There are many types of hikes that you can do around South East Queensland. One of the best types of hike for both fitness and views are hikes to a peak of a hill or mountain. Even a short hill hike can be a little bit of a challenge compared with regular hiking, but they can still be a great way to get fit and the views make it worthwhile.
This list contains a wide variety of hills and mountains, from local walks within Brisbane to challenging day trips suitable only for people with the right level of fitness. All reward you with a great place to sit, relax and enjoy the view from the summit.
Milne Hill in the Northern Suburbs
You don't have to go very far to find a hill to walk up for views. Brisbane itself has a few peaks.Mt Coot-tha is the obvious one however the "summit" isn't very flat and you can take the bus up if you prefer, Mt Gravatt is a little boring. So instead I thought I would put one of my favourite little hills in Brisbane instead, Milne Hill.
The views are not completely clear, but you can see the Brisbane city centre over the top of the water tower. It is always a pleasure to find a spot where you end up a little higher than everywhere else.
A partial glimpse of the Brisbane CBD from the summit at Milne Hill
The walk to the top is not exactly hard. Go up either the bitumen or gravel roads on the side of the hill to the water tower. Where the hill continues to rise you will see a fence and a set of steps heading up. Just follow these up to the top.
Normally I visit Milne Hill as part of a longer walk that includes both Raven Street Reserve and the Chermside Hills Reserve. There is about 8 kms of hiking all up around these 3 reserves. Milne hill is connected to the Chermside Hills reserve by a walk through a park and to Raven Street Reserve by a green bridge over Hamilton Road.
The Green Bridge over Hamilton Road linking Raven Street Reserve to Milne Hill Reserve
Many people consider Dave's Creek Circuit to be the best hike in South East Queensland. It certainly is one of the most varied, passing through a range of vegetation with a number of lookouts down into the valley. Overall the walk is about 12 km of easy walking.
You can find some partial views from lookouts on Daves Creek Circuit
However we are looking for a peak and Surprise Rock provides that. If you are hiking anti-clockwise then you come to surprise rock when you arrive at a switchback in the path and there will be the rock rising up above you. You will see where people scramble up the low side of the rock to the top.
It is not a particularly difficult scramble, but people who suffer from vertigo may have a problem. However it doesn't feel dangerous at any point. Remember, the other end of the rock is a vertical cliff, while the route up has a more gradual rise.
The Glass House Mountains are only high enough to be called hills and they range from the reasonably easy walks to difficult and even dangerous climbs. The essential hill to hike though is the 2.8 km Mt Ngungun hike.
The Glass House Moutains, with Mt Ngungun on the far right
There are some steep sections where there are stairs. As always, anyone with a reasonable level of fitness can complete this walk. There is really no need to rush to the top. Expect to take up to 2 hours to complete the walk.
The are some steep sections and stairs up Mt Ngungun
The top is a wide rocky plateau with very little shade or shelter. There is actually a little rocky outcrop we have sheltered under when it starts raining, but other than that it is exposed to the elements. It is much nicer to do this walk in cooler weather so that you can enjoy the summit.
The summit of Mt Ngungun is wide but with very little shade or shelter
Of course there are lots of peaks at the Glass House Mountains, but if you have to walk up any hill, it should be Mt Ngungun.
Mt Edwards at Lake Moogerah
When you are looking for a peak that is a little bit different, but not too challenging, there are plenty to choose from. One of the best is Mt Edwards at Lake Moogerah. This peak on the shores of the lake has a 2.2 km return track from the lake shore to the summit. Expect to take between 3 to 4 hours to complete the walk, including time to relax on the summit and enjoy the views.
The start of the walk is at Fred Haigh Park beside the Moogerah Dam wall. The first part of the walk crosses the dam wall. As they lock the gate at 6 pm, leave so that you have plenty of time to get back.
The summit is one of my favourites in South East Queensland. You have great views down to Fassifern Valley while sitting on the plentiful rocks under the abundant shade tress. I would take lunch or at least a snack to enjoy at the top.
The summit of Mt Edwards has plenty of shade, rocks to sit on and great views
As the start of the hike is on the shores of Lake Moogerah, it is a perfect place to sit and relax afterwards. Just a short walk across the car park is the Lake Moogerah Cafe for some well deserved cold drinks and cake.
Fred Haigh Park at Lake Moogerah is a nice place to sit and relax after the hike
If you are looking for a harder hike, then there are many great peaks around South East Queensland. One of the most interesting peaks is Mt Maroon. Here is a peak that any fit person can tackle with a steep ascent that through a gorge that is steep but not as challenging as many other peaks. Even better, the steepest sections are not exposed, which means few problems for people with a fear of heights.
Mt Maroon is one of the easiest mountains to ascend
So the hike is 6 kms and you should give yourself about 6 hours to be able to complete the hike. We did it in 5 hours and very fit people I know have finished it within 3 hours. You really should be fit before attempting this hike.
Remember, this is a difficult hike and shouldn't be attempted unless you are fit. Even reasonably fit people will find the walk to be a challenge. Also, don't even think of doing the walk in the rain. The gorge is the most dangerous part, as it becomes a channel for runoff.