Got a little hiking buddy keen to hit the trails with you? Share your love of the outdoors on one of these lush scenic trails near Brisbane.
Springbrook National Park
1. Twin Falls Circuit
Time: 1-2 hours circuit
Starting point: Tallabanna picnic area off Springbrook Road
The Twin Falls circuit is a great hike to test out your little one’s enthusiasm for hiking as you can do the full loop trail or just walk to Twin Falls and back.
The hike’s best done anticlockwise, starting from Tallabanna picnic area. The trail leads gently down to Twin Falls, passing a waterfall on the way as well as a couple of cave-like tunnels through the rock.
You can walk behind Twin Falls, and head back the way you came or continue onto Blackfellow Falls and then up to Canyon Lookout, before heading back to your car.
2. Warrie Circuit
Distance: 17km round trip
Time: 5-7 hours
Starting point: Tallabanna picnic area (this hike starts on the Twin Falls circuit and then veers right as you pass through the rock tunnels).
For enthusiastic mini adventurers with stamina, the Warrie Circuit is also a worthwhile trail.
The trail winds past at least ten waterfalls (more if there’s been heavy rain recently) and crosses a number of creeks. There’s also the spectacular Meeting of the Waters, where two creeks meet. It’s an interesting hike for adults and children alike with beautiful scenery to keep you all captivated along the entire route.
Along this trail, you’ll find narrow sections above large drop-offs and you may need to wade across creek crossings, so close supervision of children is needed.
3. Purling Brook Falls Trail
Distance: 4km loop to Purling Brook Falls, 6km return to Warringa Pool
Time: 2-3 hours hike
Starting point: Gwongorella picnic area off Forestry Road
The Purling Brook Falls trail takes you down to the base of the spectacular 100 metre Purling Brook Falls.
The hike starts from the Gwongorella picnic area. It’s a circuit hike so can be done in either direction, but it’s easier to go clockwise as the ascent is more gradual on the return. It’s a steep descent via stairs if going clockwise, but manageable for children, and it’s easier going down these stairs than up.
When you get to the viewpoint of the falls, care is needed as there are slippery rocks above the waterhole and no railings, so watch where your kids venture. If your kids are keen to explore further, you can head down another kilometre to Warringa Pool.
Heading back up from the Purling Brook Falls viewpoint, it’s a gradual ascent winding back up to the top of the plateau and the lookout over the falls.
Lamington National Park
Your kids are sure to love hanging out above the trees in Lamington National Park.
4. Green Mountains
Distance: 800 metres return
Time: 30 minutes
Starting point: Booyong Walk, near O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat Reception
There’s plenty of kid-friendly options for children in the Green Mountains section of the park, such as the Booyong Walk and Tree Top Walk. The trail features a series of nine suspension bridges, up to 16 metres above the rainforest canopy.
Adventurous kids who aren’t scared of heights can go from the suspension bridges up a ladder fixed to a fig tree and stand on a viewpoint deck built 30 metres above the ground.
5. Moran Falls
Distance: 4.4km return
Time: 1-2 hours
Starting point: Python Rock Track/Morans Falls Track car park located shortly before the main car park on Lamington National Park Road
Another great hike with kids in Lamington National Park is to the top of Morans Falls.
You’ll pass through a dense forest of booyong, fig, and brush box trees before coming out onto a creek leading to the top of the falls.
Supervise children closely, as the creek leads to a sheer cliff edge with no barriers. However, there’s a fenced lookout area after you cross over the creek and turn right down a side path.
6. Caves Circuit
Time: 1.5 hr best walked (best walked clockwise)
Starting point: Lower day use area
In the Binna Burra section of Lamington National Park, the kids are sure to love the Dave’s Creek and Caves circuits.
The Caves Circuit offers up more caves bound to keep the kids entertained.
7. Dave’s Creek Circuit
Time: 4 hr (best walked anticlockwise)
Starting point: Border Track trailhead then follow the signs
The Daves Creek Circuit offers up a cave, beautiful wildflowers in springtime, some rock scrambling up to Surprise Rock and great views.
There are a few unfenced cliff edges along the trail, so watch children closely.
