Simpsons Falls & Eugenia Circuit Via Ghost Hole Mine

A mere 6kms from the CBD, Mount Coot-tha is a 1500-hectare reserve that packs in a high variety of walks for city dwellers. Probably my favourite in the reserve is the Eugenia Circuit, which takes in Simpsons Falls. It’s so good I’ve done it several times. This weekend, however, I decided to do it again with family and friends while throwing in a side trip to Ghost Hole Track and its abandoned gold mine, which I hadn’t done before.

I typically start walks in Mt Coot-tha Reserve at either Simpsons Falls Picnic Area or JC Slaughter Falls Picnic Area, as both are outrageously accommodating. They have expansive grassy areas, a creek, waterfalls, shelters, BBQs and plenty of space for the dog or kids to run around. However, this time we started at Ghost Mine Picnic Area, which is a little less glamorous, but in proximity to the abandoned gold mine.

The start of the Ghost Hole Track

The Ghost Hole Track

Ghost Hole Track is a short, 650-metre trail that winds through forest and takes visitors on a trip back in time to an old, abandoned gold mine that’s all but disappeared these days. It’s a nice little diversion on the way to Eugenia Circuit and Simpsons Falls.

Our crew reading one of the plaques on the Ghost Hole Track
The remains of the old dam wall used for the mine

A short way along the trail we discovered that mining here began in the 1890s, but the height of activity occurred in the 1940s. Ore from the mine was transported on a tramway before being crushed and washed onto copper-mercury plates. The mercury was then evaporated to reveal any remaining gold. The concrete dam used to collect water for the mine is visible on the trail today (above). The mine, which yielded very little gold, had its lease run out in 1959 as the rent wasn’t paid.

Ruben at the old gold mine shaft

It was pleasant strolling through the forest with a touch of history, on a Sunday morning after the rain. The old mine entrance, as you can see, is very small today. There’s not much to see, although thoughts of activity here in times gone by, amidst the surrounding forest, add to the novelty of the walk. There’s still the remains of the old tram bridge lying in the forest, which is pretty incredible given that it’s made of wood!

The dilapidated wooden bridge, used as a tramway to transport mine ore


There are rumours the old mine has a nefarious history associated with it and subsequently, it’s haunted. The site is popular with paranormal investigators, although when I looked into the what and exactly why, it seems there’s absolutely no meat in the sandwich. The tales appear to be just that, tales and lots of superstition with no story as to what actually happened here.  

Sunshine river

The place didn’t feel foreboding in the slightest, although I will say that two pictures I took of the old dam area did turn out a little weird – like there was a stream of sunlight flowing through them. If there are any apparitions there, I thought, at least they looked happy – like a sunshine river! Interestingly, I’ve not found why it’s called ‘Ghost Hole Track’. Maybe because it was abandoned? But weren’t virtually all mines? If you know, let me know in the comments!

I must admit, this one looks a little strange!

Eugenia Circuit

As I’ve mentioned, Eugenia Circuit is a favourite of ours and we’re regulars here, although I’ve never approached the trail via the Ghost Hole Track. After the mine, Ghost Hole Track heads uphill through forest for a few hundred metres before you pop out on Eugenia Circuit, close to the Powerful Owl Trail.

On the back end of the Ghost Hole Track, heading to Eugenia Circuit

From here it’s a pleasant walk along a wide trail. You’ll soon come to a junction, keep left and make your way slowly downhill for about a kilometre or so through open eucalypt forest before you come to Simpsons Falls.

Marty and Olin, Eugenia Circuit near Powerful Owl Trail

Simpsons Falls

Of course, Simpsons Falls is an excellent spot to visit after rain and the water along this trail makes it one of Brisbane’s best. We’d timed our walk well, as it had been raining pretty heavily the week prior. Check out my video at the end of this post to see some Simpsons Falls action!

Simpsons Falls

It was a bummer, I reflected, how my dog was a bit ill today and couldn’t make it on the walk. He loves to swim in the waterholes a little up from the bridge which we were now exploring. It was also perfect weather, cloudy with intermittent rays of sunshine coming through the forest – which covers most of the circuit.

West Ithaca Creek, just above Simpsons Falls

Back on Eugenia Circuit

After exploring the bridge and the different angles of Simpsons Falls, we continued up the stairs and along Eugenia Circuit. I can never get enough of this short loop, as it meanders through forest that skirts West Ithaca Creek. The creek is the star of the show, as it provides lush pockets to explore with its waterholes, hidden cascades and sunlight that often shimmers off its busy stream, making the place look magical.

