South east Queensland is jam-packed with an incredible variety of national parks, state forests and conservation parks, some right on Brisbane’s doorstep! Brisbanites, and especially those who prefer pedalling to walking or hiking, are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a mountain biking track close to home. Whether you want to stay close to the city or take your wheels an hour or two north or south, you’ll find a picture-perfect trail to get your glutes burning.
What’s more, exercising in a natural setting—‘green exercise’—is a great alternative to exercising indoors! It’s proven better for mental health, provides more visual stimulation, and the best part is that you can push the pedals with your favourite people, local community or club! So not only are you getting active and connecting with people and nature, you’re also creating a happier environment for yourself.
Try out some of our beginner or intermediate trails if you’re after a more leisurely outing, especially if you’re bringing little wheels along, or go all out and challenge yourself to a PB on one of our athlete-level tracks! All that’s left to do is grab your helmet, get into gear and cherry-pick your favourite location from our list below.
1. Nerang National Park
There’s a reason the Gold Coast is famous for fun! Check into Nerang National Park, one hour south of Brisbane, for a treasure trove of mountain biking tracks for all fitness levels.
Travel through casuarina groves, eucalypt and dry rainforest as you explore some of the easier tracks, or take it up a notch and experience the truly rough terrain of Nerang National Park as you test your skills on the Three Hills trail. Navigate a mix of natural rock areas, fast and flowing trail, technical features and a couple of very short but tough pinch climbs—hello (or goodbye?) gluteus maximus!
If you’re game, try out one of the three black diamond trails built for the 2018 Commonwealth Games to test the strongest riders in the world! These are demanding tracks suitable for experienced mountain bikers, so make sure you know what you’re in for.
2. Daisy Hill Conservation Park
Mountain biking, a family picnic and to top it off—koalas! Daisy Hill Conservation Park is a green haven 30km south of Brisbane that offers loads of recreational activities. Experience a world-class recreational trail network, picturesque outdoor picnic areas, and of course the Koala Centre where you can come up close to southeast Queensland’s most adorable herbivore. How many activities can your family fit into one day?
Start your outing by choosing one of the many shared or designated mountain bike trails on offer. There’s a great selection of short (easy and intermediate) trails the whole family can enjoy—or try out one of the longer loops that take you out into the park and back. If you’re after an even longer ride, Daisy Hill’s tracks link to the tracks in the adjoining Council managed reserves so there are plenty of access points and tracks to choose from. For a more leisurely experience choose from one of the shared (intermediate) trails and spend a few hours exploring the different environments of the conservation park and adjacent reserves. For more information, check out the Koala Bushland Coordinated Conservation Area (KBCCA) map .
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, settle into one of the picnic tables in the day-use area and enjoy a leisurely meal surrounded by tranquil bushland. Finish off your day with a visit to the Koala Centre—did we mention entry is free?
3. Bunyaville Conservation Park
This peaceful bush retreat with plenty of mountain biking action is conveniently close to Brisbane. Venture just 15km from the CBD and you’ll find a nature playground with plenty of opportunities to get your wheels spinning: 10 designated mountain-bike trails for more experienced riders, and a variety of shared trails for less experienced riders, or those of us who simply enjoy an easier pedal.
Tackle one of the shorter designated trails to test your skills on the undulating landscape of the park, with challenging gradients, soil types and natural obstacles to make for an action-packed ride. The Jurassic and Carnivore trails, as their names would suggest, are a bit more formidable and should be left to experienced riders only.
For those of us relishing a more relaxing ride, choose one of the shared trails and explore the park and natural surrounds at your own pace—just keep an eye out for other trail users.
4. Tewantin National Park
We all know the sunny coast is famous for its world-class beaches, but did you know it also has its very own hinterland mountain biking oasis? Tewantin National Park, nestled between Noosa and Cooroy, is an easy 2hr drive from Brisbane, and it’s so worth the trip, with 11 designated mountain bike trails that can cater for every skill level.
Choose trails that suit you or your family’s riding ability—easy, intermediate and difficult trails are all on offer—and ready, set, go! As you push your pedals, you’ll be transported through cool rainforest gullies, open eucalypt forest and semi-heath areas that showcase the different environments of this national park. Have a break, take a deep breath and truly appreciate the natural features around you!
5. Ewen Maddock Mountain Bike Trail, Beerwah State Forest
If you’re looking for a great family mountain biking experience, the 12km Ewen Maddock Mountain Bike Trail should be top of your list. A relatively short (and scenic!) 1.5hr drive from Brisbane, this trail is nestled amidst one of southeast Queensland’s most recognisable landscapes: the Glass House Mountains.
Designed for beginners, it takes you along the banks of Ewen Maddock Dam—named after an early European settler and local pioneer—and through blackbutt forests, fern gullies and melaleuca wetlands. As you travel along, keep your eyes and ears peeled for the local wildlife; there’s always something bustling in the trees or splashing across the dam. Make sure you plan for a stop along the way, have a snack, and take in the remarkable views of Ewen Maddock Dam.
With plenty of pedalling fun, heaps of impressive sights and the unrivalled beauty of the ferny forest all around, we think this one will be a family-favourite in no time!
Ready to spin your wheels?
Take advantage of southeast Queensland’s impressive array of mountain biking parks. With so many options for all skill levels—some right on your doorstep—you simply have to give it a go! And remember, time spent in nature is never wasted, so grab your family, mates or significant other and make the most of southeast Queensland’s amazing outdoor recreation opportunities.
Of course there are plenty more mountain biking parks in southeast Queensland, including:
- Samford Conservation Park
- D’Aguilar National Park
- Mapleton National Park
- Eumundi Conservation Park
- Parklands Conservation Park
Be sure to check out our Mountain biking guide for a full list of mountain biking parks across the state. Happy pedalling!