Dog Friendly Walks Brisbane – Mt Coot-tha Forest

If you’re searching for one of the best dog friendly walks Brisbane has on offer, or just an excellent walk in general, then look no further. The Simpsons Falls and Eugenia Circuit in Mt Coot-tha Forest is the best walk I’ve done in Brisbane’s inner city, with or without a dog. What’s so great about it? There’s sublime forest, waterfalls, swimming holes and it’s not too difficult nor too easy, yet you feel like you’re really immersed in nature.

The walk is located adjacent to Brisbane’s inner west suburb of Bardon, making it easy to get to from the city. The walk’s launch site is the Simpsons Falls Picnic Area, which is also a great spot to bring your family, friends and have a bonafide, bonza barbie in the forest. There’s plenty of shade, water and dog water stations if that helps you. I love this place and I make sure to get back here at least once every couple of months.

Simpsons Falls Picnic Area

Dog Friendly Walks Brisbane City Style – Simpsons Falls & Eugenia Circuit

Simpsons Falls Picnic Area is right in front of the car park and Eugenia Circuit connects with the picnic area on its other side – about a 100m walk. I was here again on Sunday with my family and a friend and we set off with two cocker spaniels at about 8:00 am. We each had a litre of water as Eugenia Circuit is about 4 km long when you add it onto Simpsons Falls, so it should take you around 2 hours with a reasonable level of fitness.

Dog Friendly walks Brisbane
One of our intrepid bush-bashing cockers – Murphy, at Simpsons Falls Picnic Area

As you leave Simpsons Falls Picnic Area, you’re quickly immersed in forest and about 100 metres further up the hill, there’s a side track, leading to your first water hole. Here we let the dogs have a dip (see below) as it was already getting warm. It’s hard to believe that at this point you’re on the edge of the city, following the jade-coloured Simpsons Creek amidst heritage-listed eucalypt forest.  


Went on the best dog walk in Brisbane this morning, Eugenia Circuit – a 3-4 kilometre walk, swim, sniff through heritage-listed forest in Mt Coot-tha Forest, Brisbane. #simpsonsfalls #mtcoottha #brisbaneforest #adventureswithmydog #dogbushwalk #brissielife #thisisbrisbane #thisisqld #nationalparkqld #dogofbrisbane

♬ Good Vibes (Instrumental) – Ellen Once Again
Dog friendly walks Brisbane
Cookie – my lively, water-loving cocker spaniel

We continued along the trail, stopping at various points to see more swimming holes and bridges that offered glimpses deeper into the forest world. Early on in the hike, it seems as if there’s a waterhole every 100m or so. Further on, we passed small lookouts, the odd spider or two, birds and various flora. The circuit is an excellent place to view wildflowers in late winter, and golden wattles and purple hoveas blooming in springtime splendour.

Dog friendly walks Brisbane
Simon and Cookie, scoping out yet another waterhole
Dog friendly walks Brisbane
Cookie and Murphy exploring doggie Eden

Entering Drier Country – The Halfway Mark

However, since it was late summer, I saw no such thing and soon we began ascending a hill that takes you to the edge of the Brush Box Track. Here’s where Eugenia Circuit starts its loop and you can more confidently inform any kids you might have that you’re roughly at the halfway mark. You can also visualise magical hideaways as you pass junctions with names like Fairy-Wren Circuit, Grey Gum Picnic area and a little further along – Powerful Owl Trail.

Dog friendly walks Brisbane
Simon and I – dog lords
Our human cohort

From here the walk ascends a steadily wider, drier trail for about half a kilometre. It was upon reaching the top of the rise that we discovered the final part of Eugenia Circuit was closed. A good reminder here, if you’re reading this, to check the state of Mt Coot-tha trails prior to departure. It wasn’t a big problem, as we’d done arguably the nicest part already.

Dog friendly walks Brisbane
Eugenia Circuit is now closed

As we weren’t keen to backtrack, we joined The Powerful Owl Trail on our last leg of the walk, passing some tall and rather interesting-looking trees. Our cocker spaniels were loving the walk, sniffing, snooping and exploring at every opportunity.

Dog friendly walks Brisbane
Dog friendly walks Brisbane

Via Retro Cafe

Upon returning to Simpsons Falls car park just over two hours after we began, Simon and I decided to go for a coffee (pups in tow), while my gang drove the ten-minute drive back home. If you’re looking for a good cuppa post bushwalk, turn right along Samuel Griffith Drive as you leave Simpsons Falls Picnic Area. A little further down the road you’ll see Via Retro Café. What I love about this place is that it feels like a bushwalk stop – as it gradually reimmerses you into the civilised world with its modest forest setting, offering coffee, tiramisu ice cream, raspberry muffins and doggy treats, which were polished off with gusto.

The Via Retro Cafe

A Few Fast Facts

  • The Simpsons Falls Picnic area is a 25-minute drive from Brisbane CBD.
  • The picnic area has BBQs, drinking water (for dogs also), toilets and seating.
  • The walk from the car park to Simpsons Falls Picnic area is about 50 metres.
  • Wear decent shoes and take a good hat.
  • Other dog friendly walks Brisbane offers don’t have this level of accessibility and nature immersion.

The last point makes this walk, in my opinion, the best dog walk in Brisbane!

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