Apparently Captain Cook, on his trip up the coast way back when, thought these mountains looked like the glass furnaces from back home in Yorkshire. Aye.
Now, I’ve never seen one of these glass furnaces for myself – although I have been to Yorkshire – so I’m just going to have to take Captain Jim’s word for that. The mountains, rising straight up from the ground, are, however, magnificent – and the best place to see them (without climbing one) is from Glasshouse Mountains Lookout on the Glasshouse – Woodford Rd. Here’s a link to the map.
Aside from being a great place to view the mountains from, there’s also a bushwalking track, picnic areas, gas barbecues, and (long drop) toilet facilities.
Most mornings – and at least a couple of afternoons a week – I walk around to the end of the rock wall at Mooloolaba. It’s a great walk – with one teeny weeny issue: you don’t really see the sunrise from here. Pt Cartwright is the place for that. I’ve heard it said that it’s the best place for the sunrise on the coast…I’ll test that theory some day.
It’s also the place for some incredible views. From up here, you can see in all directions. Straight down the coast to Caloundra…
in the other direction, up the coast across to Mooloolaba and as far as Mt Coolum. That little lump on the horizon in the pic below is Mt Coolum.
This headland point is also a good spot to watch the whales as they migrate north (and south) each year. Whale migration season is between June – October each year.
Of course, there’s a lighthouse – which I didn’t take a picture of because it’s one of those modern lighthouses that really is nothing to look at.
The story of it is interesting though – if you’re into lighthouse history, that is. From the late 1800s, the Caloundra Lighthouse was the beacon that guided sailors safely down the coast. By the time they got to Caloundra, they knew that the port of Brisbane wasn’t that far away. The problem was that as Caloundra grew from a fishing town into a tourist town and high rises started to be built, the light from the Caloundra Lighthouse was competing with a lot of other lights for prominence. In 1978 a new lighthouse was built at Point Cartwright. An automated light, it’s never been manned.
Another thing to check out up here is the mural on the water reservoir.
It features the type of sea life that migrates through here – or that can be seen in the skies above and the waters below. From the rock wall at Mooloolaba it looks like a blue blob, but up close, it’s fabulous.
We parked at La Balsa Park, Buddina, and walked around to the Headland, climbing the short track to the lighthouse. This path follows the Mooloolah River and looks across to fisheries at Mooloolaba and then the rock wall. In the shallows we watched an eagle (or was it a kite? I’ve never been great at the technicalities) washing, his partner flying back and forward to check on him.
From here you round the point to the Headland Beach. Again the views are fabulous, but it also feels as though you have the whole place to yourself – especially on a Friday afternoon in June.
From the beach, you head through the pandanus, past the picnic area, to a fork in the path. One way is paved, the other is little bush track. Both lead you (after a short climb – about 100m or so) to the Lighthouse.
If you don’t feel like walking, there’s a carpark at the end of Pacific Boulevard.
Yes. Check out the signs for when (and where) you can have your pooch off the leash…and don’t forget to take a plastic bag with you to pick up after them.
Difficulty and accessibility?
Easy. This little walk is flat and paved the whole way – with exception of the last 100m or so to the Lighthouse – it’s paved, but not flat.
There are plenty of places to sit and check out the view – both along the path and up at the Lighthouse.
I’ve been bookmarking pictures of Buderim Falls (or “Serenity Falls”) since before we moved to the Coast. The pictures on Instagram showed a lush rainforest with a relatively short (hello, I’ve seen the size of those falls in New Zealand…just saying) waterfall into a beautifully lit turquoise swimming hole. Of course, I was keen to go!
There are two entry points to Buderim Forest Park – and two ways to get to the falls:
The lower entry is at Lindsay Road near Harry’s Restaurant. The track from here takes approximately an hour return – longer with stops. It’s boardwalk for approx 600m and then bush track. Apparently, the track gets a tad “rugged” and the website says it’s not great for those with “walking difficulties or a low level of fitness.” I’ll try that way next time. There’s apparently barbecues and picnic facilities here.
