Mar­vel­lous Mt Coot-tha

Where Gold Coast - - Welcome - By Kerry Heaney

AT 287 ME­TRES above sea level, Mt Coot-tha might be lit­tle more than a large hill, but it’s the best place to see Bris­bane, from the suburbs to the ocean.

Reach Mt Coot-tha Look­out by driv­ing from the in­ner city on Mil­ton Road and the wind­ing Sir Sa­muel Grif­fith Drive. From the view­ing plat­form, you’ll see why peo­ple have been head­ing up the moun­tain to en­joy the panorama both day and night for more than 180 years.

At the look­out, take in the view with a cof­fee or snack from Kuta Café or in­dulge with fine din­ing at the Sum­mit Restau­rant.

The Sum­mit Restau­rant build­ing was re­de­vel­oped in the 1980s in­cor­po­rat­ing the sec­ond Fed­er­a­tion-style kiosk built in 1918. Today, the Sum­mit Restau­rant is an award-win­ning venue with a menu that fo­cuses on qual­ity Queens­land pro­duce, and stun­ning vis­tas.

Mt Coot-tha has many dif­fer­ent pic­nic spots lo­cated along the road, but J.C. Slaugh­ter Falls at the base of the moun­tain is one of the most pop­u­lar. Along with plenty of bar­be­cues and pic­nic ta­bles, it has a bur­bling creek me­an­der­ing through the mid­dle.

Mined for gold be­tween 1890 and 1950, dur­ing the war years Mt Coot-tha was a mil­i­tary base and ex­plo­sives de­pot. You’ll find re­minders of this his­tory on the walk­ing trails that criss-cross the slopes. The western side is pop­u­lar with moun­tain bike rid­ers while those walk­ing tracks are a train­ing ground for ad­ven­tur­ers.

At the base of the moun­tain is the Bris­bane Botanic Gar­dens, 52 hectares of land­scaped sub­trop­i­cal green­ery, open ev­ery day from 8am to 5pm. En­try is free and there are also free guided walks Mon­day through Satur­day at 11am and 1pm which leave from the In­for­ma­tion Desk.

A good place to re­lax with re­fresh­ments is the Botan­i­cal Café. Open daily from 9am to 4pm on week­days and 8am to 5pm on week­ends, it’s lo­cated near an en­trance to the gar­dens and has a cov­ered deck over­look­ing a pic­turesque lake.

As you stroll along the wind­ing gar­den paths, you’ll dis­cover a Japanese Gar­den, Bon­sai House, Fern House, ar­eas of ex­otic rain­for­est, a la­goon and bam­boo grove and ded­i­cated ac­tiv­i­ties for chil­dren.

The Sir Thomas Bris­bane Plan­e­tar­ium was named af­ter the Gov­er­nor of the New South Wales colony who ar­rived in 1821 and charted an un­known south­ern sky. The cen­tre’s op­ti­cal star pro­jec­tor cre­ates a replica night sky, and reg­u­lar shows are a fea­ture.

Mt Coot-tha is a 20-minute drive by car from Bris­bane’s CBD and can also be ac­cessed by bus.

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