What secrets do the locals know when they want to go and escape the Queensland summer humidity or enjoy a bush setting with walking tracks, BBQ’s, picnic tables and all of this only a 15-minute drive from the Brisbane CBD. That’s where we’ll be Day Trip’n today as we unearth some of the exciting things you can do as we visit the Mt Coot-tha Forest Park.
If you’re on your way to Mt Coot-tha, you’ll need to take the scenic Sir Samuel Griffith Drive. You’ll see amazing views by day or night and discover lush themed Botanic Gardens, Lookouts with Views! Views! Views!, Picnic spots with all the facilities and Bushwalking trails that will lead you deep into the Australian bush for a day of fun and discovery.
Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha
Every day trip has a beginning and today my first “port of call” is the Brisbane Botanic Gardens one of Brisbane’s premier gardens and home to the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium. Here you’ll also find a Café, art galleries, toilets and a bus stop if you are travelling by public Transport (Translink – click here for locations and time tables).
Head to the information centre where the friendly staff will give you all the maps and information you need then grab a coffee or some tasty treats from the Botanic Gardens Café as you plan ahead your day of discovery. Note: For all the information that you need on this day trip, I have previously posted a Blog on my site; www.roadtripn.blog or click on the link – Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha Day Trip.
Mt Coot-tha Tourist Drive
The Mt Coot-tha scenic drive travels the loop road through Mt Coot-tha Forest and the Brisbane Forest Park before winding past BBQ’s and picnic sites hidden deep in the forest with walking tracks that are suitable for all grades of fitness and mobility. The entire Mt Coot-tha area is a natural reserve with wide open eucalypt forests which are a home to a range of wildlife and a huge variety of birds and other animals.
We’ll follow the twisting Sir Samuel Griffith Drive as we climb to the summit and arrive at Brisbane’s premier lookout – Mount Coot-tha Lookout (click here for all the extra information you need), a fantastic spot not only to admire the panoramic views of the Brisbane skyline and suburbs, but to sit awhile, grab a coffee, some lunch or an ice crème and just enjoy this very special spot.
We’ll continue our journey driving along the Sir Samuel Griffith Drive, past the TV Channels broadcasting towers stopping and exploring the many picnic areas with breath-taking views, as well as trails suitable for bushwalking and horse riding, scattered along the way.
- Gold Mine picnic area
- Range View picnic area
- Grey Gum picnic area
- Brush Box picnic area
- Silky Oak picnic area
- Hoop Pine picnic area
After leaving the Brisbane Botanic Gardens precinct it’s only about a 1km drive along Sir Samuel Griffith Drive to the J C Slaughter Falls Picnic Grounds. There are many car parks within the Park with plenty of signs to direct you to the picnic areas and walking trails. Don’t be too disappointed if you are only going to see the “Falls” with this visit as the water in the creeks and “Falls” only flow after heavy downpours. There is so much more, so let’s go and check it all out.
J C Slaughter Falls Park is a magnificent bushy gorge with an abundance of grassy areas along the creek banks, with undercover areas for picnic and BBQ’s. Sit in a cool shady place and watch the local wildlife entertain you with their antics or take a walking sight-seeing tour of this bushland oasis. This is also the starting point for two walking tracks, the Aboriginal Art Trail (which is the easier of the two) and the Summit Track which range in completion time of 20 minutes to 1.5 hours.
Don’t be off put by the unusual name, J C Slaughter Falls is a great place to visit, to sit and do nothing or go exploring this natural bushland. With its stunning views, walking tracks and picnic areas, allow a couple of hours to fully appreciate this location or better still spend the day and then head to the Mt Coot-tha Lookout to watch the sun go down.
Simpson Falls Picnic Area
I’ve continued just up the road with a sign on my left showing the entrance to Simpson Falls Picnic Area. I drove through the gate and keenly followed the road to the top two car parks, passing several picnic spots along the way. All with BBQ’s and tables, any one of these would have been an ideal place to stop and unpack the picnic basket.
Concealed deep in the bush at the end of the road opposite the car park, with very easy access via the ramp is the Simpson Falls picnic area. As I descended into is this lovely green patch with only the sounds of the local wildlife and a cool breeze rustling through the branches of the trees is a setting with tables, BBQ’s, picnic shelters and clean toilet facilities. There’s also plenty of shade from the large leafy trees to spread your own picnic rug or just lounge around while you watch the kids play.
The area is alive with wildlife like this baby magpie and bush turkey that came to visit while I was having my coffee and enjoying the “serenity”. They kept me entertained for ages with their antics.
Starting our drive from the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha, you have a short drive to visit J C Slaughter Falls or Simpson Falls or the option to continue on the Sir Samuel Griffith Drive to the Mt Coot-tha Summit Lookout. From the Lookout follow the circuit drive past the TV towers and all the Picnic areas to complete you day trip expedition. The Mt Coot-tha Forest area is an exceptional place to visit, picnicking in the bush or driving along I could hardly believe that I was so close to the city, it was just so quiet and peaceful.