Located less than two hours away from Brisbane, the Glasshouse Mountains are one of the best destinations to go if you want a quick trip. One thing that makes the area stand out is the variety of its 4WD tracks’ difficulty. Surely, there’s a track for you, regardless of your off-road driving skill level.
What’s unique about the Glasshouse Mountains? The area is famed for its eleven stunning peaks that are surrounded by the hinterlands of the Sunshine Coast. Aside from 4WD, the area is a playground filled with walking tracks, horse trails, and other attractions. You will also find the Australia Zoo near the Glasshouse Mountains.
So, are you ready to know more about the Glasshouse Mountains? Read more to find out!
How Do I Get to The Glasshouse Mountains?
The Glasshouse Mountains are less than a two-hour drive north of Brisbane and about 35 minutes away from Sunshine Coast Airport. Also, you can fly into Brisbane from most state capitals, and into the Sunshine Coast. You can also get here by taking the train (it takes about 1.25 hours) from Brisbane.
If you want to drive from Brisbane, you should get on Airport Link/AirportlinkM7 in Windsor. After that, you can follow this route:
- Merge onto Airport Link/AirportlinkM7
- Drive on the left lanes to take the exit leading to Stafford Rd/Everton Park/Metroad 5/Gympie Rd/Sunshine Coast
- Stay on the right and follow signs pointing to A3
- Merge onto Gympie Rd/A3
- Continue onto M3
- After 4.7 km, merge onto M1
- Take the exit toward Steve Irwin Way after 34.9 km
- Stay on the left at the fork and merge onto Steve Irwin Way
- After 3.7 km, turn left onto Beerburrum Rd/State Route 60
- After 1 km, turn right onto Beerburrum Woodford Rd
What Should I Know About the Glasshouse Mountains?
Craggy peaks tower over a beautiful blend of pine plantations, bushland and cultivated fields. Many of the mountains are protected under the Glasshouse Mountains National Park.
Lieutenant James Cook gave the mountains its name during his epic voyage along Australia’s east coast. They are intrusive plugs created through volcanic activity millions of years in the past.
Remnants of the eucalypt forest and heath vegetation provide a home for an exciting variety of animals and plants, including 20 plant species of conservation significance. Discover more about the park’s plants by purchasing a copy of the ‘Ranger field guide: Native plants of Glass House Mountains National Park’.
The Glass House Mountains area was a unique meeting place where many Aboriginal people gathered for ceremonies and trading. It is considered spiritually significant with many ceremonial sites still present and protected today.
How Are The 4WD Tracks in the Glasshouse Mountains?
The Glasshouse Mountains tracks are amongst local 4WD lovers’ favourites, and it’s no secret why. The tracks feature gorges, rainforests, creeks, steep inclines, and a slew of red dirt. It’s easy to go off the beaten path and experience an adventure away from the nearby towns and highways.
Here are some of the 4WD tracks that you should try in the area:
It is probably the most famous track in the Glasshouse Mountains and a great one to start on if you are looking for something challenging. The beauty about the Powerlines track is that many different sidetracks will cater for 4WDs of all levels. To find it, take the Beerburrum Woodford Road and turn down Raaen Rd, take the third left turn and that is the beginning of the track.
You come out to where the powerlines are and make your way back to the Beerburrum Woodford Road via a series of tracks. At the end of this track, you have the infamous Little and Big Red tracks, but you can bypass these if you want.
Big Red Track
Situated in southeast Queensland, Big Red Track is an impressive and demanding four-wheel drive. But make sure that you have a lot of 4WD experience and all the necessary recovery gear. So, it is for experienced off-road drivers only.
The track is in the Glasshouse Mountains, and it’s one of the most challenging tracks you can try your vehicle in the area. So, even the slightest mistake can be dangerous. Vehicle rollovers are a common sight out here. Access to the road is via the Bruce Highway and Steve Irwin Way.
This track requires low range, high ground clearance, traction aids and recovery gear. It’s suited for well-equipped 4WD vehicles and those with experience in vehicle self-recovery. The route should not be underestimated. It has also humbled many egos as it’s not for the faint of heart and shouldn’t be attempted by novice drivers.
