The Mt Coot-tha Lookout is the best vantage point to take in a sweeping view of Brisbane, its snaking river and distant bay and mountains.
The lookout is packed with cars and buses most weekends. There is a way, however, to beat the parking blues, still soak up the views and enjoy a relaxing forest walk in the process.
Mt Coot-tha Forest is Brisbane’s largest natural area, just 5kms west of the CBD. There are various walking tracks scattered over its slopes, but one of the easiest and most rewarding is the Summit Walk, starting from JC Slaughter Falls Picnic Area.
To get there, look for the turn off to JC Slaughter Falls Picnic Area on Sir Samuel Griffith Drive at the base of Mt Coot-tha, before the road starts to climb up. There are signs to the Summit Walk from the picnic area and car park.
The Summit Track is 1.9kms and takes about 30 minutes to walk each way. It is a moderate slope, accessible to most walkers, and provides a unique escape right on Brisbane’s doorstep.
You are a world away from the city as you walk up through the forest, emerging near the car park chaos at the summit lookout. Here Brisbane is laid out before you, with sparkling Moreton Bay and its islands to the east and the dark green ranges to the south.
The views seem all the better for having taken the old-fashioned walking route to the top and it certainly makes for a more peaceful experience all round.
A 1km Aboriginal Art Trail circuit branches off from the Summit Track and features modern carvings and paintings among the forest and creek beds. It is well worth the detour and only adds to the sense of escapism and adventure.
There are plenty of open grass areas and BBQs back at the picnic area.