Glass House Mountains National Park
On the coastal plain north of Brisbane sits a collection of dramatic sheer-sided volcanic peaks that rise up out of verdant green forests and farmlands. Gradually eroded by wind and water, these weathered formations are the remains of volcanic activity that took place around 25 million years ago.
Of the strangely shaped, craggy volcanic peaks that make up the Glass House Mountains, seven are protected in the national park and lie in splendid isolation from each other: Beerwah, Tibrogargan, Ngungun, Coonowrin, Miketeebumulgrai, Elimbah and Coochin.
From Brisbane via Bruce Hwy and Glass House Mountains Rd
Autumn to spring
70 km north of Brisbane; 20 km north of Caboolture
NPRSR 13 7468
Camping permit and fees apply for Coochin Creek; bookings essential
Glass House Mountains (07) 5438 7220
Featured Activities in the National Park
Drive to the Glass House Mountains Lookout for panoramic views
Enjoy a picnic at the base of Mount Beerwah or Mount Tibrogargan
- Glass House Mountains National Park, Eco-friendly activity
A look at the past
Captain James Cook gave the peaks their name in 1770 during his voyage along Australia’s east coast, writing in his journal that their ‘singular form of elevation’ resembled (from offshore) the glass foundries of his birthplace in Yorkshire.
This region has been marked by intense logging activity, which commenced in earnest after Queensland separated from New South Wales in 1860 and overturned Governor George Gipps's edict that no logging take place in bunya forests north of Moreton Bay. These days commercial pine forests surround many of the park sections, interspersed with pineapple plantations established after World War I. Four of the peaks, Beerwah, Tibrogargan, Ngungun and Coonowrin, were protected within their own national parks in the 1950s, before the creation of Glass House Mountains National Park in 1994. Mount Coochin was the last peak to be incorporated, in 1995.
The Glass House Mountains are the traditional lands of the Gubbi Gubbi people, also known as the Kabi Kabi people. They roamed between the seas around Fraser Island, where they feasted on mullet and other seafood, and the mountains of the Blackall Ranges, where they took part in the bunya nut harvest gatherings. According to Gubbi Gubbi legend, the ancient volcanic peaks are a family of mountain spirits, with Tibrogargan as the father and Beerwah the mother. A Dreamtime story describes their formation and relationship to each other.
Originally numbering around 3000 people, the Gubbi Gubbi population dwindled rapidly through the ravages of European settlement, and in 1905 the few remaining Gubbi Gubbi were removed from their land and taken to Cherbourg. Throughout the national park there are the scattered remains of stone tools, bora rings, middens and scarred trees – all reminders of the area's rich cultural importance.
The prominent peaks that now dominate the landscape are plugs of hard rock made from cooling lava in the cores of volcanoes. The softer outer rock of the volcanos gradually eroded, leaving only these towering forms. Rising from the ﬂat coastal plain, they range in height from 100 to 556 metres.
In the various sections of the park the mountains are surrounded by open eucalypt forests of blackbutt and scribbly gum, with banksia, she-oak and grasstree species, while the mountain summits support rare heath vegetation. There are around 26 species of rare and threatened plants. In some places damp gullies provide a habitat for rainforest and piccabeen palms.
The park is a refuge for eastern grey kangaroos, koalas, brushtail possums, short-beaked echidnas and lace monitors. Birdlife includes blue-winged kookaburras, sulphur-crested cockatoos, glossy black-cockatoos (classiﬁed as vulnerable in Queensland) rainbow lorikeets, pale-headed rosellas and less common birds such as the peregrine falcon.
Get your bearings at the Glass House Mountains Lookout, just outside the park, which offers panoramic views of the mountains, the surrounding plains and the Paciﬁc Ocean to the east. There are picnic areas with tables and toilets at the base of Mount Beerwah and Mount Tibrogargan. There are no facilities and no walking tracks at Coochin Hills, Mount Coonowrin (closed to the public), Mount Miketeebumulgrai, Mount Elimbah and Blue Gum Creek; these areas protect natural features and rare plant species.
There are a number of walking tracks ranging in degrees of difﬁculty, most of which lead to lookouts with spectacular views. A good place to start is Mountain View Lookout walk on Mount Tibrogargan (800 metres return, 45 minutes, easy), leaving from the carpark. A more challenging hike to the top of the 364-metre Mount Tibrogargan (3 km return, 3–4 hours, difﬁcult) is a hard, steep climb, often over slippery rock surfaces and loose gravel. Recommended for experienced climbers only, the rewards are worthwhile, with panoramic views to Bribie and Moreton islands.
Mount Ngungun track (2.2 km return, 2 hours, easy–medium difﬁculty) is the easiest walk for families, and leads to the summit of this 253-metre peak. Although generally of easy grade, there are some steep sections. Children should be carefully supervised as the trail passes close to the edge of precipitous cliffs in places.
A recent rock fall at Mount Beerwah means that the difficult Mount Beerwah summit track and the track from the picnic area to a cliff-face lookout at the foot of the mountain are both closed to the public at the time of writing. In the meantime, visitors can take the Western boundary walk (1.4 km return, 45 minutes, easy), a pleasant stroll through open eucalypt forest from the picnic area to the park’s western perimeter.
Rock-climbing and abseiling
Mount Ngungun (253 metres) and Mount Tibrogargan (364 metres) provide opportunities for these more adventurous activities. Do not climb during or immediately after rain as slippery surfaces become extremely dangerous.