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The 6 Essential Hikes Around Brisbane

Home > Brisbane > Day Trips | National Parks | Outdoor | Views | Walks | Lists
by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published July 17th 2014
Get into hiking in South East Queensland
The most essential hikes

The number of great hikes close enough for a day trip from Brisbane is amazing. If you are new to Brisbane or new to hiking then these are the six must do hikes in the area.

Hiking through the forest
Hiking through the forest


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.

Hikers on the path in a national park
Hikers on the path in a national park


Of course if you are looking for something a little harder, why not try one of the more challenging hikes? Of course there are many great easy hikes as well.

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.

Dave's creek circuit
Dave's creek circuit


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.

View from Dave's Creek Circuit
View from Dave's Creek Circuit


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.

Spectacular scenery at Springbrook National Park
Spectacular scenery at Springbrook National Park


A day trip to Springbrook National Park should also include the short Natural Bridge walk which takes you underneath falls and hopefully gives you a chance to spot glow worms.

Walking under water falls in Springbrook National Park
Walking under water falls in Springbrook National Park


Mt Mitchell

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.

Mt Mitchell as seen from Mt Mathieson
Mt Mitchell as seen from Mt Mathieson


The top of Mt Mitchell provides 270 degree views of the area and can accommodate large numbers of people though often you will find that you are the only person on the summit.

The path up Mt Mitchell is beautiful and varied with numerous views
The path up Mt Mitchell is beautiful and varied with numerous views


Box Forest Circuit at O'Reilly's

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.

Cascades on the Box Forest Circuit
Cascades on the Box Forest Circuit


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.

Free tree top walk at O'Reilly's
Free tree top walk at O'Reilly's


Noosa Heads National Park

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
Don't forget your surfboard when you hike Noosa Heads National Park


Noosa itself is a great place to visit with lots of cool cafes and restaurants. While it is easily visited as a day trip why not consider making a weekend of it in Noosa?

Hike to great beaches at Noosa Heads
Hike to great beaches at Noosa Heads



Lower Portals at Mt Barney

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".

Lower Portals swimming hole at Mt Barney
Lower Portals swimming hole at Mt Barney


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.
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