Brisbane’s walking trails have never been busier! Lace up your shoes and get going with these best Brisbane walks shared by locals who love their city.
Outdoor exercise lifts the spirits and is a wonderful way to start or end the day. As more people take to the walking tracks of Brisbane, the more we want to find new paths and expand our list of Brisbane’s walks in search of new experiences within our own region.
Looking for new inspiration for my own daily exercise, I asked Brisbane travel writers Jennifer Johnston – Travel Bug Within, Kerri McConnel – Beer and Croissants, Lee Mylne – A Glass Half Full and Tiana Templeman – The Travel Temple along with tourism guru Shelley Winkel for their favourite walking trails in Brisbane. Their suggestions are varied and will really mix up your daily stroll.
Top photo: Brisbane city skyline by Kerri McConnel
Brisbane City loop walk crosses the Goodwill Bridge. Photo: Kerry Heaney
Brisbane city walk on the City River Loop
This Brisbane city walk loop will take you from the Kangaroo Point Cliffs over the Story Bridge through the Botanic Gardens and back to the south side of the river via the Goodwill Bridge. The winding boardwalk along the river takes you past mangroves and a surprising amount of wildlife. Travel blogger Kerri McConnel, who writes at Beer and Croissants, knows this path well.
Brisbane City loop walk can travel under the freeway. Photo: Kerry Heaney
If walking is your sole purpose, this Brisbane city walk circuit can be done in under 90 minutes. However, if you stop to admire the view along the way, or have a coffee, it is more likely to take two hours.
Where to park: Depending on where you decide to start the loop, there are many parking options. The easiest options are at South Bank and Kangaroo Point. There is some metered street parking near the Goodwill Bridge. Alternatively, there is paid underground car parking at South Bank. There is limited free parking at the base of the Kangaroo Point Cliffs (South Bank end). At the top of the cliffs along River Terrace, street parking is a little more plentiful.
Summary: The perfect way to explore Brisbane from a river perspective.
Coffee stop: The best place to stop for a coffee is the aptly named Goodwill Brew Cafe. This cafe is a favourite for walkers, visitors to South Bank and morning commuters as it is located right on the bridge. With a view of South Bank, the city and the river, it’s the perfect place to stop.
Top tip: If you love an early start to the day, sunrise at the Kangaroo Point Cliffs is the place to be. In the right light, the reflections on the city buildings are truly magical.
Mt Gravatt walking trail. Photo: Jennifer Johnston
Mt Gravatt Outlook Reserve, Mt Gravatt Brisbane walking trail
Mt Gravatt Outlook Reserve is part of Brisbane City Council’s Toohey Forest Park, an area covering 260 hectares just 10 kilometres south of the CBD. The outlook offers fabulous city views and on a clear day, you can see the Gateway Bridge and beyond towards Moreton Bay and wonderful Brisbane walking trails to explore. Travel writer Jennifer Johnston who shares her stories at Travel Bug Within says from her home in Coorparoo, it’s just under a 10-minute drive to Shire Road (off Logan Road.) where she starts her best Brisbane walk.
Decent walking shoes are important for the rough track sections. Photo: Jennifer Johnston
It takes approximately 35 to 45 minutes to walk (depending on your pace) to the top. The trail has some steps, one small hill, and is shaly in a few places so watch your footing. I am not fit (at the moment) and the inclines are a good cardio test. But my plan in iso is to improve on my fitness and continue with this walk, so I am puffing less in a few months! What goes up must come down. The descent is via the same trail although you can take a slight detour if you want to reduce the distance. My Strava Stats: 4.97km Elev Gain: 191m Time: 1 hr 24 mins. (This sounds serious, Jennifer)
Find it: 185 Shire Road, Mt Gravatt
Where to park: You can try the small car park on the left as you drive into the reserve, but if there are no parks available (only about six spaces) drive into and around the horseshoe drive and turn right heading back to Shire Road for a park on the street. Walk into the park (add an extra 250 metres to your walk.) Don’t turn left out of the carpark as you will have to drive all the way to the top of the mountain (there are no turning spaces.)
Summary: A pleasant walk in nature and a reasonable workout.
Coffee stop: At the top near the car park is a café, The Lovewell Project, selling takeaway coffees and snacks. I’m not a coffee drinker so sorry, I can’t comment on their coffees and I don’t snack while walking, but given there were a few customers who’d driven up and grabbed a coffee, to sit outside enjoying the view, it’s a popular cafe.
Top tip: Wear decent walking shoes as this track is rough in parts,
Walking through the University of Queensland. Photo: Shelley Winkel
Follow the Brisbane walking trail at John Oxley Walk, St Lucia
Honouring the life of explorer John Oxley, this Brisbane walk wanders through the extensive grounds. The University of Queensland at St Lucia. You can drive to the University or start the walk from the University of Queensland CityCat Ferry Terminal. Avid walker Shelley Winkel works for Tourism Queensland and this is one of her favourite strolls and is less crowded that the Coronation Drive alternative.
This is a five-kilometre walk through the University’s grounds that takes about one hour. A gravelled walking path runs between the Brisbane River and Sir William MacGregor Drive. Starting near the swimming pool, walk clockwise past residential colleges for about two km until you come to Upland Road and Union college. You can either turn right here and follow the urban landscape along Upland Road eventually making a huge circle back to where you started or turn around, double back and return the same way you came along the river.
For a longer walk, take the Eleanor Schonell Bridge over the Brisbane River to Dutton Park where there are more riverside parks to explore.
