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Two Outstanding Rainforest Destinations to Visit within 150km of Brisbane

Home > Brisbane > Day Trips | Escape the City | Outdoor | Picnic Spots | Walks
by Meg Forbes (subscribe)
Meg Forbes is a mum, freelance writer, and photographer living in the Redlands, South of Brisbane. https://www.instagram.com/megforbesphotography/
Published May 13th 2020
Beautiful daytrips in the Gold and Sunshine Coast Hinterland
On Saturday 16 May 2020 Queensland's travel restrictions will relax further, allowing residents to travel up to 150Km from home for recreational day trips. This article briefly explores 2 beautiful rainforest areas that can be visited within 150Km of Brisbane.

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat and the Green Mountains Section of Lamington National Park

The treetop canopy walk 16m above the rainforest floor
The treetop canopy walk 16m above the rainforest floor


O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat is set in the Green Mountains Section of Lamington National Park in the Gold Coast Hinterland. Although this retreat offers beautiful accommodation, this can only be enjoyed from 12 June 2020. However, the tea room and gift shop are already open and have a picnic basket service which is perfect for families after a walk or hike. A fantastic walk for families even with young children is the Black Booyung Boardwalk. The entrance is opposite the O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat's reception area and ends at a treetop canopy walk. This consists of 9 suspension bridges that gently climb to 16 metres above the forest floor and has a ladder up to a viewing deck 30 metres above the ground. The return distance for this entire walk is 800m.

Interacting with wild parrots at O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat
Interacting with wild parrots at O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat


This walk is excellent for spotting a large variety of rare birds such as regent bower birds and the often heard but rarely seen eastern whipbird. The gift shop also sells seed to be used in a feeding area, providing opportunities for visitors to interact with wild king parrots and crimson rosellas, among other birds. A number of other walks in Lamington National Park leave from this location, ranging in length from 1Km to 21.6Km. You can read more about each of these walks here before heading up for the day.

A regent bowerbird above the Black Booyung Walk
A regent bowerbird above the Black Booyung Walk


The address for O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat is: 3582 Lamington National Park Rd, Canungra QLD 4275

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve at Maleny is set in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, overlooking the Glasshouse Mountains. This beautiful reserve includes 55 hectares of subtropical rainforest and 1.7Km of walking trails.

The Discovery Centre at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
The Discovery Centre at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve


These trails are well-maintained, and some of the sections are wheelchair friendly. Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is home to a variety of wildlife including red-necked pademelons and 141 species of birds. Other interesting wildlife includes carpet pythons, red-bellied black snakes, trapdoor spiders, and flying foxes.

A carpet python crossing a trail at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
A carpet python crossing a trail at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve


The Rainforest Discovery Centre is staffed by friendly and informative volunteers and includes a number of interactive displays designed for children and adults. There is also a short, elevated section of boardwalk that leads through the rainforest canopy to the upper level of the Discovery Centre. From here it is a short walk to an upper-storey viewing platform across the Glasshouse Mountains. Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve has public amenities and a cafe which is currently offering take away food and drink. There is also a large grassy area with picnic tables and a nature-themed playground for children to enjoy.

An interactive display in the Rainforest Discovery Centre
An interactive display in the Rainforest Discovery Centre


The address for Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is: 148 Mountain View Road, Maleny

Entrance to the O'Reilly's Treetop Canopy platforms and to Mary Cairncross Discovery Centre is free, although both welcome a gold coin donation.

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Why? Beautiful rainforest daytrips in the Gold and Sunshine Coast Hinterland
When: Between dawn and dusk
Cost: Free although gold coin donations are welcome
Your Comment
O'Reillys is one of my favourite places.
by May Cross (score: 3|6452) 10 days ago
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