I was motivated to compile this list when my friend told me that she was planning to visit Brisbane and she wanted to know of any interesting hiking locations. So this is a list of hikes that are not too hard, but still a decent hike. They all lie within 2 hours drive of Brisbane and they offer something special for the visitor to South East Queensland.
Note: If you are planning to undertake any of these hikes it is always important to visit the National Parks Queensland website where you will be able to find track maps and any news, including closures, about the tracks.
Daves Creek Circuit at Binna Burra
Lamington National Park has a large number of great hikes, however there is one essential hike that starts at Binna Burra that comes highly recommended by every hiking group in the area.
Passing through a range of vegetation and providing spectacular views, many people consider this to be the must do hike in Lamington National Park. Also the Binna Burra Mountain Lodge Cafe is a great place to enjoy coffee, meal or a snack after a hike.
Purling Brook Falls Circuit in Springbrook National Park
While Lamington National Park is more famous, Springbrook provides the most spectacular scenery in the area. This shorter 4 km track takes you down the cliff to the base of the falls. Despite the short length it is still reasonably tough and comes with all sorts of warnings about dying from slipping off the side of the cliff, however I didn't feel it was particularly dangerous. On return you can also go to the lookout at the top of the falls. Overall this is one of the most spectacular tracks in the Brisbane area.
For amazing views of the Scenic Rim there are several options, with Mt Mitchell being one of the best. While it does involve walking uphill, it is not particularly long or hard and can be done by anyone with reasonable fitness.
Another great hike in Lamington National Park, though, in the Green Mountains section (which everyone refers to as O'Reilly's because that is the starting point for the hikes). The Box Forest Circuit is not a long hike but it will probably take you a fair amount of time simply because the combination of numerous falls and cascades along the track will encourage you to linger.
There are other hikes around Brisbane that follow creeks, however this is by far the most scenic without being too long or challenging. There are also a number of attractions at O'Reilly's, including a free tree top walk (please donate a gold coin though for its maintenance) and a small zoo. It is a pity that the restaurant at O'Reilly's is a little disappointing.
Queensland tourism trades on its beaches and there are many coastal walks in the area. Noosa Heads is the only one that combines both bushland and cliff top walking with stops at many beaches including an unofficial nudist beach at Alexandris Bay and several great surfing and swimming beaches. So don't be afraid to take your surfboard on this hike, though you don't necessarily need to take a swimming costume.
Don't forget your surfboard when you hike Noosa Heads National Park
The lower portals is also interesting for two reasons. It has one of the best swimming holes for any hike in the South East Queensland area. Also to arrive at the swimming hole you have to pass through a rock; the aptly named "portals".
I was not sure whether to include this hike on the list or not. However it rounds out the hiking here by providing a different option. The hike to the lower portals is through open bushland instead of rainforest making it a different option for hiking.