Debra, a stay-at-home mum of three, loves experiencing and sharing all that Brisbane has to offer; especially southside secrets.
Published October 30th 2011
After a dark and dreary Saturday morning spent indoors watching DVDs, when the sun finally did appear late afternoon, we decided spur-of-the-moment to take the kids for a drive to the top of Mt Gravatt.
Since moving to Brisbane, I have heard much about the Mt Coot-tha Lookout but nothing about the lookout at Mt Gravatt. A mere five minute drive from where we live, Mt Gravatt Outlook Drive is situated at the end of Shire Road, just off Logan Road in Mt Gravatt. Driving up the winding road to the summit, we were surprised how far up and how snaky the road actually is. Although not as high as Mt Coot-tha, the views that greeted us were still amazing.
We parked the car and got out to take a closer look. Although the sky was hazy, we could still see Brisbane's CBD and the outline of the mountain ranges to the north and west. On a clear day you can see the Main Range, D'Aguilar Range, Mt Coot-tha and the Glass House Mountains.
The kids were quite impressed with the views especially once they discovered that we could see our house (with the zoom on our camera) from the lookout. What impressed them the most though was the fact there was a playground. And ice-cream.
Echidna Magic Restaurant, Kiosk & Native Gardens, run by the indigenous group First Contact, sits perched on top next to the parking lot. It has a north facing veranda with stunning views over Brisbane. The restaurant has only been open since 2010 but has gained quite favourable attention. Apparently, it is extremely popular on Mother's Day and is fully booked for Brisbane's Riverfire. For the latter, the road is closed to vehicles unless you have a dinner reservation. The gates at the base also close daily between 11 pm and 6 am in an effort to curb vandalism and to stop hoons from racing up the mountain.
The kiosk sells coffee, ice-cream, burgers, and chips. I found the coffee a little pricey ($4.20) but my latte was delicious and the view was worth it. We sat at one of their outdoor tables overlooking the playground while the kids had a romp. Echidna Magic is child-friendly with some tiny tables, toys, and books to keep the little tykes amused.
There is also a small native garden with some beautifully painted murals.
The only amenities are located within the restaurant and are for customers only. There is a sign stating that there is a $1 fee to use the toilets if you are not a paying customer; I am not sure if they enforce this.
If you wish to bring your own food to the lookout, there are picnic tables located nearby – but no barbecues.
For those feeling fit, there is a walking track that starts at Gertrude Petty Place at the bottom and winds its way up the northern face to the summit. An uphill easy grade with some steps, it is two kilometres return and takes about 1 to 1.5 hours to complete depending upon walking pace. Dogs are okay as long as they are on leash.
But beware of the very limited hours that they are open. I have been frustrated more than once as they are not open when you expect. Their website does say ... Mon - Fri: 8.30AM - 5PM, Sat: 8.30AM - 9PM, Sun: 8.30AM - 5PM but I recall it being a lot more limited than this (they may have extended their hours). Even so, only open one evening! What a wasted opportunity ... any "real" business would make much better use of such a fantastic jewel!
The LoveWell Project cafe is a fantastic place to visit, have some food and beverage and support a great cause. Being a "not for profit" they are understandably increasing their hours and offerings in a cautious and measured fashion. The location is an absolute goldmine if they run it right (unlike the Echidna group who majorly squandered their opportunity and were shut down by BCC). GO The Lovewell Project!