Most of us are crazy about our four-legged family members and would love to take them with us to go walk-about into the parks and forests, but the truth is that the majority of National Parks in Queensland do not permit our loveable furry pals, due to concerns that our pooches could be a threat to local native wildlife. So, with this in mind, I have compiled a guide to five state forests and parks, where our four-legged family members are permitted, as long as they are kept on a leash.
Please keep dogs leashed to protect local wildlife - Image: Gellinger > Pixabay License
You will find Amamoor State Forest and Forest Reserve approximately 180km north of Brisbane, inland from the Sunshine Coast and twenty kilometres south-west of Gympie, along the Amamoor Creek Road. Readers might remember that the author visited the little town of Amamoor recently when travelling on the Mary Valley Rattler from Gympie. Dogs are permitted in most areas in the Amamoor State Forest, as long as they are on a leash and under control at all times. Please ensure that you carry a doggy bag when walking your dog and pick up any doggy 'do's, to be disposed of responsibly.
Amamoor in the heart of the Mary Valley - Image: author
Walkers can explore the park on several walking tracks and forest roads provide opportunities for horse riders and mountain bike riders. The Amamoor forests include dry forests, riverine rainforests and hoop and bunya pine plantations. Please see Amamoor Area Parks and Forests Map below for camping and walking locations.
Besides the walking areas, Amamoor State Forest is also available for camping. There are two camping areas in Amamoor State Forest - Cedar Grove camping area and Amamoor Creek camping area. Please note that dogs are NOT permitted at Cedar Grove camping area. Book a campsite online here, through Queensland National Parks.
Picnic facilities are provided next to Amamoor Creek at Amama day-use area. The picnic facilities here include barbecues, picnic tables, toilets and tap water. Please bring your own fuel stove or clean, milled firewood.
Good to know tips:
If you are looking for a quiet escape, avoid visiting Amamoor State Forest in the week leading up to and during the annual Gympie Music Muster event, held in the last week of August. This popular music event transforms the area around Amamoor Creek camping area and attracts thousands of campers and visitors to the park.
2. Brooyar State Forest
Brooyar State Forest is located in the scenic Mary Valley and is only twenty minutes north-west of Gympie or two and a half hours drive north of Brisbane.
Discover the scenic forests within the Brooyar State Forest, with sandstone cliffs, tall eucalypt forests, rainforests and hoop pine plantations. A lookout point on top of the cliffs provides spectacular views to the west. Popular abseiling sites are also located within the Brooyar State Forest. The quiet retreat camping area lies in the hills between Widgee and Glastonbury Creeks and consists of rainforest, open eucalypt forest and hoop pine plantations.
What else is special here:
Glastonbury Creek flows beside the small camping area, which offers a great setting for a tranquil get-away camping experience. The shallow, sandy stretches of Glastonbury Creek are home to platypus, crayfish, long-armed shrimp, freshwater turtles, eels and fish.
During summer, flowering trees adjoining the day-use area, colour the forest with rich reds and yellows in black bean trees and spectacular orange flowers are to be found in the silky oaks. Across the creek a grove of white cedar trees transform into a mass of yellow as their leaves turn in autumn.
Camping is available near the banks of the Glastonbury Creek. Toilets, fire rings and non-potable water is provided; you only need to bring your own drinking water and clean-milled firewood for the fire rings. Campers are not permitted to collect firewood from the forest as this is illegal. This camping area is suitable for caravans and motor homes and of course, our four-legged family members are permitted on leashes.
With rugged hills of open eucalypt woodland, Cordalba State Forest provides a peaceful day trip or adventurer's retreat. You can spotlight for possums and gliders at night and go mountain biking or birdwatching during the day. Birdwatchers will have plenty to see at Cordalba State Forest, hopefully catching glimpses of either the yellow-tufted honeyeaters or the barking owls.
The mountain bike trail network at Cordalba State Forest is called the Promisedland and provides visitors to the park with a diverse range of trails ideal for bike riders of all abilities.
Horse riding is another leisurely way to experience the wonders of the bush at Cordalba State Forest.
