Mountains to climb around Brisbane

18 JANUARY 2023

Step after step, hour after hour: climbing a mountain is no easy feat but when you reach the summit, the gain makes the pain all worthwhile. Lace up your hiking boots, fill up your water bottles and chart a course to some of Brisbane's most spectacular summits and picturesque peaks.


Scenic Rim

Mt Edwards  

Easier than Greville, the summit trek to Mt Edwards takes about 3.5 hours from the Lake Moogerah picnic area. From here, walk across the dam wall to the park entrance and follow a well-worn trail. There are no signs, so research is required before heading off as the worn track becomes less obvious. Be aware that the dam wall access gate is locked from 6pm to 6am each day.  

Moogerah Peaks National Park  

The volcanic peaks of Moogerah Peaks National Park are located about 70km south-west of Brisbane City and climbing is popular with experienced hikers. There are three mountain summits that can be reached within the park – Mt Greville, Mt Edwards and Mt Moon. Check out this map for reference.  

Mt Greville  

Allow five hours return to reach the summit of Mt Greville. The 12km walk includes a part circuit. Once you reach a junction, go left following the sign to Palm Gorge and on return, choose the opposite track that nears Waterfall Gorge. The two deep, narrow gorges outline either side of this trail to the 767m high summit that passes through palm-dominated rainforest.  

Mt Moon  

If those two aren’t hard enough, ardent bushwalkers can contact Queensland National Parks on 13 74 68 to coordinate access to the 784m-high Mt Moon, recognised by its two rocky mountain peaks. Travelling across private property to reach the twin summit requires special permission. The very tough eight-hour trek includes scree slopes and steep cliffs.   

Mount Barney National Park  

It’s a big park and the peaks are high. In fact, 10 of the 24 highest peaks in south-east Queensland sit within Mount Barney National Park. Check in to Mt Barney Lodge or Barney Creek Vineyard Cottages and spend a few days hiking the national park, returning to your comfortable accommodation each night to rest your weary feet and aching muscles. 

East Barney Peak  

Now this one isn’t easy. Mt Barney’s rugged peaks rise high above the surrounding Gondwana Rainforests of the Australian World Heritage Area. Steep unformed trails involve rock climbing and require a map and compass to navigate.  Heading up and down the South Ridge, this very steep, very hard 16km hike will take about nine hours to reach the 1351m-high peak. The hike itself can be split over two days by spending a night at Rum Jungle camp. It takes about 3.5 hours to reach this saddle between the East and West peaks and then a further 1.5 hours to scramble up the East summit.   

West Barney Peak  

The trail up the West Peak off the Rum Jungle clearing is a goat track at best with only a piece of tape or two helping navigate. Make sure you carry a compass as white-outs are common when cloud cover dips. The West Peak is four metres higher than the East Peak and takes about nine hours return.  

Other Mt Barney National Park peaks  

There are plenty more peaks to conquer in Mt Barney National Park including North Peak (a two-day hike via Rocky Creek Circuit), Mt Lindesay (for experienced climbers with ropes and harnesses), Mount Ernest (need to acquire permission for private property access) and the Ballow Range (can do a three-day circuit).   

Mt May  

Ascend the 836m-high Mt May via the national park’s northern ridge from the campsite at Waterfall Creek Reserve. It takes about two to three hours to reach the peak where you’ll see excellent and unusual views of Mt Barney. Descend via the south-west ridge to Graces Hut and follow the 4WD road back to the Mt May Reserve. The 6.4km route should take about four hours to complete.

Mt Maroon  

Experience 360-degree views over Lamington National Park through Mt Barney, Main Range and Moogerah Peaks from the top of Mt Maroon. The Cotswold Track up the 967m-high summit starts at the end of Cotswold Rd, east of the Maroon township, and takes about four to five hours. Follow a reasonably clear track over an open hill south-west of the dam and into a gully with some spectacular cliffs off to the right. Climbing up the 300m gully leads to the base of the main, bald peak. A few orange triangles mark the way but navigation skills are required.  

Main Range National Park  

The Main Range National Park is located on the Scenic Rim’s far western border, about 110km south-west of Brisbane City, and is a trekker’s delight. Impressive mountain peaks, escarpments and ridges provide breathtaking views in this World Heritage area which rare and endangered wildlife call home. Whether you’re a first-time mountain climber or a seasoned scaler of great heights, there’s a summit sure to suit. Spicers Hidden Peaks Cabins offers its guests walking tours and packages, pairing daily summits in the national park with nightly luxury in its on-site accommodation. 

Mt Cordeaux   

Known to Aboriginal people as Niamboyoo, the 6.8km return trip up Mt Cordeaux will take about 2.5 hours. The trail branches off the Rainforest Circuit and zigzags past exposed upper slopes, ending at a lookout on the southern side. Spring is the best time to visit when the stunning red giant spear lilies Doryanthes palmeri are in flower. If you have an extra hour or so to spare, continue on from Mt Cordeaux for a double-summit trek to Bare Rock before descending. 

