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 email can wait). Get set for a relaxing day in nature, close to home, where accessible facilities mean that everyone, including visitors using wheelchairs and families with strollers, can join in the fun.
Make a date with the grandparents or family friends, and pack up the kid’s accoutrements. Here’s a selection of 5 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, World-Heritage rainforests and fascinating native wildlife, all much closer to home than you may think.
1. Daisy Hill Conservation Park
Leave the inner-city hustle behind and retreat into the forest alongside resident koalas, possums and wallabies just 25km from Brisbane’s city centre. Nestled amongst tall eucalypts, the park is a haven for native wildlife and visitors alike. Set out from car park 1 along the wheelchair friendly track and enjoy a picnic or barbeque under the shelters in the picnic area.
Venture further into the bush along the Paperbark trail that winds through cool melaleuca wetlands fed by a natural spring. The sealed walking trail and boardwalk is suitable for wheelchairs. The trail starts in the day-use area and is accessible from the track or car park 3. Stop to read the interpretive signs along the way to find out why melaleucas are marvellous! Listen for frogs, look for pretty wildflowers, and watch for colourful bird life. Fingers crossed you see a koala (or two).
Experience the thrill of seeing koalas up close at Daisy Hill Koala Centre. Also accessible from car park 1, it features a large outdoor koala enclosure, interactive displays, and educational talks by Wildlife Officers. The centre is a unique place to learn about koalas and their conservation.
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
Go 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.
Also while you are visiting the Green Mountains day-use area, why not explore the history of the landscape. The story unfolds as you follow the signs on the first 700m of the Border Track. This section of the track is accessible for wheelchairs with assistance. Wheel back to the future as you return to the 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 ramp 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. Springbrook National Park
Gwongorella picnic area has wheelchair-friendly amenities. | © SMEC Australia - Landscape Architects, Urban Communities
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.
5. 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 assisted wheelchair 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.