One of my favourite places to escape into nature is the Tarcoola Track at St Lucia. It may be short at just over one kilometre each way, but this walk has it all: beautiful bushland, bustling birdlife, butterflies, wonderful river views, and some lovely spots to sit and rest.
Entry to the track is directly opposite 157 The Esplanade, at St Lucia, near Tarcoola Street. It would be easy to miss if you didn't know it was there. If you drive, there are nine on-road parking bays available (free parking for 2 hours). If you travel by bus (No. 411), get off at Stop 27 on Hawken Drive, near Tarcoola Street, and walk to The Esplanade.
It's easy to feel as though you are a thousand kilometres from civilisation on some parts of this track. Sometimes I stand still for a couple of minutes, just to listen. One of my favourites sounds happens when the wind gently moves through the tree tops, rustling leaves (if trees could talk, I imagine this is how they would do it).
When no-one else is around, there are opportunities for adults to re-experience the simple joys of childhood: imitating bird calls, picking up sticks and having mock sword fights, or seeing how far stones can be thrown.
We continue walking until we see two seats together. It's nice to rest here a while, enjoying views of bush land, river, and distant city skyscrapers, before retracing our footsteps back to the start of the track.
If we want a longer walk, we continue over the small bridge located near the two seats, then along the grass verge following the river, till we reach Sir John Chandler Park in Indooroopilly. This adds an extra kilometre each way. Care must be taken on this part of the walk, as the road is also used by cars.
Cross this bridge to get to Sir John Chandler Park
If the weather is good, we sometimes catch a City Cat ferry to the University of Queensland, and enjoy a cruise along the river as well. Exit the UQ St Lucia ferry terminal, turn left, and walk along the footpath on Sir William MacGregor Drive. Keep going until you reach Upland Road. Turn left, and continue walking until you reach the start of the Tarcoola Track (note Upland Road and The Esplanade are just different sections of the same road). This adds another 2.5 kilometres each way.