Mount Coot-tha, Queensland
The mountain is 287 metres above sea level, has the highest peak within the urban footprint of Brisbane. It forms the eastern extent of the Taylor Range and is a prominent landmark approximately six kilometres (3.7 mi) to the west of the Brisbane central business district. Visible from much of the city, Mount Coot-tha is a popular bushland tourist destination including the Brisbane Botanic Gardens and Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, as well as a mountain drive, bike trails, parks including a waterfall, and television and radio towers. Mount Coot-tha is the source of Ithaca Creek.
Early Brisbane people called it One Tree Hill when bush at the top of the hill was cleared except for one large eucalypt tree. The Aboriginal people of the area used to come to the area to collect ‘ku-ta’ (honey) that was produced by the native stingless bee. Mount Coot-tha (Honey Mountain) is a derivative of the indigenous term which replaced the former title ‘One Tree Hill’ in 1880 when the area was declared a Public Recreation Reserve.
The Mount Coot-tha Library opened in 1975.
Mount Coot-tha has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- Sir Samuel Griffith Drive: Mount Coot-tha Forest
- Sir Samuel Griffith Drive: Mount Coot-tha Lookout
Mount Coot-tha is one of Brisbane’s most popular tourist destinations and is a popular stop with bus tours. Of particular note is the Lookout, which includes the Kuta Cafe, Summit Restaurant, and Gift Shop.
The lookout, restaurant and cafe allow for panoramic views of the City. A function centre adjoins the restaurant. Well-known British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore gave a night-time public lecture about the stars of the southern hemisphere at the lookout in 1988, in conjunction with Patrick Moore being a guest speaker at a dinner of the Southern Astronomical Society at Toowong in Queensland.
During World War II, anti-aircraft guns and searchlights were located on the lookout. Mount Coo-tha was also the site of US Naval Ammunition Depot (Navy 134) supplying submarines at the Capricorn Wharf at New Farm (Teneriffe) in Brisbane.
Sir Samuel Griffith Drive
Sir Samuel Griffith Drive is a tourist drive circling the peak, providing access to the lookout, cafe, gift shop and restaurant. The scenic drive, from the base of Mount Coot-tha to the lookout, is a winding, climbing journey that has views of the greater Brisbane area and of the mountains and coastline that disappear into the horizon.
The Mount Coot-tha Reserve
The Mount Coot-tha Reserve contains more than 1,500 hectares of natural bushland, including J C Slaughter Falls along Ithaca Creek, as well as native wildlife. Mount Coot-tha Reserve also shares a border with Brisbane Forest Park, which adds a further 25,000 hectares.
Television and radio towers
On a ridge near the summit on the other side of Mount Coot-tha, are the television transmission towers for the Brisbane television stations and their respective studios; Ten (TVQ-10), Nine (QTQ-9), Seven (BTQ-7). The transmission tower for (ABC Brisbane) is located on the mountain, which also broadcasts television for multicultural station SBS and Brisbane community television channel 31 Digital.
Most of the FM Brisbane radio stations also transmit from Mount Coot-tha.
Part of the Brisbane suburb of The Gap is located on the foothills beneath the television towers.
Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens
There are several popular walking tracks around Mount Coot-tha, one of which includes an art display comprising works produced by local Aboriginal artists. The tracks vary in difficulty, with most involving some uphill sections or steps. Tracks around Mount Coot-tha are often used by hikers training to walk the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea as the terrain and climate are considered similar. On 20 November 2005, one of the Mount Coot-tha trails, the Currawong trail, was renamed the Kokoda trail in honour of the Australian soldiers who marched the Kokoda Track during World War II. During World War II, the hill was used as a military base by the RAAF and the US Navy. It was converted to a vast explosives depot and at one stage held more than 120 000 tonnes of explosive weapons. When darkness fell the lookout bristled with search lights in an amazing display as soldiers kept an eye out for enemy planes.
Mountain bike trails
The Western side of Mount Coot-tha Forest or Gap Creek Reserve as it is known to the locals is a haven for Brisbane mountain bike riders. The establishment of a world class mountain bike trail network by the Brisbane City Council has created a diverse range of recreational experiences for off-road cyclists.
The mountain bike trails at Mount Coot-tha have been assigned a grading under the International Mountain Bicycling Association, Trail Difficulty Rating System. The multi-use trails in Mount Coot-tha provide the least degree of technical challenge to mountain bike riders, however many of them are steep and loose. Riders are advised to pay special attention when riding over the erosion control banks (water bars) which have been the downfall of many a novice rider. The trail ratings provide a guide to the relative difficulty of each trail.
The multi-use tracks are used by horses, pedestrians and mountain bikers. Each year orienteering events are held in the area.
Mount Coot-tha can be reached by Brisbane Transport Bus 471 (Translink). Between 2014 and 2016 the Brisbane City Council ran a CitySights Bus that included Mount Coot-tha. A short taxi ride from Toowong is also possible as well as Uber and such. Parking is limited at the peak.
Mount Coot-tha has a public library on Mt Coot-tha Road in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens operated by the Brisbane City Council. Unlike most public libraries in Brisbane which have general collections, this library holds a specialist collection about botany and astronomy and related topic reflecting its locations within the botanic garden and the Brisbane Planetarium also on the site.
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- “Mount Coot-Tha – suburb in City of Brisbane (entry 46114)”. Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
- Katherine Feeney (2 August 2012). “Brisbane booming in the middle and round the edges”. Brisbane Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 3 August 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
- Visit Mt Coot-tha Archived 22 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine Brisbane Tourist Guide. Retrieved on 7 November 2013.
- Mount Coot-tha Forest track map — (Brisbane City Council)
- “Public Libraries Statistical Bulletin 2016-17” (PDF). Public Libraries Connect. State Library of Queensland. November 2017. p. 11. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 January 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
- “Mount Coot-tha Forest (entry 602446)”. Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
- “Mt Coot-tha Lookout & Kiosk (entry 601564)”. Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
- Southern Astronomical Society — Astronomy Astronomical Events Archived 3 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- Taylor Range Observatory Archived 7 June 2001 at the Wayback Machine. P.E. Anderson. January 2000.
- Dunn, Peter. “ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUNS AND SEARCHLIGHT UNITS ON MOUNT COOT-THA, BRISBANE, QLD DURING WW2”. Australian @ War. Archived from the original on 29 April 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
- Dunn, Peter. “US Naval Base Headquarters (Brisbane), Navy 134, in Australia during WW2”. Australian @ War. Archived from the original on 3 April 2017. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
- “US Navy Submarine Base, Capricorn Wharf, Macquarie St., New Farm, Brisbane during WW2”. Archived from the original on 10 April 2017. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
- “Brisbane Explorer bus leaves the city after more than two years”. 21 April 2017. Archived from the original on 6 September 2017. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
- “Mount Coot-tha Library”. plconnect.slq.qld.gov.au. State Library of Queensland. Archived from the original on 22 January 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
- “Mt Coot-tha Library”. Brisbane City Council. Archived from the original on 30 January 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
- * “Mount Coot-Tha”. Queensland Places. Centre for the Government of Queensland, University of Queensland.
- Mount Coot-tha
- Mountain Bike Trails Info
- Mount Coot-tha Lookout
- Mt. Coot-tha (Government website)