Where to Find the Best Lookouts in Brisbane’s West. Sir Thomas Gaffney & Mt Coot-tha Lookouts

There are plenty of places close to Brisbane in South East Queensland where you can discover magnificent views without working to hard for it or having to drive to far. You just drive or in a lot of cases travel by bus take a short stroll and there you have it. The vistas can include cities, coastlines, valleys, mountains and waterfalls but what happened on this day trip just left me mesmerized.

The Monolith. Green Hill Reservoir
Green Hill Reservoir

I’d heard that the Mt Coot-tha Lookout was something to see, and we’ll be checking out this place later in the Blog, but never did I consider as I travelled along Russell Terrace in Chapel Hill that this open space was in existence. As you start to wind your way through the suburbs and along Russell Terrace, round a bend there perched high on the hill is this huge white monolith of the 1968 built Green Hill Reservoir. What a welcome, as I parked the car and set off to explore this precinct.

The first thing that I noticed were the wide-open spaces with plenty of shade to spread the picnic blanket if you are heading out for the day with some BYO goodies. Also, the reservoir’s concrete walls have been transformed into a “Water for Life” concept work of art incorporating local wildlife set amongst trees and natural water systems with colours of blues, greens, rich reds and vibrant yellows. This magnificent mural by itself is worth the trip just to have a look.

The Reservoir was only a part of our day trip. This is one of very few “off leash” unfenced doggie areas where your favorite pooch can run free while you revere the sweeping Brisbane City skyline and suburb views from the Sir Thomas Gaffney Lookout.

Sir Thomas Gaffney Lookout
Sir Thomas Gaffney Lookout

 Sir Thomas Gaffney Lookout. Tip – The address given is 203 Russell Terrace Chapel Hill, but the entrance to the drive-in entry and car park is Dellamara St, which intersects with Russell Tce.

Want to catch a sunrise or take in some incredible scenery, Sir Thomas Gaffney Lookout is the place. Charge your phone, pack your camera and start working on your photographic skills as we explore this amazing location.

There is plenty of car parking available as I put on my walking shoes passing by the murals painted on the Green Hill Reservoir and arrive at the Lookout.

The Panaroma is absolutely stunning. Views to the North, South, East and West. People walking their dogs only too happy to stop and chat. I was fortunate enough to talk to some locals who told me the history of the Green Hill Reservoir and the Lookout and they had moved to the Chapel Hill area because of this park and “doggie” off leash area. Wow, some people just love their pooches.

Climb the Tower For the Best Views
Green Hill Reservoir Tower

There is also the opportunity, if your feeling fit and don’t mind heights, to climb the spiral staircase which leads to the top of the Tower and the Reservoir. The climb is worth the effort, the vistas thoroughly breathtaking.

Mt Coot-tha Summit Lookout
Mt Coot-tha Summit Lookout

Mt Coot-tha Lookout

Only 7kms from the CBD, located on the summit of the Sir Samuel Griffith Drive is one of Brisbane’s “must see” destinations, Mt Coot-tha Lookout. This lookout offers spectacular panoramic views from every angle over the City and suburbs all the way to the Lamington Ranges and Moreton Bay. There is plenty of parking (Note: the parking can be of a premium on week-ends and holidays as this is a very popular destination), grab a coffee or an ice-crème from the Café or have lunch in the restaurant with those views as your backdrop, how could this not be one of Brisbane’s most popular destinations for visitors and locals alike.

The Mt Coot-tha Lookout provides incredible vistas form every vantage point. From the viewing deck there are paid telescopes if you are looking for a closer inspection or take a few steps to the top of the observation tower for an even better experience. The Lookout is only a 15-minute drive from the CBD or take a bus which will drop you off right at the entrance to the Cafes and Viewing Deck, this is also the departure point for the bus as it returns to the Brisbane CBD. (Translink – click here for bus time table and schedules).

Set amongst beautiful gardens and surrounded by natural bushland of the Brisbane Forest Park it gives you that feeling than you are “King” of the mountain all the while you’re in a photographer’s heaven, so don’t forget to bring your camera along to get some brilliant photos of Brisbane’s skyline. There are also a handful of Walking Tracks (click here for further info) if you are feeling a little more adventurous and driving along the Sir Samuel Griffith Drive this loop road will take you past Brisbane’s TV Towers and a number of BBQ’s and picnic spots with clean toilets, BBQ’s and picnic facilities.


  1. Easy 15-minute drive from Brisbane CBD
  2. Accessible by bus – (Translink, click here for bus time tables and schedules)
  3. Cafes and restaurants
  4. Clean toilets
  5. Access to the Sir Samuel Griffith Drive loop road, picnic facilities and walking tracks.
  6. Best time to visit: Any time, but being there just before sunset so can admire the transition from day to night and you will get the best of both worlds as the sun goes down.

There is still so much more to see and do while we explore this beautiful part of Brisbane. The Mt Coot-tha Lookout is a part of the Brisbane Forest which brags some absolutely outstanding Picnic areas EG:- J.C. Slaughter Falls and Simpson Falls, and all the areas accessed from Sir Samuel Griffith Drive. The Brisbane Botanical Gardens and Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium situated in the foothills of Mt Coot-tha are a destination worthy of a day trip alone.

So, if you are the type of person that likes to come along for the adventure and keep exploring this region with ROAD TRIP’N, I’ll have all the information in my next Blog.

Safe travels