Best Hikes Near Brisbane: 11 Great Bush Walks

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Walking Trails Near Me: Brisbane Edition

If you’re looking for some great hikes around Queenslands capital city, Brisbane, we’ve got 11 treats for you!

Brian Connelly
Brian Connelly
Last Updated: November 16, 2020

Looking for some Great Hiking Trails around Brisbane?

You’re in the right place! In this guide, we will be covering the following:

    • Range of hikes with stunning views
    • Which National Park is well worth the drive
    • Something for everyone from beginners to advanced hikers

Fact: Queensland’s capital city enjoys more sunny days per year than any other city in the Land Down Under.

And what better way to enjoy all that sunshine than getting your hiking boots on and hitting the trails to take in all of the epic natural scenery the Brisbane area has to offer?

Not sure where to start looking for the best hikes around Brisbane?

We’re here to help you get on your way. Below, we’ve compiled a short, top-eleven list of the best Brisbane bush walks within easy driving distance of the Gold Coast capital city.

The Top Eleven Bushwalks Near Brisbane

waterfalls in Kondilla NP

# 1 Kondalilla Falls Circuit, Kondalilla National Park

The Kondalilla Falls Circuit is a 4.7 km, Grade 3 track in Kondalilla Falls National Park. If this area has a unique selling point, it’s abundant wildlife. The park is home to a huge array of critters little and large, including 32 species of frogs, 70 species of reptiles, and 107 species of birds.

The circuit wends through a diverse landscape of rock pools and lush subtropical rainforest dominated by groves of bunya pines, piccabeen palms, and pink ash.

Coupled with the steady chorus of birdsong and rushing waters of the falls, this jungle-esque environment makes Kondalilla feel a million miles from anywhere!

The highlight of the hike comes following a 100-step descent down into the Obi Obi Valley. Here, you can finally kick back and relax in the shade beside the delightful teal-colored pool at the base of the Kondalilla waterfall itself.

This trail is well-maintained and easy-going. However, there are over 300 stairs on the circuit and at times the going is fairly steep, so reasonable fitness levels are required.

Mt. Coot-tha

# 2 Summit Track, Mt. Coot-tha

Just 15 minutes’ drive from the city, Mt. Coot-tha offers plenty of options to suit outdoor enthusiasts of all tastes and fitness levels.

For us, the pick of the bunch is the Grade 3 Summit Track. This mellow, easy-going trail is about 1.8 km one way and involves just 156 meters of ascent, so should take only about 1.5 hours to hike out and back.

The trail rises gently through dense forest, passing gurgling streams, curious rock formations, and a handful of grassy picnic areas along the way. When you reach the top, the reward far outweighs the efforts you’ve put in to get there. The summit’s lookout area affords sweeping views of Brisbane City, Moreton Bay, Tweed Volcano, Mount Barney, and Flinders Peak.

Popular with families, dog-walkers, and joggers alike, you’re unlikely to have this trail all to yourself. Nevertheless, it offers a lovely little oasis of calm and quiet in a surprisingly wild setting. What’s more, it’s within easy driving distance of Brisbane city center.

mount tamborine rainforest (1)

# 3 Palm Grove Rainforest Circuit & Witches Falls Trail, Mt Tamborine

Palm Grove Rainforest Circuit is a 2.7 km, Grade 4 trail named after the piccabeen palms that are an ever-present feature each step of the way.

The Rainforest Circuit lets you get up close and personal with nature by wending through groves of palms and eucalypti.

Bird watching opportunities are also plentiful, with the area’s avians congregating in the canopy to feast on the fruit of the piccabeens. Topknot pigeons and wompoo fruit-doves abound!

You can easily combine The Palm Grove Circuit with the Witches Falls Circuit. This is a 3.1 km, Grade 4 trail that climbs through a stunning piccabeen and strangler fir forest on the way to the 8-meter waterfalls in an Eden-like enclave at its end.

lamington national park

# 4 Morans Falls Track, Lamington National Park

The Morans Falls Track is a 4.4 km, Grade 3 out-and-back hike in the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.

