But occasionally we like to slip on our hiking boots, cover our delicate noses with Invisible Zinc, fill our water bottle and get in touch with our inner Bear Grylls out in nature.
These hikes are all at least half a day long—some are multi-day hikes with the opportunity to complete shorter sections at a time. So if you’re up for a hike that’s a step up from your average local bushwalk, try them out for yourself!
Conondale Range Great Walk
On the fringes of the Sunshine Coast, just past Kenilworth, you’ll find the entrance to the Conondale Great Walk. If you can drag yourself away from the starting point of the walk—the Insta-famous Booloumba Creek—you can kick off a solid full-day walk that will blow your mind. The area was an old gold mine and when you get to the Artists Cascades (a good spot to turn around if you’re just doing a day hike) you’ll see incredible rocks flecked and shining with naturally occurring minerals. If you’re up for the full four-day walk, you’ll get to see the Bunya pines that are so important to the Gubbi Gubbi/Kabi Kabi people, incredible views and maybe even an echidna!
Mount Greville Summit
This climb is for serious hikers only! The Mount Greville summit is a Class 5 track, so it’s not for those who just like messing about on a chillaxed Sunday stroll. You’ll need actual hiking equipment (not just your Vans and a bottle of Gatorade) and make sure you tell someone where you’re heading and when to expect you back. But the payoff is totally worth it. You’ll see incredible gorges (Palm Gorge is perfect for stunning sunlit photos) tropical vegetation and incredible views of the lake. There’s a reason it’s called the Scenic Rim!
Mount Allan Trail
Only a short drive from Eumundi, tucked away in the Imbil State Forest is the delightfully named Mount Allan Trail. Even though the walk is only about 9km long, it’s a reasonably tough walk that will take you a good half-day. The shared trail is suitable for horse-riding and mountain bikes and when you get to the top, the 360-degree views of the Mary Valley are breathtaking. If you want to take it easy, the nearby Charlie Moreland camping area along Little Yabba Creek has BBQs and is just right for a picnic, plus there’s a few short walks that aren’t quite so challenging.
Mapleton National Park
Another local hike, you can check out in the Blackall Range is this little snippet of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk. The great walk stretches almost 60km from Baroon Pocket to Mapleton, and the shorter circuits at the Mapleton end offer some amazing views. If it’s been raining, you might need a 4WD to access the starting point of the trail, so make sure you start befriending that weird pig-hunting guy at work in case you need to borrow his LandRover!
Lake McKenzie Walk
K’Gari (Fraser Island)
Not all of best hikes in the area are mountainous treks in the hinterland—we live on the Gold Coast because we love the beaches, so don’t miss the brilliant walks on K’Gari AKA Fraser Island, a few hours to our north. Getting to the island itself is a bit of a mission—you’ll need a high-clearance 4WD to go across on the barge, or you can head over on an organised tour from the Sunshine Coast or Rainbow Beach. While you can do the first leg of this hike (to Lake McKenzie and back) in one day, it’s heavy going and you won’t leave much time to enjoy the magical clear freshwater lake. It’s definitely a good idea to stay and camp at least one night, or take a few days and try explore some more of the island.
Wollumbin (Mount Warning)
Just a skip over the border is Wollumbin (named Mount Warning by Captain Cook). If you're considering the sunrise mission, why not spend a night camping out near Wollumbin National Park. Mavis’s Kitchen offers B&B accommodation and organic, locally-sourced food to prepare you for the journey. You can drive right to the base of Mount Warning, and there’s two different tracks to choose from. The Lyrebird track is an easy walk to a viewing platform, but you don’t get the satisfaction of completing the full walk and seeing the view from the summit. And if you start your climb in the god-awful pre-dawn hours, you might even be lucky enough to reach the summit in time for an epic sunrise.
Okay, so we’ll admit it, this walk doesn’t quite have the hiking cred of some of the more challenging treks in this list, but the awesomeness of the location more than makes up for it. We have two words for you, people. Glow. Worms. We kid you not, this partial underground cave looks like it’s straight out of Middle Earth with a natural skylight formed by an ancient waterfall. While you can’t swim in the waterhole, we suggest you take an evening tour to check out the glow worms shining on the roof of the cave. Even though this is only a short walk, it’s part of the bigger Springbrook National Park walk, so you can complete larger sections of the walk if you’re feeling ambitious.
The Cooloola Great Walk
Book your annual leave, and pack your tent and ready-to-eat meals, this is the granddaddy of all Queensland coastal hikes, and takes some serious commitment. A five-day, 102km walk starts at Noosa North Shore and takes you all the way to Rainbow Beach through the high dunes. The catch? The walk only has two entrance points—Noosa North Shore and Rainbow Beach. So, barring emergencies, once you start, you’re in for the long haul. But the pay-off is amaaaaaazing. You’ll see pockets of Cooloola National Park, endangered wildlife and snapshots of the region’s history that even locals never get to witness.
Note: Remember, you’re walking on land that has been cared for by the Traditional Owners for thousands of years. Please treat it with respect and care.
Along with hiking comes hunger, so finish off you epic day mission the best way we know how—slices and slices of pizza at the best Italian restaurants on the Gold Coast.
Image credit: Amy Higg for The Urban List