The Thylogale Track in D’Aguilar National Park, which is located in the scenic suburb of Mt Nebo, offers an excellent escape from the city in a short amount of time. The walk also offers shorter side loops, access to Café in the Mountains and you’re rewarded with magnificent views over Jollys Lookout. This, and the fact you’re quickly immersed in rainforest with varied flora and fauna, makes this Mt Nebo walk one of Brisbane’s best.
You can start your walk along the 5km one-way Thylogale Track at either Cafe in the Mountains or Jollys Lookout. As my 12-year-old son Olin and I left later than I’d intended and I hadn’t eaten, I decided to start our walk at Café in the Mountains and return the same way.
Café in the Mountains
We arrived at Café in the Mountains at about 2pm and unfortunately they’d stopped serving lunch. The café is open until 3 and they still serve desserts and coffee, so I bought two raspberry pies with whipped cream. Not bad at all actually! I’d been to the café several years before, but it was nice to return for the views out the back, which stretch over a lovely field, a lake and into the wilderness beyond. We sat on the balcony, admired the café artwork and a well-fed local flew in to investigate our goodies.
The Thylogale Track
At about 2:30 we set off along the Thylogale Track, which begins right next to Café in the Mountains. At the beginning of the walk, the track joins another Mt Nebo walk – the Pitta Circuit, which is a shorter 1.5km walk if that suits your fitness and/or time better. The walk is flat and gradually immerses you in the rainforest, where you take a few twists and turns before arriving at a staircase.
Things to See On This Mt Nebo Walk
The 300-year-old strangler fig tree is one of the highlights on the Thylogale Track/Pitta Circuit and it’s well looked after, as it’s accessible via a platform boardwalk that loops around the tree. Apart from this, the walk is home to red-necked pademelons, a variety of pine trees, gumtrees, and eucalypt and sclerophyll forests. There are also loads of birds if you’re lucky enough to see some, such as wompoo pigeons, catbirds, bowerbirds and robins.
Be warned, if you’re walking here when it’s wet, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter a leech or two. This walk is rainforest, not the dry damp bushland so characteristic of Australia.
Back to the Track…
After taking in the old strangler fig, we resumed our walk through the forest. Not 10 minutes after you leave the café, which itself is only a 30-minute drive from the CBD, you’re immersed in the rainforest. That’s what I love about this Mt Nebo walk. It’s also quite flat too, with not much effort needed other than to plod along and slowly cleanse your electronically defiled mind by being aware. Watching, listening, and marvelling at the shades of green you’ll encounter along the way…
At the 20-minute marker, you’ll reach a sign which tells you that you have 4kms to go and the Pitta Circuit now loops its way back towards the café. From here it continues in a nice, flat fashion and I was thankful it wasn’t raining. Last time we were here we walked back in the pouring rain and picked up a leech or two. There were none here today, which my son was thankful for. A little further along the trail and I heard a noise. We turned and saw a wallaby bounding away into the forest.
Heartened, we continued along our Mt Nebo walk, and now the flora arched over the trail in tunnels. We also passed interesting trees – some burnt-out hollow, others sawn in half – as they’d collapsed in the middle of the track – and some were bulging and ancient-looking. Not long before we arrived at Jollys Lookout, the trail produced a bench, which offered us our first views of the area – the mountains and then Lake Wivenhoe in the distance.
Arriving at Jollys Lookout, our destination and the end of the Thylogale Track, it was lightly raining and clouds covered much of the valley. However, after a few minutes, the clouds lifted and a gargantuan ray of sunlight sprayed across the valley floor below. It was great timing, seeing this expansive view under such moody, yet pretty conditions, and it made our brief stay at Jollys Lookout all the more worth it.
This splendid little lookout was named after the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, William Alfred Jolly, who thought it such a top spot that he had the road extended to this high point. In 1938, a 12-hectare park was established here for its scenic value and it’s since joined D’Aguilar National Park.
Jollys Lookout offers picnic tables, toilets, shelter and a sizeable car park. From here you could also do another walk, the Egernia Circuit, which is a 1.5 km loop that starts and finishes near Jollys Lookout. So, depending on which way you tackle this Mt Nebo walk, there are shorter loop options at either end, which is either thoughtfully designed or very convenient!
With the light starting to fade, we hastened back, knowing we still had five kilometres on the Thylogale Track. It was a pleasant return walk at sunset and we only did the last 20 minutes or so in near darkness. So warning, if you’ve read information that says this walk is 2-3 hours return, think again. Give yourself at least 4, as we walked fairly steadily and it took us over three hours without stopping and admiring the view at Jollys Lookout.
A Few Fast Facts
- The Thylogale track is 5km one way. Leave your car at either Jollys Lookout or Cafe in the Mountains and take the trail back the same way. You could try and hitch back along the road, but I wouldn’t recommend it, as the road is too dangerous to walk on.
- The Thylogale Track was named after the pademelons which frequent it, as they’re in the Thylogale family.
- Again, if you’re walking here in the wet, mind the leeches!
- There’s a short loop walk at Jollys Lookout, and also at Café in the Mountains, so you could just park at one end and do either one of these. However, the Thylogale track is better.
- Café in the Mountains stops serving lunch just after 2pm, so make sure you get there early.
- This Mt Nebo walk is shaded most of the way, and flat, which makes for a nice easy, immersion into nature.
Check out my video of our walk below.
Highly recommend it!