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Best Secret Hikes in SEQ

Home > Brisbane > Walks | Outdoor | National Parks | Lists | Adventure
by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published December 18th 2019
Discover secret waterfalls, lookouts and trails
Best Secret Hikes in SEQ
South East Queensland has a large number of different and varied hikes. Along with all the official and well-known hikes, there are also lots of walks that only locals know. These are some of my favourite accessible hidden hikes.

Follow piles of stones and other unofficial markers to discover secret trails
Follow piles of stones and other unofficial markers to discover secret trails


All of these hikes are accessible, while not necessarily easy, they don't require rock hopping for hours or climbing beyond a small scramble. There are plenty of more off-track adventures beyond these, but all of the ones listed here would suit the average hiker.

Some trails are marked by hiking club trail markers
Some trails are marked by hiking club trail markers


Being secret or off-trail, there are probably more to discover. If you know of any obscure unmarked hikes in the area, please let me know.

Cronan Creek's Secret Falls

The Cronan Creek Track at Mt Barney is a relaxing 13 km walk through lush rainforest. However, it is not that popular a walk because it doesn't seem to go to any specific destination. But near the end of the track is one of the best waterfall swimming holes in the area. You just need to know how to find it.

The Cronan Creek Track visits the lower slopes of Mt Barney
The Cronan Creek Track visits the lower slopes of Mt Barney


The walk starts at the Yellow Pinch Car Park in the Mt Barney National Park. The first part of the walk is through open areas bordering on farmland, but you quickly transition into a rich and beautiful rainforest. The walk itself is not that difficult, but you do need to cross a couple of creeks through a combination of rock hopping and wading. Your feet will definitely get wet.

While the walk is easy there are a couple of creek crossings
While the walk is easy there are a couple of creek crossings


Near the end of the track, you will see a small cairn of stones that marks where you need to make your way down to the creek. Many people miss the stones, but if you do, when you get to the end of the track you will need to backtrack a little way before basically you bush bash down to the creek and then rock hopping up the creek a short distance until you reach the falls.

If you can find it, the falls at the end of the walk is one of the best swimming holes in the area
If you can find it, the falls at the end of the walk is one of the best swimming holes in the area


If you can find, you will discover what is one of the most perfect swimming holes I have seen with a small falls feeding into a round and deep waterhole, with rocks to sunbath on and shade to enjoy lunch under. Definitely worth the effort to find this secret falls.

Mermaid Mountains Secret Lookout

South D'Aguilar National Park includes what used to be Brisbane Forest Park. This area is crisscrossed with forest and fire trails, often going nowhere. But one walk worth doing is to Mermaid Mountain, where you get the best views in the area.

There are lots of fire and forest trails in South D'Aguilar National Park
There are lots of fire and forest trails in South D'Aguilar National Park


There is no one way to hike up to Mermaid Mountain, with 20 km return walks from Gold Creek Reservoir and Lake Manchester, as well as a 12 km walk starting off Lake Manchester Road. There are other starting points you can use to hike here as well. With many intersecting trails and a few signposts, you will need a map to make sure you don't get lost.

Getting off the fire trail to walk to the peak of Mermaid Mountain
Getting off the fire trail to walk to the peak of Mermaid Mountain


The real trick is to get onto Mermaid Mountain Break. This will pass near the peak of the mountain, and you just need to look out for the trail heading up to the peak and you are there.

Enjoying the view from Mermaid Mountain's Secret Lookout
Enjoying the view from Mermaid Mountain's Secret Lookout


The view from the peak looks down on Lake Manchester and with rocks to sit on and some scrubby bushes to rest under, it is a great place to stop and enjoy the vista. While it is a steep walk up and back, it is well worth doing.

Tibberoowuccum's easy scramble to the top

Hikes in the Glass House Mountains range from strolls around the base of mountains to climbs up to the top of famous peaks. One hill that can be walked and doesn't require much more than a short scramble to the top is Mt Tibberoowuccum. Because the trail is not officially marked not many people do this easy and fun hike.

