Six Scenic Hiking Trails You Can Enjoy Within 50 Kilometres of Brisbane
Climb a mountain, go looking for koalas or wander around a lake at these Queensland hiking trails.
November 01, 2023
Ask any long-term Brisbanite to rattle off a list of great things about this fair city of ours and they won't have any trouble. The glorious year-round weather, the plethora of spots to relax by the water, summery day trips, the ability to head either up or down the coast for a quick weekend away, GOMA — they're all certain to rate a mention. So too should Brisbane's abundance of places where you can take a relaxed hike through nature. Just because you live in a city, that doesn't mean you don't want to go for a scenic mosey without straying too far from home, after all.
We all love wandering well beyond our own backyards, of course, but sometimes sticking to nearby turf is on the cards. That's when all those hiking trails near Brisbane look particularly attractive. So, next time that you grab your partner and/or housemates, pack yourselves a picnic, jump in the car and get ready to start breathing in the fresh air while putting one foot in front of the other — and you're keen to stay local — give one of these six Queensland hiking locations a try.
MT COOT-THA RESERVE
For some, heading to Mt Coot-tha is all about wandering through the Botanic Gardens, driving up to the lookout and having a meal at the summit-top restaurant (which is set to get a big revamp). For others, Brisbane's inner-city mountain is a hub for walking and hiking — and stopping for a bite to eat on the grass if you've come prepared, which we recommend.
Towering above the city just 15-minutes drive from the CBD, Mt Coot-tha Reserve spans across 1600 hectares, and features a hefty number of picnic spots and plenty of walking trails — Mount Coot-tha Summit Track being the most popular. If it has been raining, you might also spy flowing creeks and rushing waterfalls — all while meandering along tracks that take anywhere from 15–90 minutes to complete. Any of these could be considered one of the best Brisbane hiking trails.
D'AGUILAR NATIONAL PARK
Previously known as Brisbane Forest Park, D'Aguilar National Park stretches over 36,000 hectares, which means there's always somewhere to walk. And, it starts right next to the aforementioned Mt Coot-tha Reserve, so this is another place where you can go wandering without leaving the city limits (if you prefer).
Choose which part you'd like to see, or add them all to your list — whether you're eager to hike around Mount Nebo, feast your eyes on the water at Enoggera Reservoir, or head to Samford and Mount Glorious. If it's a lake, some grassy trails and a nice picnic spot you're after, you can also venture west to Lake Manchester, which is connected to the nearby dam around 15 kilometres north of Ipswich.
MOUNT GRAVATT OUTLOOK RESERVE
Brisbane's inner west isn't the only spot just a few kilometres out of the CBD, surrounded by houses, with a lofty peak to drive up — well, a city-sized peak — and a lookout perched at the top. Or, with greenery and trails surrounding said landmass, so that you can get hiking before, after and while you're peering down at this Queensland capital of ours.
Head south and Mount Gravatt Outlook Reserve, the 91-hectare expanse that's home to the Mount Gravatt Lookout, also ticks those boxes. For walking, you can bash along five bush tracks, including through the adjoining 260-hectare Toohey Forest Park. And for company, you just might spot koalas, echidnas, owls, honey eaters, frogs and more.
Fancy getting out of the house not only for a change of scenery, or to get some exercise, but in the name of creative inspiration? If so, you might want to take a trip to Poet's Rock in Karawatha Forest. You don't have to start composing rhyming lines once you've strolled along the Brisbane hiking trails, of course, but you'll be in a mighty eye-catching spot either way.
Wetlands filled with frogs, flower-filled lagoons, and plenty of other flora and fauna are also part of this 900-hectare parcel of bushland, which is located in Brisbane's outer southern suburbs of Karawatha and Kuraby. Walking-wise, you can pick from a range of different tracks — usually eight, but some are temporarily closed for restoration and will reopen in January 2024 — ranging from 20 minutes to one hour in duration.
BRISBANE KOALA BUSHLANDS
No prizes for guessing what kind of creatures inhabit this patch of greenery in the Redlands region — which means that, while you're walking, you'll want to keep your eyes peeled. Even if you don't spot a furry, cuddly, big-eared Australian animal in Brisbane Koala Bushlands, you might just find plenty of other wildlife, as well as a whole heap of the native vegetation that wallabies, bandicoots, gliders, rosellas and kingfishers call home.
On one of the bushlands' walks, you can stand on the boardwalk and peer out over Stockyard Creek. On another, you'll mosey past rainforest, wildflowers and ridges. Two of the site's tracks are also open to horse riders, too, so you might just have some equine company trotting along nearby. Pick any of these trails to find yourself on one of the best hikes near Brisbane.
CASTLE HILL BLACKSTONE RESERVE
Hit the highway, drive west and you can then tick two things off of your to-do list at once. Firstly, you can get out of Brisbane without travelling more than 50 kilometres away. Secondly, you can find somewhere picturesque for a stroll — or, if you'd rather, a mountain bike ride.
Castle Hill Blackstone Reserve boasts spaces for both, including four kilometres of foot trails that double as a walking museum. While you're hiking, you'll be enjoying a slice of history, dating back to the area's coal-mining past. And, you'll see the remnants of Brynhyfryd, the three-story mansion built in the late 19th century that was considered a castle — hence the region's name.
Top image: Kgbo via Wikimedia Commons.
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