Mt Coot-tha Reserve

sights / Parks & gardens

Mt Coot-tha Reserve information

Location
Brisbane , Australia
Address
Mt Coot-tha Rd
Mt Coot-tha
More information
www.brisbane.qld.gov.au
Opening hours
24hr
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About 7km west of the city centre, Mt Coot-tha Reserve is a 220-hectare bush reserve that’s teeming with wildlife (mostly of the possum and bush-turkey variety). Aside from the chunk of wilderness, the big attractions here are a massive planetarium and the spectacular lookout. The latter affords panoramic daytime views of Brisbane and a few bits beyond, and at night, a sea of twinkling lights blanketing the terrain for miles. The lookout is accessed via Samuel Griffith Dr and has wheelchair access.

There are picnic spots with tables and barbecues scattered throughout the park. One of the nicest is Simpson Falls , set in a gentle valley and surrounded by scrub. In less of a bush enclave but with a thick carpet of lawn is Hoop Pine . Bigger than both 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 Sir Samuel Griffith Dr.

At the end of the road you can access the circuitous, 1.5km Aboriginal Art Trail , which takes you past eight art sites with work by local Aboriginal artists, including tree carvings, rock paintings and a ceremonial dance pit. Also here is the JC Slaughter Falls Track (3.4km return), which leads through the reserve to the lookout. It’s quite steep in several sections; decent walking shoes are recommended.

The very beautiful Brisbane Botanic Gardens cover 50 hectares and include over 20,000 species of plants. The plethora of mini ecologies, which include cactus, Japanese and herb gardens, rainforests and arid zones, make you feel like you’re traversing the globe’s landscape in all its vegetated splendour. There is also a compact tropical dome in which exotic palms soar above you like science-fiction props. 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’s an excellent restaurant on site, Botanical , serving breakfast, lunch and snacks, overlooking a lily-pad-filled lagoon.

Also within the gardens, the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium is Australia’s largest planetarium. There’s a great observatory here and the shows inside the Cosmic Skydome will make you feel like you’ve stepped on board the Enterprise . Outside of show times, you can explore the small museum with photographs of star systems, a replica of Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 suit, and a screening room that shows short space-related clips.

To get here via public transport, take bus 471 from bus stop 40 on Adelaide St, opposite King George Sq ($3.90, 25 minutes, hourly Monday to Friday, five services Saturday and Sunday). The bus drops you off in the lookout car park and stops outside the Brisbane Botanic Gardens en route.