Glass House Mountains National Park
At 253m above sea level, Mount Ngungun is the 6th tallest of the Glass House Mountains and is a popular hiking trail that's suitable for all ages.
Located just over an hours’ drive north of Brisbane (70 km from the CBD), the 2.8 km track up to the summit is worth the effort, with amazing, 360-degree views on offer as your reward when you reach the top.
Classed as a Grade 4 track, walkers will experience a 168m climb in elevation from the start of the Summit Track on Fullerton Road, where there’s a carpark and roadside parking available at the base of the mountain.
The track starts out relatively flat through beautiful, open, eucalypt forest, with lush ferns that carpet the forest floor either side, and scribbly gums providing nature’s art gallery towering above.
Not far along, you encounter quite a number of sections of stepped switchbacks that zig-zag and ascend the mountainside – this walk will definitely have you ticking off ‘leg day’ in your fitness regime.
About halfway in, on the right-hand side of the path, you come to Dayman’s Cave which is now closed off to exploring, but is still impressive to look at.
The cave viewing platform is also a great spot to pause and take in the view of the countryside and farmland below, and across the valley to Mount Tibrogargan.
For the avid rock-climbing enthusiast, this area also sports ring bolts and bolted anchors secured in the rocks, which are perfect for beginner climbers. Do your research with Qld National Parks before you attempt any climbing, though.
As you get closer to the top, the forest opens up and the terrain changes, with more sunlight making it through the canopy.
Depending on the season, walkers are spoilt with an array of heath wildflowers blooming, with the hum and buzz of the native bees a nice change from the forest's constant cicada symphony.
The final ascent includes a small and relatively easy-to-handle rock scramble and heralds you’ve made it and have earned a sit-down!
Panoramic vistas are yours to savour, and the summit of Mount Ngungun delivers spectacular views of neighbouring Mount Tibrogargan, Mount Beerwah, Mt Coonowrin and Mt Tibberoowuccum, and across the Sunshine Coast Hinterland to the north, on a clear day.
There are a plenty of nooks and rocky outcrops to rest on, so pack some energy snacks and plenty of water and enjoy a well-earned picnic. A little known fact: it’s here on the mountaintop that you will find a rare mat grass, Micraria sp, which is only found in a few other places locally.
Even though the walk has a few, mildly-challenging sections, adventurous kids are most likely to enjoy the experience, especially the wonderment of gazing at the lands that lay below them.
It’s extremely important to remember that being a very exposed summit, on the rare, very windy day, it can feel a bit precarious. The cliff edges are unfenced and sharp, steep drop-offs aren’t always obvious so keep away from the edge.
The Australian fauna found in this part of the national park is pretty remarkable, so keep an eye out for the shy koalas and echnidas, curious grey kangaroos and goannas, plus a myriad of seasonal butterflies that flit about in the breeze - all who call this amazing part of South East Queensland home.
Birdwatchers aren’t overlooked by Mother Nature either, with the likes of kookaburras, cockatoos, rosellas and lorikeets inhabiting the canopy. Towards the top, you might also spot a variety of honeyeater species that love to sip the nectar from the wildflowers near the walking track, oblivious to the foot traffic. On a good day, peregrine falcons can be seen riding the thermals, in search of their next meal, especially at the summit.
If you can handle an early start or a late finish, this mountain is definitely one to put on the list to enjoy for sunrise to experience that first ray of light to glint over the horizon, or sunset for the most amazing alpenglow.
Nice to know – Mount Ngungun is actually pronounced ‘noo noo’ but most people know it as ‘gun gun’.
Need to know – As you can imagine when tackling an incline track, it can prove to be slippery after rain, so keep that in mind. Only parts of the path have handrails.
Need to know – There are no toilet facilities at the base or along this walk. The nearest are approx 3 km away at the Information Centre in the quaint township of Glass House Mountains, but only available when the centre is open. Alternatively, check for the nearest service station, based on your route.
Need to know – Pets are not permitted in this national park, nor is mountain biking. And camping is not an option.
Need to know – Depending on your fitness level, allow approximately 30-60 minutes each way, plus plenty of time to appreciate the stunning views of the region from the peak.
By Danella Perrins
Glass House Mountains National Park