The trail takes you through a maze of figs, booyongs, twisted vines, brush box, and ancient volcanic lava flows before emerging at the Morans Falls Lookout. Here, you’ll enjoy astonishing views of the 80-meter waterfall from an airy escarpment above the Morans Creek Gorge.

A little further down the track, you’ll reach the Morans Clearing Lookout. Further sweeping views await, this time of the Albert River Valley, Mount Lindsey, and the towering Mount Barney.

# 5 Mount Barney

Let’s start with the good news: Mt. Barney, part of the McPherson Range, offers some of the most gobsmacking views in all of the Brisbane area.

And the bad news?

Well, to get to the summit, you’ll have to hike more than 17.5 km of Grade 5 trail that requires 8-12 hours to complete for even the fittest hikers.

It involves stretches of sustained scrambling and a few airy, exposed sections where a good head for heights is a must. Over the last 30 years, over 400 hapless hikers have needed to be rescued after getting lost. As such, this trail’s one best suited to hikers with plenty of experience and solid navigational skills.

At 1359 m, Barney is the 4th highest mountain in Australia and one of the most popular among experienced bushwalkers and hikers.

And with good reason…

With each step on that 17.5 km slog to the summit, the views are simply outstanding. Mount Ballow, Mount May, Mount Ernest, Mount Maroon, and Mount Lindesay, and mile upon mile of remote bushland are just a few of the highlights.

So, how to take it all in in the most manageable and rewarding way possible? We recommend heading up the spectacular Logan’s Ridge and then descending on the easier South Ridge (aka “Peasants Ridge”).

This way, you’ll have the best of both worlds: a true challenge on the way up, a simple stroll to take in the sumptuous views on the way down!

D’Aguilar National Park

# 6 Rainforest Circuit, D’Aguilar National Park

The Rainforest Circuit is an easy-going, 2km, Grade 3 out-and-back hike that’s suitable for hikers of all experience and fitness levels.

In the local aboriginal dialect, the word “Maiala” means “quiet place”, and just a few steps into this hike you’ll easily understand just how apt the name is.

This trail lacks the mileage and challenge of some of the other hikes on our list, granted. However, its rich array of plant life and curiously shaped trees are worth the price of admission (gas only!) alone.

The trail starts at the Maiala Picnic Area. From here, it meanders through a dense forest of gigantic Watkin’s figs, strangler figs, palms, ferns, climbing lianas, and fungi. At the end of a network of elevated boardwalks, it then descends to a sparkling, rocky stream in a lush valley of palms.

The circuit is also home to a bountiful array of wildlife. A quick glance up at any point will likely land your eye on at least a few rose-crowned fruit-doves and the endemic Macleay’s swallowtail butterflies, frolicking in the canopy above.

twin falls Springbrook National Park

# 7 Twin Falls Circuit, Springbrook National Park

Springbrook NP is home to countless must-see attractions for the nature-loving hiker.

Spectacular lookouts.

Roaring waterfalls.

Lush rainforests.

An impressive array of gnarled, sculpture-like Antarctic beech trees.

These, happily, are just a small sample of what you can look forward to…

The Twin Falls Circuit is one of the highlights of the park. This 4 km, Grade 3 track guides you through a subtropical wonderland of towering trees, narrow rock clefts, streams, creeks, and dense, varied undergrowth on the way to two majestic, 40-foot waterfalls.

And there are plenty of other attractions to look out for on the way. The most notable include pademelons, lace monitors, cockatoos, parrots, and the striking pink bark of brush box trees.

One of the highlights of the circuit comes at the Canyon Lookout. At a height of 900 meters, it’s a lovely vantage point to gawp at the views over the surrounding mountains, Twin Falls, and, when the weather’s nice, all the way to the coast.

