Springtime in Australia is simply splendid. While much of the world is beset by chilly winds and trees shedding their flame-colored leaves, that magical period between September and November only means lush green trees and pleasantly cool weather for the citizens of Down Under.
Should you be in Oz at this time, you’ll want to be anywhere except inside the house or office. With the country’s abundance of parks, forests, and well, forest parks, the only question should be, “Which park should you visit today?”
Brisbane Forest Park would be a great choice. Just twenty minutes away from Brisbane’s Central Business District (CBD), it spans about 28,500 hectares of pristine, picturesque bushland that’s open to the public. While this lush, leafy park is on the southern park of the D’Aguilar National Park, it’s still largely an undiscovered gem, even among locals. Apparently, some of the lovely walking trails here are rather steep and thus discouraging to all but the most experienced hikers.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be Lara Croft to enjoy a day out in this park as there’s a lot more to it than the two bush tracks it’s famed for, and these include:
1. Scenic Drives
Not a fan of physical exercise? Why not take the car out for a nice, leisurely drive around Brisbane Forest Park’s many scenic routes?
There are about three especially lovely driving routes in this park, and they all give you a stunning perspective on Brisbane’s countryside in the springtime. Choose from Westbridge Outlook, Samford (which leads up to the mountain village on Mount Glorious), and Mount Nebo Road, which hosts what is arguably the most panoramic view to be had in these parts.
2. Park Walks
If a leisurely stroll in the brisk spring air is what you crave, you can try the Morelia Track. It’s a mostly well-defined and gently sloping path that will lead you through a fragrant eucalyptus forest and groves of quaint cabbage tree palms that provide welcome shade with their huge, fan-shaped leaves.
3. Picnic Areas
Because Brisbane Forest Park is so huge (you’ll need a car to get around the entire place), you’re bound to work up an appetite after a morning or afternoon spent walking or driving around the place. Don’t forget to pack some seasoned meat slabs for grilling as many of the picnic areas listed below happen to be equipped with wood barbecues for visitors’ use:
a.) Jolly’s Lookout
This picnic area also happens to be the oldest formal lookout in the park, and yes, it’s equipped with a wood barbecue for all your grilling needs.
b.) Bellbird Grove
Located between Walkabout Creek and several walking tracks, this picnic area is a great place to rest and refuel before you continue exploring the rest of the park.
c.) Maiala Recreation Area
This area is the best-equipped picnic hub in the park, with toilets, tables, a wood barbecue (!), and a water supply (which you need to treat before drinking). It’s also about 1 km north of Mount Glorious, so you’re assured a stunning view when you sit down for a rustic meal.
d.) Wivenhoe Outlook
If the lunch hour finds you on the viewing platform at Wivenhoe Outlook, you can simply take a short walk on over here to use the picnic facilities and the toilets.
4. Walkabout Creek Wildlife Reserve
Brisbane Forest Park is probably the only one of its kind to have a built-in wildlife centre. This huge freshwater environment is a sanctuary for various creatures like green tree frogs, turtles, lizards, pythons, water dragons, and tiny rainbow fish. You can even have a close encounter with the creek’s resident platypus or its remarkable lungfish: a unique specimen with both lungs and gills.
Brisbane Forest Park is located at 60 Mt. Nebo Road, The Gap, Queensland 4061. It’s open everyday from 9 am to 4:30 pm.