Mt. Coot-tha: Brisbane’s nature park

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The view of Brisbane from Mt. Coot-tha lookout

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.
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A dragonfly perches on a twig at the botanical gardens’ artifical reservoir
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Ibises gather on a ridge in the Australian native plants section
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A leafhopper on a bench eyes the camera warily before hopping away.
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A flower blooms at the botanical gardens.