Turtle Rock, Girraween National Park

# 8 Sphinx and Turtle Rock, Girraween National Park

Sphinx and Turtle Rock are two aptly named, outlandish rock formations in the heart of Girraween National Park.

The 7.4 km out-and-back trail taking you to the hilltop where these landmarks are found has a Grade 4 rating and takes approximately 3.5 hours to complete.

The trail is accessed by branching off the Castle Rock trail that begins at the Pyramids Road Visitor Center. Starting out gently, things soon take a turn for the steep and slightly exposed as you gain the ridge that leads to the duo of distinctive rock features on the summit.

While the Sphinx and Turtle make for a jaw-dropping destination, the journey up to them’s nothing short of breathtaking, too. In addition to a diverse array of plants, trees, and wildlife, the ridge climb is punctuated by multiple natural lookouts. These offer awesome views over the lush woodlands of Southern Girraween and the national park’s gobsmackingly unique landscapes.

Mount Beerwah, Glass House Mountains NP

# 9 Mount Beerwah, Glass House Mountains NP

At 556 meters, the conical Mount Beerwah is the highest of the Glass House Mountains’ craggy peaks. It’s also a mountain of great spiritual significance to the local Jinibara people. A World Heritage-listed site. And, luckily, it offers one of the most rewarding day-hikes in all of Queensland.

This 4.3 km out-and-back trail is rated as Grade 4. It begins gently, weaving through dense forest dotted with scores of lollipop-like banksias. Soon, however, things take a turn for the testy. The trail might only involve 250 meters of ascent, but the going is steep and some low-grade scrambling is required along the way.

On the summit, the reward for your efforts is a marvelous 360-degree panoramic view. You’ll see the D’Aguilar Range to the west, the coast to the east, and also all the other isolated, tooth-like peaks of the Glass House Mountains.

Mount Ngungun, Glass House Mountains NP

# 10 Mount Ngungun, Glass House Mountains NP

Pronounced ‘Noo Noo’ yet generally dubbed “Gun Gun”, Mount Ngungun is a popular hike thanks to its relative ease and outstanding views.

The track starts in a forest decked with teeming ferns and other plant life below a lush canopy. At 2.8 km long and rated as Grade 4, the hike will take you about 2 hours to finish. The trail has a number of steep sections and passes a small rock overhang which offers up great views of the nearby, quasi-monolithic Mt. Tibrogargan.

Once you get to the summit, you’ll be treated to a 360-degree panorama and views of Mount Beerwah, Mount Tibrogargan, and Mount Coonowrin.

# 11 Morelia Walking Track, Mt. Nebo, D’Aguilar National Park

The trailhead for the Morelia Walking Track is located in Manorina in D’Aguilar National Park.

The hike starts out on a winding but well-trodden path under the shade of dense eucalyptus forest and patches of cabbage palm trees.

While hiking, a constant refrain of “wallock-a-woo” and “book-a-roo” will accompany you every step of the way. These quirky sounds are the calls of the area’s even quirkier-looking wompoo fruit-doves, which are a highlight of the trail in their own right.

The trail itself is a 6 km, Grade 4 out-and-back hike and will take you a good 2 hours to complete. While the efforts expended on this trail are slight, the rewards are huge.

The highlight of the trail arrives in the form of the Mount Nebo Lookout. This is a large rocky outcrop that provides exquisite views over Mount Tempest, Moreton Bay, Samford Valley, and all the way out to Moreton Island.

Fun Times Around Brisbane

So, did our article whet your appetite for some wild and wonderful times within easy driving distance of Brisbane?

What are you waiting for, then? Get on the road already and go explore all the natural wonders this exceptionally beautiful area has to offer!

If you’ve already done any of these Sunshine Coast hikes and think we left something out, please let us know. And if you have any other comments or are planning on doing one of these hikes in future, go ahead and drop a comment in the box below.

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