A myriad of hinterland hiking tracks near Brisbane suitable for all ages and all fitness levels are just waiting to be discovered by intrepid trekkers.
By Leslie Zedar from Visit Moreton Bay Region
Whether needing a nature reprieve day out or hankering for a hiking holiday, Moreton Bay Region has a hike right for you. Here’s the round-up of the best bush walks near Brisbane to experience the natural beauty of Moreton Bay Region’s hinterland in all its glory. Bush walks between Brisbane city and the Sunshine Coast don’t come more varied in scenery, length and difficulty level.
Lace up your shoes, bring your hiking necessities and get out into Moreton Bay Region’s backyard.
Maiala Walking Trails – Mount Glorious
D’Aguilar National Park Mailia Day-Use Area hikes vary in length, offering some of the best bush walks near Brisbane hinterland hotspots of Samford and Cedar Creek. You’re nearest shops for last minute hiking necessities are in Samford and The Gap. Maiala is just under two hours from Brisbane city centre via Mount Nebo Road or Mount Glorious Road.
Across the road from the picnic area (featuring toilets) is the Class 4 Western Window Track which merges with the Westside Track. Journey along the escarpment through sub-tropical rainforest to the Western Window viewpoint and onwards, deeper into the undergrowth onto the traffic-free, leaf-strewn Lawton Road forest ranger drive. The further you trek, the more spectacular the view. If you’re keen to camp in D’Aguilar overnight you can continue to Northbrook Mountain Remote Bush Camp, 8 kilometres (5 miles) from where you started.
Shorter Maiala hiking tracks near Brisbane include the 2 kilometre (1.25 mile) Rainforest Circuit, 400 metre Cypress Grove, and 4.3 kilometre (2.7 mile) return Greenes Falls.
On your way to or from Maiala or Northbrooke Gorges hiking tracks take a short detour to the Phoenix Sculpture Garden (open Sundays). Then take a pitstop in Samford for fantastic dining at the The Flying Nun Café and a visit to Harry Potter’s Store of Requirement right next door.
Northbrook Gorges – Dundas
If you’re a fit and adventurous hiker with an excellent sense of direction you can get your endorphins flowing by trekking and swimming through D’Aguilar National Park’s Northbrook Gorges, an approximate four to five hour hike at a leisurely pace.
Teeming with unspoilt, stunning rainforest scenery, this trek arguably tops the list of best bush walks near Brisbane North. Enjoy a refreshing swim through certain sections and navigate along overgrown, unmarked trails on the side of the gorges, bush-bashing as you go. Certain sections offer a choice of either bush-bashing or splashing. Scamper uphill to Wivenhoe Lookout (featuring toilets) to conquer the final leg before turning around to backtrack to your car.
The very well-hidden hike is a short drive from Maiala. Continue past Maiala Day-Use area for about ten minutes onto Northbrook Parkway to access the hike’s unofficial dirt carpark. Coordinates: 27°18'28.2"S 152°42'48.4"E.
Northbrook Gorges is a best-kept local secret not listed on the Queensland Government Department of National Parks, Sport & Racing, bush walks in Brisbane and Moreton Bay Region sections.
Samford Conservation Park Hiking Trails – Samford
You’ll find an intersecting network of over 10 shared hiking tracks near Brisbane in Samford Conservation Park, all varying in length and difficulty. Breathe in fresh air and watch out for rosella birds and rainbow lorikeets as you walk beneath towering Ironbark trees through bushland, up steps and over gullies.
Park in the Ironbark Picnic Area carpark (featuring toilets) for direct access to the Class 3, 900 metre Crebra Circuit and a few shared walking, mountain biking and horse riding trails. Alternatively, park in Lomandra carpark to access the other Samford Conservation Park forest walks in Brisbane North.
More shared trails and two parks are across the road to the south-west of the Ironbark carpark.
Come prepared. Your closest shops are in Samford and Ferny Grove.
The park is about a thirty five minute drive from Brisbane along Kelvin Grove, Enoggera and Samford Roads. Public transport only takes you as far as Ferny Hills and Ferny Grove – a 30 minute walk from the park.
Bunyaville State Forest & Conservation Park – Bunya
About a 10 minute drive from Samford Conservation Park is the expansive Bunyaville National Park which features a couple of great Class 3 hiking tracks near Brisbane of varying lengths. This peaceful dry rainforest in The Hills District is perfect for a reprieve from the city if you don’t mind sharing some trails with mountain bikers. Toilets are near the main carpark in the picnic area.
