The best places in Brisbane to go for a walk or a stroll
Best Walks in and Around Brisbane
It is rare to find a day in Brisbane when you can't get out and about and go for a walk. Walking is a great social activity, cheap, healthy and usually gives you an excuse to stop off somewhere for coffee, cake or a beer afterwards.
Most of the walks on this list will go through parkland, however in this case, it is about walking around a proper park, not just a green section beside a cycle path or shoreline. There are lots of great parks in and around Brisbane for a stroll.
One of the more popular is the City Botanic Gardens. It is very easy to escape the noise of the busy city and walk through this park. However it is not the largest park so normally when walking, we just pass through this park. But the highlights include the flower gardens, mangroves, mini-rainforest, fountains and artworks.
Roma Street Parklands on the other hand is the best park for a romantic walk. This park has a wide variety of features, include the Spectacle flower garden, waterfall, lake with a fountain, raised walkways, a Japanese rotunda and much much more. While I love this park, its winding paths don't really lend themselves to a good walk. But if you want to walk with a special someone, I highly recommend this park.
The best park for a good walk has to be the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. These are the gardens up at Mt Coot-tha, not the ones in the city. This beatutiful 56 hectare park has a wide range of plants. For a short stroll, make your way around the ponds near the front of the gardens. If you want to walk further, head up the hill, past the viewing platform and the Australia native flowers garden to the lake at the rear of the gardens.
The path around the lake at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha
Some honourable mentions for parks to walk in include New Farm Park Park, which is more suited as a place to have a barbecue and play sport. There is also Shaw Park in Wooloowin which has a great walking track around the park and a diversion through a bushland area. Then there is the 7th Brigade park in Chermside that lies on the Downfall Creek Bikeway. Out west at Ipswich there is the Brassall Rail Trail through Sutton Park.
Brisbane is a city of lakes. These include places like Enoggera, Gold Creek and Lake Manchester for hiking as well as the ones we care more about in this list that are suitable for a stroll.
One of my favourites is the lake at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens (the one at Mt Coot-tha, not the City Botanic Gardens in the city). The front of the gardens has a series of ponds, but the back has a lake surrounded by a variety of carefully maintained Australian natives.
Melaleuca wetlands path around the lake at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens
There are plenty of other lakes to visit. North Lakes has several lakes scattered over the area, but the one that everyone is familiar is Lake Eden near the North Lakes Westfield. You can also head up to the North Lakes Environmental Park where you can follow a walk along the south side that goes past and around several lovely lakes.
Springfield lakes has a nice series of lakes. Don't confuse them with the very small Spring Lake. While these lakes are new, you can expect the facilities and parklands to improve over time. Well worth checking out if you live to the west of Brisbane.
However the best lake, in my unqualified opinion is Forest Lake in the suburb of Forest Lake (sometimes I worry about the lake of imagination among the people who name things in Brisbane). This lake has a 3 km walk around it, but it is also used for paddle craft with a launch ramp. The Forest Lake Dragon Boat Club also does regular training here.
Despite being a coastal city, the Brisbane area doesn't have the best coastline. However the areas that aren't mangroves have usually been setup with lovely seaside parks and walking tracks.
The two main walks are Shorncliffe to Brighton in the north and Manly to Wynnum in the south. I love the Shorncliffe and Sandgate area, especially the little village of Sandgate. One of the highlights of this walk is heading out onto the mudflats at low tide. Past Sandgate, the walk to Brighton is nice but has very little that is interesting until you reach the end of Decker Park at the northern end of Brighton.
The Manly and Wynnum walk is quite nice too. With Mangroves just north of Elanora Park and the Manly Village area at the South. You really want to do this walk on a Sunday when the Manly Creative markets are on.
However if there is one walk that stands out a little above the rest, it is the walk that starts at Woody Point, goes to Redcliffe and, if you are feeling fit, continues on to Scarborough.
This walk has it all. At the start, there is the ship wreck at Woody Point. There are several beaches, including Suttons Beach, the Beach at Redcliffe and a couple small beaches as you approach Scarborough. You can swim at the lagoon. Shop at Redcliffe, There are also great choices for food all along the walk, including the Belvedere Hotel at Woody Point and Morgans Seafood at Scarborough.
The walk continues past Redcliffe and on to Scarborough
The main problem with this walk is that there are a couple sections where you are walking away from the shore, but these are only short sections.
I must mention one last coastal walk. It is the gorges walk at Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island. I didn't put this at the best walk simply because it is not something you can do casually unless you live on North Stradbroke Island, but it should be on everyone's bucket list.
The path at North Stradbroke Island near Cylinder Beach
Around Brisbane are many bushland pockets. You can do a multi-day bush hike, including camping without even leaving the Brisbane City Council Area. However there are also lovely locations for a stroll in the bush on well maintained paths.