Waterfall, just past Simpsons Falls

Flora and Fauna in Mt Coot-tha Reserve

The forest is certainly no slouch either, as it’s quite lush in places with its ferns, and even enchanting where fallen logs are retaken by spiralling green undergrowth. This walk is particularly nice in Spring, as it contains wildflowers. There are also rare plant species in the forest such as Richmond birdwing vine, although the trail is primarily dotted with open eucalypt forest.

The butterflies were out for us on this walk

Fauna found in the forest reserve includes goshawks, kites, eagles, wrens, robins, parrots, cockatoos, tawny frogmouths, owls (powerful ones), gliders, possums and microbats. As for what we actually saw on this walk, we were lucky enough to experience a kaleidoscope of butterflies fluttering about the top of Simpsons Falls. This was a nice touch to the walk. Check out my video at the end!

The Final Stretch

The water today made the walk lush and luminous green. Parts of the trail were a bit wet and we had to jump across a few puddles, but this kept us on our toes. West Ithaca Creek was flowing more than it usually does, after all the rain we’ve had, and before long we found ourselves walking up the hill on the final stretch of the Eugenia Circuit.

Of course, you might find yourself heading uphill after Simpsons Falls on this route, but as we turned right from the Ghost Hole Track onto Eugenia Circuit, we did the circuit in an anti-clockwise direction, which we typically do. I prefer going this way as it’s probably a little less uphill, and it just feels right. Of course up to you!

Marty on the home stretch

We approached the Powerful Owl Trail once again, rejoined the Ghost Hole Track shortly after and walked along this trail again back to our car.

How Long and Difficult is the Walk?

The Ghost Hole Track is an easy 650-metre walk one way, so if you’re following my route on this post, you’ll be going 1300 metres there and back. The Eugenia Circuit is considered ‘moderate’ in difficulty by the Queensland Government, and I agree. While it certainly isn’t too taxing, there’s uneven ground in sections, slight peaks and troughs and puddles after the rain.

Me and crew – all pretty comfortable on the tail end of the walk

The Eugenia Circuit is 2.8 kilometres long. Tack it on to the Ghost Hole Track, and you’ll be walking just over 4 kilometres in total, which makes for a very pleasant Sunday morning family adventure indeed. We went with two thirteen-year-olds who don’t exercise much and they were ‘comfortable’ on this walk. Of course, this may not be the case for you if you have mobility or heart issues.

Dog Friendly

As I mentioned earlier, one of the best things about Mt Coot-tha Reserve is it’s dog-friendly! These trails are pretty and fun and your dog will love them! Unfortunately, Cookie my cocker spaniel couldn’t come today as he was ill, but you can read about him adventuring through the Eugenia Circuit on another day here, and through other trails in Mt Coot-tha forest here.

Facilities and What to Bring

Mt Coot-tha Reserve is well-equipped with facilities, as there are a good half a dozen picnic areas along its boundaries. At the start of the Ghost Hole Track, the Gold Mine Picnic Area has several tables, a shelter, a BBQ and a drinking tap for both dogs and humans. It’s also wheelchair friendly (at the picnic site, not the walk). There’s no toilet here though.

Facilities at Gold Mine Picnic Area
Wheelchair access at Gold Mine Picnic Area

Eugenia Circuit has Simpsons Falls Picnic Area close by, and you can enter from there if you choose (which I usually do). This area is enormous and extremely accommodating, with plenty of BBQs, taps, toilets and expansive meadows. There are often large groups of people here and kid’s birthday parties on pretty frequently.

Facilities at Simpsons Falls Picnic Area

Even though there are taps at the shelters, I still advise you to take a litre of water on the walk. The walk is fairly well covered by forest, but wear a hat (it is Australia, after all), and enclosed shoes is a good idea.

Final Thoughts

I’ll repeat, Eugenia Circuit is my favourite walk in Brisbane! West Ithaca Creek and Simpsons Falls make this one a must-do. Additionally, the forest is lovely, it’s dog friendly and it’s a good hike to work up a sweat in the morning without knackering yourself.

Additionally, I enjoyed Ghost Hole Track. Even though the mine was a bit of a historic failure, the walk is pretty and the history certainly adds to its appeal. I wonder about the stream of sunlight I caught on my camera. Have you seen anything strange at Ghost Hole Track? Let me know in the comments, via social media, or shoot me an email.

Happy trails!

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