Mt Coot-tha Reserve (Mt Coot-tha Forest)
Mt Coot-tha Reserve (also known as Mt Coot-tha Forest) is a 15-minute drive west of the Brisbane Central Business District (CBD). Mt Coot-tha is a Brisbane icon forming a backdrop for the city and is Brisbane City Council's largest natural area. It contains more than 1600 hectares of open eucalypt forest, rainforest gullies and creek lines. Mt Coot-tha Reserve adjoins the south-eastern section of D'Aguilar National Park. These two natural areas include up to 40,000 hectares of forest and feature spectacular views, seasonal creeks and waterfalls.
Access to Mt Coot-tha Reserve 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.
Mt Coot-tha Reserve offers a variety of walking tracks (for pedestrian use only), mountain bike trails (suitable for off-road cycling only) and some horse riding trails.
Important notice about tracks
- Always check the track map before visiting Council’s reserves.
- Only use authorised tracks.
- Be aware that some unauthorised tracks have been made by unknown persons. Some of these unauthorised tracks are marked by counterfeit signs designed to deceive and look like official Council signage.
Ensure you use the designated tracks and give way to others on the trail. Find out more about mountain bike riding on Mt Coot-tha.
Some sections are closed on occasion for fire management or maintenance purposes. For your safety, follow signage or Council officer directions.
The Spotted Gum Trail can be accessed via Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha. The gates from the Australian Plant Communities garden into the Mt Coot-tha Reserve (where the trail is located) are open from 8am-4pm daily. View the botanic gardens visitor wayfinding guide.
- Dogs are not permitted in Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha (except for guide and assistance dogs).
- Gates close to vehicles within the gardens on weekends, public holidays and from 4pm weekdays.
Visitors to the reserve have access to picnic facilities, barbecues and toilets throughout the forest. From the Mt Coot-tha Lookout at Sir Samuel Griffith Drive, you can enjoy views of the city, Moreton Bay, Stradbroke Island and southern ranges. The lookout has a restaurant, cafe and gift shop.
Mt Coot-tha Reserve 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 accessed from Sir Samuel Griffith Drive include:
- 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)
- J.C. Slaughter Falls picnic area (all abilities toilet facilities available).
The picnic area accessed from Gap Creek Road is the Gap Creek Reserve. An all abilities toilet facilities available.
Flora and fauna
Approximately 370 wildlife species and 450 native plant species live in Mt Coot-tha Reserve, including a number of rare and threatened species.
The vegetation of Mt Coot-tha is primarily open eucalypt forest. Some recorded plant species are rare or significant, including the Richmond birdwing vine (Pararistolochia praevenosa). Various wildflowers appear following good rain and warm weather.
Animals in the area include:
- goshawks, kites and eagles
- wrens, robins and other small forest birds
- parrots and cockatoos
- Tawny frogmouths, owls, gliders, possums and microbats
- powerful owls.
The primary weeds in Mt Coot-tha Reserve include lantana (Lantana camara) and exotic grasses and creepers.
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. A lone, large eucalypt was left after clearing the top and the area named 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 became a reserve for a public park and named Mt Coot-tha, a derivation of the Aboriginal word 'kuta' meaning honey. In 1919 the lands transferred to Brisbane City Council. The park 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 extracted. During the Second World War, the reserve became a military base and served as a mine storage and assembly depot.