Mount Coot-tha, Brisbane, Australia | CruiseBe
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Mount Coot-tha

Natural sights
mount, nature beauty

Mount Coot-tha, which is 287 metres above sea level, has the highest peak in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Mount Coot-tha forms the eastern extent of the Taylor Range and is a prominent landmark approximately 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) to the west of the Brisbane central business district. Visible from much of the city, Mount Coot-tha is a popular bushland tourist destination including the Brisbane Botanic Gardens and Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, as well as a mountain drive, bike trails, parks including a waterfall, and television and radio towers. Mount Coot-tha is the source of Ithaca Creek.

Mount Coot-tha is also a suburb of Brisbane. The suburb does not house any residents.


Before the Moreton Bay penal settlement, Mount Coot-tha was the home of the Turrbal Aboriginal people.

Early Brisbane people called it One Tree Hill when bush at the top of the hill was cleared except for one large eucalypt tree. The Aboriginal people of the area used to come to the area to collect ‘ku-ta’ (honey) that was produced by the native stingless bee. Mount Coot-tha (Place of Honey), a derivative of (the indigenous term), replaced the former title ‘One Tree Hill' in 1880 when the area was declared a Public Recreation Reserve.

Heritage listings

Mount Coot-tha has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

  • Sir Samuel Griffith Drive: Mount Coot-tha Forest
  • Sir Samuel Griffith Drive: Mount Coot-tha Lookout

The Lookout

Mount Coot-tha is one of Brisbane's most popular tourist destinations and is a popular stop with bus tours. Of particular note is the Lookout, which includes the Kuta Cafe, Summit Restaurant, and Gift Shop.

The lookout, restaurant and cafe allow for panoramic views of the City. A function centre adjoins the restaurant. Well-known British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore gave a night-time public lecture about the stars of the southern hemisphere at the lookout in 1988, in conjunction with Patrick Moore being a guest speaker at a dinner of the Southern Astronomical Society at Toowong in Queensland.

During World War II, anti-aircraft guns and searchlights were located on the lookout.

Sir Samuel Griffith Drive

Sir Samuel Griffith Drive is a tourist drive circling the peak, providing access to the lookout, cafe, gift shop and restaurant. The scenic drive, from the base of Mount Coot-tha to the lookout, is a winding, climbing journey that offers spectacular views of the greater Brisbane area and of the mountains and coastline that disappear into the horizon.

The Mount Coot-tha Reserve

The Mount Coot-tha Reserve contains more than 1,500 hectares of natural bushland, including J C Slaughter Falls along Ithaca Creek, as well as native wildlife. Mount Coot-tha Reserve also shares a border with Brisbane Forest Park, which adds a further 25,000 hectares.

Television and radio towers

On a ridge near the summit on the other side of Mount Coot-tha, are the television transmission towers for the Brisbane television stations and their respective studios; Ten (TVQ-10), Nine (QTQ-9), Seven (BTQ-7). The transmission tower for (ABC Brisbane) is located on the mountain, which also broadcasts television for multicultural station SBS and Brisbane community television channel 31 Digital. Most of the FM Brisbane radio stations also transmit from Mount Coot-tha.

Part of the Brisbane suburb of The Gap is located on the foothills beneath the television towers.

Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens

At the base of Mount Coot-tha are the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mount Coot-tha, which has a tropical plants hothouse and also the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium within its grounds.

Walking tracks

There are several popular walking tracks around Mount Coot-tha, one of which includes an art display comprising works produced by local Aboriginal artists. The tracks vary in difficulty, with most involving some uphill sections or steps. Tracks around Mount Coot-tha are often used by hikers training to walk the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea as the terrain and climate are considered similar. On 20 November 2005, one of the Mount Coot-tha trails, the Currawong trail, was renamed the Kokoda trail in honour of the Australian soldiers who marched the Kokoda Track during World War II. During World War II, the hill was used as a military base by the RAAF and the US Navy. It was converted to a vast explosives depot and at one stage held more than 120 000 tonnes of explosive weapons. When darkness fell the lookout bristled with search lights in an amazing display as soldiers kept an eye out for enemy planes.

Mountain bike trails

The Western side of Mount Coot-tha Forest or Gap Creek Reserve as it is known to the locals is a haven for Brisbane mountain bike riders. The establishment of a world class mountain bike trail network by the Brisbane City Council has created a diverse range of recreational experiences for off-road cyclists.

The mountain bike trails at Mount Coot-tha have been assigned a grading under the International Mountain Bicycling Association, Trail Difficulty Rating System. The multi-use trails in Mount Coot-tha provide the least degree of technical challenge to mountain bike riders, however many of them are steep and loose. Riders are advised to pay special attention when riding over the erosion control banks (water bars) which have been the downfall of many a novice rider. The trail ratings provide a guide to the relative difficulty of each trail.

The multi-use tracks are used by horses, pedestrians and mountain bikers. Each year orienteering events are held in the area.


Mount Coot-tha can be reached by Brisbane Transport Bus 471 (Translink) or the Brisbane City Council's CitySights Bus. A short taxi ride from Toowong is also possible. There is limited car parking at the peak.

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