Walking is permitted at Cordalba State Forest on all management roads and trails, unless signage indicates otherwise. Remote bushwalking is also permitted for the physically fit - navigational experience; a topographic map, GPS and compass are essential pre-requisites when bushwalking at Cordalba.
On the western side of Cordalba State forest is the Cordalba National Park, which is home to one of Queensland's rarest trees, the endangered Isis tamarind.
There is no formal camping location at Cordalba State Forest, but bush camping is permitted in the forest. As no camping facilities are provided, visitors need to ensure that they are totally self-sufficient for bush camping.
Our four-legged furry family members are permitted at Cordalba State Forest, provided they are on a leash and under control at all times.
Ensure you and your best mate are self-sufficient and take plenty of water - Image: MatanVizel > Pixabay License
Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area is about 250km north of Brisbane and about 9km north of the town of Rainbow Beach, opposite the southern tip of World Heritage-listed Fraser Island.
Things to do:
Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area offers clean beaches, good fishing and coastal camping. The surrounding waters in this area are rich in sea life, making Inskip Peninsula a very popular fishing destination.
Take long walks along the beaches at Inskip, especially at sunrise and sunset.
The Inskip Peninsula offers excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife, especially birds. Flocks of resident and migratory shorebirds are often seen resting and roosting along the coastal beaches. Look out for the black-breasted button-quail - considered to be a vulnerable species - that rotates on one foot, leaving distinct circular depressions, as it scratches in leaf litter for seeds and insects.
What else is special here:
Inskip Peninsula is a narrow, sandy finger of land built up by wind and waves. It forms a natural breakwater at the entrance to Tin Can Inlet and Great Sandy Strait. Inskip is a fifteen-minute drive from Rainbow Beach and provides a gateway to the World Heritage-listed, Fraser Island. Beach she-oaks, cypress pine and other coastal trees and shrubs give shade to the very popular camping areas, which are encircled by open ocean beaches and sheltered estuary shores.
For thousands of years, Inskip and nearby Cooloola have been special places for Aboriginal people. As a result of timber-getting, agriculture and sandmining, these areas have undergone many changes in the last one hundred and fifty years. Today, Inskip protects valuable coastal ecosystem remnants and is ranked as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Queensland.
And the most special thing is….our four-legged family members are also permitted at Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area, with their very own dog-friendly zone between First and Third cuttings, in the Cooloola Recreation Area. Unfortunately, dogs are not permitted in vehicles traversing the Cooloola Recreation Area, so drivers need to select an alternate route to Rainbow Beach, to avoid penalties for having a dog in a recreation area. Do not allow dogs to chase birds or other wildlife - please keep your dog in line to avoid a fine.
Good to know tips:
Swimming in the ocean at Inskip Peninsula is not recommended as there are no regularly patrolled swimming areas, except at specific times on a section of beachfront - which will be clearly signed - in front of the Rainbow Beach township;
Inskip is very popular for power boat and jet ski users, who may not be able to see swimmers in the water
Campfires are permitted at Inskip, except when a fire prohibition is in place.
With Samford Conservation Park within such close proximity to Brisbane, it provides a perfect day-trip escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Pack a picnic basket and enjoy a barbecue at the Ironbark Gully picnic area or take a walk through the ironbark forest for the opportunity to see some native wildlife, that live in the park. Horse riding and mountain-bike riding is permitted on all shared trails in the Samford Conservation Park, unless otherwise signed.
The land in and around the Samford Conservation Park is steeped in history - it is believed that this area was known as 'Kupidabin', an Aboriginal word from the Waka language, which means the 'place of possums'.
Samford Conservation Park was used by travellers in a by-gone era, with a train line running through the park, from Camp Mountain to Ferny Grove, in the early to mid 1900's. This train line was operational until the late 1940's when it was closed down, after a train derailment.
Today, Samford Conservation Park is a popular place for many activities including horse riding and mountain-bike riding as well as being a fabulous spot for families to enjoy a day out, and that includes our furry family members too, as long as they are on a leash.
Happy adventuring with your four-legged family members and remember: a tired dog is a happy dog!
A tired dog is a happy dog - Image: mathey > Pixabay License