White Rock Conservation Area
8. White Rock Track
Time: 2-3 hours
Starting point: Paperbark Flats car park off White Rock Road
The hike to the top of White Rock is a great one to test out if your kids like rock scrambling.
The trail starts from the Paperbark Flats car park and it’ll take you along a flat dirt path most of the way. Take a left turn following the White Rock Trail signs and you’ll eventually head up some stairs, turn right and then walk a little way around the rock. You should see an unmarked scrambling point on your right that takes you up to the top of the rock.
Kids who aren’t scared of heights and love to climb will be delighted with this short but fun five minute scramble to check out a bird’s eye view of the reserve.
Return back to the top of the stairs and instead of going down, go straight ahead to the next rocky outcrop and follow the orange markers up another short scramble. You’ll then walk along the ridge on a narrow trail and this’ll eventually lead you back to the path you started on and back to the car park.
D’Aguilar National Park
9. Rainforest Walk
Distance: 2km loop for Rainforest Walk, 4.3km return to Greene’s Falls lookout
Time: 1-2 hours
Starting point: Maiala picnic area, Mt Glorious Road
The Rainforest Walk in D’Aguilar National Park is a short but sweet hike starting from the Maiala picnic area and winding through beautiful rainforest scenery.
If your kids are up for a longer walk, you can continue onto the top of Greene’s Falls, but in dry conditions these falls are unlikely to be flowing.
Read more: Training Kids Up For Multi-day Hikes
Mt Barney National Park
There are some great hikes in Mt Barney National Park that are a suitable length for energetic children.
10. Yellow Pinch Lookout
Starting point: Yellow Pinch picnic area
First up is the hike up to the Yellow Pinch lookout. It’s a short hike first through open eucalypt forest before it opens up to a natural lookout. Up there you’ll be greeted with a fantastic view of Mt Barney’s imposing east face.
Watch children closely here on the exposed cliff edge as there’s no fence. It’s best to head here early (sunrise here is incredible) to catch the best light on Mt Barney.
11. Cronan Creek Falls
Starting point: Yellow Pinch picnic area
The 12km return hike to Cronan Creek Falls can be combined with the Yellow Pinch hike. You come back down the hill, return to the fire trail, go through the turnstile on the right, and follow Cronan Creek up to the falls. It’s best to go here after rain to ensure the waterfall is flowing well.
The falls are located about 100 metres off the fire trail. Look for directional markers.
12. Lower Portals
Time: 3-4 hours
Starting point: Lower Portals car park off Lower Portals Road (dirt road but accessible by 2WD)
The Lower Portals in the foothills of Mt Barney is also a good hike if you think your kids can handle an undulating trail with some rough sections.
It’s best to do this hike in the cooler months with children, as parts of the hike are exposed to the sun.
The hike crosses a couple of rocky creeks, before arriving at the Lower Portals gorge and waterhole. It may be possible to swim, but watch children carefully.
13. Mt Ngungun and Mt Beerburrum
Distance: 2.8km return (Ngungun) and
3.5km return (Beerburrum)
Time: 1-2 hours each
Starting point: Mount Ngungun is about 3km from Glass House Mountains township via Coonowrin Road and Fullertons Road. The trailhead to Mt Beerburrum is adjacent to the Beerburrum State School car park.
The Glasshouse Mountains are popular with outdoor lovers of all ages and there are several tracks that are great for kids.
The Mt Ngungun and Mt Beerburrum tracks climb gradually with great views along the way. The trails pass some cliff edges so watch children closely.
Be aware that both these hikes are very popular, so go early to try and beat the crowds.
Essential Gear For Hiking With Kids
You’ll likely be carrying the share of the load when hiking with kids.
My little adventurers liked the idea of carrying a backpack but that lasted about ten minutes until I had to carry everything, so make sure your backpack fits water and food for all of your group.
I found bringing along food to make a picnic worked well, with the kids looking forward to sitting down in a nice spot and enjoying food that they could prepare, such as sandwiches or crackers.
Apples, mandarins, sultanas and muesli bars worked well as snacks along the way – and a small stash of lollies was good encouragement if the kids didn’t like a particular hill!
Make sure they’re wearing enclosed shoes with good tread for the hike, a hat and sunscreen. Carry some insect repellent and a first aid kit just in case.