Find it: University of St Lucia, St Lucia
Where to park: Park in front of the Blair Road Tennis Courts at UQ as this is where you will end and the Saint Lucy coffee shop is inside the building adjacent to the courts..
Summary: There is a footbridge at the University’s lakes where you can see eels and turtles, ducks and waterbirds.
Coffee stop: My walk usually ends with a coffee at Saint Lucy Caffe e Cucina which is located next to the tennis courts. It opens at 7 am. They offer coffee, muffins and a few other breakfast snacks. The service is very friendly and there are plenty of rocks and grassy spots to sit and sip your coffee and listen to their cool 90s music (Note: watch out for the emerging bindis if you choose to sit on the grass).
Top tip: This is a fabulous walk during Jacaranda season.
Sunrise at Rocks Riverside Park. Photo: Dr Tiana Templeman
Rocks Riverside Park Brisbane walking track
Built on the site of the former Queensland Cement Limited quarry, this large park has many different features including a playground and waterpark, public art, and a community garden. It also offers free Wi-Fi and some of Brisbane’s best walks. It is a favourite for travel writer Dr Tiana Templeman who shares her travels at The Travel Temple.
I’m incredibly lucky that Brisbane’s largest riverfront park is less than 15 minutes walk from my house. Strolling along the wide pathways reveals huge public artworks which were created to tie into the site’s industrial heritage as a Queensland Cement and Lime processing plant. However, what I love most about walking here are the Brisbane River views. The light shines on the water, kookaburras call to each other and shade dapples the pathways, creating patterns and a sense of calm. An oval provides ample space to run laps or play chasey with the kids. Early in the morning, you’ll often pass people practising tai chi in shady spots beside the river. No matter how many times I go walking here, there always seems to be something new to see.
Find it: 531 Seventeen Mile Rocks Road, Seventeen Mile Rocks.
Summary: A gentle riverside walk accessible to all.
Coffee stop: Coffee Club at DFO Jindalee is the closest option along the walkway plus you can enjoy a little retail therapy before walking back to the main RiverRocks Park area. If you want a coffee spot that’s not so mainstream, Two Teaspoons at 21 Goggs Road, Jindalee is great too.
Top tip: Schedule a sunset walk to enjoy beautiful sunset reflections in the Brisbane River.
Start of the New Farm Riverwalk. Photo: Kerry Heaney
Explore this Brisbane city walk from New Farm
Incorporating the 870-metre-long New Farm Riverwalk, this three-kilometre Brisbane walk takes you from leafy New Farm to the entertaining hub of Howard Smith Wharves. It’s so popular with walkers and cyclists that there are separate designated paths for each group. This is the favourite walk of travel writer Kerry Heaney, who writes Eat drink and be Kerry.
New Farm Riverwalk from Wilson Outlook Reserve. Photo: Kerry Heaney
This is my best walk in Brisbane because it starts with an amazing 1.5 km river vista and multiple café choices halfway. Washed away during to 2011 floods, the floating pontoons have been restored and offer spots to stop and enjoy the view along the way. There are also water fountains to quench your thirst.
Take the lift or stairs up the cliff face to the streets of New Farm. Do face the river as the lift slowly rises to Bowen Terrace and enjoy the slowly changing view. From the clifftop, at Wilson Outlook Reserve there are more river and Story Bridge vistas on the 1.6 km walk along Moray Road as it winds back towards your starting point. There are plenty of Brisbane’s beautiful old colonial houses to enjoy along the way. The walk takes around 40 minutes without breaks but I can guarantee you’ll stop for a coffee or a view somewhere along the trail.
Find it: This walk is easy to join at the end of Merthyr Road in New Farm or at Howard Smith Wharf in Fortitude Valley.
Where to park: Street parking is always a hunt in New Farm but there is usually one to be found.
Summary: On a beautiful Brisbane day the views are breathtaking.
Coffee stop: Stop for a coffee and breakfast at Howard Smith Wharves and walk underneath the Story Bridge. My favourite places include Cia Papi where you can enjoy water views. If you do this as a sunset walk, a drink at Felons could be the perfect walk break.
Top tip: During summer this walk is best done in the cool of the early morning.
Walking on the Moreton Bay foreshore. Photo: Lee Mylne
Take a Brisbane walk beside the sea
The Moreton Bay foreshore is a lively bayside walking route with wonderful views of the sand hills of the Moreton Bay islands. Travel writer Lee Mylne, A Glass Half Full, shares her memories of this favourite walk.
I always feel spoiled for choice when looking for a lovely walk in Brisbane. Last year, I explored about 15 walks while updating the south-east Queensland section of a book called Walks in Nature (Hardie Grant Travel), and perhaps my favourite was along the Moreton Bay foreshore between Manly and Wynnum Apart from the gorgeous sea views, there are bobbing pelicans, plenty of places to stop for a coffee – including an over-water café on the William Gunn Jetty – or fish ’n’ chips, and opportunities for a swim. Once you are past the Wynnum wading pool, head out onto the jetty. I loved the mosaic art on the jetty – make sure you always look down, as well as up! The walk is around 4.5km each way. Dogs are allowed, as long as they are on a leash.
Find it: Start either at the Wynnum Jetty, at the northern end of the Wynnum Esplanade, or the Wynnum Manly Yacht Club on Royal Esplanade.
Where to park: There’s plenty of parking at either end, at the Wynnum Manly Yacht Club at Lota, or near Pandanus Beach at Wynnum.
Summary: Sea air, birdwatching and the chance for a dip make this a terrific place to stretch your legs.
Top tip: Make sure you check the tide times before you set out – it’s much nicer at high tide.