There are numerous beautiful, relaxing and sometimes-challenging bushwalks through various national parks in the Sunshine Coast, and a small number of them are also available for horse riding.
Among the trails open to horses are the trails around Mapleton National Park.
The park offers three longer trails – the Turpentine Trail at 7.8km return, Piccabeen Circuit (6.7km) and the Kureelpa Falls Circuit (8.5km) – which are shared between walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders. There is a hierarchy of who gives way to whom – all users give way to horses.
Chloe Hutton on Nougat and Matt Norman on Henry enjoy a ride on the Piccabeen Circuit trail at Mapleton National Park. Photo: Richard Bruinsma
Local residents Chloe Hutton and Matt Norman are among those who regularly ride their horses through trails. One of their favourites is the Piccabeen Circuit, which has a full distance of 6.7km return.
The Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing website reports that the trail makes its way through tall blackbutt forest and rainforest and includes “several crossings of Gheerulla Creek”.
“It’s a beautiful track, it’s nice and even for the horses,” Chloe explained. “There’s a few creek crossings that are also beautiful, and even better when they are running as they are now after the rain.”
Her partner Matt added: “The track is really well looked after, it’s just a nice peaceful ride.
“It’s a great place to bring young horses too, there’s not a lot out there to scare them so they are able to get used to riding in different areas, easily.”
To get to the Mapleton national Park (not to be confused with Mapleton Falls National Park), from Obi Obi Road near the centre of Mapleton, turn into Delicia Road and then Mapleton Forest Road.
The day use picnic area, which is adjacent to a parking area with plenty of room for horse floats, is about 2km from Mapleton.
Sunshine Coast Council has produced a Guide to Horse Riding Tracks, which is available from Visitor Information Centres and SCC Customer Contact Centres, or by phoning council on 5475 8501.