Hikes and walking trails within 30km of Brisbane

Chasing adventure but don’t want to travel far? Put your walking shoes on and hit the road – you’ll be surprised and delighted by how many bush walking and hiking trails fall within a 30-minute drive of the city.

Please note, this article should be used only as inspiration. Before heading out, do your research on each trail and, if needed, buy a topographic map.

North

Gold Creek Reservoir, Upper Brookfield – moderate

History surrounds the old Gold Creek Reservoir in Upper Brookfield. It was the second dam to be built in Queensland and the first in the world with a cascading spillway to stop erosion. Nowadays you can walk along the top of the dam and onto the spillway, and more adventurous hikers can trek the 5.5km dam circumference. The reservoir backs onto D’Aguilar National Park and it is overgrown and poorly signed, so be sure to take a GPS or stay on the path. The walk takes approximately two hours.

Summit Track, Mt Coot-tha – easy

Sunrise at Mt Coot-tha

Just 15 minutes drive from the city, enjoy 1500ha of natural parkland and open eucalypt forest at Mt Coot-tha. Down the bottom lies the Brisbane Botanic Gardens and Planetarium, while at the top the lookout is popular with tourists and locals. Walk the 1.9km Summit Track from the JC Slaughter Falls picnic area to the lookout in just 30 minutes, return takes one hour. Alternatively, trek the 2.1km Honeyeater Track or join the short Simpsons Falls and Eugenia Circuit to create a 4km, 90-minute trek. Mt Coot-tha has plenty of short trails and pathways flowing through it – just watch out for mountain bikers, runners and even the odd horse rider.

Holmans Break, Walkabout Creek – hard

Keep an eye out for goannas, various birds and turtles tanning near the dam on this 14km trek through Enoggera Reservoir. The four-hour journey starts at the bottom car park at Walkabout Creek, taking a small track to the far right that follows Mt Nebo Rd. After 2km the track will split, stay right and you will come to a clearing with view out over The Gap.

Morelia walking track, Mt Nebo, D’Aguilar National Park – hard

Trek through wet eucalypt forest leaving from Manorina on the Morelia walking trail. Keep an eye out for the cabbage tree palms – recognisable by their huge, fan-shaped leaves – on the 6km walk. At the end you’ll hit the Mt Nebo Lookout with stunning views over the Samford Valley out to Moreton Bay. The return trek takes a bit over two hours to complete.

In the same area, but leaving from the Mount Nebo Transfer Station (1.5km north of Manorina), the Cabbage Tree Range Loop is an epic 17km hike that will take about four to seven hours (up to you, really) for those seeking something more challenging. A topographic map is available from the Walkabout Creek Visitor Centre. 

Northbrook Gorges, Brisbane Forest Park – moderate 

Swim through two freshwater gorges as part of this 6km trail. It’s about a 30-minute trek to the first gorge walking upstream, leaving from a tiny car park just after the bridge at Wivenhoe Lookout and Maiala Park at Mt Glorious. You need to swim through the first gorge (otherwise there is a very steep trail to the left). About  30 minutes later you will reach the second gorge, and once through look for a small trail on the left that leads to Wivenhoe Lookout. Return the same way.

Araucaria Track, Brisbane Forest Park – easy

This super easy 5km walk takes just 90 minutes to complete and is super family friendly. Take a camera and binoculars – there is good bird watching including plenty of bellbirds and whipbirds. Combine this walk with the Corymbia Circuit to stretch it out further.

Mermaid Mountain, Brisbane Forest Park – hard

Hiking in Brisbane Forest Park

After a lengthy challenge? Trek from the town of Mt Crosby up Mermaid Mountain on an epic 18km hike. About halfway you’ll be treated to a great view of Lake Manchester and surrounding hills. Overall it takes about five hours.

Other D’Aguilar trails and hikes

There are some epic hikes through D’Aguilar National Park, plus plenty of easier short walks. In fact, there are too many more for us to list so take a look at the National Parks website and check out this D’Aguilar National Park Visitor Guide pdf.

Boondall Wetlands Bikeway, Boondall Wetlands – easy

Boondall Wetlands

Visit 1500ha of tidal flats, mangroves, saltmarches, melaleuca wetlands, grasslands and open forest in Brisbane’s largest wetlands area. Getting around is easy with the help of boardwalks and bitumen pathways. The 13km bikeway takes three-and-a-half hours to walk, passing by the Anne Beasley Lookout. Stop by the Boondall Wetlands Environment Centre for displays, facts and help planning your visit. 

Crebra Circuit, Samford Regional Park – easy

Just 20 minutes’ drive north of Brisbane lies this 624ha park which forms part of a mountains-to-mangroves corridor. This easy 900m circuit is named after the red ironbark trees that fill the park. The same as with the Bunyaville Regional Park, here you can use a map to plan longer walks on shared use trails – just watch out for bikes and horses.

Bunyaville Track, Bunyaville Regional Park – easy

Bunyaville Conservation Park

Just 15km north-west of Brisbane city, Bunyaville is a top spot for walking, horseriding and cycling. Two walking tracks can be accessed from the day use area, the longer Bunyaville Track is just 1.6km return and takes only 30 minutes. The more adventurous can explore the shared use trails with bikers and horse riders. See this Bunyaville Regional Park map.

West

Devils Break Loop, Moggill Regional Park – easy

Part of a bushland corridor that stretches north as the D’Aguilar range, Moggill Conservation Park is 500ha of unspoilt wilderness to explore. Park the car at the end of Chalcot Rd and plan your route using this map. The park is well signed and the Devils Break Loop should take about three hours. You can take your dog on a leash here.

Lake Manchester Loop, Lake Manchester – moderate

Located 25km west of Brisbane, this hilly 17km clockwise loop begins at the day use area up past the dam wall and follows the lake edge before heading up into the hills. Bring plenty of water – there are creek crossings, but most will be dry. You can book a camp site at Blue Gum Flat, which is partway along the loop and has no facilities.

South

Poets Rock, Karawatha Forest – easy

Karawatha Forest

Pack your pen and notebook when you hit the trail for Poets Rock inside the 1000ha Karawatha Forest. This 4km journey takes only one hour and the top of the rock is a great place to think and write. The park itself is an interesting spot with plenty to photograph including an old quarry.

Buhot Creek Circuit, Daisy Hill Conservation Park – easy

Starting from the upper day use area, this easy 9km walk should take about three hours. Signage starts off well, but can get confusing so be sure to carry a map. On the trail you’ll come across the old quarry and get to explore neighbouring Neville Lawrie Reserve too.

Venman Circuit, Venman National Park – easy 

Wander along the scenic banks of Tingalpa Creek via melaleuca swamp and open eucalypt forest on this trail. Allow four hours to complete this 7.5km circuit through the national park, and add time if you’d like to join it to one of other trails in the Koala Bushland Conservation network of parks. See this map

Stockyard Creek walking track, Brisbane Koala Bushlands – easy

Brisbane Koala Bushlands

Keep an eye out for koalas – they aren’t easy to spot in the wild. A network of nearby parks has formed to create a safe haven for these favourite native animals. The 1.4km Stockyard Creek track gives you 50 minutes to wander through open eucalypt forest with your eyes peeled. Those wanting a longer walk can join the 5.4km horse trail.

Summit & Federation Track, Mt Gravatt – easy

Mt Gravatt Lookout

Trek from the base of Mt Gravatt to the summit on this 3km round trip. There are plenty of different trails up and down, so why not take the Summit Track up and the Federation Track back. Both start from the Gertrude Petty Place Picnic Area where there is parking. You can also combine any trails here with those in Toohey Forest Park to make them longer. 

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