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 Brisbane 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
A little closer to home, 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.
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 home, 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 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
Just scraping into the 150 kilometre radius (you may want to double check the distance if you live on the southern end of the Gold Coast), 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 an advanced adventurer, 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 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.
We’re pretty lucky here on the Gold Coast. We can be on the beach one minute and approximately 25-minutes later, be immersed among dense rainforest and bushland. It’s just one of the reasons we’re so lucky to call this place home. If you’re up for an adventure down the southern end, the Cougal Cascades track follows Currumbin Creek alongside the always 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.