Incredible Hikes Around Toowoomba

get out and about in this beautiful region

Bushwalks & Beers (1 of 6).jpg
 

Man, this region is so beautiful, don’t you think?

There’s so much diversity and scenery in the Darling Downs – from rainforests to bushland – and so we rounded up the best natural excursions to see more of it (with a bit of help from our friends at Happy Hikers, who are the local experts).

The following hikes accommodate anyone who loves a proper walk. We’ve focused here on trails that take at least an hour, and require a bit of sweat to get through. Remember to wear protective shoes, wear sunscreen and bring water (and snacks, obvi). Bring some friends or go alone, but make sure you add a couple of these to your calendar.

(Also, it’s important to note that none of these hikes are dog-friendly. While some – such as the national parks – specifically ban dogs, most of these areas are nature reserves and habitats, so it’s asked that no domestic animals come along. It’s 2019 – take your dog to a café instead.)

 
 

 
 

Redwood Park

This massive 243 hectare park down by Prince Henry Drive has amazing views, and a few advanced hiking trails. Try the Redwood Forest Walk, which is 90 minutes. It’s a steep one, and meets the Grass Tree Track, which you can use to get back to your starting point (or a completely different point, if you want that, for some reason). The trail ends at a picnic area.

It’s best to take a map with you – or better still, go with someone who knows the tracks. Redwood is not very well sign-posted.

Walking Time: 3 hours
Classification: Grade 4 (steep and rough in some sections)

Picnic Point Parklands

The Picnic Point Circuit varies in approximately 160m in altitude throughout – you’re basically walking up and down the range. But while it’s not an easy walk, it’s well trodden and signposted. Start in the morning and finish with a big breakfast at the local café, or, even better, finish late afternoon and celebrate with a cold beer.

Walking Time: 2 hours
Classification: Grade 3

Ravensbourne National Park

Being a rainforest, Ravensbourne National Park always feels beautifully cool. The Buaraba Creek Track goes through some of this beautiful rainforest, and then a eucalypts forest, before ending by the Buaraba Creek. You can add extra time to this walk by completing some of the circuits as well.

Make sure you check out the Gus Beutel lookout while you’re in the vicinity. In fact, why not add a hike to our Crows Nest day trip itinerary?

Walking Time: 2 hours
Classification: Grade 4
Check for park alerts here.

Table Top Mountain

Table Top rises 700m above sea level, and has 360˚ views of the surrounding region. It’s a highly significant site to its traditional custodians, and is recognised in the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Register and protected under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003. Watching the sun rise from Table Top Mountain is one of our local treasures.

But guys, it’s hard. If you’re expecting just a walk, you’ll be (un)pleasantly surprised. There’s rocks to climb down, and loose gravel to scramble up. And it’s not maintained, so just use your best judgment. Make sure you do the circuit at the top to see all parts of the view.

Walking Time: 2 hours
Classification: Grade 5 (which means ‘not for kids’, but you’ll see many kids climb Table Top, the majority of whom will outpace you)

Lake Cressbrook, Crows Nest

Lake Cressbrook was created in the ‘80s as part of Toowoomba’s water supply. It’s very picturesque, with a picnic shelter, camping facilities, a boat ramp and a BBQ area. Drive north towards Hampton, and maybe sneak in lunch at Emeraude afterwards…

Walking Time: 2.5 hours
Classification: Grade 3
Check for alerts here.

Crows Nest National Park

You can choose between the Kauyoo Loop and the Koonin Lookout walk, but we suggest putting them together and doing the lot. The waterhole has been closed down in the last couple of years due to falling rocks, but it’s still a beautiful walk. You can still access Kauyoo and Bottlebrush Pools, both of which are refreshing swims. Just be conscious that there’s often creek flooding after heavy rain.

The Koonin Lookout is worth the extra walking time, with its stunning outlook over Ravensbourne’s rolling hills.

Walking Time: 1.5 hours
Classification: Most is Grade 3, but the Kauyoo Loop includes a Grade 4 section of steep crevices and slippery rocks.
Check for park alerts here.

Cranley Escarpment

This bushland reserve on the north-west outskirts of town covers almost 45 hectares. There’s over 3,000m of walking trails here, and you can really choose your own adventure with all the interconnected loops. There’s no designated picnic area though, so if you bring some food, make sure you also bring your own rubbish bag to take home with you.

Take a map with you, as there are no signs once you’re there (it’s quite a new spot). The trails themselves are nice and easy with wide open tracks.

Walking Time: between 90 minutes and 2.5 hours
Classification: Grade 3 (some steepness)

Glen Lomond Park

Perhaps because it’s a shared area (for horses, bikes and hikers) or perhaps because one of the tracks is called “Hell Hole Track”, the Glen Lomond Park trails in Middle Ridge are not very well loved. But we’re here to change that, because the Hell Hole Track, combined with the Falls Walk, has a beautiful view of the range, including Table Top Mountain. The track would be impossible to follow, but some considerate person has marked the trees with pink marking tape to guide your way.

Walking Time: 1.5 hours
Classification: Grade 4 (rough track, and very steep in some sections)

Jubilee Park

Located in Mount Lofty, this is one of Toowoomba’s biggest parks, and is very popular with mountain bikers, horse riders, runners and hikers. We’d recommend the full Jubilee Bridle Trail, which takes three hours to walk, or the Acacia Trail, which is a loop that takes about an hour. Both have access to toilets and picnic tables, which makes them a bit more weekend friendly. If you’re training for a multi-day walk, Jubilee is a good place to start, as there’s plenty of hills to get your blood pumping!

Walking Time: 1-3 hours
Classification: Grade 4

Lake Cooby, Meringandan

Lake Cooby provides the water supply for Toowoomba, but it’s also a picturesque picnic spot with a playground and BBQ facilities. Start at either Loveday Cove or the Cooby Dam Wall, and walk to the other side for lunch. Loveday Cove is definitely the more beautiful outlook, so we recommend parking at Cooby Dam Wall, and enjoying a picnic at the cove.

Lake Cooby is home to the Darling Downs Sailing Club, and we bet you didn’t know we had one of those.

Walking Time: 90 minutes return
Classification: Grade 4 (it’s mainly easy with one moderate climb in the middle)
Check for alerts here.

Mount Peel Bushland Park

For a short hiking option, try the Ironbark Walking Circuit at Mount Peel. Just past the uni, this large park is full of more than 4,000m of trails (none of which are signposted). The Ironbark is a loop, which makes it a good option for a brisk morning walk before breakfast in town.

Walking Time: 45 minutes
Classification: Grade 4

So, clear your schedule and start exploring your own backyard. And why not join the Happy Hikers group on Facebook to meet some fellow outdoor enthusiasts?

 

coming up...


Phoebe Tully