Top Day Trips from Brisbane
Getting out of the city for the day is a great way to relax, escape the busy city life and enjoy a new location, even if just for a moment. Brisbane is a city that is rich with options when it comes to day trips. Surrounded by stunning and diverse natural landscapes and interesting towns, a day trip from Brisbane can have you lazing on a perfect beach, trekking through the rainforest or sipping coffee and boutique shopping in a small country town, all within a short drive. You can even find yourself on an island for the day, feeling like you are far away from the city life.
While day trips from Brisbane can be great for locals, they are also a great idea if you are visiting the city on a holiday. From your hotel in Brisbane, you can venture out for the day to one of these amazing locations. Here are some ideas.
The Gold Coast has long been the place where Brisbanites go for a beach day trip. There are lots of amazing beaches stretching from Broad Beach all the way down to Coolangatta. The most popular spot is around Surfer’s Paradise, and this makes a good day trip destination as you can combine your beach trip with some shopping and lunch. The beach here is patrolled and there is usually some good surf, plus good facilities such as showers and change rooms. Across the road and through the mall you will find lots of shops, cafes and other places to eat.
Gold Coast Theme Parks
Another popular attraction on the Gold Coast are the amazing theme parks which you can visit as a day trip from Brisbane. Dreamworld and Whitewater World are the first parks you will come to as you head south. Dreamworld offers a variety of rides, plus some animals, while White Water World has some cool water slides. Further on you will find Movie World with its rides and stage shows, and Wet n’ Wild with its amazing water slides. Finally, Seaworld is located close to Surfer’s Paradise and you can see all kinds of marine life, plus more rides.
Brisbane’s Moreton Bay is full of islands. One of the most interesting to visit is Moreton Island, which is almost entirely covered in national park. The island is the third largest sand island in the world (following Fraser Island to the north and its neighbour, North Stradbroke Island to the south) and has that feeling of a remote island a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The beaches of Moreton Island are stunning, and there are many interesting snorkelling and diving spots, including the Tangalooma Wrecks, Flinders Reef or the man-made Curtain Artificial Reef, where over 30 derelict vessels were sunk to create an amazing home for aquatic life. At Cape Moreton, you can visit the historic lighthouse and view humpback whales during their migration from June to November. There are also lots of excellent hiking trails on the island, including a challenging summit of Mount Tempest – considered to be the tallest coastal sand dune in the world. If you’re not into hiking, try sand boarding or tobogganing on the island’s huge dunes.
You can reach the island by ferry from the Port of Brisbane, and if you have a 4WD, you can explore the island via its many sandy tracks. Alternatively, join a day tour where you can cruise from several locations in the bay and explore the island on a 4WD tour, which takes you to the best attractions on the island.
One of the best ways to enjoy a day out from Brisbane is to take one of the many scenic tourist drives. One great option is the drive along the Blackall Range in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, from Landsborough to Nambour. Drive through the lush green farmland and rainforests with cooler temperatures, and visit some of the charming small towns of the area. Maleny and Montville are two lovely towns to visit, with little boutique style shops and cafes; or pack your lunch and enjoy a picnic at Lake Baroon. Stop in at Kondalilla National Park and take a walk through the rainforest to the picturesque Kondalilla Falls, with its lovely natural swimming hole. There are also several wineries to visit in the area.
For a similar experience in the Gold Coast Hinterland, enjoy a beautiful drive to Tamborine Mountain, where you will find small villages with shopping and cafes, more wineries, rainforest walks and waterfalls. Stop in at Eagle Heights for its strip of boutique shops, restaurants and cafes, and find more places to eat in North Tamborine. There are some great views to be had in different areas of the Gold Coast and of the valley inland, and stop in at the different sections of Tamborine National Park for a short stroll through the rainforest, such as Cedar Falls.
A popular picnic spot and day trip destination from Brisbane is Lake Wivenhoe. The Wivenhoe Dam was built in the upper reaches of the Brisbane River to help deter flooding in the city and to provide drinking water to the ever-expanding Brisbane population. The large lake that resulted has also grown to serve a third purpose – for recreation. Lake Wivenhoe has several excellent picnic spots and there are also places where you can launch a boat or a canoe, and many people enjoy fishing here. As you drive around Lake Wivenhoe you will come to the small town of Esk, where you can enjoy a coffee or lunch at one of the cafes.
There are lots of amazing places to visit on the Sunshine Coast and you could go for many day trips here from Brisbane. One good choice is Mooloolaba. Here you will find lovely beaches and a good range of cafes and shops stretched along the beachfront, as well as the Mooloolaba Surf Club. Another big attraction is Underwater World – one of the best aquariums in Queensland.
Queen Mary Falls
The Scenic Rim is another area where you could take lots of different day trips and enjoy a whole range of experiences. One option is the lovely drive to Queen Mary Falls. This is one of those perfect wide waterfalls that drops straight down to a pool below from a gentle stream above. You can enjoy a short walk to the viewing point above the falls, or take the slightly longer 3km loop trail which takes you down to the bottom of the falls below and then back up to the carpark. At the carpark, you can enjoy a coffee or a bite to eat at the wonderful little café.
These are just a few of the many amazing day trips you can take from Brisbane. Whether you want to laze on the beach, go for a hike in the forest, taste some wines in a vineyard or explore a charming country town, there is something for you and more, all just a short drive from Brisbane.
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Images credit (under CCL) by order: feature, Movie World, Lake Wivenhoe