In dry conditions, lifted vehicles shod with mud terrain tyres may manage the track without too much difficulty. However, muddy conditions ensure that your recovery gear will be getting repeated use. Be prepared as this road is not for the faint of heart or ill-prepared.
Most 4WDers begin their trips at the Lookout. From there, it takes about 5 minutes to drive to Big Red Carpark, and instantly, the bush clears, and you are rewarded with breathtaking views of the rolling hills.
We would recommend bringing a 4WD with a locker to the Glasshouse Mountains. We had seen plenty of blokes over the years that had come when they thought the roads were dry, only to find that they get to a hill climb, have to back out halfway up, and cause some damage. The same 4WD vehicle with a locker would have had no problem tackling the said hill.
One of the most famous trails is Little Red. It is essentially two tracks, one who used to be a chicken track on which snakes to the left, and one which snake to the right. Take a right every time unless you have a bottomless pocket to replace doors, windows, shock absorbers, etc. The left track has become a dangerous parade of mechanical failures and panel damage.
But throughout the track, by far the most enjoyable has rock steps and several ruts, but only for a segment of about 50 metres long. Once you are past this, it is smooth sailing.
Easy Tracks for Beginners
If you are want to have a bit of fun without putting your skills and vehicle to the test, the Glasshouse Mountains have plenty of beginner trails. Head north from the Big Red Car Park and play hills, and you will soon find runs that branch off the Powerlines track that will be up your street.
The Canyon will require a 4WD with some extensive modification and will pose a challenge to novice 4WDers, but most other tracks around here should be very forgiving.
What Are Other Things to Do in the Glasshouse Mountains?
Beerwah is the area’s largest town, and it is located in the shadow of Mount Beerwah, the mountains’ most towering peak. There are a lot of pretty walking trails here, including the 30-minute Tibrogargan walking circuit and the Glass House Mountains Lookout Circuit (which offers scenic views to Brisbane and even Moreton Island).
However, the real must-visit here is Australia Zoo. You may have heard of Steve Irwin, aka “The Crocodile Hunter”, and his family, Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin. It is their home and their zoo, and while you’re here, you can get up close to fascinating Australian native wildlife including koalas, kangaroos, Tasmanian devils and, of course, crocodiles.
What Do Other 4WD Enthusiasts Say About the Glasshouse Mountains?
“There are plenty of dirt roads out there you would simply have to be careful what tracks you took and or how far into them you go.
When it turns nasty, you turn around at least have a radio as there are always people out there and if you get caught out you may be able to raise someone to help you.
Otherwise, just go exploring and don’t do anything you’re not 100% sure of driving through and have an essential recovery kit people don’t like having to use their gear to help other people out. Radio & recovery kit is a must-have.” -Towie (via 4x4earth.com)
Where Should I Stay in the Glasshouse Mountains?
There are no camping areas within the Glass House Mountains National Park, but you can stay at the camping areas of the Beerburrum State Forest at Coochin Creek. But if you want to sleep comfortably with easy access to amenities, you can choose among these options:
- Ocean View Caravan and Tourist Park
- Glasshouse Mountains Ecolodge
- Beerwah Hideaway
- Glass on Glasshouse
- Beerwah Glasshouse Motel
- Landsborough Pines Caravan Park
Why Are the Glass House Mountains Important?
The mountains lie close to traditional pathways, and the peaks are individually crucial in Aboriginal traditions. The Glass House Mountains continue to be of spiritual significance to the Aboriginal people of the region. The Gubbi Gubbi and Jinibara maintain strong links with the area and this vital landscape.
What Does Ngungun Mean?
Mount Ngungun, among the most impressive of the Glasshouse Mountains, was discovered by Captain James Cook during his extraordinary voyage along Australia’s east coast. The word ‘Ngungun’ is an Aboriginal word believed to mean ‘black’.
How Tall Is Mount Ngungun?
Mount Ngungun is the sixth tallest among the mountains at 253m, and you will need to allow two hours to scale it up and head down; more if you want to sit at the top for a while and take in the uninterrupted views of neighbouring Mount Tibrogargan, Mount Coonowrin and Mount Beerwah.