One of the best things about living in Brisbane is our proximity to the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. If you are heading north to the Sunny Coast, the hike to the top of Mount Coolum will definitely get your heart rate up, and the views are spectacular.

The entrance to the climb is on Tanah St, Mount Coolum, just off David Low Way. From Brisbane allow about an hour and a half to get there by car.

The 1.6km walk is not an easy one, but is manageable with children. Some parts are very steep with lots of uneven terrain. If you want to take a younger child or baby then a carrier of some sort will make the climb easier. Be sure to take hats, sunscreen and water as the path becomes less and less shady as you ascend.

A sign at the base of the climb recommends you leave 2 hours for the round trip, but we were up and back in in an hour and a half even with our big group of 6 adults and 9 children. Here’s our two different takes on this hike:

Jo’s Story:

While on holidays up the Sunny Coast recently, hubby suggested a hike up Mount Coolum.  I thought this was a great idea.  We’ve done it a few times before, once with our kids, and it was a heap of fun and also a bit of a challenge. We thought it would be an interesting touristy outing for our interstate rellies holidaying with us, and also for Beck and her crew as they’d never done it before.

The track is 1.6km each way and you start the upward climb pretty much from the get go.  In our group there were 6 adults and 9 kids, ranging from 2 – 7 years old.  Apart from the 2 year olds, the kids took off and there was no stopping them until they reached the top.  Beck freaks out a little (a lot) and had her little one in the carrier so hubby and I took off to keep an eye on the bigger kids.  Despite the sign indicating that it is approximately a 2 hour return trip, I reckon the kids were up there in about half an hour.  Once everyone made it up, had a little explore and admired the view, we headed back down.

I’m not going to play it down, one section of the climb is very steep, very rocky and very busy.  It seems that my hubby was a mountain goat in a previous life so he just bounded up and down those sections like it was no-one’s business and all the kids just followed suit, because that’s just what they do.  I had our 2 year old on my back so took things a little easier, but after the super steep bit managed to get up a little jog and catch the others.

We really love doing this climb: it’s short enough that the kids don’t get too bored and the views are definitely worth it.

Beck’s Story:

What do you do when you’re holidaying with your three young children and husband who is recovering from Influenza A? If you’re holidaying with Jo and her family you climb a mountain of course!

The day started not unlike any other day when holidaying with other families, with the adults making suggestions as to the day’s activities. Jo’s husband throws up the option to do the Mount Coolum hike. Thinking that someone would be staying home with the children as the rest of the adults did this, I eagerly agree. But no, we would ALL be attempting this feat. Our party was not going to be a small one either. Along with the six adults, we would be taking three 7 year olds, three 5 year olds and three 2 year olds!!!

With plans firmly decided and snacks packed we load up the three cars to drive the short distance from our safe and welcoming holiday house to Mount Coolum.

We are not really an out-doorsy/camping type family so I wasn’t sure what to expect from my three girls. To my surprise the older two took off with Jo and her hubby and the other kids, leaving my hubby and me (carrying the two year old) to bring up the rear.

This is when things started to get interesting. The walk starts innocuously enough, but quite quickly you are working those legs as the path steeply climbs.

At about the halfway point my mild vertigo kicks into overdrive and I am wondering how I will actually make it back down this mountain. I look at the two year old strapped into my Ergo carrier and realise she is sound asleep. I’m now carrying a 15 kilo dead weight. A bit further on and the track gets even steeper and very uneven. My anxiety is kicking in now and I am running on pure adrenalin and fear. I leave my hubby about ten minutes from the top as he is expecting a work phone call. He’s also looking a little worse for wear as he’s recovering from his bout of the flu.

The only thing that pushes me on to the summit is the thought that I need to get to my older girls to make sure they are safe and haven’t tumbled to their death off the side of the mountain! Once I reach the top I see that of course the girls are safe and happy with Jo and her family. My nerves calm enough to take a few quick snaps before we head back down.

The downhill journey is no better. Those steep bits are tough going, especially as the path gets very busy and you are forced to move to the side quite often. My descent is not helped by Miss Two still sleeping soundly! I am relieved when Jo’s husband takes the bigger kids and quickly gets them out of my view and to the bottom safely.

I am glad that I can tick this one off my bucket list, but I’m not in any great hurry to do it again!

We love this walk because:

  1. Very challenging walk that will get your heart rate up.
  2. The most amazing view of the Sunshine Coast from the top.
  3. Good for overcoming fear of heights (or just making it worse!)

Distance: 3.2km round trip (allow 1-2 hours)

This hike is not for everyone!

Stay Active!

Jo and Beck