Top things to do at Mt Coot-tha

There’s so much to see and do at Brisbane's Mt Coot-tha precinct, but you might be surprised at just how much there is once you scratch the surface! Not only is it one of the best places for a Brisbane bushwalk, get loud at a music workshop, learn about space at the Planetarium, or simply marvel at plants from across the globe in the botanic gardens. Here are our top picks for exploring the mountain!

Horse riding and dog-friendly trails

You’ve heard of bushwalking, hiking or mountain biking the tracks at Mt Coot-tha Reserve, but did you know you can live out your Saddle Club fantasies and take the mountain on horseback for a different perspective? Bring your own (BYO) horse, of course! Check out the Mt Coot-tha Forest track map for information about where to access more than 25 horse-friendly trails.

Mt Coot-tha is dog-friendly, so your best friend can tag along with you on the walking trails. Remember to keep them on a lead and clean up after them. BYO dog water bowl — there are plenty of picnic spots with water bubblers along the way.

Mahogany Track

Tip: If you're heading to the summit, choose the Summit Track (1.9 kilometres) or the Mahogany Track (2.6 kilometres), which both begin at J. C. Slaughter Falls. The new Spotted Gum Trail begins in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha, but be aware that dogs are not permitted inside the gardens.

Guided tours

If you enjoy walking and would like to learn something along the way, book one of the free guided discovery tours. Head on a gentle journey through the botanic gardens led by one of the friendly volunteers.


If you’re after an out-of-this-world experience, a screening at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium is what you need. With a state-of-the-art, six projector system ready to launch you through the stratosphere, the shows will leave you starry-eyed and amazed! Or, why not a bit more hands-on by taking your own photos of the nightscape from the Mt Coot-tha Lookout? Make a day of it by packing a picnic, or leave the cooking to the Botanic Gardens Cafe or The Summit Cafe Cafe.

Cosmic Skydome

Workshops and art studio

Regardless of age or ability, there’s no muse like nature to spark your creativity. Enjoy the great outdoors at a kids music beat session with your little ones at Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha. Brought to you by our Active and Healthy program, sessions are designed to encourage learning and growing through musical play.

Fancy yourself as the next Picasso? You can host your own art exhibition in Mt Coot-tha’s Richard Randall Art Studio and show off your skills. 

Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha

Have you ever realised that plants are so much more diverse than we often think? Whether you fancy yourself a bit of a green thumb, or are curious to learn about gardening, Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha is more than just your regular suburban green space and is the hub of all things horticulture! It’s home to thousands of species of plants from across the world and offers various displays including the Tropical Dome, Bonsai and Fern Houses, the Fragrant Garden, the Japanese Garden, and an Arid Region (and don’t forget the Hide ‘n’ Seek Trail for the kids).

Japanese Garden

Mt Coot-tha Lookout

Mt Coot-tha Lookout is by far the best way to look over Brisbane, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the city and beyond to Moreton Bay. Reward yourself with sweeping views after your trail walk, or simply drive to the summit.

Certainly a must-visit destination for tourists, the lookout is also a special location for get-togethers with friends, date nights and families. You can BYO picnic, or The Summit Cafe is open for takeaways and limited dining. The Summit Restaurant is currently closed for refurbishment and due to reopen for fine dining and events in mid-2021.

Tip - Head to the lookout at night for spectacular stargazing and views of the illuminated city skyline.

Getting to and around Mt Coot-tha

Mt Coot-tha is just seven kilometres from the Brisbane Central Business District. Leave the car at home and catch the 471 bus on Adelaide Street (stop 34 or 41). Hop off at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha (stop 19) for the Visitor Information Centre, or continue on to Mt Coot-tha Lookout.

Related links


This blog was originally published in May 2019 and was updated and republished in December 2020.

Date posted:
Last updated: 16 August 2021
Topics: things to do