The Ten Best Walks In and Around Brisbane
Wander along the river, climb a mountain, amble through bushland and trek over a bridge — all just a stone's throw from the Brisbane CBD.
Putting one foot in front of the other and then seeing where they take you is one of life's simple pleasures. Whether you prefer to stroll along leisurely or charge forward at a brisk pace, there's always fun to be found in something as simple as a walk.
You don't even need to leave Brisbane to enjoy a good ol' saunter. Our city has plenty of gorgeous walks to offer, and — with the sun often shining and the weather frequently warm — it's always a good time to head out for a stroll. Want to wander along the river? Hike around the city's main mountain? Amble through bushland? Trek over a bridge? You can do all that and more if you head to one of our ten picks for the best walks in and around Brisbane.
KANGAROO POINT TO WEST END VIA SOUTH BANK
When it comes to the southern side of the Brisbane river, finding somewhere to walk in the heart of the city is easy. Between Kangaroo Point, South Brisbane and West End, all you need to do is close your eyes and point to find a top-notch place to head. For the more organised — and for those after a decent trek — kick off at Kangaroo Point, work your way through South Bank and the Cultural Precinct, then head down Montague Road in the direction of West End. On your way, you can see plenty of Brisbane's best sights, including the Kangaroo Point cliffs, the Gallery of Modern Art and Davies Park.
THE BRISBANE RIVERWALK
Yes, it's the walkway that stands over the New Farm stretch of the Brisbane river — and it's the structure that's been built not once, but twice. The 2011 floods washed away the original path, but you can't keep a good walking track down. Sure, the Brisbane Riverwalk itself is only 870 metres in length from the end of Merthyr Road to the beginning of the Howard Smith Wharves. But we recommend starting your stroll down at New Farm Park, then moseying along the riverwalk and the adjoining riverside boardwalk before coming to a stop at the City Botanic Gardens.
MOUNT COOT-THA SUMMIT TRACK
The splendid Mount Coot-tha lookout comes with some breathtaking vistas over Brisbane and, beyond that, Moreton Island. It's located just seven kilometres west of the CBD, so you can drive, catch a free shuttle bus or even arrive by helicopter if that's more your speed. Once on foot, follow the Mount Coot-tha Summit Track, which begins at JC Slaughter Falls and travels along an easy two-kilometre path. Return the same way or, for a bit of added adventure, choose the three-kilometre Magohany Trail, which loops back around to JC Slaughter Falls.
NORTH GORGE WALK, STRADBROKE ISLAND
There's never a bad reason to visit Straddie. Some go for the beaches and some go for the pub, but taking a ferry ride across the bay to go for a walk is just as valid. Your trip doesn't just have to be about tramping through nature either — you can combine it with the other two activities, of course. While you're winding your way along the 1.5-kilometre Point Lookout trail, keep an eye out for more than a breathtaking view of the ocean. The area is a primo for spotting marine, bird and wildlife, including whales, dolphins and giant sea turtles. Make the trek during sunrise or sunset for the best views of all.
BANKS STREET RESERVE, NEWMARKET
Brisbane's CBD is located in close proximity to plenty of patches of nature that are worthy of a walk. But Banks Street Reserve rightfully stands out. Located just a few kilometres from the city centre, this inner-north stretch of bushland span 30 hectares and includes remnants from the Three Mile Scrub rainforest, as well as part of the Enoggera Creek. Here, you're in for some blissful wandering that'll make you completely forget that you're a mere five kilometres away from the city's concrete and tall buildings. Enjoy a day exploring the many corners of this wide open space and leave your city woes behind.
JINDALEE TO ROCKS RIVERSIDE PARK
Riverside trails aren't the inner city's exclusive domain. Venture a bit further west and you'll find a pleasant track at Jindalee, which takes you up to Rocks Riverside Park in Seventeen Mile Rocks. And we really do mean pleasant — the hills are few and far between and there's plenty of places to have a picnic (or just a lie down) along the way. The 3.6-kilometre walk passes by the Jindalee Pool before heading off to meander along the Brisbane River. Finish off at the park, where an 800-metre riverside promenade awaits. Cool off in the water play area (it's not just for kids, after all) and finish off your day with a picnic or barbecue in the park.
SIR LEO HIELSCHER BRIDGES
Everyone in Brisbane has driven over the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges, even if they don't know it. They're the official name of the structures that guide the Gateway Motorway across the Brisbane River, and they have their own five-kilometre return walking path. If you're wondering why you should make the trip over one of the city's busiest highways sans car, we've got a clear answer: there's nothing quite like the view from the top, which offers expansive vistas across the river and beyond. The trek starts off near the Queensport Rocks Park, which boasts its own views of the two bridges from ground level — plus plenty of picnic tables for a snack pre- or post-walk. Though the hike up the bridges is quite a steep incline, there are shelters with seating and water access at regular intervals throughout.
WYNNUM TO MANLY ESPLANADE
If an ten-kilometre stroll along the seaside sounds like your kind of thing — and, let's face it, it's most people's thing — then the Wynnum to Manly Esplanade walk is your go-to spot. The full expanse runs from Elanora Park to the Lota Creek Boardwalk, but you can join the track anywhere you'd like. Your relaxing trek comes with a view of Moreton Bay, as well as ample parks and pools to drop into along the way. Afterwards, we suggest treating yourself to some post-walk fish and chips, because a bustling strip of waterfront eateries is the area's second main attraction.
SHORNCLIFFE TO SANDGATE FORESHORE
Think Brisbane's east-side boasts the only beachy walking spot? Think again. Anything Wynnum and Manly can do, Shorncliffe and Sandgate can do, too — and that includes offering up a scenic saunter along the foreshore. While you stroll the six-kilometre return trip, you'll traipse along Shorncliffe's historical pier, pass ornate Victorian mansions and have the chance to stop off at heaps of waterfront and beachside picnic spots. On the way, don't miss the sandy beach at Lower Moora Park or the clifftop path along Lovers' Walk. If you want to keep the walk going, you can add another six-kilometres by following Flinders Parade to Decker Park.
Listing an entire suburb as a walking spot might be cheating, but few parts of Brisbane are as nice to mosey through as Paddington. This inner west destination offers notoriously hilly terrain, so you're in for a decent workout — but the many shops, bars and cafes ensure that there's always somewhere to stop when you need a rest. Scenic sights aplenty are on the docket too, including heritage-listed haunts such as the Ithaca War Memorial and the Paddington Antique Centre. Apart from winding your way down Caxton Street, Given Terrace and Latrobe Terrace, don't forget to veer off the beaten path to discover a few hidden gems along the way.
Published on December 10, 2020 by Sarah Ward