Loosely translated from the local Aboriginal language, Mount Coot-tha means “place of honey.” The mountain was declared a Public Recreation Reserve all the way back in 1880 and has been a popular outdoors destination ever since. The mountain has dozens of trails, with Aboriginal signage and waterfalls, and is home to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. The most popular place of all is the Mount Coot-tha lookout, which offers excellent city views .
Put on your hiking boots and start exploring. The Mount Coot-tha Reserve covers an impressive 3,700 acres (1,500 hectares) and has walking trails for all levels of fitness. Choose one that follows the Ithaca Creek to reach the J.C. Slaughter Falls and admire the modern Aboriginal rock paintings along the way.
Mountain bike riders will appreciate the specialized trails marked on the maps and guides available from the Brisbane City Council website. You can rent a bike in the city, but riding to the top is quite strenuous, so arrange for a vehicle that can transport the bike to save your energy for the more scenic trails.
On your way up, visit the free Brisbane Botanic Gardens and continue along the scenic Sir Samuel Griffin Drive to the Mount Coot-tha lookout. Take in the spectacular views over Brisbane and out to Moreton Bay. Read the sign post to see what lies in the distance and which native species you can find here.
For refreshments and souvenirs, visit the café with gift shop and restaurant where you can enjoy a coffee or fine dining. The superb location is reflected in the prices, so don’t plan to stay for lunch unless you’re prepared to pay a premium.
Mount Coot-tha is just under 4 miles (6.5 kilometers) from central Brisbane. You can get there by bus, but services are infrequent so it’s best to drive there yourself or book an organized tour. Parking spaces near the top are limited, but on busy days you can find a spot lower on the mountain and walk the rest.