Independent and FREE - 2021 Best Online Publication

Take a hike: your guide to exploring the region’s best trails

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

Take a hike: your guide to exploring the region’s best trails


Take a hike: your guide to exploring the region's most amazing trails

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From stunning coastal walks and lush hinterland trails to challenging summit hikes for adrenaline junkies, the Sunshine Coast is bursting with opportunities to put on your walking boots and explore.

The region has 39,835 hectares of national parks, state forests and reserves, so there is bound to be a walk for everyone, no matter your age or fitness level.

With stunning waterfalls, secret swimming holes and jaw-dropping views, plus family and dog-friendly trails, there is so much to discover.

With the weather ideal for being outdoors, we have compiled a helpful guide to inspire you to create your own perfect day out.

Sunset at the summit of Mount Ngungun, amid the Glass House Mountains. Picture: Visit Sunshine Coast.

Glass House Mountains

If you’re fit and looking for a challenge, head to one of the 11 Glass House Mountains peaks.

Did you know the mountains are remnants of volcanic activity that occurred about 27 million years ago?

Stroll the 4.1km base walk around Mount Tibrogargan or the 5.7km Trachyte circuit.

Those seeking an adrenaline rush and epic view can tackle one of four summit walks. You’ll need a good level of fitness and be comfortable rock scrambling.

The popular Mount Ngungun summit walking track is a 2.8km trail and will take you about 40 minutes to reach the top.

For more experienced walkers, the Yul-yan-man track, meaning ‘walk slowly’ in the Kabi Kabi language, is a tricky four-hour trek full of breathtaking views.

Kondalilla National Park has many trails in the rainforest. Picture: Visit Sunshine Coast.

Do go chasing waterfalls

The region’s national parks are home to incredible waterfalls and many of these hidden gems are a well-earned reward for those up for the trek.

Kondalilla National Park has several treks winding through the rainforest.

Take the 4.7km Kondalilla Falls Circuit, featuring 100 steps, to the base of the falls, or the shorter 1.7km Picnic Creek Circuit to the natural rock pools at the top of the waterfall.

If you prefer a longer walk, take on the 20km Baroon Pocket to Kondalilla Falls trek, which takes about five hours.

For an enchanted walk over suspension bridges, enjoy the 6.2km return walk from Flaxton Mill Road carpark to Baxter Falls.

In Conondale National Park, you’ll find the 3km return Booloumba Falls walk. This will take about two hours and the swimming hole at the end is perfect in those warmer months. Further up the river, hike the 10km trail to the Artist Cascades.

You will need a high-clearance four-wheel drive to get to the start of both these walks.

If you head to Mapleton National Park you can discover the lesser-known Gheerulla Falls and enjoy an easy 2.7km trail.

Dularcha Forest Tunnel. Picture:

Forest floor

For the adventurous types looking for somewhere even most locals don’t know about, check out the Dularcha Forest Tunnel walk between Landsborough and Mooloolah.

Completed in 1891, the tunnel is one of two tunnels built on the original railway line between Brisbane and Gympie.

Take either a 500m or 2km walk from Landsborough or a 900m walk from Mooloolah.

Deep within Conondale National Park, discover artwork by famous British artist Andy Goldsworthy on the Strangler Cairn walk.

You’ll need a four-wheel-drive to reach the track’s starting point, however, you can add an extra three kilometres to your walk if you only have a two-wheel-drive.

For dog lovers, take the Fig Tree Walk in the Imbil State Forest near Kenilworth.

It’s a family-friendly walk that takes around 20 minutes.

There are also some great trails in the Tewantin, Eumundi and Parklands conservation parks.

Noosa National Park has several trails, including some along the coastline. Picture: Shutterstock.

Coastal cruise

Those looking for a relaxing but spectacular walk can enjoy a range of coastal trails and pathways.

Take on part of The Sunshine Coast Coastal Pathway, which is 73km long and stretches from Bells Creek in the south to Coolum in the north.

The generally busy Noosa National Park up to Hell’s Gates is also great for families, hugging the headland between Noosa and Sunshine Beach.

Mt Coolum is probably the most well-known walk on the Sunshine Coast. Picture: Visit Sunshine Coast.

Mountain time

The popular Mount Coolum is a great place to start for first-time mountain climbers.

The 1.6km climb takes you 208m above sea level and will take about 90 minutes return.

Another beautiful climb is Mount Cooroora in Tuchekoi National Park.

Nestled in the township of Pomona, this 1.8km climb is great fun for those with a good level of fitness and willing to rock scramble.

Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk

If you really want to tick off a major bucket list item, try the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk.

The 58.8km walk is not for the faint-hearted and will take four days to complete as you travel through the Maleny and Mapleton Plateau, the Blackall Range, Bunya Pines and Kondalilla and Mapleton national parks.

Hiking the Falls Circuit at Kondalilla. Picture: Visit Sunshine Coast.

Safety tips

  • Before you go on any walk ensure you have the correct footwear, a water bottle, adequate sun safety and a mobile phone or beacon in case of emergencies.
  • Consider walking with a friend or group, especially if you are attempting a more challenging climb and avoid walking at dawn and dusk or soon after rain.
  • Always stay on designated tracks and know your fitness level and experience.
  • Make sure to do your research before you set off to ensure it is the right walk for you.

We also wish to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of this area, the Kabi Kabi People, and respect the spiritual significance of these sites.

For the latest safety information on walking tracks and national parks in the region, visit Parks and Forests.