The allure of the majestic mountains on Queensland's Sunshine Coast »

Explore the Glass House Mountains, formed from ancient volcanoes

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Mary Cairncross Reserve, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Mary Cairncross Reserve, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Glasshouse Mountains on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland


Any driver on the Bruce Highway heading north from Brisbane has seen the impressive Glass House Mountains. Giant monoliths formed from ancient volcanoes, they’re alluring and awe inspiring. But have you actually been there?

Scientifically, the Glass House Mountains are a series of volcanic plugs that rise dramatically from the landscape. Forged by active volcanoes and tectonic plate movements over 26 million years ago, the 11 mountains and hills have called to the adventurous for a very long time.

They were named by Captain James Cook after the glasshouse furnaces of his native Yorkshire, while the Aboriginal legend tells of them as a family torn apart by the cowardly acts of Mt Coonowrin after failing to protect his mother and siblings from a tidal wave.

Any way you look at them you’ll see something worth visiting.

The mountains are managed by Queensland National Parks. Easy climbs include Mt Ngungun, Mt Beerburrum and Wild Horse Mountain. Mt Tibrogargan is scalable, but caution is strongly advised and adequate fitness level is necessary. For safety reasons, access is limited to some of the other mountains and even some of the climbs that are open are not for the fainthearted but there are still ample shorter and easier walks to enjoy.

If hiking isn’t your thing, there is still plenty to expereince in the area. Australia Zoo lies a small distance away, as does the Big Kart Track and Aussie World. There are also several small towns mired in European history dating as far back as the 1860s, and the area still holds the special significance for the Gubbi Gubbi people, traditional owners of the land.

If you have the time, a drive through the countryside is an inspiring alternative to mototoring your way up the Bruce Highway. Beerwah, Peachester, the Glass House Mountains township, Landsborough, Mooloolah Valley and more all have that small town feel with plenty of history, and are host to flourishing communities that inspire the ‘tree change’ movement. 

And there's plenty of food growers and makers along the way, and even the occasional vineyard (see listings below).

A leisurely drive on the back roads will see you ambling up to the stunning Hinterland to overlook the mountains and into the townships of Maleny, Montville and further.

If you’re pressed for time the Glass House Mountains could be done in one day or even as a long weekend, but really you could wheedle away a week here and still not fall short of things to do.

To find out more on the Glass House Mountains and surrounds, go to


  • Noosa, Sunshine Coast and hinterland (QLD)

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February 24th, 2016
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