One of the drawbacks about hiking in Australia is that the large majority of the 'good' hiking spots here are in national parks, meaning that your furry best friend has to miss out. Plunkett Conservation Park is the answer to this - it's an actual hike (i.e. not on flat land), and dogs are allowed! Located within an hour's drive from Brisbane City, Plunkett Conservation Park is extremely rocky, reminiscent of the granite belt area in New South Wales.
A bit small, but can you see the 'dog-walking permitted' sign?
There are several entrances that you can start your hike - we chose to start at 980 Quinzeh Creek Road, where the sign 'Plunkett Regional Park' was. Another entrance is 21 Flesser Road. We parked on the opposite side of the road, on a grassy patch. It is important to note that horseriding is permitted, motor vehicles access is restricted without written authority.
The trail beginning at Plunkett Regional Park starts off quite wide, almost like a road, although of course motor vehicles aren't permitted. The ground can be quite loose at times, as it is an extremely rocky area. It's hard to believe that this sort of rocky country is within an hour's drive from Brisbane City.
The road does get narrower as you make your way uphill, but you can still comfortably fit two people on the path. The ascent itself is also manageable - although it can get quite steep in some sections, anyone with a moderate level of fitness should be able to accomplish it. If a (slightly overweight) pug can manage it without having to lie down and have a rest, then so can the average person!
There are also several natural 'obstacles', including logs, fallen trees, and of course, rocks. Eddy had so much fun skirting these natural obstacles, it almost felt as though someone had deliberately placed these here to make the hike into an obstacle course!
As mentioned earlier, there are several starting points, meaning that there is more than one way to get to the highest point. As with all hikes, please do be aware of your surroundings and take note of any signs that you might pass by, especially when descending and finding your starting point again.
More than one way back - we opted for the shorter route.
Once you get to the top, you will be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding mountains, although the view is not uninterrupted, with many trees in the foreground. Nevertheless, the view was stunning, and it was a great place to stop, catch our breaths, and immerse ourselves into nature's beauty.
Once you'd had your fill of the beautiful view, it is time to head down. Be extra careful as you make your descent, because it can be quite steep in places - it's easy to slip on the many small rocks that litter the place, especially when you have a dog like mine who likes to charge at full speed ahead.
We had such a fun excursion, and it was great to be able to take Eddy hiking with me for a change. Eddy definitely enjoyed the new experience of having to hike rather than walk on flat land. Seeing as we live only 30 minutes away, we will most definitely be back for another exercise filled day!
Eddy looks like he had a real whale of a time, Jane - and you're quite right, there are relatively few places to hike with one's furry friends. I think they're permitted in sections (if not all) of Mt Cootha - you could check that - perhaps on a lead, as they might go chasing rabbits or something interesting.
That "colourful flower" is the worst environmental weed threatening the Australian bush everywhere. It is called Lantana and out of control. Bring a plastic bag next time and pull them out, roots and all. They have very superficial roots!
Letting our fur babies off leash in the Australian bush is not the wisest choice. The landscape is littered with hidden threats such as brown snakes and red-bellied black snakes. I always keep mine on a short rein and smack bang in the middle of a path! This practice recently saved any accidents when a juvenile brown snake crossed about 1' in front of my dog's paws. I saw it out of my periphery view just in time to yank hard on his leash and pull him right up into the air out of harm's way. If he'd been free-ranging, he wouldn't have stood a chance had he accidentally stood on it or gone for it. He didn't see this particular one coming!