Seeing Brisbane City awaken for the day is a remarkable experience. Catch sunrise on the top of Mt Coot-tha and set yourself up for an extraordinary day. If you’ve already enjoyed the summit bushwalk in daylight, a dawn bushwalk adds a whole new element.
Location: Start from JC Slaughter Falls, 37 Sir Samuel Griffith Dr, Toowong QLD 4066
Walking Distance: 5km return
Elevation: Approximately 200m
Time: 1-2 hours
Difficulty: Easy: a few tree roots, some uneven surfaces, and a few stairs
Costs/Permit: No cost, no permit required
Opening Times: only closed occasionally for maintenance
Facilities: Toilets (at the base open 6am-7pm, at the summit they seem to be constantly open), picnic tables, gas BBQ, parking for approximately 100 cars at JC Slaughter Falls picnic grounds
What to take: Water, camera, insect repellant, torch
Starting the bushwalkwalk an hour before sunrise will allow plenty of time time to reach the summit. Dawn in Brisbane generally lasts long enough to complete the walk to the summit with enough ambient light to see by before sunrise. That said, it would be sensible to take a torch. If you would like to complete the walk in the dark, start an hour and a half before dawn. You might be the only car in the car park for a while, but you will have clear access to the trail. The Summit Track has bubblers every few hundred metres but no lighting, so definitely take a torch. Plenty of nocturnal creatures will be heard scurrying about in the bush, so go with a friend if you’re prone to be easily spooked.
Burning off occurs regularly in the forest to reduce the risk and severity of bush fires. Walking to the summit in the dark, the smell of smoke hung in the air throughout the top third of the track. However, it wasn’t until the return journey that the results of the burn off were made apparent.
Sunrise is always a special time of day. On top of a mountain, that you have just climbed, sunrise can become extaordinary.