Rising from the low lying Sunshine Coast landscape, the domes, cones and spires of the Glass House Mountains fascinate geologists and artists alike. Formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago, the mountains are rich in diverse vegetation and home to a variety of birds and animals.
Significant to local Aboriginal people, the Glass House Mountains National Park attracts large numbers of visitors who come to rock climb, bushwalk, picnic, and enjoy the scenery.
The Glass House Mountains National Landscape was included in the National Heritage List on 3 August 2006.
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Often described as awesome and picturesque, the Glass House Mountains are a defining landmark of south-east Queensland. The mountains are rich in natural history and form a breathtaking landscape that is important for many Australian people, plants and animals.
First sighting recorded by Europeans
Captain James Cook first recorded and named the Glass House Mountains when sailing up the eastern coast of Australia in 1770.
In his journal of 17 May 1770, Cook wrote:
"These hills lie but a little way inland, and not far from each other: they are remarkable for the singular form of their elevation, which very much resembles a glass house, and for this reason I called them the Glass Houses: the northern most of the three is the highest and largest; there are several other peaked hills inland to the northward of these, but these are not nearly so remarkable."
Formed by volcanic activity
A series of volcanic eruptions 24-27 million years ago led to the formation of at least 12 peaks. They range in height from the southern-most peak of Saddleback (Mount Elimbah) at 109 metres, to the highest peak, Mt Beerwah, at 556 metres.
The mountains provide a glimpse into the volcanic history of the eastern Australia mainland. Recent research has also led to better understanding of the dynamic processes and evolution of rock types making up these volcanic centres.
Home to diverse flora and fauna
A diverse range of vegetation, from rainforest gullies to heaths on the summits, provides homes for a variety of animals, including around 170 species of birds. Koalas, lace monitors, echidnas and eastern-grey kangaroos are also found in the landscape.
A landscape that inspires artists
The Glass House Mountains landscape has inspired a number of works by significant Australian artists such as Lawrence Daws, Judith Wright, Conrad Martens, Peter Kennedy, David Malouf and Fred Williams, in a range of media including music, painting, poetry, photography and film.
From summit lookouts visitors are treated to panoramic views of the family of mountains with their massive jagged peaks arising from an extensive plain with forested foothill reserves, agricultural land, small village roads, highways and coastal urban developments.
An important Aboriginal site
The mountains and surrounding area are well known to Aboriginal people in south-east Queensland. Numerous sites have been recorded in the Glass House Mountains area that show varied aspects of Aboriginal ways of life and the ancient occupation of this landscape.
These include axe grinding grooves, quarries, physical signs of past camping places and other activities, burial places and rock art sites. The mountains lie close to traditional pathways and the peaks are individually important in Aboriginal traditions.
The Glass House Mountains continue to be of spiritual significance to the Aboriginal people of the region. The Gubbi Gubbi and Jinibara maintain strong links with the area and this important landscape. The subtropical climate of south-east Queensland combined with the fertile volcanic soils has made the region a very popular place to live and visit.
Today the area around the mountains produces tropical fruits such as pawpaws, strawberries, avocados and passionfruit, as well as vegetables and macadamia nuts.
Experience The Glass House Mountains National Park
The Glass House Mountains National Park attracts large numbers of visitors - the steep geological formations make the park attractive to rock climbers, and the peaks and surrounding lands continue to be popular destinations for visitors wanting to bushwalk, picnic, and enjoy the volcanic scenery.