Views for days: lookouts around Brisbane
Want to catch a sunrise, see the sun set or simply take in some incredible scenery? Brisbane has more than its fair share of beautiful vantage points close to the CBD and further afield. From Kangaroo Point to Mount Coot-tha to the D’Aguilar Range to Tamborine Mountain, these views stretch for days.
Charge your phone, empty your camera’s SD card, pack the tripod (and the selfie stick) and start working on your lookout puns in advance – here’s our guide to some of Brisbane’s best lookouts.
We've also included a handy map to help you find these spots.
If the only view you enjoy is one with beverage in hand, drink in the view from one of Brisbane’s rooftop bars.
Kangaroo Point Cliffs
It’s obvious, we know, but the Kangaroo Point Cliffs are probably one of the most popular spots to capture that essential city skyline shot for Instagram. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is; the view is always incredible. Pop by for a photo opp, or bring friends and sausages, claim a picnic table and barbecue while the sun sets. While you’re there, why not tackle the dreaded Kangaroo Point Stairs – they’re a rite of passage for locals and visitors alike.
Wilson’s Outlook, New Farm
Arguably one of Brisbane’s best kept secrets, Wilson’s Outlook is also one of the most spectacular vantage points of the city. From this little park on the cliff edge at New Farm, it’s easy to frame up the Story Bridge. Set up the tripod and wait for the sunset to turn the skies above Brisbane a spectacular shade.
Brisbane City Hall Clock Tower, King George Square
Take the old hand-operated lift up to Brisbane City Hall’s clock tower and capture a birds-eye view of the city and across into Queen Street Mall. The best part? Admission is free and tours run every 15 minutes during opening hours. Already ticked this one off? Head back on Friday night to see the same view after dark.
Mt Coot-tha Lookout
Lace up the joggers and climb up Mt Coot-tha to catch the sun rise over Brisbane CBD and surrounds. Mt Coot-tha is the closest elevation point to the CBD and offers a panoramic view of Brisbane – and even Moreton Bay on a clear day. Pop a gold coin into the old-style binoculars and take a closer look at the city below, or set up your camera and capture one of the best views of Brisbane – most mornings you’ll find other keen photographers up the top who might just give some hints.
Want to make a day of it? Here's 12 epic things to do at Mt Coot-tha.
Bartley’s Hill Lookout, Ascot
Amongst the leafy trees and surrounded by the grand homes of Ascot, it’s hard not to feel like royalty looking out across the city skyline from Bartley’s Hill Lookout. This lookout is one of Brisbane’s best-kept-local-secrets and is easily accessible by car.
Mt Gravatt Outlook
On Brisbane’s south side, Toohey Forest has a number of walking trails for a morning hike. Follow the Summit Track from Gertrude Petty Place to the Mount Gravatt Outlook for a picture-perfect vide of the Moreton Bay islands, D’Aguilar Ranges and the Glasshouse Mountains. Up the top there is a café too, so no need to pack snacks.
Sir Thomas Gaffney Lookout, Chapel Hill
The Green Hill Reservoir Park is not only dog-friendly (yay!), but it also offers some great city views. Pack a picnic, take the whole gang along and see the city lights begin to twinkle as the sun goes down.
Francis Lookout, Corinda
If like a bit of spooky history with your lookouts, then Francis Lookout might be up your alley. The site is a heritage-listed cemetery containing burials from 1862-1966 and looks out back towards Mt Coot-tha. We recommend for a peaceful, pretty view… but maybe during the daytime only.
Spicers Peak Lodge, Scenic Rim
Carved into the wood on the communal deck of the luxurious Spicers Peak Lodge are the names of each mountain that border the horizon. From up here at Australia’s highest non-alpine lodge, the air is fresher, the food better and views top. Drop in for a special lunch or stay overnight.
It has the word SCENIC in its title, so explore the rest of the region - here's 29 things to do in the Scenic Rim.
Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, Tamborine Mountain
The Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk is probably the best – and easiest – way to get your head around just how beautiful Mount Tamborine is. Wander among the treetops and follow the path that gradually descends to the lower canopy, past rock pools to the cantilever that stands 30 metres above the valley and offers views for miles. The walk takes about an hour, including a stop at the Rainforest Eco Gallery, which explores some of Mount Tamborine’s local and indigenous history.
O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk, Lamington National Park
So you’ve treated yo’self to a night or two at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. All that indulgence should be followed up with a breathtaking walk. The easy 800m trail consists of nine bridges suspended up to 16m above the ground. Climb part way up a giant fig tree to 30m above the ground and take in the treetop views of the area. Quench your thirst afterwards over a drink or two at the Retreat’s public bar, where the views will have you snapping photos for your Instagram story.
