• Distance 6.7km
  • Altitude max 240m
  • Altitude min 62m
  • Duration 2.5 hours
  • Trail type Return
Three Stars

Three Stars

Worth Doing

The Australian Hiker Experience Rating is a measure of the overall quality of a walk. It is intended to help you decide whether to walk a trail, not to measure anything objective. Consider this our personal take on the walk.

Grade Three

Grade Three

Suitable for most ages and fitness levels. Some bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may have short steep hill sections a rough surface and many steps. Walks up to 20km.

The Australian Grading system is based on the australian standard for measuring trail hikes.

Rubbish Bins
Camping Grounds

Spotted Gum Trail QLD (6.7km)

Mount Coot-Tha Forest

What's going on with the distance?

  • The signage on the trail is quoted in one direction
  • The distance will depend on where you start. We started our walk at the rear of the entrance building to the Brisbane Botanic gardens at the main car park
  • Distance-wise from start to finish, the walk is 6.7 km

Nearest town

The closest suburb to the trailhead is Mount Coot-Tha, Queensland

Starting Location

Brisbane Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre car park


Finish Location

The car park and starting point at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens

Best Time of the Year to Walk

Year round

Spotted Gum Trail Review

On a previous visit to Brisbane we did the Mount Cooth-Tha Summit Walk and given the number of people we came across, it was definitely one of the most popular walks for many Brisbane locals and visitors alike. Recently we were back in town doing the family thing and headed back to the Mount Cooth-Tha area deciding to do a relatively new designated walk, the Spotted Gum Trail that starts at the car park of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. In reality the name implies a pleasant walk through eucalyptus forest which is exactly what you get but what we didn’t realise was that this walk was in fact an alternate summit walk to the top of Mount Cooth-Tha.

As non-Brisbane locals we were a bit confused because we assumed by the maps we we could park very close to the actual start of the trail. While there are roads that go to this point, they were closed to the public and used as internal roads for the Botanic Gardens staff. This means we had to park in the visitor car park and make our way through the Gardens to the formal start of the trail itself. If you arrive late during a busy day you may need to park across the road in the overflow car park. One quirky thing about the walks in this area is that they are shown as one way so this walk is listed as a 2.4 km walk which doesn’t include the walk from the car park through the Gardens or the return – for us this trail ended up being 6.7 km in total.

As mentioned this walk is relatively new so while some of the signage has been installed there are still some temporary signs in place that are relatively easy to follow. To get the start of this walk you follow the Citriodora route (#6) which takes you outside the botanic gardens and up the hill. Keep this in mind because the gate is opened and closed at set times. Once we made our way through the gardens passing a number of Brush Turkeys and flowering plants we turned up the hill and around 100 meters after leaving the Gardens, we arrived at the trail signage for the Spotted Gum Trail. This trail has more road noise than the Mount Cooth-Tha Summit Walk until you get around half way up the summit. One big bonus of the Spotted Gum Trail is that there is much less foot traffic than the main summit walk so while there are still people, around it has a more isolated feel.

The Spotted Gum Trail is mainly on natural trail rather than a sealed trail and apart from inside the Gardens and the summit itself, there are no water bubblers on the track so you need to bring our own. At the summit there is a cafe, tourist shop, toilets, and water. Each time we have summited we have spent time enjoying morning tea before making our way back down. If you only feel like doing the walk up the hill, then you can always arrange to have someone collect you at the summit. In our case we walked back down and once we reached the mid point in the Gardens, turned left and explored the other half of the loop for provide a bit of variety.

On the day we did this walk apart from birdlife there was no visible animal life along this trail and given the limited natural water which is the exact opposite of the summit walk, that’s not unsurprising. The walk back down the hill was relatively easy and all up the total 6.7 km took us around 2.5 hours including our morning tea stop.

I really enjoyed this trail and found it to be a very different experience in getting to the summit and would happily do it again.

The car park and start point at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens

Follow trail number 6 to get to the start of the Spotted Gum Trail – it that takes you out of the Gardens and up the hill to the summit

Turn left as you leave the Visitor Centre

Follows the signs

Brush Turkey

Internal road through the gardens

Internal road

Flowering Kangaroo Paw

Toilets within the Gardens

Past the lake

Turn off the road and out the gate

Gate opening times

Trail sign

Trail example

Follow the sign up the hill

2400 metres up the hill

Trail example

So pretty

On the trail

Temporary signage

Views down to the surrounding suburbs

The summit car park

Summit cafe

Brisbane city from the summit of Mount Coot-Tha

Down we go


Always on the lookout for interesting bark

Almost back to the Gardens gate

Temporary sign

Turn left to explore the other half of the loop road

Gravel mine just outside the Gardens

Bougainvillea in flower

City views

Approaching the exit gate

Back to the car park

Back to the car

Trail video

This short video contains photos and videos to show you the walk from start to finish

Getting There

Close up of map to trailhead which is under 8 km from the Brisbane GPO and a 13 minute car drive

Things to know

  • Phone: There is good phone signal on this trail (Telstra)
  • Water: There is water at the summit but you need to bring your own for the walk itself. There is a cafe at the summit where you can buy food and drink
  • Toilets: There are toilets on this trail at the summit and the lower car park
  • Trail: This main walk is on unsealed trail
  • Dogs: Dogs not allowed
  • Camping: No camping is allowed on this trail
  • Other: 
    • This trail is much quieter than the Mount Coot-tha Summit Walk. Start early to get a decent car parking space otherwise you may need to use the overflow car park across the road
    • The Gardens open 8am to 6pm September-March (5pm April-August)


This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker

Australian Hiker Newsletter

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