up at its peaks from the ground. We definitely encourage putting on some comfy shoes and making your way along one or several of the walking trails, though, with options available for both first-timers and experienced hikers. Most are quite short, so you could climb up to the Mount Ngungun summit in two hours, circumnavigate Mount Tibrogarga in 90 minutes and trek to the top of Mount Beerburrum in another 90 minutes — walking 10.4 kilometres in total, and making quite the day of it.
LAMINGTON NATIONAL PARK
Part of the Gold Coast hinterland, Lamington National Park is another spot south of Brisbane that serves up many mountainous hiking options. Here, you'll be walking along, through and atop the McPherson Range — and peering out over the park itself, as well as the Gold Coast, southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales. If you're fond of ogling waterfalls and valleys, take the day-long, 21-kilometre Ships Stern circuit in the Binna Burra section of the park. If you're particularly enthusiastic about making your trek at a high altitude (and possibly even through some mist), opt for the 18-kilometre Wagawn track and its impressive vantage from the Garragoolba lookout. You could also choose the 18.2-kilometre Mount Hobwee circuit, which branches off from it. For something a bit shorter, the 12-kilometre Daves Creek circuit serves up scenic views, rainforest sections and the eye-catching Surprise Rock, a volcanic dyke.
The walk to the top of Mount Coolum isn't particularly long, spanning 1.6 kilometres and taking around an hour (plus an hour to get back down, of course). It is a bit steep, rather rocky and can be challenging, though, so you might want to work your way up to it by getting in some experience on other tracks first. Once you decide that you're ready to tackle this Sunshine Coast spot, you'll reach a site that's perched 208 metres above sea level — with 360-degree views of the coast, the Glass House Mountains, Blackall Range and even Noosa once you get there. Yes, that's 100-percent worth making the effort. Make sure you only walk Mount Coolum in dry conditions, however, because it can get immensely slippery. And, if you fancy hanging around for more than just a day, you can camp nearby: at Mudjimba and at Coolum Beach.
SPRINGBROOK NATIONAL PARK
By now, while perusing this list, you've probably sensed a trend. Yes, Brisbanites can basically choose their preferred location either north or south of the city, then pick between several walks branching off rom any one spot. Springbrook National Park is no different, although most walks here are rather short and easy — which means that you can cram in a few and make the absolute most of your trip to the Gold Coast. Obviously, given its moniker, you want to try the 600-metre, 30-minute walk to the Best of All lookout, which'll let you peer down into New South Wales. If you like chasing waterfalls, the Twin Falls circuit will take you two hours across four kilometres. Those eager to make a day of it on the Springbrook plateau should opt for the 17-kilometre Warrie circuit, which is the longest track here and also casually climbs up a gorge.
Top image: Mount Ngungun by Tourism and Events Queensland
Published on September 24, 2020 by Sarah Ward