Nestled between the South Brisbane suburbs of Coorparoo and Carina, Whites Hill Reserve offers a serene escape just 15 minutes from the CBD. If you’re short on time but keen to go on a bushwalk to get nice views of Brisbane City and spot wild koalas, the Whites Hill Reserve is your go-to urban retreat. I feel lucky to live in Brisbane, which has the highest diversity of native plants and wildlife of any other capital city in Australia.

Distance: 1-5 km
Time: 0.5-2 hours
Difficulty: easy

Whites Hill Reserve walking tracks

The tracks in the Whites Hill Reserve are very well maintained. The most popular tracks, the Whites Hill Circuit (565m) and the Sankey’s Mountain Summit Track (865m), are rated easy. The other tracks can be more hilly with uneven surfaces and are rated moderate, but they’re still easy for those used to hiking. You can find a map of the tracks on Brisbane City Council’s website.

Lookout of Brisbane City

Following the Whites Hill Circuit, which is an easy 1km loop, you’ll reach a vantage point offering scenic panoramas of the city. It’s a gentle ascend to the summit, where a bench awaits with perfect views of Brisbane’s skyline framed by vegetation.

But why stop there? It’s worth exploring the rest of the eucalypt forest to spot wildlife!

Where to spot koalas in the Whites Hill Reserve

During our walk in the Whites Hill Reserve, we spotted four koalas, all around the same area, on the Shirleyana Track (when you leave the Stringybark Track behind you) and the She-oak Track. If you’re going to Whites Hill especially to see koalas, I highly recommend checking this area first. That’s also where we saw many signs about koalas, which made us think there are higher chances of seeing them there.

You can also look at the Friends of Whites Hill Reserve’s Facebook posts and the iNaturalist app to see where recent spottings have occurred.

Koalas aren’t easy to find while walking in this reserve as there are many parasites on trees that look like dark balls that remind you of koalas. It might be easier early in the morning or at dusk as koalas tend to be more active then, and movements surely make them easier to find. All the ones we spotted during our walk early in the afternoon were sleeping or not moving much at all!

Responsible travel tip: Dogs kept on leash are allowed in the reserve, and there’s even a dog park near the reservoir. However, I don’t recommend going for a walk with your dog if you’re looking for koalas, as it will make them anxious. Indeed, dog attacks are the third biggest threat to koalas after habitat loss and vehicle strikes. Read more about being a responsible pet owner and protecting koalas here.

Other wildlife we saw

We saw a couple of cute swamp wallabies but spooked them because we didn’t notice them while walking with our heads up to look for koalas. We also spotted a few iconic birds, such as kookaburras and lorikeets.

Have you been to the Whites Hill Reserve? Share your experience in the comments below!

Where is Whites Hill Reserve?

Driving is the easiest way to reach Whites Hill Reserve; simply navigate to Boundary Road, Camp Hill, which is approximately 15 minutes southeast of Brisbane City. Parking is available within the reserve, and there’s usually ample space to find a spot.

Unfortunately, public transport will take a lot longer. The Translink journey planner can help you find the best route. It’s only 10km away from the City, so you could choose active transport (cycling, e-scooters) to get there, but I don’t think there’s a bike lane to make the journey more enjoyable. You’ll find bike racks at the reserve to secure your bicycle during your walk. If you’re looking for a forest walk to spot wild koalas in Brisbane that you can cycle to from the city, check the Toohey Forest along the Veloway 1.


Eloise is the creator and writer of 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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