You’ll love the natural beauty of Queensland. With 300 days of sunshine a year and an incredibly diverse landscape, there’s a chance to explore lush rainforest, pristine beaches, and some of Australia’s most interesting fauna.
So lace up your boots, because here’s five of our favourite Queensland hiking trails.
1) The Glasshouse Mountains
Driving distance: Approximately 1 hour (Brisbane), 1 hour 52 minutes (Gold Coast).
An easy drive from the capital, the Glasshouse Mountains has a lot to offer. There’s a variety of peaks and trails including the iconic Mount Beerwah and the two main trailheads on Mount Tibrogargan and Beerburrum.
If you’re looking for the perfect family activity, a weekend escape, or a more serious challenge, it’s likely you’ll find the trail for your needs right here.
While Mount Tibrogargan itself is extremely steep, the 3.3km Tibrogargan Circuit leads around the base and is an easy 90 minute walk.
Perfect for the family or hiking beginners, you’ll get to experience great views of the surrounding mountains, marvel in the open eucalypt and melaleuca forests, and learn a bit about the Glasshouse Mountains as you go (there’s info as your walk around the track).
If you want to break a sweat, the new Yul-Yan-man track on the Beerburrum Trailhead is one of the most challenging at Class 5. If you’re an experienced hiker you can expect to do the 9km rock scrambling trail in 3-4 hours. Expect rock scrambling, steep ascents, and loose gravel underfoot. Yul-yan-man is from the local Kabi Kabi language and means ‘walk slowly’ so you get the idea.
2) Box Forest Circuit
Lamington National Park, Gold Coast Hinterlands
Driving distance: About an hour from the Gold Coast
Home to hundreds of waterfalls, incredible wildlife, and more than 160km of walking trails, it’s pretty easy to understand why Lamington National Park is a popular walking destination for both locals and travellers.
This UNESCO World Heritage listed area is also home to Albert’s lyrebird and if you’re lucky, you might glimpse this rare bird on the trail.
While there’s plenty of trails to choose from, the Box Forest Circuit is quite a special one. The 10.9km return walk is a nature lover’s paradise with stunning views, gorgeous waterfalls, and the occasional freshwater crayfish. Walk in a clockwise direction and you can even reward yourself with one of the few swimmable waterholes in the park at Picnic Rock and Elabana Falls.
If you want to take it to the next level, take on the Border Track instead. At 21.4km one way (about seven hours), you’ll need to organise transport for the other end.
3) Mount Walsh
Mount Walsh National Park, Biggenden
Driving distance: Approximately 2 hour (Brisbane), 2 hour 22 minutes (Sunshine Coast).
Situated right in the middle of nowhere, Mount Walsh is the ideal weekend adventure for those who need to get out of the city and reconnect with nature. It’s a little off-the-beaten-track, so and make sure you’re well prepared for the day.
The park itself is a wildlife refuge and shelters some rare and threatened species including the powerful owl. More familiar faces include wallabies, peregrine falcons or lace monitors.
Grab your togs and visit the Waterfall Creek Section AKA the Utopia walk. The 3km return bushwalk features scrubland, vine forest and lots of clear, running water. You can take a dip in the stunning natural rockpools or explore further up the creek. Expect a little bit of easy scrambling if you do.
For more experienced hikers, consider the summit of Mount Walsh for truly spectacular views. With steep inclines, loose gravel and a bit of rock scrambling for good measure, this trail can take anywhere between 2-5 hours. There’s no formal trail, but there are a few markings. You’ll need some navigational skills to get to the top.
4) Windin Falls
Wooroonooran National Park, Atherton Tablelands.
Driving distance: Around two hours from Cairns.
If it’s a remote adventure you want, pack up the 4WD and head off to the Atherton Tablelands. Just over the Dividing Range, this North Queensland waterfall is a hidden gem – part of the adventure is just getting there.
Follow the Old Cairns trek for about an hour until you see an orange ribbon tied to a tree on the right hand side. You know you’ve made it when you hit the big metal gate. Hop on over and away you go.
The Windin Falls trail is 11.5km return, but don’t let that fool you. Depending on your experience, it’ll still take anywhere from 3-4 hours. There’s a few undulating sections and wet weather will slow you down. Still, it’s relatively easy, and suitable for older kids. At the top of the waterfall, you can expect a jaw-dropping view, beautiful natural pools and the chance to spot some native birds of prey. Linger over the views (and serenity) with a picnic lunch.
If you’ve packed your swimmers, you can also take a dip. Note you should have a good head for heights and a strong constitution – it’s a bit cold.
5) The Cooloola Great Walk
Great Sandy National Park, Fraser Coast Region.
Driving distance: About two hours from Brisbane if you start in Noosa.
For a longer trek that encapsulates almost all of Queensland’s vast landscapes, you can’t go past the Cooloola Great Walk. This multi-day hiking adventure links the Noosa north shore all the way to Rainbow Beach.
At 102km, it’s one for your bucket list. It takes around 5-8 days to complete and you should have moderate navigation skills, moderate fitness levels and a few multi-day hikes under your belt. If you’re an inexperienced hiker (or new to Australia), it’s a good idea to join a guided tour.
Get ready for some spectacular Australian country. One day you’ll experience tropical rainforest, the next you'll be trekking long, sandy beaches. Depending on the time of the year, the natural attractions include emus, echidnas and colourful wildflowers.
There’s a few steep sections and some soft sand to tackle along the way, including the infamous Cooloola sandpatch. At 1.2km it’s not long, but it’s give your quads a work out.
There’s also four walker camps spaced evenly along the way so you can sleep overnight. Spaces are limited, so you'll need to book in advance.
Remember to always prepare for any hike by checking the weather report, any safety restrictions at the local parks authority and that you have everything you need on your Hiking Gear List.