It is an easy scramble up the rock dome on Mt Tibberoowuccum
It is an easy scramble up the rock dome on Mt Tibberoowuccum


The best place to start the hike is at the Trachyte Walking Circuit Car Park on Marshs Road, where there is plenty of parking. From there you walk up along Marshs Road for 100 metres and then take the first fire trail that you see on the left. About 300 metres down this rough and ready trail you will see a pile of rocks on both the left and right sides of the road. Look for the path on the left.

Heading up Mt Tibberoowuccum
Heading up Mt Tibberoowuccum


Follow the path up to the top of the ridge and then turn left again and walk along the rocky top of the ridge until you arrive at the base of the dome. It is actually a fairly easy scramble up this dome to the top and well worth it for both the view and the adventure.

Scrambling up the rock dome at the top of Mt Tibberoowuccum
Scrambling up the rock dome at the top of Mt Tibberoowuccum


This is a great little walk that most people can do. Afterwards, you can also do the Trachtyte and Tibrogargan Circuits that start from the car park.

Mt Glorious's Secret Walk to a Piper Commanche Plane Wreck

The walks in Mt Glorious and Mt Nebo are generally pleasant strolls through rainforest or harder walks on forest and fire trails. One that is a little different, is an unofficial walk to the wreck of a Piper Comanche plane that crashed in the 1970s. Despite the unofficial nature of this walk and the lack of signs, it is actually easy to follow.

Rock piles mark the junctions to the Piper Comanche wreck
Rock piles mark the junctions to the Piper Comanche wreck


This 7.5 km walk starts at the Lepidozamia Track off Mt Glorious Road where there is plenty of parking. The track to the Piper Comanche plane wreck only starts a short distance from the gate at the start of the Lepidozamia Track. It is marked by a pile of rocks to the right of the Track. The track itself is walked enough that it is easy to follow even though it is not maintained. There will be fallen trees you have to step over or crawl under on this walk.

The trail is easy to follow but a little rough
The trail is easy to follow but a little rough


The track heads gently up until you get to a junction marked by a pile of rocks. Here you turn left and head down the ridge. While the going is steep it is not too hard. Taking hiking poles to steady yourself is a good idea.

The remains of the Piper Comanche plane
The remains of the Piper Comanche plane


The end of the track is the remains of the Piper Comanche plane. Much of it was removed as part of the investigation into the crash, but the main body is still there. Overall a nice walk through lush rainforest on Mount Glorious.

Take the Secret Walk to Warrie Circuit's Pinnacle

Springbrook National Park's Warrie Circuit is a great 17 km walk, which includes walking through rock crevasses and under waterfalls. There is also a sidewalk on this track that takes you to a rock feature known as the Pinnacle, which you can scramble up.

Warrie Circuit is a great hike, but there is a secret side track you can do
Warrie Circuit is a great hike, but there is a secret side track you can do


Finding the start of the walk is straight forward. If you walk the Warrie in a counterclockwise manner starting from Tallanbana Picnic Area, there is a clear switchback on the track. All you have to do is keep walking when the track takes a sharp turn. The track to the Pinnacle follows the top of the ridge and is well marked by hiking club trail markers. There is one part where you can miss the trail markers, but the trick is to not head down the sides of the ridge but stay on the top.

To get to the Pinnacle you need to follow the trail markers put on trees by hiking clubs
To get to the Pinnacle you need to follow the trail markers put on trees by hiking clubs


The Pinnacle lies about 2 kms along at the end of the ridge. It is an easy scramble to the top for 360 degree views, including down to the Gold Coast.

The Pinnacle is the rocky outcrop near the end of the ridge
The Pinnacle is the rocky outcrop near the end of the ridge


Most people will do the sidewalk to the Pinnacle as part of completing the Warrie Circuit, which will make the walk about 21 kms in total. You can also just do it as a shorter return walk to the Pinnacle and back to where you started. But then you will miss out on some of the best features of the Warrie Circuit.




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Why? Discover secret waterfalls, lookouts and trails
Your Comment
Sounds a bit adventurous but good for hikers to have so much choice.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|7763) 33 days ago
There is now a post marking where you leave the fire trail to go down to the creek. Also a track has developed down to the creek so bush-bashing is no longer required. Also if you look closely at the post, there is a counter inserted to keeps tabs on usage.
by motch (score: 1|97) 29 days ago
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