Lisa Owen guides us to a secluded sunrise view of the Scenic Rim from Mt Cordeaux in the Main Range National Park. This spot has all the beauty and views without of the hustle and bustle of some more popular Brisbane sunrise locations.
- Easy graded trail gradually ascending up to the lookout point
- Clear sunrise views across the Fassifern Valley and Scenic Rim mountains
- You might just have the place all to yourself
Forget joining the masses at the Insta-famous Mt Ngungun to watch the sunrise – there’s another mountain near Brisbane where you can satisfy your early morning nature cravings.
The best bit? You might just have the whole mountain to yourself.
A ninety minute drive from Brisbane, Mt Cordeaux is located in Main Range National Park.
At 3.00am early one Saturday morning I started the drive to Mt Cordeaux, leaving the city lights behind and winding along the dark Cunningham Highway with my headlights on high beam most of the way.
With little light pollution to spoil the view, I was able to see the night sky in all its glory.
Just before 4.30 am, I pulled into the Mt Cordeaux carpark meeting my other nocturnal hiking buddies Lani and Rhys for the hike up.
After an accidental detour that warmed up our legs (I blame the fact I was still a bit foggy from my 3.00am wake up call), we hit the right trail and started the ascent up.
Make sure you take the Mt Cordeaux trail located on the right hand side of the carpark. There’s a few trails shooting off this trail, so pay attention to the signage and make sure you keep heading up.
The graded trail is easy to hike along as it winds up the mountain.
Brekkie With A View
You have two lookouts to choose from for your sunrise fix. Or why not both?
At a good pace, you’ll likely reach the first little lookout in about forty-five minutes to an hour.
Then about 60m further up you’ll get to the cliffside lookout for sweeping views across the valley below. This is a good spot to pull up, take some photos, eat breakfast and enjoy the view as the sun breaks over the horizon.
We were well prepared with Lani’s Jetboil on hand, and enjoyed the sunrise and a hot coffee.
We were pretty stoked to have the whole mountain to ourselves. Not a single soul joined us on our rocky perch. You can’t get that at Mt Ngungun.
Sure, there’s no Glasshouse Mountains view – but there’s Mt Barney to your right, and Mt Castle to your left – and all the other fabulous mountains of the Scenic Rim in between.
So have I talked you into Mt Cordeaux as your next sunrise spot yet?
After sunrise, you can continue onto Bare Rock for a view of the Ramparts (additional 5.6km return), or head back down, cross the road and have a double peak day by hiking up Mt Mitchell.
- Breakfast at 1,135m above sea level
- Warm jacket for the summit
- About 2L of water
- Consider bringing extra food, snacks and water if you’re going to continue on to other hikes in the area after sunrise
How To Get There
From Brisbane, get onto Ipswich Road and follow the signs to Warwick. Ipswich Road turns into the Ipswich Motorway and then Cunningham Highway. Follow this for about ninety minutes and then you’ll see a sign with a hiking icon and the parking on your right as you come through Cunningham’s Gap.
Beginner. This isn’t a hard hike as it’s a gradual ascent and the hike starts at about 750m elevation but hiking by the light of a headlamp adds an extra challenge.
Distance / Elevation / Duration
6.8km return / 1,135m / 2-3 hours return depending on your confidence hiking up in the dark and your time at the lookout