Marvellous Mt Coot-tha
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 Brisbane 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, 56 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.
Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mount Coot-tha. Photo: Kerry Heaney.