This is one of Brisbane’s best urban walks for both its variety – secluded bush, city vistas, river boardwalk, bars and cafes – and the unique ambience of Teneriffe’s leafy streets encased by the old brick woolstores.
While mostly on paved paths, in one section there’s a bush track with a steep non-railed section that can be a challenge for the non-sure-footed as well as stairs and a small hill to climb. It is recommended that proper enclosed walking shoes should be worn.
1. The walk starts at Teneriffe Ferry Terminal, with arrivals by GlyderBus from West End, St Brisbane, City and Valley. Parking here can be tricky to find and the area is heavily imbued with parking metres although a bit of persistence will pay off. From the terminal head towards the left (when facing land) and take the riverfront walk for about 500m until it becomes a wide timber deck. This area used to be the loading wharves for all the goods from the woolstores as evidenced by the old rusting dock bollards at intervals along the path.
2. Plenty of history plaques are spaced along the deck and the deceptively plain red brick box overlooking it is the old engine room which, when the wharves were active, contained two ammonia pressers driven by steam engines to provide refrigeration for goods to be shipped. During World War II it helped provide refrigerated goods to the submarines frequenting the river. Step up past the engine room and onto land which becomes Macquarie Terrace. Turn right.
3. On the other side of the road are two landmark woolstores – the Goldsborough Mort (1930’s) and Elder Smith (1920’s), both fine preserved examples of stores from this era which have been converted into apartments like most of the others in this area following the vision of ex Lord mayor Jim Soorley.
4. Follow Macquarie Terrace past the towering feathery grassed cliffs and just after they end is a blue railed concrete staircase (with a post box at its base) which cuts behind the old Paddys Market. This was the second last woolstore to be constructed post World War II, built in the early 1950s’ for the Dalgety & Co company whose wharves and loading docks were where The Dalgety Apartment complex is now. Once upon a time wool buyers used to arrive at Paddys market and take the lift (which is still operational inside) to the top floor where under natural light they would inspect the golden fleece.
5. Take the stairs up to Chermside St and follow it around the curve to the left where it becomes Walker Avenue. There’s a particularly decorative Victorian villa perched on the corner with Mole St. Keep walking, turn left into Mackellar St past the Victorian villa which is a hostel for the homeless on the corner, to find a substantial clump of scrubby bush on the right. Towards its end there is a sign indicating a walking path that enters it here.
6. This bushland reserve fringes Teneriffe Park, the area’s highest point at 44m. Take the plunge and follow the path through bushland that could be a million miles from civilization and down to a green vale with an arts hall and a picnic table.
7. Past the arts hall and picnic table is another entry to the bush with a couple of overgrown stairs. Take these and once again you are immersed in bush only this time uphill. The last part, which is the beginning of a clearing is a rather steep dirt tract which can be a bit of a challenge to climb, but the reward is a clearing containing a charming park complete with gas BBQ, picnic pavilion and playground and overlooking a row of picture book cottages and in the distance the city.
8. Step down onto the street (Little Chester St) with the cottage row until it ends then turn right into Heal St and almost immediately left into Chester St. There are some impressive late 19th century Queenslanders on this street which, if you follow for two blocks you’ll arrive at one of the most beautiful ornate Victorian homesteads in Brisbane – Roseville (circa 1886) with gardens reflecting its grandeur.
9. Return along Chester St until the intersection with Teneriffe Drive, a dress circle of grand houses with fantastic views. Number 37, again the grandest of them all (although hard to get the impact from the street) is ‘Teneriffe House’ (circa 1865) which was once the ‘manor’ of the whole estate up here, standing solitary on the hill in the most commanding of all positions until it was subdivided. Its other claim to fame was that in 1925 Claude Chauvel, the famed Brisbane filmmaker, used it as a setting for a black and white silent movie about a girl who came to Brisbane seeking excitement.
10. Just past Teneriffe House on the other side of the street is a steep set of stairs – take them to the bottom and follow the little road till the T-intersection with Gibbon St then turn right. At the T-intersection with Chermside St turn left then when Chermside St ends if in need of a caffeine hit cross the road to Caffeine Espresso otherwise take a sharp left into Florence St along which there’s also a tiny Blue Sky Coffee outlet in the base of the old London Offices.
11. The trees lining Florence St are over a century old and an old brick Monier Ventilation Shaft from pre-sanitation days stands half hidden on the footpath near the little terrace of cafes at the base of the Paddys Market building. Amongst them, Salon is a brilliant cocktail lounge.
12. Turn left onto Vernon Terrace which is the main leafy stretch of woolstores and at the base of which are plenty of cafes, bars and the odd shop. Recommended are the London Club for a budget priced gourmet lunch on a Chesterfield couch, Beccofino for the best Italian pizza this side of town or Clarethouse for a drink and tapas in elegant surrounds. Alternatively Eves on the River just before the ferry stop is a casual eating spot with water views.
13. Continue the promenade along leafy Vernon St and turn right onto Commercial Rd, wherein the odd looking brick columned bus shelter was one of Brisbane’s World War II air raid shelters. Finish at the Teneriffe Ferry Terminal Stop.