A few Glasshouse Mountains walks are worth doing to get the best views of the park and its fascinating mounts. The volcanic plugs of the Glasshouse Mountains create a very special landscape in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. But there are important things to know about the Glasshouse Mountains walks, especially for Mount Beerwah and Mount Tibrogargan.

Glasshouse Mountains walks Mount Coochin views
View of the Glasshouse Mountains from Mount Coochin

The Glasshouse Mountains are an easy day trip from Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast. But it can make a fantastic weekend getaway too, and an overnight stay will increase your chances of spotting iconic Australian wildlife. If you’re planning a relaxing weekend in the countryside, Glass On Glasshouse* is an excellent option to relax while enjoying splendid views of the Glasshouse Mountains.

My favourite Glasshouse Mountains walks:

The map at the end of this article gives an overview of all the Glasshouse Mountains walks mentioned but does not provide details of the tracks. You’ll find a map of most of the walking tracks on the National Park website.

1. Mount Ngungun summit walk

Distance: 3km return

Time: 1hr to 2hrs

Difficulty: easy

Mount Ngungun summit

Mount Ngungun (225 metres high) used to be my favourite Glasshouse Mountain walk. It’s short and steep, but just what’s needed to have a fun walk up. But I’ve stopped going there as I find it too crowded on weekends.

The 360-degree view at the top is splendid. On a good day, you can see all the way to Moreton Island. I love walking to the very end and facing the other beautiful peaks. Up there, I feel like a bird. Also, I appreciate that there’s nothing built near the top of Mount Ngungun. No barriers or platforms, or even signs. It stayed very natural.

I hope the increasing number of visitors won’t badly impact the natural beauty of the place. With the new tracks making the summit easier to access, Ngungun attracts more people. It has lost charm for hikers who like more untouched and challenging hikes. Unfortunately, some visitors left their mark at the top, by not taking their snacks back home or engraving the rocks with their names. Not only is it disrespectful to the environment, but it is also disrespectful to the Aboriginal people who consider the Glasshouse Mountains a sacred place.

Responsible travel tip: As visitors, it’s our responsibility to respect the place and minimise the effects of our visit. Keep in mind that even if that mandarine peel will degrade, it’s not respectful to leave it up there. You can choose to go beyond the leave no trace principle by picking up rubbish on your way.

If you want a bigger challenge at Mt Ngungun

How about abseiling*? You can learn the technique and skip walking down from the top of Mount Ngungun! Check it out here*. It’s also a good challenge to learn how to overcome your fear of heights.

Don’t just walk: you can run it up and down! We always meet trail runners on the track. The trail is well maintained, but the number of people may slow you down. You can escape the crowd by avoiding the peak hour in the morning and going later in the afternoon. I even did the walk a couple of times with a headlamp to watch the sunset, and it wasn’t too hard. Sunrise could even be better, but it’s too early for me!

Best Brisbane Sunset Top of Ngungun Glasshouse Mountains
Sunset at Mount Ngungun

2. Mount Coochin summit walk

Distance: 3.5km return

Time: 1.5 hours

Difficulty: moderate

View of Mount Coochin from Mount Ngungun

I found this Glasshouse Mountains walk quite fun. It wasn’t hard to reach the top of Mount Coochin’s twin peaks (235 meters high). But it was still quite steep with a few places where I felt better using my hands, especially for the second peak (the east peak). If you don’t like scrambling, skip this walk.

The views from the top of the first peak – the west peak – are beautiful. And they get even better from the east peak. It’s great to be standing on one of the less famous mounts so you can better see the others. Plus, Mount Coochin is not a very popular walk in the Glasshouse Mountains, so you may get the summit just for yourself.

I highly suggest going back the same way you came. We decided to continue and make a loop, but the tracks had disappeared, and it felt like we were off the trail for most of the way back. It was a lot steeper and slippery that the way up, and we definitely didn’t save time as we had to be a lot more careful.

