There are lots of trails for hiking Sunshine Coast Hinterland that offer nature at its best. Walk past beautiful waterfalls, peer into gorges and rest near rock pools, while enjoying the stunning views and wonderful lookouts along the way. Hiking in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland offers an alternative perspective of the Sunshine Coast (it’s not only beautiful beaches and Australia Zoo) and just another of the wonderful things to do on the Sunshine Coast.
If you are a hiking enthusiast, you will probably already know about the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk which is 58km, and takes approximately 3 to 4 days to complete. However, if you are more like us and prefer a shorter walk, there are several access points available along the way. These will allow you to quite easily do just parts of it, perfect for an hour hike, or as half day, full day or even overnight hikes.
Read on for our favourite hikes, waterfall walks and bush walks the Sunshine Coast Hinterland has to offer.
Did You Know?
- The longest hike in the world is The Great Trail, formerly known as the Trans Canada Trail, which is 14,912 miles (or 24,000km) long and is currently the longest hiking trail in the world.
- The most famous, and considered to be the best, walking trail in the world is Camino de Santiago in Spain.
- The Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea is considered to be the hardest hike in the world.
“To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles.”– Marie Davis –
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Hiking Sunshine Coast Hinterland – Glass House Mountains National Park
The craggy peaks of the Glass House Mountains are so significant that they are listed on the Queensland and National Heritage Register as a landscape of national significance. There are a variety of walking tracks leading through open forests to lookouts with panoramic views of the mountains.
Getting There: The Glass House Mountains National Park is about 70 kilometres, or a one hour dive, north of Brisbane. Approximately 2 kilometres south of Glass House Mountains village, turn off Steve Irwin Way into Barrs Road, which meets the car park entrance at Marshs Road.
Mt Beerburrum Summit Track: 3.5 kilometres return, allow 1.5 hours
This track winds through wet eucalypt forest and after 1 kilometre, the track becomes a very steep, paved pathway which leads to a fire tower featuring breathtaking views.
Mt Ngungun Summit Track: 2.8 kilometres return, allow 2 hours
A heavy open forest trek to begin with is rewarded at the summit with spectacular views of nearby Tibrogargan, Coonowrin and Beerwah peaks. This is a great hike to do at sunrise or sunset to make the most of the 360 degree views and stunning colour-changing skies.
Mt Tibrogargan Circuit: 4.1 kilometres return, allow 1.5 hours
A short walk leads up to the Mountain View lookout with views of Beerwah, Coonowrin, Tibberoowuccum and Tunbubudla. Keep following the walking track as it loops around the base of Mt Tibrogargan. Ideal for families.
Trachyte Circuit: 5.7 kilometres return, allow 2 to 3 hours
For a longer trek, this circuit links Mt Tibrogargan, Mt Tibberoowuccum and the Trachyte Range. Embrace the scribbly gums and open woodland and soak up the spectacular views from the Jack Ferris lookout on Trachyte Ridge. On a clear day, you can even see Caloundra in the far distance.
Hiking Sunshine Coast Hinterland – Mapleton Falls National Park
Walks through Mapleton Falls National Park will take you through Riparian rainforest and open eucalypt forest. Pencil Creek forms Mapleton Falls, plunging 120 metres into the valley below. The rock formations in this area were formed by volcanic activity 25 million years ago.
Getting There: From Obi Obi Road look out for the signposted turnoff to Mapleton Falls National Park. 52 – 74 Mapleton Falls Rd, Mapleton.
Mapleton Falls Lookout: 50 metres return, allow 5 minutes
The lookout is located right beside the car and provides spectacular views over the Obi Obi Valley and the rainforest canopy below.
Wompoo Circuit: 1.3 kilometres return, allow 45 minutes
Heavy with the scent of eucalypts, this track winds through rainforest while the Peregrine Lookout provides amazing views of Mapleton Falls and Obi Obi Valley. We love this walk because interesting and educational information is signposted all along the walking track.
Gheerrulla Falls: 3 kilometres return, allow 2 hours
Getting There: Start at the gate entrance along Delicia Road (not at the Delicia Road trail head – go past until you see a small sign to Gheerulla Falls / Great Walk on your right). There isn’t a designated car parking area so you will need to park just off the road.
This hike is part of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk in the Mapleton National Park but Gheerulla Falls is accessible from quite a few different starting points. You can do this walk as a quick hike or turn it into a longer loop. The walk is very easy and there are rarely others on the track. It is a great water hole to take a dip in the clear cool water and if you are lucky, you can enjoy the peace and seclusion all to yourself.
Kureelpa Falls Circuit: 8.5 kilometres return, allow 2 to 3 hours
Getting There: The trailhead starts at the Mapleton day-use area on Mapleton Forest Road.
