Mt Coot-tha – A dog-friendly Brisbane bush walk
Everyone in Brisbane knows Mt Coot-tha. With a name meaning ‘place of wild honey’, it offers spectacular views of the city skyline, yet despite the handy bus links and plenty of parking, you’ll easily leave the crowds behind as you explore its endless walking tracks. The mountain is steeped in history, and offers an amazing variety of cool, shady paths, great picnic areas, diverse wildlife – all just 5km (15 minutes’ drive) from the city centre.
Best of all, Mt Coot-tha is dog-friendly, so your best friend is welcome, just as long as they stay on a lead and you clear up after them.
Entire length: 4km-5km
Where: Mount Coot-tha, Bardon (5km west of Brisbane CBD)
Terrain: Hard surface on main path
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Features: Multiple car parks, BBQ facilities, Toilets, Water, Lookouts, Café/Restaurant
Where to start?
A great track to explore with your pup is to the summit of Mt Coot-tha, starting from the JC Slaughter Falls picnic area, which can be accessed from the Bardon (east) side of Sir Samuel Griffith Drive. This walk is about 2km each way, so allow at least 1 hour for the return journey, or longer if you plan to stop.
Parking at the JC Slaughter Falls picnic area should be easy if you avoid peak hours (it’s busier at the Summit). If you’re planning to walk in the rain, or it’s been damp recently, then pack sturdy boots as it can be wet and muddy off the track – and it’s a good idea to take insect repellent if you’re picnicking.
Unless it’s raining, the falls themselves are usually barely more than a trickle, so you may decide they’re not worth the detour. Instead, follow the track signposted towards Summit Lookout, and enjoy the nature all around you. The path winds upwards alongside a gully through bushland, with glimpses of the city appearing through the trees.
As you climb, you’re surrounded by heritage listed forest which is home to 450 native plant species and 370 wildlife species (one reason not to let your pupper off the lead). As well as the usual kookaburras, parrots and cockatoos, you might see or hear owls, microbats or even an eagle.
Brisbane can be hot and humid in summer, but thankfully there are plenty of picnic spots with drinking water bubblers along the way, so bring a bowl to offer your pup a drink – they might also want to cool off in one of the creeks along the way!
The half way point
When you reach the road at the summit, cross over and turn left to reach the viewpoint. Sitting 250m above the city, Mount Coot-tha offers panoramic views stretching from Moreton Bay and the City round to the Tweed volcano, Main Range, Mount Barney and Flinders Peak. As well as the lookout, you’ll find the Kuta Café, Gift Shop and toilet facilities (the Summit Restaurant and Bar is heritage listed and great for special occasions).
Enjoy the amazing views, and perhaps reward yourself with a takeaway coffee before setting off back down the trail. If you and your pupper still have energy to burn, half-way down you can take the Hoop Pine Track, marked on your left as you descend. This adds about 700m to your journey, before you rejoin the Summit track back to your car.
Fancy a return trip?
If you’ve enjoyed this walk, there’s heaps more to explore in the area, so try any of the tracks starting from the other car parks around Sir Samuel Griffith Drive. For many of Brisbane’s residents, Mount Coot-tha is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Now you and pup can be in on it too!
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