Mt Coot-tha is the perfect location for a BrisBetter Day Out, the city’s new campaign all about exploring your own backyard.
It’s where Yvonne Sheppard of Women’s Fitness Adventures bases many of her fitness group’s activities.
“There’s something for everyone on Mt Coot-tha, it’s quite amazing, it’s a real hidden gem,” she said. “There’s some paved paths that take you up to the Summit, but there’s also some killer trails if you really want a good hill training workout.”
Women’s Fitness Adventures started around seven years ago when Yvonne connected with a group of women while walking.
“I’d finished a really stressful corporate job and I just wanted to walk,” she said. “I had 12 women say ‘I’m coming with you’ and halfway through that the ladies were saying to me ‘When can we do this again?’ And I knew then that there was something.”
“There’s so many women who are looking for friendships and fitness and adventure and to get out of their comfort zone.”
Getting out of the comfort zone is something easily done throughout the network of over 70 hiking and bushwalking trails on the mountain.
“The paths are really well marked,” Yvonne said. “There’s signs and it tells you distance as well so you can’t really get lost.”
“If you want to get lost you can, but you know, they’re well marked that you can find your way around.”
It’s not only hikers and bushwalkers enjoying this special spot. It’s a popular one for the mountain bikers too with the council running regular lessons here.
Beyond the trails, Mt Coot-tha has plenty more to offer. There’s the iconic Summit Lookout offering views of the city that are second to none.
There’s also the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. It’s where plant expert Jankees Van Der spends much of his days heading free guided walks.
“Every time you come, the garden is different,” he said. “It’s really a very dynamic environment and it’s never the same.”
With a Masters in Plant Physiology, Jankees has been guiding at the Gardens for over a decade.
“At the moment you can’t go to the world but the world comes to you when you come to the Botanic Gardens. It’s quite a nice thing to do,” he said.
Guided walks of the Gardens are free and offered twice daily at 11am and 1pm starting at the Visitor Information Centre.
“It’s one of those ways that you all of a sudden see a lot more,” Jankees said. “I’ve been on guided tours of Botanic Gardens all over the world and you just see so much more than when you walk around by yourself, and that’s exactly the reaction we get from lots of visitors, even from the Brisbane ones!”
The tour winds its way through the different zones within the Gardens like the tropical dome, the exotic rainforest and the arid region before finishing up at Kitchen in the Garden.
This is where Penny Benjamin runs healthy cooking workshops!
“We feature maybe three to four dishes depending on the theme of the workshops,” Penny said. “Upcoming I have winter warmers, but I also do holiday baking fun workshops, gluten-free workshops and vegetarian workshops.”
There’s so much to see and do at Brisbane’s Mt Coot-tha Reserve and the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens.
For more fabulous BrisBetter Days Out inspiration, head to the Explore Your Own Backyard search page on Council’s website.