6 unexpected ways to experience Mount Coot-tha
Brisbane is no stranger to a mountain. Despite our city being best known for the river that runs straight through it, the Queensland capital is brimming with steep inclines, from Mount Nebo to Mount Glorious. Our most famous mountainous resident? Mount Coot-tha.
Rising 287 metres from sea level, Mount Coot-tha is best known for its look-out. But that’s not the only activity available for the many visitors who grace the popular tourist destination. The mountain sits in the midst of 1600 hectares adjoining the south-eastern section of D’Aguilar National Park, a mass of eucalypt forest, rainforest gullies, creeks and 31 kilometres of bushwalking tracks. We promise to show you a new side to Mount Coot-tha with our guide to the iconic landmark below.
Explore the Brisbane Botanic Gardens
Just down the road, sitting at the base of Mount Coot-tha you’ll find the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. Whether you’re a green thumb or simply appreciative of plant life, the 56-hectares of garden are well worth a visit. Meander your way through the different exhibitions; there’s the Japanese gardens, the cactus menagerie, and the rather iconic Tropical Dome. If you would like to learn more you can choose to partake in one of the free guided tours running from Monday through Saturday, 11.00am to 1.00pm. The district is also home to The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium for fans of stargazing.
Trek the bush walking tracks
50 kilometres of trails wind their way around Mount Coot-tha and its surrounding park. Walk your way through the loop of walkways (or run if you’re so energetically inclined), which are fringed by gum trees and full of native wildlife. There are a range of different bushwalking tracks to cater to different fitness levels; you can determine which suits you best by downloading the complete tracks guide available online. Just remember to BYO water, and be warned that during wet season, which lasts from February to April, the tracks are likely to be a lot more muddy than usual.
Cool off in the waterfall
There are also a collection of creeks and waterfalls that call Mount Coot-tha home. The most popular to visit are JC Slaughter Falls and Simpson Falls, which are both welcoming of a paddle to cool off after an energetic trek of the neighbouring bushwalks and boast picnic grounds and barbecues alike for public use. After a great shot for Instagram while you’re there? Wait until after heavy rainfall to see the waterfalls at their best.
Cycle the steep Mount Coot-tha Circuit
But there’s not just off-road cycling available to biking enthusiasts. The sealed Mount Coot-tha Circuit is renowned for its difficulty; the 12-kilometre loop is largely uphill, clambering along a stretch 2.3 kilometres long, and 200 metres up a steep incline. A popular workout for locals, from sunrise to sunset the path is littered with biking enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes. Once a year, the Mount Coot-tha Circuit also forms a component of the Great Brisbane Bike Ride; a timed competition with cash prizes available to the fastest riders.
Watch the sunset from Mount Coot-tha Summit
Pack a hamper (and some Champagne) and spend the evening gazing out onto Brisbane City at the idyllic Mount Coot-tha Lookout . A Brisbane icon, this grassy knoll popular for picnics comes accompanied by stunning 360 degree views of the central business district and surrounding Moreton Bay and the Gold Coast. While it is a particularly lovely spot from which to watch the sunset, early risers will be pleased to note that the view is just as impressive first thing in the morning, at sunrise.
Bike your way down the mountain
Take to the 23.5 kilometres of track on Mount Coot-tha designed with only bike riders in mind. The rugged trails will see you clamber through the native forest of the district, over streams, rocks, and many a rocky outcrop. And while the off-road journey requires a certain level of experience to partake, there are varying trails available to enjoy, from beginner to advanced; you can plan your chosen journey well in advance by downloading the MTB Guide and Trail Map that can be found online. Will planning is essential be assured that the bike trails here are well-maintained and offer toilets at every car park, as well as taps to fill up your water bottle and keep yourself hydrated.