Must do Brisbane: 6 ways to experience Mount Coot-tha

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The definition of a mountain is a steep-sided hill at least 600 metres above sea level. In that case, there aren’t technically any mountains in Brisbane so anything that vaguely resembles a slightly large hill is called a mountain.

In fact, Brisbane is surrounded by them; Mount Nebo, Glorious, Pleasant and the most famous of the lot – Mount Coo-tha…. a staggering 287 metres high. Vertigo inducing stuff.

What it lacks in height though, it makes up for in the number of recreational activities on offer from sunrise to well after sunset. In Brisbane, people flock to it.

Mount Coo-tha Forest has more than 1500 hectares of open eucalypt forest waiting to be explored, with picnic areas, creeks, and waterfalls plus over 31 kilometres of tracks.

What can I do there?

Mountain Biking
If you get your kicks tearing along forests tracks, through streams, over jumps with death-defying descents, and enduring thigh-zapping climbs and varying surfaces then you’ll love the off-road MTB tracks here. With over 12 kilometres specifically for riders they’re well maintained and have water-fill points and toilets at every car park. Download the free MTB Guide and Trail Map here.

Road Cycling
The Mount Coo-tha circuit is as close as Brisbane gets to the Tour de France. The gruelling 12-kilometre loop that climbs over 200 metres is extremely popular with local riders. From sunrise to sunset the whirr of gears, the whistle of carbon fibre and the panting of cyclists can be heard taking on its twisting slopes. Every March, the Mount Coo-tha Challenge takes place with thousands of riders pitting their wits against the ‘hill’.

Trail Walks/Running
If you love running but get bored pounding the concrete and tarmac of the city, give trail running a go. The smell of gum trees, scampering wildlife, and dusty tracks (or muddy from Feb – April) all make for a totally different experience. There’s around 50 kilometres of tracks to explore with routes to satisfy all levels of fitness. Download the complete tracks guide here.

Head out at sunrise and you’ll have only the cockatoos, pademelons and rays of sunlight breaking through the trees for company. Bliss.

Waterfalls & Creeks
After heavy rainfall the creeks and waterfalls around Mount Coo-tha are fantastic! The best places to watch the action are JC Slaughter Falls and Simpson Falls, both of which have safe access, car parks and picnic areas.

Mount Coo-tha Lookout
Leave the sounds of the city behind, drive to the lookout car park and stare off into the distance towards Moreton Bay, Moreton Island and on a clear day the skyscrapers of the Gold Coast. If you’re an early riser, witness the sun breaking the horizon directly over the city, or at the other end of the day watch a fairyland of city lights twinkle as night-time comes alive. Make sure you take a camera with you.

The Summit
They say never go to a restaurant with a view, apparently the food is never as good as the outlook. Kuta Café and The Summit Restaurant however are well worth a visit. Whether you’re there to refuel after a morning of exercise or for a romantic dinner, grab a table by the window or on the patio… and try to concentrate on the conversation not just the view!

Safety first! If you’re hitting the tracks of Mount Coo-tha, make sure you have ample water, a good map and don’t set off too late in the day. Sometimes the inclines take longer than you think.

Have fun exploring my backyard!