Meg Forbes is a mum, freelance writer, and photographer living in the Redlands, South of Brisbane.
Published May 24th 2020
Beautiful rainforest picnics and hiking trails near Brisbane
After more than a year of upgrades and maintenance, the beautiful Maiala Day Use Area at Mount Glorious in D'Aguilar National Park near Brisbane reopened on 23 May 2020.
Entrance to Maiala Day Use Area
Maiala has been a firm favourite of Brisbane families for decades, and some of this history is now displayed on new signage along with information about the rainforest and the wildlife within it. However, as I recently discovered, the new upgrades have taken it to the next level.
New upgraded areas at Maiala Day Use Area
Paths have been repaved and new picnic tables and gas BBQs installed. However, each of these additions fit beautifully within their rainforest surrounds and the birds were as abundant as ever. Some of the paths are wheelchair friendly, including one that leads to a ramp at the amenities block. This area is popular with yellow-tailed black cockatoos, one of which flew over while I was exploring the new facilities.
One of the newly installed gas BBQs at Maiala Day Use Area with the public amenities at the top of the hill
There are a couple of Bunya Pines within the day use area, and signs warning people not to sit under them. This is especially the case from December to March when they drop their huge 10Kg cones. The individual "nuts" from these cones are delicious when toasted in the oven or in a campfire's coals.
Iconic Bunya Pines are one of the beautiful native trees at Maiala Day Use Area
There are two sections to Maiala Day Use Area, each of which have hiking trails through the rainforest that leave from them. The main day use area with gas BBQs, a picnic shelter, and toilets has three trails leaving from it. These are the Rainforest Circuit (2Km return), the Cypress Grove Track (2.5Km return), and the Greene's Falls Track (4.3Km). Each of these is lovely and they all provide excellent opportunities to experience the coolness of the rainforest along with small wildlife such as wallabies, various rainforest birds such as satin bower birds, and a huge and interesting array of fungi.
Hiking trails from the main section of Maiala Day Use Area
The hiking trails that leave from the picnic area on the other side of the main road are the Western Window Track (0.6Km, the Joyners Ridge Road Track (1.9Km), and the Lawton Road Track (3.0 Km). At present only the Western Window Track is open due to a landslide that impacts the other two tracks beyond that point.
Hiking trails from the smaller, top picnic area at Maiala
One of the highlights for many visitors to Maiala, especially in summer, is this fig tree. Each year it attracts many rainforest birds when it bears fruit.
Stunning fig tree set between picnic tables and BBQs
One that brings bird and photography enthusiasts from all over South East Queensland is the often-heard but rarely-seen "green cat bird". You can listen to the very distinctive call from which these ancient songbirds, and close relations of bower birds, get their name on Oztralian's Youtube channel here.
A green cat bird in the fig tree at Maiala Day Use Area
Maiala Day Use Area at Mount Glorious is less than an hour's drive, through Samford Village, from the centre of Brisbane, making it an ideal weekend destination for many families. The rainforest is stunning in all seasons - often misty during the winter, and offers a cool break from South East Queensland's often-intense heat during summer.
Cool walks through ancient rainforest are one of the main attractions for visitors to Maiala
Useful things to bring for your day out include:
Sunscreen, a hat, and insect repellant
Drinking water and a picnic
Comfortable walking shoes
Additionally, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service ask that all visitors continue to follow social distancing guidelines while enjoying the natural beauty found at Maiala Day Use Area and while using the associated hiking trails.
QPWS asks that visitors continue to observe social distancing guidelines when visiting Maiala Day Use Area