The best free nature walks to explore in and around Brisbane


I lived in Brisbane for three years and during that time I completed around 50 million hikes.

OK, it’s probably closer to 20, but it’s more. There’s so much to explore in and around Brisbane – and that’s why I’m here to share my top seven with you.

A warning before you begin. Clearly, Brisbane and surrounding areas have recently been hit by devastating floods.

Please check if it is safe to travel to the areas described in this article before traveling there.

Check for status and closure messages here and be aware that heavy rain and flooding can cause dangerous conditions.

Let’s start!

Best for Spectacular Views — Glass House Mountains

Journalist Yasmin Jeffery at the top of Mount Beerburrum…still smiling after that climb.(ABC Everyday: Yasmin Jeffery)

I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a climb. But the view is worth it.

And that’s why this wonderful 3.5 kilometer walk, starting at the Beerburrum trailhead, makes the list.

I would suggest tackling this bad boy on a cooler day, and only if you have experience hiking. Bring plenty of water and take breaks as needed.

If this trek isn’t for you, there are plenty of other treks on offer in the Glass House Mountains, just over an hour’s drive from Brisbane.

Review the difficulty levels and think about your fitness and experience (and how relaxed you like to be about the imposition of your hikes) beforehand.

Best near town — Toohey Forest Reserve

There are 34 different trails to try in Toohey Forest, which is very close to town.(ABC Everyday: Yasmin Jeffery)

Toohey Forest Reserve is my old stalwart as it is so close about a 20 minute drive from town.

You’re spoiled for choice, with 34 different trails on offer here.

Still using a map, I like to combine shorter trails with longer ones and take a different route, starting from the Toohey picnic area (where you can also find restrooms) to every time.

I recommend heading to Mount Gravatt Outlook Preserve for great views of the city if you can.

There are trail closures in place as a result of flooding, so check access and safety before heading to the area.

Ideal for new hikers / for walking with children – Enoggera Reservoir

The Araucaria track at Enoggera Reservoir is a pleasant and easy 5km walk, making it perfect for beginners and people with children.(ABC Everyday: Yasmin Jeffery)

Enoggera Reservoir is such a gem. It is accessible by bus and car (allow about 30 minutes to get there) and you can swim in the dam after the walk.

Check that the 5 km Araucaria track is open and safe before attempting it.

This tour begins at the Walkabout Creek Discovery Center (which has restrooms) and winds around the perimeter of the reservoir offering tantalizing glimpses of the water, with giant trees overhead providing a fair amount of shade the entire way.

Who wouldn’t want to swim – or float – in a dam as beautiful as this after the hike?(ABC Everyday: Yasmin Jeffery)

There’s nothing quite like the refreshing swim at the end of this peaceful walk, which also isn’t too long at around two hours, making it perfect for new hikers and those walking with children.

Stretch out on the grass by the water’s edge after your swim or treat yourself to a picnic at one of the nearby tables.

Best Tropical Vibes — Mount Glorious

This hike features established strangler figs, massive elephant ears and towering palms.(ABC Everyday: Yasmin Jeffery)

The Rainforest Tour at Mount Glorious does what it says on the box, taking you through the magical rainforest.

It’s supposed to take an hour, but if you’re like me, you’ll often stop to say “Ooh and ah” and it’ll take double that.

More experienced hikers reading this can expect to find peaks like this on nearby Northbrook Mountain.(ABC Everyday: Yasmin Jeffery)

If you love plants, you’ll love the strangler figs, massive elephant ears, and towering palms. I could go on! But I’ll let you experience it for yourself.

You’ll start and end in the Maiala area (with restrooms and picnic tables), just over an hour’s winding drive from town.

Mount Glorious and nearby Mount Northbrook (pictured) are only about an hour from town.(ABC Everyday: Yasmin Jeffery)

The only downside is that the leeches love the Rainforest circuit. Beware of leeches.

If you like this track, four more start from Maiala. And there’s plenty more for experienced hikers at nearby Northbrook Mountain.

Ideal when you want flat ground – White Rock Conservation Park

Traditional owners have asked people not to climb the culturally significant white rock (pictured)(ABC Everyday: Yasmin Jeffery)

Some of the tracks at White Rock Spring Mountain Conservation Estate, about a 40-minute drive from Brisbane, are still closed following flooding.

Please check ahead, and if the trail you want to hike is closed, consider bookmarking this recommendation for the future.

The trails in this park range from 200 meters to 19 km. Many of them are quite flat!

Those leading to the culturally significant White Rock pass through a mix of vegetation, from open eucalyptus forest to rocky ridges.

Picnic tables and public restrooms are available at the Paperbark Flats picnic area, where you will depart from and return upon completion.

Best Accessible Walks — Boondall Wetlands

Four hiking trails are offered in the Boondall Wetlands. (ABC Everyday: Yasmin Jeffery)

The wheelchair-accessible Boondall Wetlands, about a 30-minute drive from the CBD, has it all.

Start at the Environmental Center, where staff can answer any questions you have about the accessibility of the trails Boondall has to offer, before you use the public restrooms and picnic tables and get moving.

My favorite track is the 2km Billai Dhagun circuit.

Expect to see eucalyptus forests, remnants of rainforest, grasslands, mudflats and mangroves, salt pans and swamps on this 1-hour walk, as well as some of Nurri Millen’s totems.

Best walk for a day trip — Springbrook National Park

You’ll see a plethora of waterfalls and pass through caves and dense rainforest on the Twin Falls Dream Circuit.(ABC Everyday: Yasmin Jeffery)

The 4km Twin Falls circuit is a bit of a drive at over an hour from Brisbane by car, but well worth it. I mean it when I say this is one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve done.

Start at the Tallanbana Picnic Area (which also has restrooms) or the Canyon Lookout and the trail will take you downhill. Gotta like a downhill start.

Allow about two hours to complete this hike…and consider returning to Springbrook for the Purling Brook Falls trail another time.(ABC Everyday: Yasmin Jeffery)

Before you know it, you’ll find yourself walking through caves! And by the waterfalls! And then walk through dense rainforest before climbing a few steps for panoramic views of the area.

Allow about two hours for this hike.

If you still have energy after all that, Purling Brook Falls Circuit is another Springbrook gem. Or save it for another day trip at another time.

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