Perhaps the most popular tourist attraction in Brisbane is not actually in the Central Business District itself, but rather close to three miles outside; Mt. Coot-Tha. We hopped aboard the #471 bus at King George Square for the half-hour ride to this location. At 941 feet above sea level, on the eastern edge of the Taylor Range, it is the highest peak in the State of Quuensland. The Turrbal aboriginal peoples used to collect honey from the sting-less bees here: thus the name (Coot-Tha means "Place of Honey"). Early European settlers called this mountain "One Tree Hill" after they had cleared all the trees, save for one lonely Eucalyptus , to construct their homes. During World War II, anti-aircraft guns and searchlights were positioned at the summit to protect Brisbane. The military also constructed bunkers in the surrounding area to store ammunition. Mt. Coot-Tha is now part of the National Park Reserve that includes the 138 acre Botanic Gardens (1970), the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium (1978), and a plethera of hiking and bicycling trails - many of which are adorned with aboriginal art. We spent a wonderful day exploring some of Mt. Coot-Tha's many attractions (although we probably could have spent several more days here to really do it justice). We must say that the views of Brisbane from the summit are truly spectacular!
Welcome to Mt. Coot-Tha
The summit lookout provides a bird's eye view of the city of Brisbane...
...and provides compass points orientation for the surrounding area.
...the views are breathtaking...
...except when some of the tourists get in the way!
And not to lose an opportunity to make a buck, they built a lovely restaurant right at the top of the mountain.
As mentioned earlier, some of the hiking trails include original aboriginal art...
...as well as remnants of the ammunition bunkers the military put here during World War II.
A short distance from the summit is the Brisbane Botanic Gardens , part of which includes this rainforest dome...
...with many beautiful tropical flowers...
...and stunning Lilly pond.
Next to the rainforest dome was this touch of home, the American Cacti house.
One of the highlights of this attraction are the Japanese Gardens....
...and the design is amazing!
This is where we met some local residents...
...including a ton of spiders...
...some of which seemed quite large.
There is a lot of bamboo along the trails.
When we first came across this tree, we were stunned to see these large bats out in the open...
...only to discover upon closer inspection that they were not real, but rather artworks that were attached to the tree. How disappointing!
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Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.