Climbing suburban mountains. (Part 1 Mt Coolum)


Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.”  WB Yates

I climbed a mountain recently.

Okay. I should put a few things in perspective here. I climbed a suburban mountain, in Australia. So don’t go thinking it was an 8000 metre snow-capped peak.  No, no, this mountain is a mere 208 metres (dare is say high? Mountaineers and rock climbers such as my husband would see it a pimple, a blip on the landscape).

Why did I, on one of the hottest days of the year (35 degree heat with about 85% humidity) jump in the car and head off for a 101km drive to hike up this mountain?

Well,,,,  I haven’t done it before. It is on my love list for the year and I need to get fit.  Without boring you silly, I had a short convalescence last year that rendered me unfit to participate in the most simple of physical activities. I’ve been slowly building up my endurance and fitness because, come April, I’m hiking to base camp on a real mountain in Nepal.


Fears of my fitness and the difficulty rating of the ‘mountain’ were quickly confirmed when those descending were not lathered in sweat but literally dripping with it. The day was warm but the sheer flow of perspiration was a little alarming. This alarm was accompanied and heightened by hearing my pulse in my ears as I ascended. Was I really that unfit? Really?

Once I found my pace, a nice a steady tortoise pace, I really began to enjoy the walk and the scenery. I settled in, embraced the heat, the flies and the mosquitos and drank in the beauty around me.


The initial stages of the walk were through lovely forest with some incredibly old trees.  Then came an open section of the trail with great slabs of blackened rock to my left and magnificent views of the ocean and the little township below, on my right and behind me. How does one continue to climb when such a view is on offer?

The whole trail comprises little steps hewn into the rock, later it is not so much steps as a rock path.  The plant life, geology and bird calls were a constant source of intrigue.




Yes, it was steep and yes it was hot, but all too soon I was at the top. I had arrived without terribly much effort and in such a short time, twenty-two minutes, I was almost disappointed. I’d wanted more.


One of my goals for the year was to ‘climb’ this suburban mountain and I’d achieved it.  I took time to enjoy the magical coastal view and the sense of accomplishment that comes with ticking off another item on my love list.  After hydrating and giving thanks for the splendor before me I turned to make my way down.


Once back at the base of the mountain I was struck by the idea that since it didn’t take me two hours I could turn around and begin again. So, that’s what I did, for several hundred metres, until I saw the lunacy of the idea on such a hot day. Once sense and reason kicked in I headed toward the car and pointed it in the direction of the beach.

What a magical morning.


A little bit more:

Mt Coolum is a 101km drive from Brisbane, located on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. . The summit offers spectacular coastal views.
The Mt Coolum National Park is noted for its remarkable botanical diversity; more than 700 different species of plant have been identified. Vegetation types include eucalypt forest, coastal wallum, paperbark wetland, rare coastal montane heath and some rainforest. It’s a pretty special place.


8 thoughts on “Climbing suburban mountains. (Part 1 Mt Coolum)

  1. and I lived next to it for over 25 years and never went up it. Heights do not agree with me. I did love this landmark a lot, the pointer for home for so many years. Way to go Shannyn, loved the photos showing the scenery. Love you are brave enough to tackily a real mountain in Nepal!

    ~Many years ago, in the Dreamtime, a beautiful Aboriginal girl named Maroochy was loved by another of her tribe, Coolum, a young warrior whose union to Maroochy has the approval of the Elders. One day a mighty warrior named Ninderry, who belonged to a fierce and warlike tribe, stole Maroochy while Coolum was out hunting… and on it goes ~


    • Vicki, isn’t it funny how we often miss the things that are in our backyard. I lived in Bundaberg for twenty years and never saw the turtles lay and hatch at Mon Repos.

      Thank you for sharing the aboriginal legend. There is a strong sense of spirit on and around the mountain.

  2. I am freezing in West Wales Uk at mo and contemplating doing a coastal walk tomorrow because I want to get back into walking , used to love it but lately other thing have took over . I really enjoyed the walk with you thank you .

    • Cherry I hope you do get out for your walk. It’s hard when routine and commitments get in the way of what our heart most wants. Your walk will certainly have a different feel to it than mine. I love that I can sit here on the other side of the world and imagine the climate, the terrain and the elements you will experience on your walk. Gosh, how magical. .
      I am longing to visit Cornwall and walk the Cornish Coast. I so want to experience the ruggedness of the weather and the coastline. I have seen photos of Wales and felt my heart pulled in that direction too.
      Happy walking and thank you for your comment.

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