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If there’s one thing you do on Mt Coot Tha, it’s taking in the views from the spectacular Mt Coot Tha Lookout. On a clear day, from the summit lookout you can see Brisbane, encircled by the river, Moreton and Stradbroke islands, the Glasshouse Mountains and the Lamington Plateau backing onto the Gold Coast. If you happen to be here at night, you will witness a sea of twinkling lights blanketing the terrain for miles.
The eye-popping Mt Coot Tha Lookout is accessed via Samuel Griffith Drive and has wheelchair access. It is open 24 hours a day and is free to visit.
Mt Coot Tha Walking Tracks
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The best way to explore Mt Coot Tha is along one or more of the easy-going walking tracks that wind its way through the woodland taking you to beautiful waterfalls and historic monuments. It’s quite steep in several sections; decent walking shoes are recommended.
Below are the most popular walking tracks in Mt Coot Tha.
1. Summit Track
Distance: 1.9 km return
Time: 30 minutes
The Summit Track is the most popular track in Mt Coot Tha because it leads from J.C. Slaughter Falls Picnic Area to Mt Coot-tha Lookout near the roundabout. Even though it’s a steep ascent, it’s a short 30-minute hike to the top for spectacular panoramic views of Brisbane.
2. Aboriginal Art Track
Distance: 1.5 km circuit
Time: 30 minutes
The Aboriginal Art Track branches off from the Summit Track. At the end of the road is the circuitous, 1.5km Aboriginal Art Trail, which takes you past eight art sites with contemporary art work by local Aboriginal artists, including tree carvings, rock paintings, etchings and rock arrangements, and a ceremonial dance pit.
3. Simpsons Falls Track
Distance: 650 m one way
Time: 15 minutes
One of the nicest is Simpson Falls, set in a gentle valley and surrounded by scrub. This track begins at Simpson Falls Picnic Area. It is excellent for wildflower viewing in late winter and spring when the golden wattles and purple hoveas of the open forest understorey burst into bloom.
The track can be linked with the Eugenia Circuit adding 2.8 kilometres.
4. JC Slaughter Falls Track
Distance: 3.4 km return
Time: 1.5 hour
The JC Slaughter Falls Track leads through the reserve to the JC Slaughter Falls lookout. Bigger than Simpsons Falls is JC Slaughter Falls, where you can create an alfresco banquet amid oodles of trees and grass. The turn-off to JC Slaughter Falls is just north of Samuel Griffith Drive.
5. Ghost Hole Track
Distance: 600 m one-way
Time: 15 minutes
Traces of the old mines can be seen along the Ghost Hole Track at the Gold Mine Picnic Area. Interpretive signs along the track explain the hardships experienced by miners who worked in this area.
6. Honeyeater Track
Distance: 2.1 km return
Time: 1 hour
The Honeyeater Track begins 375 metres from the Mt Coot-tha Lookout, off Sir Samuel Griffith Drive and provides access to the Chapel Hill area.
Mt Coot Tha Botanical Gardens
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A visit to Mt Coot Tha is incomplete without visiting the very beautiful Brisbane Botanic Gardens which cover 52 hectares (128 acres) at the base of Mount Coot-Tha. The gardens include over 20,000 specimens, representing 5,000 species, of exotic herbs, shrubs and trees laid out in themed beds. Founded in 1976, the botanic gardens feature a plethora of mini ecologies; highlights include eucalypt groves, a Japanese Garden, a Tropical Display Dome, which includes lotus lilies and vanilla orchids, a Lagoon and Bamboo Grove, Fern House, National Freedom Wall (celebrating 50 years of peace) and a large collection of Australian native plants. A wander through the gardens make you feel like you’re traversing the globe’s landscape in all its vegetated splendour. The compact tropical dome has exotic palms which soar above you like science-fiction props. Many arid and tropical plants, usually seen in greenhouses, thrive in the outdoor setting. Don’t miss the weeping fig in the exotic rainforest section and keep an eye out for geckos scuttling across your path as you wander through.
There are lakes and trails, usually a horticultural show or arts-and-crafts display in the auditorium on weekends, and a cafe. Free 1-hour guided tours leave the kiosk at 11am and 1pm Monday through Saturday (except public holidays). The gardens are open from 8am to 5:30pm (September to March) and to 5pm (April to August). Admission is FREE.
Mt Coot Tha Planetarium
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If you like planetariums, you must visit Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium as it’s the largest planetarium in Australia. Located within the Brisbane Botanical Gardens, the planetarium features digital multimedia systems that present real-time digital star shows and computer-generated images in the Cosmic Skydome theatre. The fascinating 40-minute astronomical show includes a re-creation of the Brisbane night sky using a Ziess star projector. There are special shows designed for kids between 5 and 8 at 11:30am and 12:30pm on weekends; the planetarium is not recommended for younger children. Note you must see a show to access the planetarium, as it is not otherwise open to the public.
Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium is open Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 4pm; Saturday 11am to 8:15pm (last entry at 7:30pm); Sunday 11am to 4pm. Shows run from Tuesday to Friday at 3pm; Saturday at 11:30am, 12:30, 2, 3, 6, and 7:30pm; Sunday at 11:30am, 12:30, 2, and 3pm. The planetarium has extended hours during school holidays and is closed on public holidays. Reservations are recommended.
Mt Coot Tha Restaurant
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If you haven’t brought a picnic and want to splurge on a nice lunch or dinner, the Summit Restaurant is the place to dine on Mt Coot Tha. It would be hard to find a better view of Brisbane than from this spot. A teahouse of some kind has been on this mountaintop for more than a century. Part 19th-century Queenslander house and part modern extension, the restaurant has wraparound covered decks with a view of the city and Moreton Bay. A changing Modern Australian menu features local produce and wines. Try saltwater barramundi filet, or grilled Queensland Hereford tenderloin beef with a Moreton Bay bug.
Highly recommended is the early bird offer for three courses starting at 5pm and finishing by 7pm. There’s also a kids’ menu of two courses (for those under 12). When you’ve finished dining, spend some time on the observation deck where the city lights provide a glittering panorama.
Reservations are recommended for Friday and Saturday nights. The Summit Restaurant is open daily from 11am to midnight and for breakfast on Sunday from 8am to 10:30am. The restaurant is closed for lunch Jan 1, Good Friday, Dec 26 and closed for dinner Dec 25.
Mt Coot Tha Address
Mt Coot-tha Road
Mt Coot Tha Map
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Tell us what you think. What are you planning to do on Mount Coot Tha? If you’ve been here before, what places did you visit? Please share with us your experiences.
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