If you want to experience your first real taste of Queensland rainforest, Mount Glorious on the outskirts of Brisbane is just within reach.
The slow, chilled pace can get to you. Seriously. For all its lazy, Sunday afternoon vibes and notoriously inefficient public transport, you don’t normally feel stressed when you’re in Brisbane. But when you do, there are plenty of havens close by to explore. Samford, Moreton Island, Stradbroke Island, the Lamington National Park – are all within driving distance (forget finding buses anywhere near them). A favorite haven is Mount Glorious, part of the D’Aguillar Range.
Situated about 30km north west of Brisbane’s CBD, the best route is via the western suburbs. Take Samford Road from Alderley, through Ferny Grove and over the Samford Range before turning left at the first major roundabout when you hit Samford Village. The route is steep and windy, with some spectacular views of the valley below.
If you haven’t taken a picnic (there are excellent barbecue and picnic facilities at the entrance to the national park), stop off for fresh, homemade scones and tea at Cloverlea Cottage. The back verandah catches the morning sun and from it you can see all the way to Moreton Bay.
The Maiala National Park has been our family’s go-to picnic spot since I was about six. The expansive park incorporates a large, open area on the side of the hill with picnic tables, grills and public restrooms. From there, a network of three main trails weaves through lush jungle-like rainforest. In the park area, wildlife abounds. Visitors will see scrub turkeys (with their bright red and yellow comb and jowls), wallabies, bandicoots and even pademelons.
Entering the rainforest path, the ambience is alive with birdsong from whip birds, rifle birds noisy Pitta Pittas and various local parrots. Rustling in the undergrowth you may hear and see Eastern Water Dragons and Southern Angle-Headed Dragons. On the tinier end of the scale, bugs are everywhere. The ones to avoid are the Trapdoor Spiders and Funnelwebs, which are both known to be aggressive and have venom that has the potential to paralyze and kill. Stay on the paths and don’t prod around on the mossy banks alongside the tracks just to be certain.
Almost immediately to the left on the tracks, hidden under decomposing plant matter can be seen the rusted remains of logging equipment. Early settlers to the area logged these forests and the machinery is the last of the milling saws and their boilers. Thankfully Mount Glorious has returned to its original glory. Take the time to breathe in the fresh air, jump over little streams and re-engage with nature because this place truly is a little magical.
Mount Glorious offers gorgeous jungle-like rainforests within easy reach from Brisbane.
30KM from Brisbane, above the Samford Valley
Drive north west through Ferny Grove along Samford Road. Cross the Samford Range and turn left at the first roundabout entering Samford then follow the signs.