You’ll need an intermediate level of fitness to traverse the network of hilly dirt tracks of varying gradients. The numerous intersecting trails make it ideal for creating your own walking or trail running adventure. Remember your route as Bunyaville’s trails all look very similar which makes it easy to get lost if you’re not paying attention.
If you’re eager for a swim hop into the refreshing lagoon not far from the environmental centre before leaving. If you’re lucky you might even be entertained by local kids jumping their bikes into the water from makeshift ramps.
Hungry after your hike? Take a seven minute drive to Eatons Hill Hotel for a great feed.
Sheep Station Creek Conservation Park – Caboolture
Easily accessible from all directions, the open, grassy and quiet gumtree forest of Sheep Station Creek Reserve is home to an abundance of native wildlife species, as well as three easy, fairly level, bushland walks.
You can hike the entirety of the 4.4 kilometre (2.7 mile) Grey Gum Circuit or branch-off onto one of the intersecting trails, the 1.2 kilometre (0.75 mile) one-way Spotted Gum Trail or 1.1 kilometre (0.64 mile) Ironbark Ridge Trail. If you’re lucky you may even see some Shetland ponies close-up in a paddock by one of the park’s entrances.
These Caboolture bush walks north of Brisbane are about a one hour drive from the city. Follow Gympie Road which becomes the Bruce Highway and take the Burpengary exit 142 onto New Settlement Road. Turn left onto Nairn Road and then take the first right onto J Dobson Road, followed by the first left onto McLoughlin Road.
There are no public toilets in this reserve.
Somerset Trail – D’Aguilar National Park
This is undoubtedly one of the best bush walks near Brisbane thanks to its incredible diversity of forest habitats and wonderfully long 13 kilometre (8.1 mile) length which makes the drive out from the city well-worth the trip.
As you walk you’ll enjoy a level hike throughout broken up by sections of slight to medium inclines. Take in the wild, unspoilt scenery and breathe in the differing forest smells as you pass through thick pine, scribbly gum and dry open forests and rainforest before coming to the pay-off – the rocky outlook offering phenomenal views across Somerset Dam and Lake Wivenhoe.
A short stroll from Somerset’s entrance is The Gantry, a sprawling parkland area featuring toilets, BBQ and picnic facilities.
Bicentennial Trails – Bribie Island Recreation Area
The wheelchair accessible Bribie Island Bicentennial Hiking Tracks near Brisbane begin from the Bribie Island Community Arts Centre. Take yourself on an easy, level stroll through paperbark wetlands, eucalypt forest and wallum heathlands.
You can either stick to the sandy 3.8 kilometre (2.4 mile) main loop or branch-off onto the 600 metre one-way Palm Grove Walk or 1 kilometre (0.6 mile) one-way Malaleuca Walk. Keep your eyes open for diverse birdlife such as rainbow bee-eaters, eastern yellow robins and red-backed wrens, amongst other beautiful birds. Toilets and car parking is available at the arts centre.
If you need to stock up on necessities before your walk, stop at Bribie Island Woolworths Shopping Centre.
The Bicentennial Trails are about a 1.5 hour drive from Brisbane. Drive along Gympie Road which becomes the Bruce Highway and take exit 152 to Bribie Island. The turn-off is one minute past the Bruce Highway’s northbound and southbound BP Service Stations.
Dianas Bath – Mount Mee Forest Reserve
Challenging bush walks in Moreton Bay Region don’t get more difficult and further off-the-beaten-track than a journey to Dianas Bath rockpool. Coordinates: S 27° 07.658 E 152° 40.713.
Mount Mee Forest Reserve is ripe for choosing your own adventure. This serene area, a one hour drive from Brisbane, is teeming with 4WD roads and horse trails allowing walkers. You can either gallivant around exploring the various dusty drives and trails on foot, or set-out in search of Dianas Bath.
The horse trail route to Dianas Bath requires bush bashing. You’ll traverse two peaks with a total rise and descent of 600 metres each way, traipsing through overgrown forest full of lantana and long grass, slippery slopes, loose gravel, ruts, and fallen logs.
The long, steep sections are not for the faint of heart, you will need to be very fit to complete the roundtrip, but the stunning, large waterhole payoff is worth the trek.
Follow Mount Brisbane Road from the direction of Dayboro and park in the signposted carpark before the Chambers Road turn-off. The horse trail begins from the carpark. This is a full day adventure so get started earlier in the morning.
For something that the kids will love, pre-book a llama walk in Dayboro to start your Mount Mee Forest Reserve or Somerset Trail hinterland outing.
More articles like this