Fort Lytton is a pentagonal fortress, built near the mouth of the Brisbane River, erected in 1881 to aid the controlled river mines in defending the Port of Brisbane until the end of the Second World War. It was Brisbane’s front line of defence and is regarded as the birthplace of Queensland military history. The fort is surrounded by a water-filled moat and connected by underground passages (although these underground passages do not appear to be visible anymore). After the Second World War, the fort was no longer deemed ‘useful’ and as such fell into a state of disrepair until Ampol took over the site in 1963 and later became a national park in 1988.
By the turn of the century, the Fort consisted of six gun pits and two machine gun posts. The arsenal included (Most of which can be seen at the Fort either in their original placing or in the historical museum – some of the larger fixed emplacements are replicas now):
2x 6 inch BL 5 tonne Armstrong guns
2x 6 pounder QF Hotchkiss guns
1x 4 barrel 1-inch Nordenfelt machine gun
1x 10 barrel 0.45inch Nordenfelt machine gun
2x 64 pounder RML guns
The Fort is open every Sunday and on public holidays from 10am until 4pm. Entry fee is $4.50 for adults (includes a tour or self-exploration if you wish) but is a small price to pay for a good afternoon of historical exploration. Additionally (unconfirmed if this is every Sunday or only during certain times throughout the year) they fire one of the cannons three times during the day. When I visit the site the times posted were 11am, 1pm and 3pm. If you’re a budding photographer I would suggest arriving just prior to 11 am to catch the first cannon firing and then after spending the next two hours wandering around and having a bite to eat (great spot for a picnic lunch – portable bbq’s are welcome) it will be time for the second firing. You might be surprised how quick the firing happens, I certainly was!
Springbrook is about an hour drive South-West of Surfers Paradise (approximately 2 hours from Brisbane) and is lined with luscious green fields and mountains and is renowned for its waterfalls and natural beauty.
From the moment you leave the M1 and pass through the outer suburbs of Advancetown you are presented with a completely different, more relaxed and peaceful, surrounding. Billboard and tall buildings replaced with tall trees and mountains. Houses after house replaced with long fields of green grass, with the occasional house erected amongst the fields.
During my visit, it had been a fairly overcast and dismal day (as South East Queensland seems to be often lately), however, I was fortunate enough to have had a break in the weather. With the clouds sparingly parting I pushed on with great reward as the sunlight shines through gaps in the cloud, selectively lighting the surround hills, providing spectacular views on a peaceful drive. Unfortunately, I did not take the chance to capture this moment on digital film so I’m hoping that will not be the last time such events occur!
Not only is Springbrook good for visiting, it’s also great for passing through. With long windy roads pathing the way, it’s sure to be a joyful drive for any keen travellers or riders. A word of caution: Some of the roads are hilly with sharp corners and as a result are known black spots.
With plenty to discover in Springbrook and surrounding areas of Binna Burra, Lamington National Park and Natural Bridge this must do will take many full day visits to truly take in all it has to offer. I for one will certainly be revisiting the area on a number of future occasions.
Pumicestone Passage is a narrow channel of shallow sand banks and islands which separate Bribie Island and the mainland. Bribie Island is located approximately an hour and a half’s drive north of Brisbane, Between Redcliffe and the Sunshine Coast.
This must do is not particularly one of my favourites; however, Bribie island is home to numerous parks and surf beaches which would make a great day out for those wishing to bring along the family or simply have a seaside picnic and possibly a swim. There are also a few recreational activities readily available throughout the island. The 150 must do campaign website also suggests taking a tour of Pumicestone Passage aboard the Bribie Island Ferry or exploring the passage on a small hire boat.
The few times that I have been to Bribie Island it appears to be a windy area, with an offshore breeze certain to come in and stir things up of an afternoon. Along with the winds, although the actual parks are luscious and green, some of the surrounding rivers are not the most healthy looking or smelling. However, after all, is said and done, if you are looking to take the family for a BBQ picnic Bribie Island certainly is a place to investigate.
Mt Coot-tha is best known for its spectacular views of Brisbane city from its lookout. Approximately only a short ten-minute drive from the CBD of Brisbane, Mt Coot-tha is a great spot to go for a quick or lengthy visit during the day or at night. Personally, I would recommend going both during the day and at night to see the contrasting landscape as night falls over Brisbane.
On top of the lookout, there is a small café and gift shop, as well as the Summit Restaurant — which can get fairly busy as it is often considered to be a romantic restaurant with great views. The views and romantic feeling of the place are also the reason why you will often find newly weds getting their wedding photos taken on top of the look out.
While the lookout is the star of the show, Mt Coot-tha does have more to offer; Mt Coot-tha is home to the broadcasting stations in Brisbane (including seven, ten and nine) and also has a few parks, treks and picnic areas including JC Slaughter Falls and Simpson Falls. There are also plenty of places to pull over and park on the mountain road, which also offers great views, and tends to be filled with plenty of people during the annual Brisbane RiverFire.
Queensland is turning 150 next year and the RACQ has started the 150 Campaign where they are promoting 150 great Queensland Experiences. Being a large state a vast portion of the 150 experiences are out of reach for a day trip or even a weekend trip, and others are just not that interesting. I have compiled a shortlist from the 150 to come up with 20 Brisbane (or close enough to be a day or weekend trip from Brisbane) must do’s and a few Queensland like to do’s.
Over time I am going to be creating a new post entry for each item, along with Flickr photos, in order to track what I have done and to give my opinion on each one. I will also update this list with links to the posts, striking out any completed items. Although I have already done several of the items I may do them again simply because they were that good or because I’m lacking photos of them.