Toohey Forest is remarkable for the fact that at only 10km from the CBD, here is a 260 ha preserved sample of the forest vegetation that once covered most of Brisbane. It takes its name from James Toohey, one of the real estate moguls who, flush with a gold-rush fortune bought up in this area in the mid to late 1800’s and whose descendents relinquished ownership in 1945. Another was the notorious Patrick Mayne, who owned tracts of land on and around adjacent Toohey Mountain, now also known as the Mayne Estate Reserve.
1. Sandstone Circuit: Leading from a small picnic area and car parking bay, this easy half hour 1km circuit instantly plunges the walker into an other-worldly place of centuries old trees and ancient sandstone boulders. Within a short space it also features a couple of viewpoints – the Sandstone and Western Lookouts - from which to snap back into the 21st century at the sight of city and suburban sprawl.
2. Planchoniana/Nathan & Toohey Ridge Track: This is a longer slightly more challenging 3km track of roughly 1 hour’s duration that should be managed by city slickers quite easily. From the Sandstone Circuit take the Toohey Ridge Track, a partially sealed descent into what becomes the Planchoniana Track, named after the species of white flowered eucalypt that blooms here in Spring, and then veer onto the sealed-again Nathan Ridge Track which leads to the Toohey Ridge Track with its beautiful ancient grass skirt trees or Xanthorrhea studded throughout. After this it regroups with the Sandstone Circuit.
3. Toohey Ridge Track: This is a fantastic 5km return walk for parents with prams, children on wheels, wheelchairs, bike riders and Manolo Blahnik wearers. Start at either the Toohey Picnic Grounds (toilet-less) on Toohey Rd or at the entrance to the Nathan Ridge Track off the Griffith University Ring Road. Either way it’s a straightforward roomy paved path via the Nathan Ridge Track and eventually the Toohey Ridge Track, cutting through eucalyptus forest dotted with grass-skirted xanthorrhoea and with a couple of gentle hills and a slice of boardwalk on the way. On the Toohey Picnic side it intersects with the above Sandstone Circuit.