Mt. Coot-tha Reserve is to Brisbane what Griffith Park is to Los Angeles. Covering 1,500 hectares at the city’s edge, the reserve encompasses the manicured Brisbane Botanical Gardens and long networks of dusty hiking trails through natural bushland. When I last visited, I managed to cover only half of the gardens before exhausting myself, and somehow dragged myself up to the lookout point at the end. It wasn’t much different this time; the botanical gardens are just impossible to explore in one day, especially in Brisbane’s summer heat. Here’s some tips for your trip:
- Bring water bottles: there are taps scattered around the park where you can refill, but few locations (only at the front and at the lookout) where you can buy water
- Bring food or snacks: Like water, food is hard to come by and expensive
- Stop by the front to pick up a map: the guides there can help you decide what you want to see and how to get there.
- Visit the native Australian Plant Communities Sections: it’s a chance to see the diversity of Australian plant life and the forests offer a shaded walk down to the central lake, where you can watch the dragonflies dance around the water’s edge.
- The lookout is worth it: the view of Brisbane stretches for miles, and it’s especially nice in the early morning and late afternoon. You hike from the botanical gardens directly to the lookout via the Citrodora Trail or an un-numbered track that heads north and joins the Mahogany Trail.