When it comes to bushwalking with your ‘besties’ (friends or family) in Queensland National Parks near Brisbane, you’re truly spoilt for choice! With just a few spare hours (and your walking boots), you can traverse everything from World Heritage rainforests to sandy isles to lofty peaks, taking in spectacular waterfalls and scenic vistas along the way.
And we’ve made it even easier for you—here are a few of our fave bushwalks near Brisbane that offer you and your buddies an easy half day exploring the great outdoors.
Mount Ngungun summit walk
(2hrs, 2.8km return)
Mount Ngungun summit walk | © Lise Pedersen
Wanna climb a mountain? You can! Mount Ngungun, in the iconic Glass House Mountains National Park, is the perfect peak for your challenge. About an hour’s drive from Brisbane, the Glass House Mountains tower unmistakably above the surrounding landscape of the Sunshine Coast.
Top tip: If you’re into plants, call into the Glass House Mountains Visitor Centre to purchase a Ranger Field Guide to the native plants of Glass House Mountains National Park. Then gather your besties, don the active wear and hiking boots, check your wearable tech, grab your hydration and set off. Steep uphill sections and many steps will get the heart pumping and legs burning!
Your reward at the summit is the breathtaking view of nearby Mount Tibrogargan, Mount Coonowrin and Mount Beerwah. Congratulations, you’ve done it! Now off to explore the hinterland for a coffee…
Bribie Island Bicentennial Bush Walks
(1hr, 3.8km return)
Palm Grove circuit | Leanne Siebuhr © Queensland Government
Bribie Island is an easy 45min drive from Brisbane and well worth the trip for these scenic bushwalks. Head out into Bribie Island National Park from the Arts Centre on Sunderland Drive for one of three easy walks—Banksia, Palm Grove or Melaleuca tracks—that make up the Bribie Island Bicentennial Bush Walks.
Banksia is a short stroll while Palm Grove and Melaleuca tracks each take about an hour. Immerse yourselves in eucalypt forests, paperbark wetlands and wallum heathlands … so close to the city yet so far away! Make sure you bring the binoculars because the bird watching here is rewarding—red-backed wrens, rainbow bee-eaters and eastern yellow robins all call the area home.
After your walk comes the hard part—choosing from Bribie’s range of cafés and restaurants! Or you could simply head to the beach for some well-earned relaxation.
(2-3hr, 8km return)
Thylogale track | Cameron Semple © High and Wide
The Thylogale track, in southern D’Aguilar National Park, is close enough to Brisbane to offer an easy half-day nature escape. Take in all the sights, sounds and fresh air in this cool subtropical rainforest as you meander underneath the canopy of huge strangler figs, hoop pines, lacebark trees and palms. Marvel at the twisting looping vines in pockets of dry rainforest and listen for the distinctive calls of green catbirds and wompoo pigeons. If you wake with the birds to walk early in the morning you may glimpse small rainforest wallabies (pademelons) hiding in the undergrowth?
This track connects the picnic areas of Jollys lookout and Boombana—for a shorter walk, arrange a lift from the other end; for the full walk, simply retrace your steps! Then reward yourselves with a lazy picnic, or find a quaint café in Mount Nebo township. A perfect way to round off your weekend.
Witches Falls circuit
(1hr, 3.6km return)
Piccabeen palms on Witches falls circuit | © Jess Rosewell
There’s got to be something special about a place that became Queensland's first national park! Declared in 1908, Witches Falls has been ‘bewitching’ visitors ever since with its outstanding natural beauty! Why not check it out for yourselves?
Gather family or friends together and head to Tamborine National Park, only an hour’s drive from Brisbane. Gear up with sturdy shoes and water bottles, then trek down the zigzagging mountainside trail through open banksia forest into lush green rainforest.
Marvel at giant strangler figs and wander past lagoons surrounded by distinctive piccabeen palms. You’ll feel a world away from your ‘everyday’. The best view of Witches Falls is from the viewing platform on a short detour off the main circuit track. And the best place for a group selfie backdrop? The view over the Canungra Valley towards Binna Burra!
Kondalilla Falls circuit
(2.5hr, 4.7km return)
Kondalilla Falls circuit | Maxime Coquard © Queensland Government
Slightly over the two hour mark but with more to see than your average afternoon’s bushwalking, Kondalilla Falls, in Kondalilla National Park near Montville, is only an hour and a half out of Brisbane. The mountainous eucalypt and rainforest landscape is cool year-round and the jewel in the crown of this walk is its namesake, Kondalilla Falls, a spectacular 90m drop that rushes with water during the summer wet season. Perfect for the whole family or a group of mates, you’ll walk through rainforest to the base of the waterfall then continue back up the ridge.
And as we all know, what goes down must come back up! There are over 300 stairs on this track so that’s leg day done and dusted for the week! Try to visit following some rain to see the falls in all their glory. After your walk, treat yourselves to an afternoon browsing around the village of Montville.
Box forest track
(2hrs, 5km return)
Box forest track | © Jennifer Bartlett
Drive a little over an hour west from Brisbane and marvel at some grand old ladies of the forest! At Cunningham’s Gap in Main Range National Park, giant brush box trees stand proudly in this World Heritage listed subtropical rainforest, as they have done for more than 100 years. With one of the largest trunk diameters of any rainforest tree, you’ll fall in love with their smooth, salmon-coloured trunks, as you explore the Box forest track that follows West Gap Creek.
Birdwatchers, keep your binoculars handy as many kinds of birds call this part of the forest home. Once you’ve satisfied your craving for a dose of nature, it’s time to satisfy that other craving—lunch! Pull up a stump in West Gap Creek picnic area and lay out your picnic feast. You’re set for the afternoon!
Inspired to find out more?
Box forest track | Maxime Coquard © Queensland Government
This is just a taste of what’s on offer. Find out more about walking opportunities in Queensland National Parks. Always check Park alerts for access, closures and conditions before you set out. Happy walking!