I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published September 11th 2019
Test your fitness
The first time I climbed Mt Cooroora was sixteen years ago in 2003 soon after I moved to Brisbane. I remember it well because one of my knees was very painful on the way down. I was a bit nervous about climbing it again recently as part of my bushwalking club's twelve mountains in twelve months' program, but I was very pleased because my knees didn't hurt at all this time, and I must be getting fitter too because I didn't find the climb very difficult.
A group of us left Brisbane for the drive to Pomona early one recent Saturday morning. The walking track up Mt Cooroora starts across the road from Cooroora Mountain Park on Mountain Street in the quaint Noosa hinterland town of Pomona. There are picnic tables, barbecues and tap water in the park, but no toilets. There are public toilets in Pomona.
While I was waiting in the park for some of the others to arrive I could hear cockatoos. I had read that glossy black and yellow-tailed black cockatoos feed on she oak seeds in the area. Unfortunately, I didn't see any of the cockatoos. Tree species growing on the mountain include blackbutt, scribbly gum, bloodwood, casuarina, brush box, ironbark and tallowwood. The cockatoos like to feed on a vulnerable species of she-oak, Allocasuarina rigida subsp. exsul, which is only found on Mount Cooroora.
The track up is very steep and rocky with lots of steps. There is a chain to assist walkers to pull themselves up part of the way. The chain runs out about 30 metres from the top, and it is a rough scramble from there, but it isn't too bad. There are lots of hand and footholds and it feels safe as long as you stay on the track. I have heard of people trying different routes and getting into trouble and having to backtrack.
A few runners ran past us on the way up and down. The mountain is famous for a yearly "King of the Mountain" race. The Bendigo Bank International Mountain Challenge race that started in 1979, is held in July every year. The next race is on 26th July 2020. The King this year was Boaz Clark with a time of 26:30 minutes. The Queen for 2019 was Reesha Lewis with a time of 29:49.
One woman in our group found the mountain a bit challenging. She was recovering from a chest infection and her chest was tight, but she did very well and only stopped a couple of times on the way up to admire the view and catch her breath.
There were wonderful views over the hinterland on the way up and from the mountain top. We stopped for a snack on top. I was surprised to see a couple with three young children arrive. The little girl was four years old and the two boys about six years. They still had a lot of energy left and were bounding over the rocks.
Coming down was easier than I remembered though it was slow going and involved sitting down in some parts.
After we had a break in the park, and because it was still only 10.30am we decided to go and climb Mt Ninderry before heading to the Yandina ginger factory for coffee and ginger smoothies before driving home.
I have missed a few of the mountains in the twelve mountains in twelve-month series, but I recently added up the ones I have climbed this year and found I have already climbed twelve different mountains since January. I have even climbed three of those mountains twice to make a total of fifteen mountains, and I still have four months to go before the end of the year.