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.

The personal safety of Brisbane residents and visitors is our top priority. Due to coronavirus, some of our events, facilities, services and venues have been impacted. 

At this time, our bushland reserves remain accessible and open to the public for exercise. Protect yourself and others by practicing social distancing in our parks and bushland reserves and complying with public gathering requirements for non-essential gatherings.

Check our Coronavirus: Council updates and impacts page for latest updates, cancelled events and venue closures. 

Walking track information and track map

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.

Track closure

The Kokoda Track will be closed for routine maintenance and track upgrade works from late March until late May 2020. The duration of the closure is dependent on weather conditions during this timeframe.

Download the Mt Coot-tha track map in your preferred format to see forest boundary, track locations, grading and track length:

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.

Special features

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 views the city, Moreton Bay, Stradbroke Island and southern ranges. The lookout has a restaurant, cafe and gift shop.

Picnic areas

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. 

Photo gallery

View the Mt Coot-tha Reserve photo gallery as a slideshow, or view the photos individually as part of Council's Flickr account.

Mt Coot-tha Reserve


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.

Last updated:14 May 2020
Topics: mt coot-tha