Review: Mount Coo-Tha Lookout Trail Hike/Track (Brisbane, Australia)

Most outdoor activities are on the bottom of my list of things to do when travelling, especially if they involve some sort of physical exertion or risk. My husband, on the other hand, loves these activities. So if we do engage in outdoor activities, it’s probably either his idea or me balancing out our itinerary to also cater to his preferences.

Out of all the other hikes and trails available, Mount Coo-Tha was chosen because it was located comparatively nearer to the city centre than the rest. Initially, we planned to take the Mahogany Trail up to the Mount Coo-Tha lookout, but I didn’t take note of its starting point and assumed we could easily get to it from Brisbane Botanic Gardens (sigh, the importance of research). Instead, we were advised by a kind and helpful staff member of the Botanic Gardens to take the Citriodora Trail that would eventually link us to the Mahogany Trail.

On our way to the start of the Citriodora Trail, I caught sight of a tiny green snake slithering out of our way and exclaimed in shock, unduly alarming my husband in the process (oops). We then passed by a picturesque lake area that looked perfect for a picnic, but as we were told that the gate to the trail closes at 4pm, we couldn’t spend much time taking photos here. There were water fountains at certain points of the journey, which was great because I only had a half-empty 500ml bottle of water with me (don’t be like me, please bring enough water!).

The picturesque lake area at Mount Coo-Tha Lookout Trail Hike/Track
The picturesque lake area

The trails were generally moderate in terms of difficulty, with some parts easier than others. There were a few steep-ish uphill climbs which required some level of fitness to surmount, but going at my own pace and taking short breaks really helped. The path was sufficiently wide and level, making for a smoother ascend. However, it was quite a warm day, with the sun beating down our backs. We were only offered some respite from the heat with the wind and shade when we walked in the shadows of the trees.

One part of the Mount Coo-Tha Lookout Trail Hike/Track with inclined slopes
One part of the trail with inclined climbs

Many thin and tall trees growing on the side of the trail at Mount Coo-Tha
The view off the side of the trail

Celebrating our completion of the Mount Coo-Tha Lookout Trail Hike/Track
Celebrating our completion of the trail

When we arrived at the lookout, the sun had just started setting and it was refreshingly breezy. We immediately bought ourselves some ice-cold drinks from Kuta Cafe to continue cooling off. After that, we went on to have a lovely dinner at the Summit Restaurant & Bar (check out my review of it here), which we shortlisted as one of the restaurants to try on this trip.

Between certain timings of the day, there is actually a complimentary shuttle bus that brings people to and from the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. Sadly, we didn’t make the timing and had a mini scare of getting stranded at the lookout, with the only way down being walking (or hailing an Uber ride). The waitresses at the restaurant told us that there were no more buses operating at that hour already. Thankfully, when we walked further out onto the road past the restaurants, we saw a public bus that could take us back down to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens (phew!).

The view of the city in the distance from the Mount Coo-Tha Lookout
The view of the city from the lookout

My overall rating of the experience: 3 out of 5 stars. While it was a good feeling being able to make it up to the lookout, I thought the view didn’t justify the amount of effort it took us to get there. Also, there weren’t many breath-taking scenes along the way except that lake area, not sure if it was a seasonal thing but many trees were either bare or had browning leaves. There was one huge tree in the distance though that had beautiful red-orange leaves but it was too far out for me to get a decent shot of it. What was good about the experience was enjoying something not so readily available in the city: fresh air. And of course, not forgetting the nice staff who took time out to advise us thoroughly on the trails and how to take care of ourselves out there (:

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