Walk the bushland trails, and see the rugged volcanic landscape come to life in this breathtakingly beautiful nature reserve on the Australian Sunshine Coast.
For most people of the time, the glass furnace chimneys of 18th-century Yorkshire might have seemed a world away from the rock formations of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. However, they were similar enough in the eyes of Captain James Cook for him to bestow the name Glasshouse Mountains on the volcanic peaks at the centre of this wonderful national park. Formed from the interiors of 26-million-year-old volcanoes, these unique formations have long been a sacred place for the native Aboriginal people in the region. In fact, there are protected sites to this day where spiritual ceremonies still take place.
The park takes in the twelve jagged mountains as well as the flat surrounding plains that include forested foothill reserves, small village roads and over 170 species of birds. It is a major tourist attraction and people come not only to tramp the many trails but also to take horse-back tours, avail of the wonderful rock climbing and abseiling opportunities, or simply to enjoy a picnic with a special view.
The lookout in the Beerburrum State Forest is a popular place to start a tour of the park with great views of the landscape, and many people follow this up with a picnic at Coochin Creek just down the road. The visitor and interpretive centre in the Glasshouse Mountains Township is the best place to go for information on the many trails and activities available. If you’re looking for an easy afternoon stroll, the 1.4-kilometre Western Boundary Walk on Mount Beerwah – the highest of the peaks at 555 metres – is a great choice.
Mount Tibrogargan offers a wider variety of trails including an ascent of the 364-metre summit. The reward for this climb is stunning views of the Sunshine Coast. The peak also provides steeper challenges for more experienced climbers with the requisite gear, while the Mountain View platform offers great views without the hard work. Another popular trail is the three-hour round trip across to Mount Tibberoowucum known as the Trachyte circuit.
These unique mountains and park are 70 kilometres north of Brisbane by car, but be aware that not all the roads on the way are properly surfaced. There are basic barbecue and bush toilet facilities available but no bins so be sure to take all your rubbish home to avoid a hefty fine. Essentials for any tramping trip include water, sun protection, an emergency mobile phone and appropriate footwear. Also, make sure you stick to the marked paths and never climb when it’s wet. Check the Queensland National Parks website before you go as trails are sometimes closed due to rockfalls.