The Kureelpa Falls Circuit is one of the shared trails in Mapleton National Park, meaning you will sharing the trail with mountain bikers and horse riders. The trail itself is not very scenic but it’s worth it for the beautiful Kureelpa Falls half way
Top Tip: If you just want to see Kureelpa Falls, you can park at the end of Kureelpa Falls Road and take the goat track across the creek.
Hiking Sunshine Coast Hinterland – Conondale National Park
The rugged Conondale Range showcases some of Queensland’s most popular and picturesque forests. Luxuriant rainforests, tall eucalypt forest, waterfalls, deep gorges, boulder-strewn creeks and spectacular scenery make this area well worth a visit.
Getting There: 15 kilometres south of Kenilworth Township, and about one hour west of Maroochydore. Booloumba Creek Road.
Artist’s Cascades Walk: 10.6 kilometres return, allow 4 hours
Venture through the dense subtropical rainforest and wet sclerophyll forest along the Booloumba Creek Gorge to Artists Cascades where you can enjoy a picnic on the rocks. A short side track leads to an impressive 3.7 metre high Strangler Cairn © sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy, an internationally renowned artist.
Booloumba Falls Walk: 3 kilometres return, allow 2 hours
You’ll love exploring this scenic creek’s cascades, waterfalls and rock pools and dipping your toes in the crisp, refreshing water. As you follow the path you’ll come to the Booloumba Gorge (at the junction of Peters Creek and Booloumba Creek) which presents an impressive outlook over The Breadknife rock formation. In warmer weather, the main pool at the top of the falls is the perfect place to cool off with a swim.
Booloumba Creek to Mount Allan Walk: 11 kilometres return, allow 3.5 hours
In a roundabout course, this track ventures uphill getting the heart pumping and blood flowing. Once you reach the top of Mount Allan, you can climb the stairs of the 9.6 metre tall fire tower for splendid 360 degree views of the Mary Valley and surrounding Conondale Ranges.
Peters Creek Walk: 500 metres return, allow 15 minutes
This is a nice easy walk through open forest and rainforest to a picturesque boulder-strewn creek with rock pools and cascades.
Strangler Cairn Walk: 6.5 kilometres return, allow 2.5 hours
Created by internationally renowned artist Andy Goldsworthy, the 3.7 metre high Strangler Cairn © rock art is composed of granite blocks shaped together with a strangler fig planted in the top and serves as a beautiful point of contemplation of the wondrous and dynamic character of the Conondale area.
Hiking Sunshine Coast Hinterland – Kondalilla National Park
Situated in the scenic Blackall Range, Kondalilla National Park is a cool mountain retreat. The park is named after the spectacular Kondalilla Falls, where Skene Creek drops 90 metres into a rainforest valley. Kondalilla, an Aboriginal word meaning ‘rushing waters’, describes this park’s waterfall during the summer wet season.
Getting There: Kondalilla Falls Road is situated just down the road from the township of Montville.
Kondalilla Falls Circuit: 4.7 kilometres return, allow 2 to 3 hours
Follow the Picnic Creek Circuit to the natural rock pools and lookout with views of Kondalilla Falls. Continue through the rainforest to the base of the waterfall and continue back up the ridge (over 300 stairs in total). The views more than make up for the challenge of the stairs!
Picnic Creek Circuit: 1.7 kilometres return, allow 1 hour
Cross Picnic Creek and wander through towering eucalypts to enjoy wonderful views of the surrounds and valley from a lookout point.
Baroon Lookout: 4.4 kilometres return, allow 2 hours
Getting There: Access is via the Narrows Road car park.
A great walk up the side of the gorge to the lookout out across Obi Obi Creek as it heads north from the Baroon Pocket Dam and its catchment, and into the Blackall Range to join the Mary River.
Obi Obi Boardwalk: 1 kilometre, allow 30 minutes
Getting There: The entry is in Coral Street, opposite Bicentenary Lane in Maleny.
The boardwalk allows wheelchair accessibility as it stretches along Obi Obi Creek in Maleny. Shady and heavily scented with rainforest aromas, you may even be lucky enough to spot a platypus early in the morning or at dusk.
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Circuits: 1.3 to 1.7 kilometres return, allow 30 to 45 minutes
Getting There: 148 Mountain View Rd, Maleny.
Comprising 55 hectares of tropical rainforest, the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is open daily from 7am to 6pm and offers rainforest walks, picnic and BBQ areas plus a café looking over the Glasshouse Mountains. The reserve is a living museum of diverse plant and animal life. Learn about the area’s history, fauna and flora at the Ecological Education Centre or on a guided tour
In Summary – Best Trails for Hiking Sunshine Coast Hinterland
Have you done any of the hiking Sunshine Coast Hinterland trails we have listed above? Have we missed any that you really enjoy? Post your tips and questions below.
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