Hang-Gliders Lookout, Tamborine Mountain
Tamborine Mountain is a must do – and staying for this sunset view is essential. Take a blanket, camera, anything you need and set yourself up at Hang-Gliders Lookout for a breathtaking sunset. Watch the hang-gliders launch off the side of the mountain and see them floating above you as the sky burns from orange to black.
Do we really have to pick just one spot here? The views looking east and west from just about any vantage point on Tamborine Mountain are pretty spectacular, and there are lookouts dotted around the mountain for you to capture an incredible view.
To the east, the picks of the vantage points are Eagle Heights Resort, Golf Course Road, Magnetic Drive, Licuala Drive and Guanaba Road. Mount Tamborine is 550m above sea level, so on a clear morning, views can stretch from Tweed Heads at the New South Wales border, right out to Moreton Bay.
If early mornings aren’t your thing, the sunsets on Tamborine Mountain are pretty spectacular too. Other western-facing lookouts on Tamborine Mountain include the popular Rotary Lookout, Knoll Road, Beacon Road and the views from the lookout points on the Cameron Falls and Witches Falls hikes.
St Bernard’s Hotel, Tamborine Mountain
When you inevitably stop in at St Bernard’s Hotel to greet the beautiful welcome dogs, grab a drink and head out the back and down the path a little. There’s a secret table and chairs that offer a peaceful view towards the ocean and back around the mountain – you may even spot some hang-gliders. To make a day of it, here's 32 things to do on Tamborine Mountain.
Spillway Common Lookout, Lake Wivenhoe
The Spillway lookout is one of the best ways to see the dam wall up close, and is a really cool vantage point for when the gates are opened to release water. There is also a picnic area here, making it a great stop along the Brisbane Valley Highway.
Mount Nebo Lookout, Moreton Bay Region
Trek through the Morelia walking track and at the end of the 6km walk be rewarded with views over the Samford Valley out to Moreton Bay from Mount Nebo Lookout. Yes, the hike will require a bit of effort, but the reward will be worth it. While you're in the area, check out these 34 things to do in the Moreton Bay Region.
Camp Mountain Lookout, D’Aguilar National Park
On a clear day the views of Moreton Bay and the Glasshouse Mountains from Camp Mountain lookout need to be seen to be believed. Wander along the ridge a little further and there’s a platform that looks back towards Brisbane’s city skyline.
Five Hills Lookout, Moreton Island
You’ve seen the wrecks, you’ve sandboarded down the dunes and ticked off all 35 things on your Moreton Island to do list, but what next? On the drive to Cape Moreton Lighthouse, pull up and follow the easy 1km return walk to the Five Hills Lookout. From here, you’re treated to a 360-degree view of the island.
McAfees Lookout, D’Aguilar National Park
On the drive to Mount Nebo, McAfees Lookout is a popular stop for visitors along the way. The lookout was named after the first settlers within the region, and from the viewing platform the scenery of Moreton Bay is spectacular.
Jolly’s Lookout, D’Aguilar National Park
The lookout is named after Brisbane’s first Lord Mayor William Jolly. Follow the track through eucalypt forest and subtropical rainforest up towards Jolly’s Lookout on the Egernia Circuit. It’s about a 45-minute walk, if that’s not your thing, the lookout is accessible by car.
North Gorge Walk, North Stradbroke Island
Take a stroll along the North Gorge Walk and take in ocean views over Point Lookout. This 1.2km walk is one of the best you’ll ever experience. From the rocky outcrops, look out to the turquoise sea and you’ll spot dolphins, manta rays, turtles, fish and even the occasional shark.
Take a post-picnic walk to the viewing platform and take in the scenic views of Lake Wivenhoe. It’s a great opportunity to catch a sunset and to capture something that will definitely get some likes on Instagram. While you're out in the Somerset region, see what else you can do while you're there.
Somerset lookout, Mount Mee
Follow the Somerset trail on foot or jump in the 4WD and follow the Western escarpment forest drive to access the Somerset Lookout. The views over the Great Dividing Range and down into Somerset Dam and Lake Wivenhoe are worth the drive, which is about 30-minutes from the Gantry, an ideal picnic spot on Mount Mee.
Westridge Outlook, Moreton Bay Region
Almost halfway between Mount Nebo and Mount Glorious, the rocky Westridge Outlook offers views over Lake Wivenhoe and the Great Dividing Range. Try to identify as many species of flora and fauna as you can from the vantage point.
Falls Lookout, Mount Mee
Park the car and follow the short trail to the viewing platform at Falls Lookout. The view overlooks the northern side of the D’Aguilar Range and into the Neurum Valley. Venture a little further and you’ll find Bulls Falls – sounds picture perfect.
Kluvers Lookout, D’Aguilar National Park
If you’re following the Range Road forest drive, stop at Kluvers Lookout and look down into the valley below and out towards Moreton Bay.