Discover one of the best hikes near Brisbane by checking out the Somerset Trail in D’Aguilar National Park which is located in Mount Mee near Mount Byron. After our recent visit, we’re sharing everything you need to know about this day trip from Brisbane and a few awesome places to visit nearby, including an incredible swimming hole to cool down.
Table of Contents
1. Where is the Somerset Trail located?
Not heard of D’Aguilar National Park? Located just 1h10m from Brisbane CBD, it’s also the same distance from Mooloolaba in Sunshine Coast which is right next to where we currently live. While many of the popular Brisbane walks are located South of Brisbane in Gold Coast Hinterland, the North does offer some awesome hiking trails too.
This Brisbane bushwalks trail has been on our list to do for ages! So, when we embarked on this walk recently, we had a couple of questions before we did it. The area of Mount Mee is stunning so you’ll have an action packed day with loads to do other than just this hike.
When heading to D’Aguilar National Park, you’ll need to park up at The Grantry which is the parking area for all of the walking trails in the park. We were surprised to see the car park packed as we didn’t expect it to be as popular as it is. I’m not sure what everyone was doing as we didn’t see a lot of people on the trail we did.
2. Do you need a 4wd to do the Somerset trail walk?
I was unsure if we needed to have a 4wd to get into D’Aguilar National Park and make it to the starting point of the Somerset Trail walk. But, you don’t need one and can easily get into the park in a sedan. While there are loads of off-road four wheel driving tracks in D’Aguilar National Park, you don’t need to drive one to do any of the walks here. Phew!
3. We hiked the wrong track to begin with
When you reach The Gantry car park, you’ll see a sign that has a map of the D’Aguilar walks to do. We realised the Piccabeen walk and Somerset trail look like they start from the same area so we initially thought there would be a turn off from the Piccabeen walk onto the Somerset trail.
But, we missed the turn off and ended up doing the whole Piccabeen walk instead. Bare in mind, it took us like 20 minutes to do and it is really stunning. There’s a boardwalk that takes you right into the rainforest so you can see the piccabeen palms which are beautiful.
By the time we finished the Somerset Trail, we wondered if the Piccabeen Walk was more beautiful!
When we got back to the starting point, we missed the path for the Somerset trail which doesn’t have a sign saying that this is the path to take (see image above).
4. Take the anti-clockwise route
Whenever we Google information about any walk in Australia, the main things we want to know is whether to go clockwise or anti-clockwise and how long the bush walk will actually take us.
This walk in Mount Mee QLD is best to go anti-clockwise. After the first 15 minutes of walking through the beautiful rainforest walk, you’ll come to a fork in the road. The sign points you into the direction of anti-clockwise which is what we did.
We then saw people coming from the opposite direction during our walk and to be honest, when we finished it, we would advise to go anti-clockwise because by the time you reach the Somerset lookout, it’s more than half way and the latter path feels easier than the first part of the walk.
5. Discovering the different terrains on this walk
This pleasant circular walk will take you along various terrains which makes it a bit more interesting than some other walks we’ve done nearby. Home to one of the most beautiful rainforest walks in Brisbane, the terrain changes to a pine forest which makes you feel like you could be somewhere like Canada.
There’s something beautiful about being in the open forest with the light beaming down onto the trees. I really loved the pine forest which was one of my favourite parts of this hike.
As the trail continues, you’ll then reach a eucalypt forest which isn’t the most exiting before reaching loads of beautiful ferns along the way.
6. Reaching the Somerset Lookout
After a two hour walk and 7km’s later, we reached the Somerset Lookout which is just as stunning in person as it is in the photos. The views extend out to Lake Wivenhoe, Somerset Dam and the mountain ranges which is absolutely beautiful. It makes the perfect spot to have your lunch break here at the almost halfway point, well actually more than halfway point.
7. The second part of the walk
You’ll then continue along the ridge line with more lookout points of the views to take in, before winding down through the forest on the 6km hike back to the car park. While the entire walk isn’t strenuous and mostly flat, it felt easier on the way back as we passed this stunning emerald pool.
8. Walking on the road
I had read prior to doing this walk that we would be walking along a few roads but you don’t. In fact, you only have to cross over the 4wd roads to continue the walking path so it’s not like you’re walking on the main roads or anything. We saw loads of trail bikes and people off road driving in this national park which would be great fun.
9. How long did the Somerset trail take?
It says the Somerset Trail walk takes 4 hours and it actually took us 3h50m with a 20 minute lunch break included. So technically it would have taken us 3h30m and we didn’t really stop either, although we didn’t walk fast. It’s an easy walk, even for kids to do if they are comfortable walking that far with a slight incline.
Make sure you wear the correct hiking gear and wear hiking boots on this trail as it might be a bit slippery in parts after rain. I also recommend you bring energy snacks as well – our favourites are cliff bars and bounce balls for those final few kms that seem to drag.
10. Facilities at The Gantry
There’s a beautiful picnic area at the car park which is called The Gantry with picnic tables, BBQ areas and toilet facilities. There’s also a massive shed here as well as The Gantry day use area which is where they used to log trees I think. It’s quite fascinating to see in person how big it is.
11. Continue on to Rocky Hole
If you’re visiting in Summer, make sure you continue on the Sellin Road to Rocky Hole which is a pristine, picture perfect swimming hole. I had seen a couple of photos online but nothing will prepare you for how stunning it is in person. It kinda looks like a movie set because it’s that perfect, complete with loads of swimming holes and an infinity pool at the top of the small waterfall. Obviously, be super careful here.
We made it in our 2wd high clearance car (we drive a Hyundai Tuscan) but I’m not sure a normal 2wd would make it as it’s quite bumpy the closer you get. Do not attempt it in a 2wd after the rain as the roads will be muddy in parts and would be unsafe climbing up the hills if coming from The Gantry day use area.
If you’re looking for more swimming holes, Diana’s Bath in D’aguilar is also on our list but I’m unsure if you can only get there in a 4wd at the time of writing this article.
Otherwise head to Cedar Creek swimming holes in a 2wd which are absolutely stunning and highly recommended. These swimming holes are comparable to the ones we’ve seen in Cairns which is a massive compliment.
12. Eat at Birches Restaurant
On the way out on the Sellin Road, we saw Birches Restaurant which looked beautiful with stunning country views. We would have stopped by for lunch if we planned our day properly.
Otherwise I recommend heading down to Dayboro for food which is a lovely little town we’ve been to before on the way to Cedar Creek in the Mount Mee area.
Looking for more walks near Brisbane?
Check out some of our favourite Brisbane walks below.