There’s no need to feel like you’re stuck in the city with nowhere to go this weekend! Tackle the kids for the television remote (just kidding, of course they’re not glued to the screen!) and snooze the laptop (Facebook or that email can wait). Get set for a relaxing day in nature, close to home, where accessible facilities mean that everyone, including wheelchair-enabled visitors and families with strollers, can join in the fun.
Make a date with the grandparents, or other family friends, and pack up the kids and all their accoutrements—assorted strollers and bikes. Here’s a selection of seven accessible national and conservation parks with jaw-dropping scenery.
Stuff the picnic basket with goodies and ‘slip, slop, slap’ in preparation to discover bushland oases in the midst of the city, World-Heritage rainforests and fascinating native wildlife, all much closer to home than you may think.
1. Bunyaville Conservation Park
Leave the inner city hustle behind and retreat under the Bunyaville forest canopy, alongside resident echidnas and wallabies, just minutes from the centre of Brisbane city. Pack a picnic hamper or take advantage of the onsite barbeques (BYO clean milled wood) at the Bunyaville picnic area (open daily between 7am and 5.30pm).
Let the lorikeet tunes serenade you, your family and friends, as you relax in the midst of this peaceful bush retreat close to the city. Guaranteed soul food.
Find out more about Bunyaville Conservation Park.
2. D’Aguilar National Park
Grab your morning caffeine fix and meet some native wildlife up close at the informative Walkabout Creek Discovery Centre before setting off to Jolly’s lookout, where you’ll find panoramic views over Moreton Island, Samford Valley and, in the distance, the Glass House Mountains. Make use of the wheelchair-accessible facilities—set up your picnic on the tables or in the shelter shed and sizzle a snag on the barbie. Delicious!
Looking for somewhere you can take a stroll? Head further west along Mount Nebo Road to Westridge outlook, where a wheelchair-friendly boardwalk leads you to breathtaking views over Lake Wivenhoe and the Great Dividing Range. Great for sunsets!
Want more? A little further along Mount Nebo road you’ll discover Maiala, the first place in the D’Aguilar Range to become national park. Here you can delve into the area’s history—a sawmill once stood here, and some of the machinery and remnant hoop-pine plantation still remains. Enjoy a picnic or barbecue (BYO clean milled wood) in Maiala picnic area with wheelchair-friendly facilities, or indulge your fancy in one of the nearby tea houses. Mmm.
Find out more about D’Aguilar National Park.
3. Lamington National Park
‘Wheel’ back in time along the historically-significant (and wheelchair-accessible) Centenary track, opened in 2015 to celebrate the centenary of the park. Wind your way through tall hoop pines and lush subtropical rainforest and take a break at one of the many rest areas along the way. In winter, relax to the therapeutic tune of resident Albert’s lyrebirds while immersed under the canopy of World Heritage subtropical rainforest.
Then head to the wheelchair-friendly Binna Burra upper day-use area and satisfy those hunger pangs with a sumptuous cook-up on the barbecues, while watching brush-turkeys ‘patrolling’ the area.
Or try the Binna Burra lower day-use area and picnic in the shade of grand old eucalypts before following the track to explore the Binna Burra Information Centre where you can find out more about our Gondwanan heritage.
Find out more about Lamington National Park.
4. Pine Ridge Conservation Park
Trade the glitzy Gold Coast shops and sandy beaches for a sweetly-scented wonderland of colourful wildflowers (in late winter). Explore the pretty pocket of remnant wallum heath along the sealed (wheelchair-friendly) northern and eastern boundary tracks and keep an eye above for the famed sacred kingfisher.
Set up your picnic on the tables provided in the north-west section of the park, and look for lace monitors and bearded dragons on tree trunks. Truly a hidden gem waiting to be explored!
Find out more about Pine Ridge Conservation Park.
5. Springbrook National Park
View from the Canyon Lookout | Maxime Coquard © Tourism and Events Queensland
Choose a clear day to visit the Springbrook plateau, nestled high in the hills of the Gold Coast hinterland, otherwise you’ll get great views of…clouds! Head first to Gauriemabah (place of stories) for national park information (located on School Road), before exploring the nearby boardwalk and lookout.
Drive a short way down Springbrook Road to capture nature’s impressive ‘wow’ factor from Canyon lookout. Be mesmerised by the contrasting Gold Coast skyline and endless ocean backdrop with show-stoppers Twin and Rainbow Falls and the sheer walls of The Canyon taking centre stage.
Top off a perfect day with a relaxing picnic at Gwongorella picnic area, which has wheelchair-friendly amenities.
Find out more about Springbrook National Park.
6. Samford Conservation Park
Less than 20km from Brisbane’s city centre you can immerse yourselves in a peaceful bushland that is a haven for native wildlife and visitors alike. Gather the troops under a gazebo at the wheelchair-accessible Ironbark Gully picnic area nestled in eucalypt forest, and prep the barbecue with a feast of onions and sausages.
Look for pretty wildflowers, and watch for colourful bird life (think rosellas and lorikeets) that prefer to feed on nearby nectar-rich red ironbark flowers. Fingers crossed you see a flying-fox or koala (or two). Pooch is also welcome (if you keep said pooch on a lead and take any ‘doggy poo bags’ with you when you leave). If the kids bring their bikes, set them free on the warm-up track at Lomandra (a little further along Samford Road) while you roll out the picnic rug and relax under a shady tree.
Find out more about Samford Conservation Park.
7. Burleigh Head National Park
Feel like a breath of refreshing coastal air? How about exploring the Gold Coast’s only rocky headland that remains pretty much in its natural state—Burleigh Head?
Walk or roll along the wheelchair-friendly Oceanview walk skirting the rocky headland from Tallebudgera Creek. Discover rainforest and pandanus groves along the way, and watch for dolphins cavorting offshore and white-bellied sea-eagles soaring overhead. Take your time and soak up coastal views that stretch for miles. After your walk, relax over lunch in the council-run picnic area on Goodwin Terrace. Simply delightful!
Find out more about Burleigh Head National Park.
And the best part of all?
You’re invited to test run these wheelchair and stroller-friendly parks, tracks and lookouts anytime of the year!
Always remember to check park alerts for your chosen park before you set out, in case there are any closures for management or maintenance purposes.