The city of Brisbane continues to establish itself as a fantastic place to work, rest and play, offering a range of attractions and a lifestyle envied the world over. But while any visit to Queensland’s capital should include time spent exploring the city’s restaurants, nightlife, cultural hubs and sporting meccas, you would be doing yourself a huge disservice if you didn’t also plan at least one day trip (if not many more) outside the city to explore the countless gems just outside its borders.
Less than 40 minutes from Brisbane CBD you can find yourself at picturesque beaches, stunning countrysides, lush forests, vibrant communities and the glittering Pacific Ocean, all giving you the sense you are much deeper in the wilderness than you really are. With that in mind, we’ve put together our favourite day trips out of Brisbane so you get the inside word on where to spend your free time during your stay.
Springbrook National Park
Part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, Springbrook National Park is a gorgeous region of stunning natural beauty peppered with volcanic canyons, sparkling waterfalls, shady creeks, lush rainforests and an abundance of flora and fauna. Head to the panoramic viewpoints at Canyon, Best of All and Purling Brook Falls Lookouts, and take a hike along the Twin Falls Circuit or one of the many other trails snaking through the region’s wilderness. You can also take guided nature walks, join a horse riding group or bring along a picnic to enjoy on your own time.
Roughly 75 minutes’ by ferry from the CBD of Brisbane, Moreton Island is as picturesque as it comes. Nature lovers will feel right at home on the world’s third biggest sand island with its vibrant wildflowers, enticing freshwater lagoons, golden beaches, thriving ecosystem and glistening waters. Snorkel off the beaches and discover the 15 shipwrecks dotted around the shallow waters surrounding the island and get the chance to hand-feed wild dolphins. Sandboarding, quad biking, whale watching, kayaking, fishing and four-wheel driving are also popular activities on the island, so there’s no shortage of ways to keep yourselves entertained.
At two hours’ drive from Brisbane, Noosa Heads is a slightly longer journey but well worth the effort even if it’s just for a day. This tranquil beach escape on the Sunshine Coast is a favourite for locals and tourists alike, boasting jaw-dropping beaches, beautiful wilderness areas and plenty of wildlife surrounding a welcoming community bursting with cafes, restaurants, shops and markets. Stick to surfing, swimming and sunbathing or haul yourself off the sand for a rewarding hike through the untamed Noosa National Park.
The Scenic Rim
Putting the Scenic Rim here could be cheating, since it’s a huge area filled with countless individual attractions that are more than deserving of their own mention on this list. But there are so many to count that it’s easier to point you in the right direction and let you create your own journey through this beautiful part of the world. The Scenic Rim is just an hour’s drive south of Brisbane and comprises ancient rainforests, quaint villages, magnificent national parks, adventure activities, craft breweries, excellent food and wine, galleries, festivals and so much more. Tamrone Mountain, Lake Moogerah, Mount Barney and Lamington National Park are among the highlights – plan your own route and soak up the beauty as you please!
North Stradbroke Island
With so many beautiful islands off the coast of southeast Queensland not far from Brisbane, it can be hard to decide which to visit. North Stradbroke Island – or “Straddie” to the locals – is certainly one of the most popular, and for good reason: it’s just 45 minutes’ drive away and features stunners including the North Gorge Walk, Point Lookout and Brown Lake, along with great surf and plenty of marine life to spot. Whether you spend most of your time hiking inland and meeting the island’s furry residents or lazing the day away on one of its breathtaking white sand beaches, a day trip to Straddie will be one to remember.
We’ve listed plenty of opportunities to get among the beaches, rainforests, hikes and wildlife spotting opportunities surrounding Brisbane, but that’s not all there is to gain from a day trip out of the city. 90 minutes west of Brisbane lies Toowoomba, the perfect place to blow away those big-city blues with first-class cafes, restaurants, bakeries, museums, thrift shops, historical architecture and sprawling views of tranquil farmlands. The very air of this friendly country town will sap your worries away as you lazily explore its treasures, and it’s not far from Lockyer National Park if you fancy some wilderness