There’s 50km of bushwalking and mountain-biking trails which wind their way around Mount Coot-tha, on the western edge of Brisbane. I’m doing a loop through the central part of Mt Coot-tha Reserve, combining fire trails, signposted bushwalking trails and a few informal tracks.
There are a few different spots where you could start this loop; I take the Stringybark Track from Sir Samuel Griffith Drive, where there’s a small parking area. The wide track descends through tall forest towards West Ithaca Creek.
There’s a few glimpses of the Brisbane city skyline through the trees, but otherwise there’s not a lot to see along this section of track.
The Stringybark Track meets the Eugenia Circuit at the bottom of the valley, near a viewing platform over West Ithaca Creek and the Simpson Falls.
The Simpson Falls is more of a trickle, as the creeks flows over a steep rock face into a pool below. Definitely a waterfall you’d want to visit after decent rain.
The Eugenia Circuit track (a bushwalking trail) follows the West Ithaca Creek upstream, crossing it once over another steel bridge. This is a pleasant walk, with occasional views of the creek.
After about 1.3km the Eugenia Circuit track joins the Powerful Owl Trail, which is partly paved and partly a service trail.
Following East Ithaca Creek
I’m only on the Eugenia Circuit / Powerful Owl Trail for a couple of hundred metres. The Eugenia Circuit heads north (looping back to Simpson Falls) and the Powerful Owl Trail continues straight ahead, I turn left down an unsingposted bushwalking track. The track descends quite steeply down to East Ithaca Creek; it’s one of the nicer sections of this Mt Coot-tha Reserve loop walk.
The track generally descends along East Ithaca Creek, although it undulates a little as it crosses a side-gully. It’s a good track, despite not appearing on the official Mt Coot-tha Reserve map, and is another enjoyable section of the loop walk (being un-signposted means there is no-one else around).
At the he end of the trail is the J.C. Slaughter Falls, another almost dry waterfall with a timber viewing platform.
I’m not at the further point of my loop walk; from just above the waterfall I pick up another unofficial track which climbs steeply up to the ridge above East Ithaca Creek.
Powerful Owl Trail
At the top of the ridge, the informal track briefly follows the Pinnacle Track, before meeting the Powerful Owl Trail. Although one of the most well known tracks in the Mt Coot-tha Reserve, the Powerful Owl Trail (which crosses the reserve) is a fairly boring fire trail if you’re walking.
I’m glad to turn onto the Eugenia Circuit Trail, leaving wide fire trail behind as I complete the second half of the Eugenia Circuit.
This takes me back to West Ithaca Creek and Simpson Falls to complete my Mount Coot-tha Reserve loop; the Stringybark Track then takes me back to the car to comple. There’s lots of other bushwalks you can do in the Mount Coot-tha Reserve – but although this isn’t the most exciting walk, it avoids many of the busiest trails and visits both waterfalls in the reserve.
Getting to Mount Coot-tha Reserve
Mt Coot-tha Reserve (also known as Mt Coot-tha Forest) is a 15-minute drive west of the Brisbane Central Business District (CBD). Sir Samuel Griffith Drive makes a wide loop though the reserve, and provides access to most of the trailheads. For the best views, at the top of the hill (and accessible by car) is a large lookout platform, with offers a panoramic vista over Brisbane.
More information on Mount Coot-tha Reserve
Mt Coot-tha became a reserve in 1880, when a large part of the mountain was proclaimed as a public park. The reserve was transferred to Brisbane City Council in 1919, and expanded in 1920. Before European occupation, the Mt Coot-tha area was home to the Turrbal Aboriginal people and the term “Coot-tha” is a derivation of the Aboriginal word ‘kuta’, which means honey.