by Jodi Panayotov
Less than an hour's scenic drive from Brisbane the tiny mountain hamlet of Mt Glorious is the epicentre of lush rainforest walks, stunning views and character country style cafes noted for their home baking. It began life in 1903 when five blocks were put up for sale and the first bought by one John O'Hara, with little changed a hundred years later.
For day trippers it is also the halfway point for a fantastic driving circuit that winds its way up through the unspoilt forests and jaw dropping outlooks of Mt Nebo and back down through the picture perfect Samford Valley and Samford Village.
From the city head west along Waterworks Rd which, as it leaves the fringes of the city, becomes Mt Nebo Road. Here houses are replaced abruptly by the dense preserved bushlands of Brisbane Forest Park and the road starts its narrow windy climb through the spectacular D'Aguilar Ranges, with the odd winery, walking trail and stop worthy lookouts such as Camp Mountain Outlook and the famed Jollys Lookout offering scenic windows on the valleys below and ranges beyond.
After the tiny township of Mt Nebo it's about a 20 minute drive further to Mt Glorious (with a stunning view west on the way from Westridge Outlook), where a couple of cafes mark the spot and fuel aspiring bushwalkers â€“ the rustic timber Elm Haus with its lead light lamps, raked ceilings, lush overgrown gardens and home made apple pies or the mountain biker fave Maiala Tea House with its resident kookaburras and hearty burgers.
A short hike back down the road towards Mt Nebo are Mt Glorious's most well known trampled tracks, the 2km Rainforest Circuit and 4.3 km Greenes Falls Circuit, both of which start from the Maiala Picnic Area which was once home to a saw mill that supplied hoop pine for Brisbane homes. An old half-buried steam boiler from the mill marks the entrance to the walks, the first (Rainforest Circuit) of which is easy grade and passes through a gorgeous valley of ferns and the second (Greenes Falls), which incorporates the first and has an offshoot through a Cypress Grove is also relatively easy but involving steps through giant cut out logs to get to the splendid falls. Walking shoes are required for both.
Heading back east and off the main Mt Glorious Rd on the left is the turn off to the licensed Mt Glorious Café, a sometime hang out of celebrities avoiding the madding crowd and must visit for its crows nest deck, spectacular views and excellent food.
Once out of Mt Glorious, follow Mt Glorious Road as it forks left from Mt Nebo Rd and snakes its way down to the Samford Valley and its well preserved village of Samford. Here Ya Ya Bar makes the perfect end of day drop-in for fabulous tapas or a pick me up espresso for the 20 minute drive from here back to Brisbane via Samford Rd.
If the trip is done in reverse, try the iconic Flying Nun Cafe or Buzzstop Espresso for breakfast on the way.
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