Having grown up on Brisbane's north side, I thought that I knew the area very well. But I only recently discovered that in the suburbs of Chermside West and McDowall, there is a beautiful series of bushland reserves to explore.
The Chermside Hills Reserves is made up of three areas that are interconnected by walking tracks and cover an area of roughly 129 hectares. It's a bit confusing, but the three areas that make up the Chermside Hills Reserves, are called the Chermside Hill Reserve (non plural), Milne Hill Reserve and Raven Street Reserve.
If you are looking for a lovely place to take your family for a picnic and to explore some nature close to home, then Raven Street Reserve is a great place to start. There is a designated carpark, a fantastic playground, half basketball court, BBQ and picnic facilities and short walking tracks that are suitable for children.
The playground has a fort, swings and a mini rock climbing wall and is suitable for all ages. There are plenty of spots around the playground to lay down a picnic blanket and sit in the shade while your kids play.
Raven Street Reserve is also home to the Downfall Creek Bushland Centre which is open weekdays and features interactive environmental displays aimed at teaching children about native flora and fauna.
After a visit to the centre, you can take a walk along the short 400m Senses Trail, which is a designated path winding through bushland and featuring information on the different plants. Its a nice snapshot of a native Australian bush and even suitable to take a little baby bike along. There are plenty of birds to spot and a few homes built for the animals.
If you are after more of a hike, then there are plenty of trails at all three reserves suitable for different fitness levels. Find the trail map here.
Location: Chermside Hills Reserve is accessible from Trouts Road, Chermside West. Raven Street Reserve is accessible from Rode Road. Milne Hill Reserve is accessible from Hamilton Road, Chermside West.