Brisbane – the capital of Queensland – is an awesome city and it’s one we really haven’t spent enough time exploring. We have often visited the area around Southbank, especially when the kids were little as there is lots to see and do there. I have also been on a Brisbane Greeters tour which was an awesome way to learn a bit more about the history of the city.
But just recently we decided to go exploring the Mt Coo-tha area and found lots to do between, the Botanic Gardens, walking trails and lookout.
The area known as Mt Coo-tha is located about 10 kilometres west of the Brisbane CBD. It is much easier to access the area by car, rather than public transport.
MT COO-THA BOTANIC GARDENS
Brisbane is lucky enough to have two botanic gardens – one in the CBD and the other at Mt Coo-tha. The Mt Coo-tha Botanic Gardens were officially opened in 1976. They cover an area of 56 hectares and feature over 20,000 plants.
The gardens are divided into different sections and feature walking tracks, lawns and lakes. You are also able to drive around the perimeter. Walking around the gardens is an absolute pleasure. There are so many shady spots to relax and enjoy the surprisingly peaceful surrounds.
The garden features an Australian Rainforest section, a Hide ‘n’ Seek Children’s trail and surprisingly an Arid Region Plants area with plants like Cacti and Bromeliads growing happily in what is not a dry climate. There is also a huge glass house that has a variety of tropical plants growing in it. On a mild winter’s day, it was very humid inside so couldn’t imagine what it would be like in the middle of summer!
There are also plenty of spots where the kids can run around or where you can enjoy a family picnic. There is also a lovely cafe at the front of the gardens which is open 7 days a week.
Free guided walks are also available on most days at 11am or 1pm. It’s a wonderful place to go when exploring Mt Coo-tha.
SIR THOMAS BRISBANE PLANETARIUM
Adjacent to the Mt Coo-tha Botanic Gardens you will find the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium. Established when the gardens opened in 1976 it is home to a 12.5 metre projection dome. There are a variety of shows catering for a range of ages run daily. The Planetarium is also open on Friday and Saturday nights. A family pass for the shows will cost $44.00.
There is also a free display zone featuring information about our solar system.
More information about visiting the Planetarium can be found on their website.
MT COO-THA FOREST
Walking trails, mountain bike trails and horse riding trails abound in Mt Coo-tha Forest. There are several spots where you can start from, including inside the Botanic Gardens. The trails range from easy to hard. Many are shared trails but some are just for walking or biking. They also range in distance from a few hundred metres to almost three kilometres.
There are also some lovely water falls in the area as well and plenty of places for picnics.
MT COO-THA LOOKOUT
No visit to Mt Coo-tha is complete without heading up to the Mt Coo-tha Lookout. The views of the Brisbane CBD and even the sand hills of Moreton Island are nothing short of spectacular. It is a busy spot, even on a weekday, but well worth the effort.
You can also enjoy a meal at Mt Coo-tha either at the Kuta Cafe or Summit Restaurant. The Summit offers fine dining from lunch through to dinner. Kuta Cafe has a casual and relaxed atmosphere and is open from 8am to 10pm daily.
Cold drinks and ice creams are also available at Kuta Cafe. And of course you get to see this amazing view!
If you are visiting Brisbane and looking for a low-cost day out, we highly recommend you spend a day or two exploring Mt Coo-tha.