Brisbane’s Best Bush, Bay and City Walks by Dianne McLay
Thirty-five beautiful and interesting walks in and around Queensland’s capital
By Robyn Lewis
Brisbane is bustling these days with an array of high quality restaurants, cafés and providores and just a little further out there are vineyards and breweries to complete the wine and food experience.
It's also a very foot-friendly city and fascinating to walk around, especially in winter, spring and autumn, when the humidity is low and the weather often stunning.
Brisbane’s Best Bush, Bay & City Walks features thirty-five of the best walks in and around the city, with everything from leisurely riverside strolls with stops at cafés and museums, to rugged tracks through bushland and wildlife reserves.
The book is part of a series that includes Best Bush, Parks and Village Walks around the ACT, Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula, though the Illawarra, NSW Central Coast and Shoalhaven to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast (see related links below).
As with the other titles, there's something for all ages and levels of fitness, with advice for the best child-friendly walks, and about walks where you can take your dog. The shortest is 1.5 km and the longest 15 km (the 8 Bridges Walk).
I especially like the four pages of ‘Walks at a glance’ which lists the walks by each region (Inner City, North, South, East and West, plus Bayside), giving distance, degree of difficulty, time, whether there’s a café and shade or not, and the highlights, from views to gardens, art and aboriginal sites to mangroves, birdwatching and historic buildings, even a koala centre.
Brisbane has a wealth of parks, wildlife reserves and historical sites that even life-long residents might not know about, and as a former resident it certainly surprised me.
For first-time visitors, the Southbank to Dockside walk is an easy and picturesque intro looking north to the city across the Brisbane River; you can take a ferry to the start and meet another at the end (or even half way through if you’re short on time). You can even go abseiling on the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, which is popular under floodlights on hot summer evenings.
On the northern bank of the Brisbane River there’s an easy two hour walk from Goodwill Bridge to New Farm – or do it in reverse and stop when you get to Eagle Street, famous for its restaurants!
The Botanic Gardens walk is one of my faves, and is a great place to take children, or to work up an appetite for a casual lunch in the café.
However to get a proper taste of nature you’ll need to head out of the city a little; there’s plenty of choice, although for some you will need a car. Others like Enoggera Creek can be accessed by bus.
To the north, Walk 12, the Raven Street Reserve (see related link below) will take you to see some of Brisbane’s famed grass trees (Xanthorrea johnsonii) and you can see mangroves, migratory birds and views towards one of Queensland’s newer wine regions, the D’Aguilar Ranges, on the Tinchi Tamba Wetlands walk.
Heading south of the city takes you into koala country, and if you don't see one sleeping in a tree along the Daisy Hill Conservation Route, you certainly will when you get to the Koala Centre.
You can also walk from Fairfield to the University of Queensland, taking in some rainforest gardens and the Eleanor Schonell Bridge, which is roofed with solar panels and only takes pedestrians, cyclists and buses. Finish this walk with a swim at the UQ Aquatic Centre (which is heated).
There are more koala bushlands to the east, especially down towards Mt Cotton which is en route to the near-urban winery of Sirromet, a must on every wine-lovers’ Brisbane itinerary.
Sirromet grapes are grown in the cooler-climate area of the Granite Belt near Stanthorpe, which gets mighty frosty and even has occasional snow in winter. Their cellar door and especially Lurleen’s Restaurant are excellent. You may be very pleasantly surprised by the every-increasing quality of their wines.
En route back towards the city, you can stop for a walk to some lovely coffee-cum-bookstores at Bulimba. Another of my favourites is along the Norman Creek to Stones Corner, where you can see lots of birdlife and a flying fox colony.
To the west, another river walk is from the city to Toowong, or vice versa, which is also a busy cycle track. My preference though is the bush up to Mt Coot-tha, which has many walking trails including an Aboriginal Art Trail, plus a café and the Summit Restaurant with spectacular views.
Again near the inner city, if you’re into antiques, trendy food stores, historic buildings and interesting boutiques, a stroll around the hills of Paddington and its cafés might be just what you enjoy.
If it’s summer you might want to head south-east to the coast to catch a few sea breezes bayside, at Manly, Wynnum and Redcliffe. Even better, head over to Straddie, the local’s affectionate name for Stradbroke Island. There are even tips for whale watching. I wish this guide had been around when I went there!
Whatever direction you’re heading, you’re sure to discover something new about Queensland’s growing capital city – and find a break for the increasingly hectic traffic and pace of life – with Brisbane’s Best Bush, Bay & City Walks.
Brisbane’s Best Bush, Bay & City Walks by Dianne McLay is published by Woodslane Press (Warriewood NSW, 2nd ed 2012; sc 18 pp) and retails in Australia for RRP A$29.95
It is also available for purchase online via Booko.com here »
- Brisbane and Scenic Rim (including Mt Cotton) (QLD)
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