South East Queensland has a large number of great hikes. From National Parks to the Great Walks, there are endless opportunities for explorers and adventurers in this corner of Australia.
The mountains and forests areas can be a welcome respite from the sun and give you a break from the beaches - if you ever need one.
The question is, which ones are the best? Everyone has their own opinion but we have picked our top three day hikes that are easy to explore from Brisbane. This is by no means an extensive list, but a small selection of what’s on offer.
MT COOT-THA FOREST
Duration: 2.5 hours
Hike Length: 4.5km
Barely a 15-minute drive from Brisbane CBD this vast Eucalyptus forest is Brisbane’s largest natural area and also one of the cities most popular locations for walking and biking. There are a number of tracks that have been well signposted throughout the forest.
If you are looking to enjoy a slightly more extended circuit walk, then the Mahogany Trail is a 4.5km track that winds through the lush forest, offering glimpses of the city and taking in the Summit Lookout. About halfway along the trail is a turn off which will allow you to explore the Aborigine Art trail. This walk is perfect to do with a small picnic as there plenty of tranquil hide-aways to pass the time and relax. When you finish, the Kuta Cafe is worth checking out too, offering great views and tasty food.
Hot tip: Take a bottle of water
Duration: 1-1.5 hr
Hike Length: 5km
If you are looking for a convenient, but challenging short hike, that’s not as busy as Mount Coolum or Mt Tibrogargan, then the walk up Mt Ninderry is an excellent choice. Starting from the car park area tucked away on Eucalyptus Crescent you’ll find the trail begins behind the picnic area, not up the road which is a common mistake. Initially, you follow an old 4WD track, wide and not too steep; it’s perfect for warming up. The path does slowly become narrower and steeper with loose rocks and gravel so make sure you are wearing proper shoes.
After walking up through the trees, you are rewarded with the most amazing views from two viewing platforms, one on each side of Mt Ninderry. Here you can catch your breath and take time to gaze down over the Maroochy River or out across to Mt Coolum. On a clear day, this hike offers some of the best coastal views in the area. It’s a pretty spot for a picnic if you have time.
This hike is not too challenging, but there are a couple of steep sections that make it a great workout.
Hot tip: Stay hydrated on hot days
Rating: Easy / Moderate
Duration: 2.5 - 3 hours
Hike Length: 6.8km
The Main Range National Park is around 90 minutes drive from Brisbane and covers over 30,000 hectares, all of which has been declared a World Heritage area, and it’s easy to see why with spectacular forests, rare wildlife and a huge mountain peaks.
If you are looking for a great, easy to achieve day hike then Mt Cordeaux, known to the Aboriginal people as Niamboyoo, is an excellent choice.
Starting from the car park at Cunningham’s Gap you zigzag up a gradual incline through an-cient rainforests to be rewarded with your first spectacular lookout. After taking in the scene below, you continue to head upwards, climbing several steeper sections until you reach the summit which offers fantastic views out over the Fassifern Valley and Moogerah Dam. This lookout is a great place to stop for some food and water before heading back down to the car park. There is an option to add on a hike to Bare Rock from just below the summit, and this would add an extra 7km return journey to the walk but is well worth it for the views.
Once you get back to the car park, it is only a 5-minute drive to the beautiful West Gap Picnic Area if you want to relax and enjoy some well-earned treats.
Hot tip: There are some steep unfenced sections, take extreme care
SPRINGBROOK NATIONAL PARK
Duration: 2 hours
Hike Length: 4km
Springbrook NP has several great sections with a bunch of established walking trails. The majority of these lie upon what’s known as the Springbrook Plateau. Getting there from Brisbane is easy enough and will take you about 90 minutes from the city.
The park contains some stunning and lush virgin rainforest, complete with awe-inspiring waterfalls.
To experience some of the highlights try starting with the Purlingbrook Falls Circuit (4km return) which takes you to the base of the impressive Purlingbrook Falls at 109 metres high. Followed by the Twin Falls Circuit (4km) which again descends deep into a lush rainforest filled valley and allows walkers to pass behind two thundering waterfalls - and grab some impressive photos while you are there.
For those looking for a longer hike, the 17km Warrie Circuit might be the for you. Allow about 5-6 hours for this walk.
Hot tip: Keep in mind that in wet-weather the multiple creek crossings can get cut-off.
So what are you waiting for? Get #outthere and stretch those legs!