I went with the entry closest to our house – the one at the base of Quorn Place. There ’s a good amount of parking here and well-maintained barbecues and picnic tables for when you’ve finished the circuit.
The circuit track itself is quite short – less than a kilometre return. It begins with a relatively steep downward bush trail. My knees aren’t great – and I’m petrified of being the big fat lady falling down the hill, so I took it quite slowly and it was absolutely fine.
About 100m down there’s a fork in the park. I took the option of heading through the open forest so went to the right, crossing a short bridge and walking through the edge of the forest. With the sound of the trees, the birds and the tinkling of the water below, it’s just beautiful in here. It’s also hard to believe that we’re pretty much in the middle of Buderim.
From here there’s another short and steep-ish downhill scramble to the bridge above the falls. The bridge was built offsite and lowered into place by a hovering helicopter. #funfact
You can walk down into the swimming hole and around behind the waterfall, but when I was there, there was a proper photographer with a proper kit set up down there – and ruining my photo (see the main shot below).
The falls themselves weren’t at full flow today – we haven’t had rain in a long time – but it’s still beautifully serene down there…get it? Serenity falls? Oh, never mind…
After a short piece of boardwalk, it’s all uphill from here to get back to the carpark. But it’s do-able, it’s only 300m (or so), and there’s a viewing platform part of the way up that you can catch your breath at.
The path from Quorn Close is not accessible for prams or wheelchairs.
Sorry, no, not this one. There are no dogs allowed in the forest park.
Yes, at the entrance.
How hard is it?
It is quite steep downhill to start – which means it’s quite steep to come back up. You step down from rock to rock – so it can be very slippery after rain. The path itself is in pretty good condition. The steep parts are over and done with quickly and the distance is short so anyone with moderate fitness can do this one. Just take care after storms when there can be debris over the path as well. Don’t try this in thongs/ jandals/ flip-flops
Can you swim in the swimming hole?
People do – I’ve seen the evidence on Instagram. The creek passes through suburbia and some stormwater drains to reach the falls, so…well, I’ll leave that to you.
These are not your average Botanical Gardens. Aside from the Sculpture Garden, there are no manicured lawns and exotic flowering plants. Instead, what you have is bushland – a place to breathe, and wander, and relax, and remember what it’s like to reconnect with nature after a hard week in the office where you’ve been thinking too much. That last bit came out loud, didn’t it?
Why come? Aside from the breathing, relaxing, reconnecting, and grounding part? The bush walks, of course – gentle enough for all levels of fitness, short enough to fit into a busy day, and interesting enough to make you think you’ve been in the bush.
This track takes you on a round trip around the lagoon.
It’s about 1.2kms – or thereabouts – has a bit of up and down, but is an easy walk. The track is dirt, but well maintained – although I imagine there could be some slippery parts if it’s been raining. There are a few stairs, so I wouldn’t recommend this path for wheelchairs or prams.
There are viewing platforms at a couple of points around the lagoon, and on a clear day the reflections are worth a picture or three.
The Fern Glade is another short walk – about 900m, on a fully accessible concrete path.
A few degrees cooler than the bush track, I’ll be keeping this little oasis in mind on a hot summer’s day.
Another 900m on another fully accessible path, it’s worth a wander.
There are plenty of picnic tables, but no barbecues – you can bring your own, if you want. Oh, and there are no rubbish bins, so make sure you bring something to take your garbage home in. Inconvenient yes, but it’s all about not interfering with the natural feeding patterns of the animals and birds that live in the gardens.
Yes, there are toilets.
Aside from the bush tracks, there are other accessible paths in the gardens.
No dogs are allowed in the gardens.
The gardens are open every day and admission is free.
The gardens are located off Tanawha Tourist Drive. You’ll find more information here.