Mt Coot-tha Forest
Mt Coot-tha Forest is located a 15 minute drive west of Brisbane's CBD. Mt Coot-tha is a Brisbane icon forming a backdrop for the city and is cherished by the community for its many and varied values. It is Brisbane's largest natural area, with more than 1600 hectares of open eucalypt forest and rainforest gullies and creek lines. Mt Coot-tha Forest adjoins the south-eastern section of D'Aguilar National Park. These two areas of up to 40,000 hectares of forest feature spectacular views, seasonal creeks and waterfalls.
Access and facilities
Access is from Sir Samuel Griffith Drive or Gap Creek Road, Mt Coot-tha. Limited parking is available. For public transport information visit the Translink website or phone 13 12 30.
Visitors to the reserve have access to picnic facilities, barbecues and toilets throughout the nine different picnic areas. From the Mt Coot-tha Lookout, Sir Samuel Griffith Drive, you can enjoy sweeping views of the city, Moreton Bay, Stradbroke Island and the southern ranges. The lookout also has a restaurant, cafe and gift shop.
Things to do
- enjoy the spectacular views
- take a bushwalk
- ride your horse or mountain bike
- have a picnic or barbeque
- visit the nearby Brisbane Botanic gardens and the Planetarium
Mt Coot-tha Forest has nine picnic areas. Access is restricted at J.C. Slaughter Falls and the Simpson Falls picnic areas each night from 7pm to 6am.
Picnic areas include the Gap Creek Reserve picnic area, which is accessed from Gap Creek Road, Mt Coot-tha (all abilities toilet facities available). All of the following picnic areas are accessed from Sir Samuel Griffith Drive, Mt Coot-tha:
- Gold Mine picnic area
- Range View picnic area
- Grey Gum picnic area (all abilities toilet facilities available)
- Brush Box picnic area (toilet facilities available)
- Simpson Falls picnic area (toilet facilities available)
- Silky Oak Picnic area
- Hoop Pine picnic area (all abilities toilet facilities available)
- JC Slaughter Falls picnic area (all abilities toilet facilities available)
Some sections may be closed on occasion for fire management or maintenance purposes. For your safety please follow signage or follow Council officer directions.
Flora and fauna
Approximately 370 wildlife species and 450 native plant species occur in Mt Coot-tha Forest, including a number of rare and threatened species.
The vegetation of Mt Coot-tha is primarily open eucalypt forest. Some plant species recorded are rare or significant, for example the Richmond birdwing vine (Pararistolochia praevenosa). Various wildflowers will appear following good rain and warm weather.
Animals to see:
- goshawks, kites and eagles
- wrens, robins and other small forest birds
- parrots and cockatoos
- tawny frogmouths, owls, gliders, possums and micro-bats
- powerful owls
The primary weeds in Mt Coot-tha Forest include lantana (Lantana camara) and exotic grasses and creepers.
View the Mt Coot-tha Forest photo gallery as a slideshow, or view the photos individually as part of Council's Flickr account.
Before the establishment of the Moreton Bay Penal Colony at Brisbane Town in 1824, the Mt Coot-tha area was home to the Turrbal Aboriginal people. From the early days of the colony, residents travelled to Mt Coot-tha for the views. The top was cleared, leaving a lone, large eucalypt and was renamed One Tree Hill. In 1873 the forests were declared a timber reserve to supply timber for railways.
In 1880 a large part of the mountain was designated a reserve for a public park, and named Mt Coot-tha – a derivation of the Aboriginal word kuta meaning honey. In 1919 the lands were transferred to Brisbane City Council. The park was expanded in 1920 under Mayor William Jolly.
Gold was prospected and mined at Mt Coot-tha intermittently from 1890-1950. The ore quality was very low and only small amounts of gold were extracted. During World War II the reserve became a military base and served as a mine storage and assembly depot.