Oops! It appears that you have disabled your Javascript. In order for you to see this page as it is meant to appear, we ask that you please re-enable your Javascript!

Scenic drive through the Glass House Mountains

Scenic tourist drives can be a bit odd in Queensland. Not that other Australian states don’t have them but on the Sunshine Coast, they may not be particularly scenic. Or touristy. Well, at least not some of the “official” ones.

That said, the region around the dispersed Glass House Mountains National Park lends itself to a relaxing Sunday drive.

I’ve grown quite fond of this part of the Sunshine Coast, and by going for a drive you’ll have the chance to take in some dramatic views of volcanic outcrops, the famed Glass House Mountains.

20171111-MaryCairncrossReserve-36.jpg

Glass House Mountains looming in the distance on a stormy afternoon

*

Glass House Mountains Scenic Drive (#24)

We discovered the scenic views of the Glass House Mountains more or less by accident.

Doing the official Glass House Mountains Tourist Drive (#24) in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland sounds promising, right? But when we first “explored” it a few years ago, it turned out that the tourist route road markers just take you along a fairly well-trafficked road, the Steve Irwin Way.

You’ll see the brown #24 signs all along this road but unfortunately, it’s a drive without much of a view of anything.

There is one point where you can catch a glimpse of Mount Tibrogargan but that still doesn’t quite redeem Tourist Drive 24 in my book.

Over time we discovered some back roads and fantastic views of the rugged volcanic landscape. So here’s my suggestion for taking a scenic drive through the Glass House Mountains.

*

A Scenic Loop around the Sunshine Coast Hinterland

The best way is to do a loop, starting either in Beerburrum or Landsborough just off the Bruce Highway. That way, you’ll wind your way past a couple of lookouts, and if you feel a bit more energetic, you could add a short walk or two. Alternatively, stop in one of the small towns for coffee or lunch.

It’s a 40-50km round trip depending on how much exploring you do.

Map of Glass House Mountains Scenic Drive

*

Landsborough to Beerburrum

If you’re coming from the Sunshine Coast, make your way to the historic town of Landsborough (just off Steve Irwin Way).

From there, keep going south to Beerburrum. You’re pretty much following Tourist Drive #24 here but it’s not the most picturesque drive. You will glimpse Mount Tibrogargan on your right though as you make your way south.

You could stop at the village of Glass House Mountains and drop into the information centre to pick up a map of the area (it’s quite a neat little visitor centre). Or keep driving and stop by later.

Alternative: If you’re coming from Brisbane, start at Beerburrum, and finish the drive with the Landsborough to Beerburrum stretch.

20171105-GlassHouseMountains-9.jpg

Jacarandas in bloom in the Glass House Mountains township

At Beerburrum, turn off Steve Irwin Way and take Beerburrum Road, which turns into Beerburrum Woodford Road just outside Beerburrum.

If you’re feeling energetic, stop here and climb Mount Beerburrum. It’s about a 1.4 km return uphill hike, and if I recall correctly, has fairly little shade. Great views from the firetower up top though!

*

Beerburrum to Landsborough via Glass House Mountains Lookout

From there, turn right onto Old Gympie Road, and then left onto Glass House Woodford Road to reach the Glass House Mountains Lookout.

I have no idea why this spot isn’t on the tourist drive because you get fabulous views of the various volcanic outcrops from here!

Whilst you can’t really see the sun setting from here, I love watching the sunset at this spot as you can get some awesome pink hues hugging Mount Tibrogargan.

20170813-Glass House Mountains-22.jpg

Sunset hues over Mount Tibrogargan, Glass House Mountains Lookout

The road is sealed to the lookout but not beyond, and there isn’t much to discover past the lookout anyway.

There’s also a short walk (800m loop) at the lookout but it’s not particularly exciting. There are virtually no views but if you crave some exercise, go for it.

Or pack a picnic, the lookout is a nice spot to have lunch or cook up some sausages on the public BBQs there.

20140201-GlassHouseMountains-9.jpg

Mosaic of Mount Tibrogargan at the Glass House Mountains Lookout

*

Detour Loop: Glass House Mountains

Once you’ve eaten your delicious lunch, make your way back to Old Gympie Road and turn left to head north. From here, you’ve got a few options for doing a little extra loop:

  1. Take Marshs Road for some lovely views of Mount Tibrogargan and/or to do the Mount Tibrogargan Circuit walk (3.3km) or the longer Trachyte Circuit (5.6km)
  2. Take Coonowrin Road for views of Mount Tibrogargan from further away and to stop back at the village of Glass House Mountains
  3. Take Fullertons Road to climb up super popular Mount Ngungun (be aware of the sunrise and sunset crowd 🙂 )

Once you’ve taken whichever detour you fancy, turn back onto Old Gympie Road. Either take it all the way back to Landsborough, or stop at Lindeman Road to walk up Mount Coochin. I haven’t done that one yet so I’ve got no idea whether it’s nice or a bit of a waste of time.

20171105-GlassHouseMountains-1.jpg

View of Mount Tibberoowuccum from Marshs Road

*

Side Trip: Mary Cairncross Reserve

If you’ve got time, from Landsborough take the Maleny Landsborough Road up the Sunshine Coast Hinterland hills to admire the views from Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve.

On a clear day, the views of Mount Beerwah and the rest of the Glass House Mountains are really quite impressive.

Sometimes you can even make out Brisbane’s skyline in the far distance. It’s best seen in the early morning or late afternoon.

20171111-MaryCairncrossReserve-1.jpg

Hazy views from Mary Cairncross not in the early morning or late afternoon so you couldn’t possibly see Brisbane

To get to Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, turn left at Mountain View Road once you’ve climbed up the hills or simply follow the signs for Tourist Drive #23. There’s also a really nice sub-tropical rainforest walk (1.75km loop) at the reserve you could do.

20171111-MaryCairncrossReserve-16.jpg

I love a good boardwalk and the one at Mary Cairncross Reserve through the rainforest is fabulous!

Plus the new education centre is fabulous, and the café offers heaps of delicious treats, many of them gluten-free!

20171111-MaryCairncrossReserve-28.jpg

MORE INFORMATION

Download the visitor map for the Glass House Mountains region or check out Glass House Mountains National Park for information on available walks, summit climbs and maps of the area.

When you’ve explored the Glass House Mountains to your heart’s content, hit David Low Way from Marcoola all the way up to Noosa for some coastal scenery. It’s a lovely drive, and you can stop and climb Mount Coolum or hike around Noosa National Park.

Or if you’re keen to explore the Queensland border region around the Scenic Rim, take a road trip to Queen Mary Falls or a 4WD detour along the Condamine River! It’s gorgeous scenery down there!

Pin for later!

Glass House Mountains from McCarthy's Lookout, Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Trying to find something exciting in Gympie’s forests
German cuckoo clocks on the Sunshine Coast
In search of the coloured cliffs of Rainbow Beach
4WD-ing into the sunset: Rainbow Beach
4WD-ing across sandy Bribie Island
5 fabulous things to do at Bunya Mountains

2 Comments

    • It took me some time to really appreciate these outcrops but they’ve grown on me. I’m not sure I’ll ever consider them “mountains” but there’s certainly something dramatic about rocks just rising up in the middle of tiny settlements or pineapple fields!

      Reply

Thoughts? Comments? Shout it out. Well, not literally.