Mt Mitchell  

Pass twin peaks on this 10.2km return walk. Starting on the southern side of the Cunningham Highway, the track starts climbing through rainforest before turning into open eucalypt. It ends on a knife-edge ridge above a sheer cliff at the east peak. This 1175m-high peak is known as Cooyinnirra to the Aboriginal people. The return journey takes about three hours.    

Spicers Peak  

Don’t be fooled by the 6km distance, this hike will take you six to seven hours. This is a very rough peak climb with loose dirt, rocks and scrambling. From Governor’s Chair car park, walk to the lookout and head south to follow a fence line. It’s not easy but once you make it to the top of the 1222m-high summit, soak up the views before descending again.  

Mt Matheson  

Start opposite the Pioneer Picnic Area and follow a rough track through eucalypt and rainforest on this 8.1km circuit. Look for koalas in the trees near the summit before returning to the main trail that loops around via the Heritage Trail and Spicers Gap Rd. You should arrive back at the start in about three hours.  

Mt Alphen  

This is an easy, short 2.5km circuit that also starts at Pioneer Picnic Area. From here, continue south along the ridge on the western side of a gully. About 15 minutes in, veer left and walk east towards a deep gully. Cross the gully and find the vantage point with views beyond Governer’s Chair to Spicers Peak and more. The trail should only take 1.5 hours.  

Mt Joyce  

Mt Joyce is next to Wyaralong Dam and is owned by SEQ Water. Start at the Meebun recreation area and walk a scenic 8km around the dam to the Ngumbi base camp. Camping here is free of charge. From here, the hike to the Mt Joyce summit is only about 1km but it is steep so allow one hour. 

Lamington National Park  

Lush rainforest, ancient trees and stunning waterfalls make Lamington National Park an outstanding place to visit. Hiking trails cater to all abilities and offer stunning vistas out to the Gold Coast and inland across the Scenic Rim valley. Looking for something off the beaten track? Try hiking Mt Wagawn, Mt Hobwee and Mt Bithongabel. 

Make a weekend of it and pitch a tent, reserve a Safari Tent or book a Sky Lodge at Binna Burra Lodge. The Binna Burra Tea House is open seven days to fuel you before your climb or offer a treat upon your return. A little further south, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat is a hospitality hub amid the national park with camping, accommodation, dining and even a day spa for happy hikers. 

Mount Merino  

Located halfway between Binna Burra and Green Mountains, the 1160m Mount Merino summit can be reached on a day walk from either location. Allow eight hours to complete the 22km return journey. From Binna Burra, follow the Border Track for 10km until you hit the Mt Merino junction.  

Neglected Mountain  

It’s not all sad news for Neglected Mountain, the views from the summit are worth your attention. From Gap Creek Rd it should take about five hours to complete the 10km return journey to the 798m-high peak.  

Greene Falls walk at Mount Glorious, D'Aguilar National Park Queensland.
Greene Falls walk at Mount Glorious, D'Aguilar National Park

Moreton Bay Region

Northbrook Mountain 

Beginning at D’Aguilar National Park’s Maiala day-use area, the 24km Aquila Loop follows the Westside track, passing through England Creek bush camp and peaking at the top of Northbrook Mountain. Allow six to seven hours for the trek and pick up a topographic map at the Walkabout Creek Visitor Centre.  

Mermaid Mountain 

Trek from the town of Mt Crosby up Mermaid Mountain on this 18km hike through Brisbane Forest Park. At the halfway mark, you’ll be treated to a great view of Lake Manchester and the surrounding hills. The hike takes about five hours to complete.  

Mt Beerburum  

Close to the township of Beerburum in Glass House Mountains National Park, this 1.4km circuit takes just an hour to reach the top of the 280m-high peak and return. Don’t be fooled, your legs will certainly feel the burn on this tough 700m uphill walk. At the summit, you’ll find a fire tower – used to detect and manage fires in the surrounding forests – and 360-degree views of the Glass House Mountains.  

A woman taking a photo of orange colour theme city view at sunrise on a lookout_Mt Coot-tha
View from Mount Coot-Tha, Toowong

Urban Climbs

Mt Coot-Tha  

Start off easy. The return climb from the bottom of Mt Coot-Tha to the lookout takes just one hour. Find the trail map here. Alternatively, you can simply drive to the top to soak up the glorious views. The Summit Café offers one of the best vantage points – and lunch menus – from the top.   

Mt Gravatt  

Another beginner-level hike to ease you into mountain climbing, the trek from the bottom of Mt Gravatt to the lookout and back takes just one hour. Treat yourself to coffee and cake at Lovewell Café at the summit before heading back down the well-defined trail. You can also drive to the top of this one and admire views of the city.