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Sunset at the summit of Mount Ngungun

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Take a hike

Winter on the Sunshine Coast is the perfect time to explore the region’s many forest walks, mountain hikes and hinterland trails. Here’s the lowdown from the gentlest walks to the toughest climbs. Images: Visit Sunshine Coast.

From stunning coastal walks and lush hinterland trails, to challenging summit hikes for adrenaline junkies, the Sunshine Coast is bursting with opportunity 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 at this time of year ideal for being outdoors, we have complied a helpful guide to inspire you to create your own perfect day out.

 

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 around 27 million years ago? Why not stroll the 4.1-kilometre base walk around Mount Tibrogargan, or the 5.7-kilometre 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 2.8-kilometre trail and will take you around 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.

Glass House Mountains National Park

 

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 4.7-kilometre Kondalilla Falls Circuit, featuring 100 steps, to the base of the falls, or the shorter 1.7- kilometre Picnic Creek Circuit to the natural rock pools at the top of the waterfall. If you prefer a longer walk, take on the 20-kilometre Baroon Pocket to Kondalilla Falls trek, which takes about five hours. For an enchanted walk over suspension bridges, enjoy the 6.2-kilometre return walk from Flaxton Mill Road carpark to Baxter Falls. In Conondale National Park you’ll find the three-kilometre 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 10-kilometre 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 2.7-kilometre trail.

 

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 500-metre or two-kilometre walk from Landsborough or a 900-metre 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.

 

Coastal cruise

Those looking for a relaxing but spectacular walk can enjoy a range of costal trails and pathways. Take on part of The Sunshine Coast Coastal Pathway, which is 73 kilometres 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 a great for families, hugging the headland between Noosa and Sunshine Beach.

Mount Coolum

Mountain time

The popular Mount Coolum is a great place to start for first-time mountain climbers. The 1.6-kilometre climb takes you 208 metres above sea level and will take around 90 minutes return. Another beautiful climb is Mount Cooroora in Tuchekoi National Park. Nestled in the township of Pomona, this 1.8-kilometre 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 58.8-kilometre 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.

 

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.des.qld.gov.au.

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