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REVIEW: Chermside Hills Reserves | Climbing Spider Hill with Kids

If you are looking for easy walking tracks on the northside of Brisbane then take a look at the Chermside Hills Reserves for an easy day out with kids.

Where are the Chermside Hills Reserves?

The Chermside Hills Reserves are located 12 kilometres north west of Brisbane’s CBD. They can be accessed from multiple locations around Chermside. We started our adventures today at the Downfall Creek Bushland Centre on Rode Road and walked some of the tracks from there. Have a read of our article and then scroll back up to download the Chermside Hills Reserve Walking Track map – click here for map.

The Chermside Hills Reserve are actually made up of a network of three natural areas in Chermside West and McDowall.

This group of natural areas includes:

The Chermside Hills Reserves are an important part of the Mountains to Mangroves Corridor which is a wildlife corridor that extends from the D’Aguilar Ranges to Boondall Wetlands and Moreton Bay. The reserves are mostly open eucalypt forest with more than 200 native plant species including grass trees, banksias, stringybarks, bloodwoods and spotted gums.

The Chermside Hills Reserves tracks and trails offer different walks for all skill levels, and includes accessible trails. The signs at the entrances also let you know the difficulty, who the walking tracks are suited to, what habitat you will see and the best things to do.

Chermside Hills Reserves popular tracks and trails

There are multiple walking tracks in the reserve ranging in grade from very easy, to slightly difficult in places due to the steep hills. We tackled three today and will update this review as we complete them all! As I said above, we started our first walk at the Downfall Creek Bushland Centre. (Review to come!)

Senses Trail: 400 metres

We did this track today. It is just a short 400 metre circuit and fully accessible – a great starting point for little kids. It is located within Raven Street Reserve, next to the Downfall Creek Bushland Centre. This track has been especially designed for visitors with special needs and has continuous handrails, tactile signage with braille and raised text. An audio guide is also available for hire from the  environment centre. You will pass by blueberry ash, hovea, bracken ferns, fungus, tree ferns and forest kingfishers in arboreal termite nests.

Grade: very easy, short, flat
Suited to: wheelchair accessible, visually impaired, bushwalking, all ages including young children
Habitat: wet gully
Must: visit Downfall Creek Bushland Centre

Creek Track: 770 metres

This is the second track we did today. This track leads you to a creek platform that overlooks Downfall Creek. You are likely to see  waterhousia and lomandra. Common crow butterflies feed on monkey vine and red ash.

Grade: easy
Suited to: bushwalking
Habitat: dry riparian vine forest
Must: spend time at the creek platform listening for birds and watching the creek life

Giwadha Track (includes Spider Hill): 2km

This is the third track we did today so we could climb up to Spider Hill! We drove over to the entrance at Trouts Road and parked there. The circuit track explores the Chermside Hills Reserves’ open forest with its understorey of heath, grasses and shrubs. The track passes through thick vegetation beside Little Cabbage Tree Creek and climbs to the highest point – Spider Hill. This ‘hill’ is very steep to climb up to and is one of the highest within Chermside Hills. It has impressive views of Moreton Bay, the city and the surrounding mountains. It is picturesque at sunset and sunrise. Much to the disappointment of the child, we didn’t see any more (or any less) spiders than we saw on any of the other walks.

Grade: somewhat difficult in parts with steep hills
Suited to: bushwalking, birdwatching, flora walks
Habitat: open eucalypt forest
Must: a sunset or sunrise walk to Spider Hill for amazing views

The rest of the tracks below are on our list for future walks through these Chermside walking tracks.

Pomax Track: 1km

This track passes through heathland where you can see spectacular plants including pomax, banksia, native irises and keraudrenia. It is named after the locally rare heathland plant pomax.

Grade: difficult, steep hills
Suited to: bushwalking, birdwatching, flora walks
Habitat: heathland
Must: look for wildflowers in September

Banksia Track: 1km

This track rises to a knoll with westerly views. You will see grass trees and Australian native grasses. If you are lucky you may even see swamp wallabies feeding on the grass.

Grade: hard, steep climb
Suited to: bushwalking, flora walking
Habitat: open grassland, eucalypt forest
Must: see the regionally rare keraudrenia species

Xanthorrhoea Track: 1.5km

This track passes through mixed heath and woodland species including banksias, grass trees and heath peas. You are likely to see kookaburras, forest kingfishers, red-backed wrens, dollarbirds, lizards and geckoes.

Grade: easy, but it’s hilly
Suited to: birdwatching and flora walks
Habitat: heathland
Must: walk this track in September or at dusk
Recommendation: combine this track with the Banksia Track for a two hour circuit walk, Pomax Track for another two hour walk or all three for a three hour walk

Getting to the Chermside Hills Reserve

As I said above, there are many entrances to the various parts of the reserve, so you just need to decide which part you want to visit first. Scroll back to the map link above to help you get your bearings! Here is some more information about access options:
By car: access Chermside Hills Reserve from Trouts Road, Chermside West. Raven Street Reserve is accessible from Rode Road. Access Milne Hill Reserve from Hamilton Road, Chermside West.
By foot: the reserve can be accessed from surrounding streets at points highlighted on the map.
By public transport: for public transport information visit translink.com.au or phone 13 12 30.
By bike: go to brisbane.qld.gov.au and search ‘cycling in Brisbane’ to plan your trip.

For bushwalking safety

  • Enjoy the forest with a friend (don’t go alone).
  • Wear a hat, sunscreen and carry water.
  • Wear comfortable footwear if you are going bushwalking.
  • Make sure you let someone know where you are going, and when you plan to return.
  • Exercise caution when on tracks. Some tracks cross creek lines and are unsafe to cross when flooded after heavy rain.
  • Take a track map or use your mobile phone to download a map from the above link
  • Carry a mobile phone. In an emergency dial 000 or 112 (or text 106 if you have a Teletyper device) as full mobile coverage may not be present in all areas.
Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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