Just a short drive from Brisbane you can find yourself in a whole different world. High rises and busy roads are replaced with sudden peaks springing up from the ground, birds singing away and plenty of winding walkways to clear your mind. The Glass House Mountains were a bit of a surprise to me and felt completely different from the Grampians and Blue Mountains national parks I’d visited before. Instead of the land all around being steep, around the Glass House mountains is pretty flat, but this makes the scenery all the more striking. I could only spend the afternoon in the Glass House Mountains before camping the night nearby, but it was well worth the visit.
I’ve put together this mini-guide to inspire you to visit the Glass House Mountains, no matter how little time you had. In just a couple of hours before sunset, I was able to take in some gorgeous views and get a taste of what this national park has to offer. So here are some handy bits of information I got from my trip and some of my favourite photos to inspire you.
Looking for some more outdoor inspiration? Check out my Blue Mountains Video!
Where are the Glass House Mountains?
It takes just over an hour driving north to reach the Glass House Mountains National Park from Brisbane, making it a great location for a short visit, weekend trip, or a stop off point if you’re road tripping north like I was. The national park is located inland from the Sunshine Coast which is a beautiful area in itself. There are 14 mountains dotted throughout the national park and each has its own road leading to it.
What’s the name all about?
As far as I know, there’s no little glass house sitting on top of a peak somewhere (although that would be awesome) but the name comes from a nugget of history as always. The area was names by Captian James Cook in 1770 as the peaks of the mountains reminded him of the glass kilns and furnaces used back in his home county of Yorkshire, UK. He named them the ‘Glass Houses’ and it’s assumed that the ‘mountains’ part was added later on when maps of the area were put together.
Is there any camping in the Glass House Mountains?
There are no campsites in the Glass House Mountains National Park but you will find a small one in the nearby Beerburrum and Beerwah State State Forests that’s run by the Queensland Government. You will need to book in to stay here and create an account with them to book campsites online run by them. Alternatively, take a look at the WikiCamps App and you will see a free one nearby called Jowarra Park Area which is where I stopped for the night. It’s a fair sized area and there are clean toilets and a picnic area. Best of all, it’s completely free! Take a look at my previous post here to see how to use WikiCamps to find free and cheap campsites in Australia.
What to see in an afternoon at the Glass House Mountains
Queensland is known for its warm winters and sunny days so even in just an afternoon, you can take in some incredible spots and stunning natural beauty. In such a short amount of time, be sure to head to the one and only lookout point on the National Park. It’s likely to be busy here on a sunny day but with plenty of parking and 2 areas to admire the view from, you’ll find space easily. From the lookout you will be able to see a number of the mountains in the range such as Mount Ngungun, Mount Beerwah and Mount Tibrogargan.
As well as the sweeping views across the national park, I love being close to nature. Even at the lookout you are surrounded by trees and flowers such as these bright red ones below. I’ve got no idea what they’re called but their so different and exotic looking.
After soaking in the surroundings, I went off to get a bit closer to it all. As I was just here on a mini visit, I wasn’t about to start hiking to any summits or anything too adventurous. For a more relaxed approach, I made my way over to Mount Tibrogargan to walk the circuit around its base. It’s a decent but easy 3km walk through the forest and you can catch some great views of the other mountains around it.
As you walk around you will come across some great viewpoints of Mt. Tunbubudla and Mt. Ngungun. As well as this, be sure to look up at Mt. Tibrogargan as you walk around to see if you can spot any people climbing to the top. The summit is so steep that it requires rock climbing equipment so there was no way I was going to do it!
As the sun started going down, it was time to head off to the campsite. Although it was only a flying visit to the Glass House Mountains, it’s such a beautiful and accessible area that it’s definitely worth seeing even if you only have a little bit of time. It’s easy to talk yourself out of stopping off at places when you think you’re too tight on time for it to be worth it, but anytime in the Glass House Mountains is better than no time at all.