Don’t be put off by the look of the road leading to the start of this Glasshouse Mountain walk. It looks like you’re entering private property, but you’ll actually find a road on the right that will lead you to a National Parks sign and spots to park your car.

Glasshouse Mountains Walks - Mount Coochin walk Climbing up the west peak
Glasshouse Mountain Walks - Mount Coochin walk - going down the east peak

3. Wild Horse Mountain Lookout

Distance: 1.5km return

Time: 20 minutes

Difficulty: easy

Panoramic view of the Glasshouse Mountains from the Wild Horse Lookout

This walk is just a short detour from the motorway. The walk itself isn’t particularly interesting. Although there is no challenge as it’s a paved path the whole way up, it still takes effort to reach the top of the hill (101 metres high). But it’s worth it. The views from the Wild Horse Lookout are fantastic, with the Glasshouse Mountains on one side and the ocean with Moreton and Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island) on the other.

4. Mount Beerburrum summit walk

Distance: 3.5km return

Time: 1-1.5 hour

Difficulty: moderate

View from Mount Beerburrum at sunset

On paper, it sounds easy to reach a summit via a 700-metre-long paved road. But Mount Beerburrum summit walk is actually one of the steepest walks in the Glasshouse Mountains. There is no difficulty apart from the strong incline that will challenge your leg muscles.

But your efforts are worth it. At the summit, you can climb up a fire tower to get 360-degree views of the entire region.

5. Glasshouse Mountain Lookout track

Distance: 8oom return

Time: 15 minutes

Difficulty: very easy

You’ll find this lookout in Beerburrum, a few metres away from the car park. It offers lovely views of the Glasshouse Mountains, with signs to learn more about the region. Take the time to look around in the trees and the bushes to spot the many birds living there.

There’s a short walk around the lookout that takes you into a forest. I was disappointed not to get any additional views or explanations. Don’t expect much from it and go there mainly for the lookout.

Your time would be better used with a break at the nearby Glasshouse Mountain Lookout Cafe. Not only does it offer splendid views, but it also serves tasty food and drinks.

6. Mount Tibrogargan base walk

Distance: 3km circuit

Time: 45 minutes

Difficulty: easy

The circuit around Mount Tibrogargan is one of the easiest walks in the Glasshouse Mountains. Of course, the views aren’t as impressive as when you climb up a mount. But you will still get a peek at Mount Tibrogargan, and it’s a nice walk to enjoy the forest and maybe spot some wildlife.

7. Trachyte Circuit

Distance: 6km circuit

Time: 2 hours

Difficulty: easy

The Trachyte Circuit is a perfect compromise if you are after a slightly longer walk in the Glasshouse Mountains (not just a lookout) but are not keen on something steep. It will take you to the lovely Jack Ferris lookout, between Mount Tibrogargan and Mount Tibberoowuccum.

Jack Ferris lookout

8. Mt Tibberoowuccum

Distance: approx. 2km circuit

Time: 1h-1h15

Difficulty: moderate

Mt Tibberoowuccum is maybe the most underrated Glasshouse Mountain walk. There are no signs to indicate the start of the hike, so it’s not a popular one. It reminded me of Ngungun walk, but a lot more fun. A big plus: we saw no one on the track, apart from a couple of people enjoying the views at the summit. The last part to reach the summit can be challenging (especially if you’re scared of heights like me!) as a small section is close to climbing, but the views are worth the effort. You’ll still get nice views if you decide not to go all the way up. It’s one of my favourite mountain hikes near Brisbane.

9. Yul-yan-man track

Distance: 13.4km return

Time: 4-5 hours

Difficulty: moderate

If you’re up for a remote hike in the Glasshouse Mountains, this could be the track for you. The sign indicates it’s a grade 5 walk: “for very experienced bushwalkers with specialised skills” where you can “expect challenging rocky uphill sections” and “rock scrambling skills are required”. The Yul-yan-man track has a couple of challenging passages, but I didn’t find it that hard. If you’re wondering if it’s for you, check out this article.

10. Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve rainforest walks

Distance: 1.7km return

Time: 1 hour

Difficulty: very easy

The rainforest walks at Mary Cairncross Reserve are open from 7 am to 6 pm. There are three easy overlapping loops leaving from the Rainforest Discovery Centre (open from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm). It’s always lovely to walk in the rainforest, especially when you have a high chance of spotting red-legged pademelons.

Responsible travel tip: It is tempting but for their safety, it is better not to feed wildlife. It can change their behaviour, make them sick and also unbalance the entire ecosystem. New South Wales Parks even write, “feeding native animals is the worst thing you can do”. Click here to know why.

Why I haven’t climbed Mount Beerwah and Mount Tibrogargan

When I arrived in Brisbane, climbing Mount Beerwah and Tibrogargan was on my mind. But the tracks were closed due to safety issues, and I also clearly needed to gain experience before tackling these two mounts.

So I started with other Glasshouse Mountains hikes. Only a few years later, I found out there are signs asking visitors not to climb the mountains. I had never read any explicit mention before seeing the ranger quote and the note next to the summits map in the 2016 Queensland National Parks brochure:

The Jinibara people and Kabi Kabi people request that visitors don’t climb Mount Beerwah and Mount Tibrogargan out of respect for the mountains’ sacred values.”

There’s also a note on the sign at the Mt Tibrogargan car park.

Local indigenous people believe you show respect by looking up rather than being on top. On some signs in the Glasshouse Mountains, you’ll read that all of them are sacred places that Aboriginal people won’t climb. On other signs – like at Mount Beerwah -, it will be more explicit that local Aboriginal people request visitors to “not climb the culturally-sacred Mount Beerwah and Mount Tibrogargan.”

The national park interpretation indicates that Beerwah represents the “ancestral, pregnant mother”, “a deeply spiritual place”, and “Tibrogargan is seen as the father.”

Do you need to climb all of the Glasshouse Mountains?

When you love hiking and getting bird-eye views of a region, it’s sometimes a hard call to stay at the bottom. Finding the limit, the right balance between cultural respect and the attraction for outdoor adventures is a complicated dilemma. At the moment, for the Glasshouse Mountains walks, it’s down to a personal choice.

When there are large – sometimes even paved – tracks to the summit leading to fire towers, the spirituality of the landmarks, unfortunately, feels long gone. But that’s not the case for Beerwah and Tibrogargan.

Like I did after learning the sacred value of Mount Warning and Uluru, I decided not to go to the top of these two mounts of great importance for Australia‘s first people in the Glasshouse Mountains. It’s written on the sign that “there is nothing more important than a mother giving birth,” which insists on the importance of Beerwah.

When the tracks are open, it’s your personal choice to go on these Glasshouse Mountains hikes or not.

If you choose to climb these special mounts, the minimum respect you can show them is not to underestimate their difficulty. The two summits – Beerwah and Tibrogargan – are particularly challenging, and many people get hurt during the walk. There are some parts that are closer to rock climbing than hiking.

It’s only for experienced hikers who are not scared of heights, so don’t go there unprepared. There are ten times more rescues in the Glasshouse Mountains than in other mountains in Queensland.

Which of these Glasshouse Mountains walks is your favourite? Share your experience in the comments below!

Where are these Glasshouse Mountains walks?

The Glasshouse Mountains are on the Sunshine Coast hinterland in Queensland, about one hour north of Brisbane.

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Eloise is the creator and writer of MyFavouriteEscapes.com. She writes about her experiences exploring exotic destinations and finding hidden gems closer to home. Her goal is to share tips and stories to inspire and encourage others to go on their own adventures. She loves outdoor and nature-based activities like scuba diving, hiking, kayaking, and sailing. She grew up in France and has lived in England and Turkey before calling Australia home for the past decade. So let's get ready for another adventure!

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