A path through one of the many bushland areas in Brisbane
Toohey's Forest is a popular location for walkers, joggers and cyclists. It has plenty of well maintained tracks, but you can also get off them onto more pure bushland tracks. The highlight is where you cross under the road to the Mt Gravatt Reserve and head up Mt Gravatt for the best westerly views in Brisbane.
Another great place to walk is the Raven Street Reserve. This is part of 3 reserves that make up the Chermside Hills Reserve. Raven Street is the best place for a stroll, but if you want to challenge yourself you can cross Hamilton Road via the Green Bridge and head up Milne Hill for some views, then continue on to the Chermside hills reserve (yes, the 3 reserves are called the Chermside Hills Reserve, but one of those 3 reserves is also called the Chermside Hills Reserve). It is possible to do about 8 kms of walking here, but you can just have a short stroll if you prefer.
Raven Street has well maintained walking paths that lead to hiking paths
The Koala Bushlands is a series of reserves to the south of Brisbane with the best one being Alperton Road. This location has barbecues and a great interactive information centre to help you spot koalas and other native animals. The Stockyard Creek walking track is an easy 1.4 kms that heads down to the creek where you have the best chance of spotting Koalas. You can also walk the Horse trail. This will pass by several creeks and a pond. It is 10.8 kms one way, but it is easy enough to stroll down to the creek and back.
However my favourite bushland area is part of Underwood Park. The locals refer to it as the duck pond, but this lovely small lake next the park is well worth visiting. Locals are familiar with it and it attracts lots of walkers.
Being a river city, the big question is, where is the best place to walk the river. However we shouldn't restrict ourselves to just the Brisbane River.
There is a lovely walk along Enoggera Creek from the Northey Street City Farm out to Spencer Park. You can continue this walk all the way out to the Banks Street Bushland Reserve, though you will need to walk along backstreets in some sections.
Bowen Bridge Park is one of the Highlights of the Enoggera Creek Walk
Ipswich also has a river walk at the River Heart Parklands. This walk is partly along a boardwalk looking down on the river and is one of the most interesting river walks in the region, though fairly short.
Mostly in Brisbane, walking along the river means the Brisbane River. You can walk from Toowong all the way to Newstead with only only two little sections off the path. Most people won't choose to do the whole walk, so which part is the best?
The Riverwalk that goes out over the river is interesting, but I think it is overrated as there really is not much to see on that section of the walk. I admit it is popular with commuters and joggers, but not my favourite walk on the river.
Walking from South Brisbane to West End along the river is a great walk. The path is lined with park land and it ends at the far end in a nice park with a ferry terminal. Though personally I like to walk back up the hill to South Brisbane as a bit of a challenge.
For visitors to Brisbane the best walk is from QUT, through the City Botanic Gardens up to the Story Bridge, across the Bridge and back along Kangaroo Point to South Bank. While often the most crowded area, it has plenty to see and do, including heritage buildings, art works and of course the view of the city from the cliffs.
The view from the path through the City Botanic Gardens
Brisbane is not really known for its history, but there are a number of historical buildings and places if you know where to look for them. One way to make a walk more interesting is to follow a heritage trail. There are several trails with guides published by the Brisbane City Council that you can follow.
Brisbane doesn't have that much heritage but efforts have been made to preserve what we do have
There are two along the river. Reflections on the River goes from the Maritime Museum, through QUT and past the many historical buildings on the way to Eagle Street Pier. The trail moves away from the river and puts the emphasis on the buildings and sites. The highlight is Old Government House at QUT and the Customs House.
The old Navel Offices is one of many heritage buildings on the Reflections on the River Heritage Trail
On the other side of the river you can also follow the Secrets of South Bank Heritage trail. There is a lot to see in South Brisbane and the Cultural Precinct, so most people never really learn about the history of the area.
The remains of the 3rd Victoria Bridge at South Bank (I think it is the 3rd, there were so many I lose count)
Rosalie is one of the suburbs I love walking through. The hilly terrain makes for a better walk and the lovely homes and views provide most of the scenery. There are also a number of historical locations in Rosalie to visit, such as the Sacred Heart Church sitting on top of the hill.
The Sacred Heart Church is one of the highlights of wandering through Rosalie
However my favourite historical walk is Albion, though following the Brisbane City Council Heritage Trail is a bit of mistake. Instead you start at Albion Station where downtown Albion has a lovely little village feel. Then head down along the Breakfast Creek with your destination being the Breakfast Creek Hotel. While that pub arguably has the best classic pub steaks in Brisbane, there are some other locations worth visiting nearby.
There is a lovely walking path beside Breakfast Creek in Albion
Pop into the Chinese Temple, also known as Joss Hall, next to the pub. This temple dates back to when this was where Chinese immigrants ran their market gardens. Then across the river is Newstead House, one of the best historic houses in Brisbane. $9 gets you entry plus Devonshire tea. If you don't want to look around the house you can just wander the fantastic gardens for free.