South East Queensland is home to a number of national parks and quality hiking tracks. Best of all, some great walking can be done within a couple of hours of the Brisbane CBD.
Here’s my pick of the 5 best short/day hikes near Brissy:
1. Mount Beerwah (1 Hour North of Brisbane)
Distance from Brisbane: 77km
Suits: Folks with good fitness and some rock climbing experience.
The beautiful ruggedness of Mt Beerwah, standing tall above the Glass House Mountains. Image credit: Jeff Crisdale
Mt Beerwah is one of the many rugged peaks that form the Glass House Mountains. It is also the highest peak in the group, at 555 metres. Beerwah is considered a spiritual place for indigenous Australians, and there are many ceremonial sites still protected today.
This climb was closed for a number of years before reopening early in 2016. It is not for beginners and rock climbing experience is an advantage as it is a ‘climb’ for the majority of its length. Depending on your climbing skills and speed, the hike takes approximately two hours return.
At the top, there is a 360-degree view of the Sunshine Coast, including the surrounding peaks.
2. Mount Warning (2 Hours South of Brisbane)
Distance from Brisbane: 145km
Suits: Someone with good fitness, and a bit of hiking experience behind them. The muggy rainforest and never-ending switchbacks could break some newbies.
Mt Warning is actually located in Northern New South Wales, but it’s still a manageable distance from the big smoke. One of the best times to do the hike, if you don’t mind sharing the summit with a few others, is early morning to watch the sunrise. It’s spectacular on a clear morning.
The hike takes approximately 4-6 hours return and has a lot of switchbacks making it a gradual climb to the top. The last 200 metres of the climb is intense – there is actually a chain to help you up this section. At the top, you’ll enjoy a 360-degree view of the surrounding forest, and out over the Pacific Ocean. The walk takes you through the lush rainforest which is brimming with birdsong and provides good shade most of the way.
3. Mount Barney (2 Hours South of Brisbane)
Distance from Brisbane: 127km
Suits: If you’re fit, well-prepared, and up for a challenge, this one’s for you.
Not a walk in the park, that’s for sure. But if you’re wanting a track near Brisbane to challenge you – perhaps you’re preparing for a trip to New Zealand or Kokoda? – then it’s a must. Image credit: Tamyka Bell
The hike up to Mt Barney really is one of my favourites. But it’s long and can be quite challenging. There are a couple tracks to choose from to get to the top. If you’re after a loop, I recommended you start at the South East Ridge and return via the Peasants Ridge track.
Allow yourself a full day to do this hike. Someone in great nick might be able to knock it out in 5-6 hours.
This mountain is the fifth highest in Queensland, standing at 1359 metres. At the top, you’ll get a 360-degree views of the Scenic Rim region.
4. Mount Coot-tha (in Brisbane)
Distance from Brisbane: 8.5km
Suits: Suitable for people of most fitness levels – a great place to start your hiking career
An easy, 8.5km from Brisbane. Views like this. Why wouldn’t you hike up to Mt Coot-tha? Image credit: Tatters
When time is of the essence, Mt Coot-tha (sometimes called Mt Cootha or Brisbane Lookout) is the best and nearest hike to Brisbane.
There are a number of tracks up to the lookout, so why not try a new one each visit? Understand that Coot-tha is a popular spot with tourists, it’s also a popular place to enjoy the city lights at night.
My favourite route is the Slaughter Falls Track which takes about 1.5 hours return.
5. Morton Island – Desert Track (1-2 Hours East of Brisbane)
Distance from Brisbane: 85km
Suits: Suitable for someone who’s done a little hiking and has reasonable fitness
The Desert Track is on Morton Island, which surprisingly isn’t that far from Brisbane. Though, it is a ferry trip away! The track starts in Tangalooma and over a couple of hours takes you along the beach, through thick island vegetation, and ends up at a massive sand dune. Take plenty of water.
Morton Island is the largest sand island in the world and is listed in Category II of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) – this means pristine waters, lots of wildlife, and preservation of the natural habitat. The passenger ferry is approximately $50 return, but it is well worth the trip!
Disclaimer: This article is written for people that have some bushwalking and hiking experience. It’s recommended that you research each track further, to ensure it meets your fitness and skill levels. These tracks should only be undertaken if you’re carrying ample gear, safety equipment, and plenty of water and food.
Have you done a bit of hiking around Brisbane? Got any hikes that you think should be on this list? Tell us in the comments below.
About the writer...
Sabrina is an avid hiker from Brisbane. She hikes as a way to unwind after a busy week working as a Guidance Officer. She’s explored many of the popular tracks around South East Queensland and is always up for a bigger challenge! She has a long list of hikes she would like to do around Australia and overseas in the future.