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Secret Spots in Brisbane

Home > Brisbane > Lists | Outdoor | Parks | Walks
by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published March 7th 2016
Some of my favourite lesser known places around Brisbane
Secret Spots in Brisbane

There are lots of little gems around Brisbane that many people don't know about. Or even they do know about them, they just pass by without checking them out further.



All these secret locations have their own special appeal. Some are easy to find, others are harder to get to. But they all reflect the diverse and surprising nature of Brisbane. This includes cultural, natural and historic features around town.



Joss House

There are several Buddhist Temples scattered around Brisbane. The most famous is the Chung Tian Temple in Priestdale (behind the Daisy Hill Conservation Park). However one of the little known but still interesting little temples to visit is Joss House in Albion just behind the Breakfast Creek Hotel.

Joss House in Albion
Joss House in Albion


Officially known as the Holy Triad Temple, the name Joss is a Cantonese word meaning luck and is more of a nickname for the temple. It was built in 1885 and its location is near where there were Chinese market gardens and Chinese markets in the late 19th Century.

Joss House in Albion
Joss House in Albion


This is a fascinating little bit of history to visit in Brisbane and great reminder of Brisbane's vibrant multi-cultural past. Don't forget to visit the historic Breakfast Creek Hotel and the nearby historic Newstead House while you are in the area.

The Breakfast Creek Hotel has the best classic pub steaks in Brisbane
The Breakfast Creek Hotel has the best classic pub steaks in Brisbane


Bush Chapel at Mt Coot-tha

During WWII US forces made their main Australian base in Brisbane. One of the camp that they established was up in Mt Coot-tha where they cleared the bushland and constructed a road. Today this area is Mt Coot-tha Road and the JC Slaughter Falls Picnic Area.

The Bush Chapel at Mt Coot-tha
The Bush Chapel at Mt Coot-tha


One of the main attractions here from the WWII area is the bush chapel. Originally constructed as a place to hold services for US troops in the camp, it has been well maintained. You will find it up a little bitumen path about half-way along the JC Slaughter Falls Picnic area. I have never heard of it being for used for services except for the occasional wedding.

The Bush Chapel at Mt Coot-tha
The Bush Chapel at Mt Coot-tha


I normally visit the Bush Chapel when doing the Mt Coot-tha Cross Summit walk that goes from Chapel Hiil, up to the Summit, across the mountain to the JC Slaughter falls, before heading down to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. But of course you can just drive up to the JC Slaughter Falls Picnic Area.

St Stephens Cathedral and Chapel

For many office workers in the Brisbane CBD, St Stephen's Cathedral is well known as a great little patch of green space to enjoy lunch. This is in fact encouraged by the clergy there, who plan to add more seats and benches so that the harried office workers have more places to sit and relax.

St Stephens is a lovely church and chapel worth visiting
St Stephens is a lovely church and chapel worth visiting


They also do their best to keep the Cathedral open to the public during daylight hours. Though of course church services and weddings take priority. Right next to the Cathedral is the lovely little Chapel that is also worth visiting and almost always open.

Inside St Stephen's Chapel
Inside St Stephen's Chapel


Global Food Village and Food Street

Many people in Australia have popped over to Asia and have fallen in love with street food. Sure there are several great markets to enjoy food in Australia such as the Eat Street Markets and the Boundary Street Markets, however they don't really have the right vibe.

The markets at Woodridge are always a wonderful multicultural experience
The markets at Woodridge are always a wonderful multicultural experience


For as close to an authentic Asian street food experience you can find without buying a plane ticket, then the Global Food Village Markets are the place to go. This used to be the called the Woodridge Train Station Markets, but the name has changed and the hours expanded. The markets are now on from 6 am to 2 pm.

Eating at the Global Food Village is a great experience
Eating at the Global Food Village is a great experience


The highlights of this market include some of the cheapest fruit and vegetable shopping in the Brisbane area, a wonderful multi-cultural atmosphere and a food street serving noodles, rice dishes and more types of barbecue chicken than you knew were possible. They have food from all over the world, but the emphasis is on Asian food.

African Village in Moorooka


Moorooka is Brisbane's African Village
(that is the name that the African community there gave themselves). While most African migrants to Brisbane have settled in other suburbs, they have chosen to do open businesses in Moorooka. Most of the businesses are opened by people from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan.

Moorooka is Brisbane's African Village
Moorooka is Brisbane's African Village


Here you can have the complete African experience. The obvious one is enjoy a meal at one of several African restaurants include Yeshi Buna, Made in Africa and Cush. If you are not familiar with these restaurants or their cuisine then order the share platter with a sampling of different dishes. While you can ask for a knife, fork or spoon, you should instead eat your meal with your right hand using the injera bread.

The Cush Sudanese restaurant serves authentic food
The Cush Sudanese restaurant serves authentic food


If you are not sure about the food, why not go into Made in Africa or Yeshi Buna for Ethiopian coffee. Given that Ethiopia discovered coffee you can expect the coffee to be good. It is rich, nutty and normally you drink it black without sugar (though they confess that they add sugar if they need a little bit of a boost).

Don't forget to browse the shops for African food and goods. Some of the shops don't put the prices on products because it is normal to ask about the price, so don't be shy.

An African Shop in Moorooka
An African Shop in Moorooka


Moorooka also has a number of African hairdressers if you are looking to try out some African hair styles. If not, Moorooka can still by one of the cheapest places in Brisbane to get hair extensions.

Moorooka is a well known location but often people who live in the area are a little shy to go into shops or restaurants around there. The restaurant owners in particular are keen to share and promote their culture and food here in Australia.

The Lakes of North Lakes

There are many lakes around Brisbane and most of them could make this list as a secret spot. Gold Creek for example is a lovely 5 km hike around the Gold Creek Dam. But the real secret location is the Lakes of North Lakes.

The North Lakes Environmental Park
The North Lakes Environmental Park


If you have visited North Lakes you have probably walked around Eden Lake. Yet it is only one of many lakes you can visit. Most of the other lakes lie on the south side of the North Lakes Environmental Park. They are mostly visited by dog walkers and and joggers, but this is one of the places in the Brisbane area to go for a relaxing stroll.

Some of the lakes off Chelmsford Road
Some of the lakes off Chelmsford Road


There are additional lakes off Chelmsford Road which also has a wonderful walking track going beside them. You can link up all the lakes, nature reserves, parklands and walking tracks to make a great walk around North Lakes.

Milne Hill Reserve

There are many bushland reserves and secret bush locations around Brisbane.One of the best that is rarely visited is the little Milne Hill Reserve. This hill is part of the Chermside Hills Reserves and is connected to the better known Raven Street Reserve via a green bridge. This is a bridge that has been built over Hamilton Road and covered in grass for wildlife to make a safe crossing between reserves.

The Green Bridge over Hamilton Road
The Green Bridge over Hamilton Road


Milne Hill has a track that runs around most of the side of the hill. There are also a bitumen path and a gravel path on two sides to the top of the hill. You will see joggers going up and down these paths on a regular basis.

The path on the side of Milne Hill
The path on the side of Milne Hill


At the top of the hill is a water tank, but you will also see a little path leading to the very top of the hill.

The stairs up to the very top of Milne Hill
The stairs up to the very top of Milne Hill


From here you have great views out to the west of Brisbane as well as views down to the city over the top of the water tank. There is a little bench for people who wish to enjoy one of the few sunset vantage points in Brisbane.

A nice bench to enjoy the sunset views from
A nice bench to enjoy the sunset views from
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