Hi friends! Today I thought I would share our favorite day trips from Brisbane. We are so lucky to live in such a spectacular area with so many diverse, beautiful places to spend our weekends exploring.
These are all trips that can be easily managed in one day. I plan on doing a separate post covering our favorite weekend getaways from here. I have also linked any blog posts I have written if you want anymore photos or information.
Just an hour from the city on the Gold Coast Hinterland lies Tamborine Mountain. There is plenty to do when you arrive and it’s best to map out your day ahead of time or plan to spend the night in one of the adorable cottages or bed and breakfasts. I have actually written a whole post on how to spend a day there which you can read here. Highlights include hikes, wines, and shopping (oh and fudge, there is a lot of fudge).
Another fun day trip just an hour north of Brisbane is the Glasshouse Mountains. The Glasshouse Mountains are technically hills made of volcanic rock that were given their name by Captain Cook who said they reminded him of the glass furnaces in England.
There are quite a few walks and hikes that you can do, but a few of them do require some serious rock climbing abilities. One that does not is Mount Ngungun. I have seen children and older adults alike climbing to the top.
Stop by one of the townships on your way to your hike and grab a cup of coffee, lunch at the pub, or pack a lunch and have a picnic on top! Another hotspot in the Glasshouse Mountains is the world famous Australia Zoo. The zoo is pretty big and can easily fill up a day, but if you are feeling adventurous you could squeeze both in!
You can read more about the Glasshouse Mountains and the walks on this site.
This area is similar to Tamborine Mountain only in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, about an hour and a half from Brisbane. There are lots of hikes and walks you can do in the area depending on what you are looking for. We chose to do the Mapleton Falls walk on our first trip which is a good choice if you have little ones. Since then we have also done the Kondalillia Falls hike which isn’t very difficult and has a swimming hole at the base.
After working up a sweat in the morning, head into Montville or Maleny to check out their cute shops, taste some cheese (or wine!) and have a lunch with a view.
Springbrook National Park
One of our favorite national parks to visit is Springbrook National Park. It’s less than a two hour drive from Brisbane and has plenty to offer. My favorite hike is the Perling Falls, which I have done a whole post on here.
Another popular attraction is the the Natural Bridge. It is a rock formation that was formed by the force of the waterfall over a basalt cave. If you go at night you can see glow worms lining the inside of the cave.
If activités is your thing, you should check out Moreton Island. Getting there is too easy, it’s just a 75 minute ferry ride from Brisbane. You can also take a boat or vehicle barge there. There is one main resort on the island called Tangalooma that runs a variety of activities, such as water sports, sand dune sledding, and dolphin feeding. There also other tour groups that run their own activities and day trips. If you have a 4 wheel drive there is the option to take your own vehicle and do some off roading and set up camp for the night. We have only done the day trip option (read about it here) but I have other friends who have spent up to a week exploring the island and camping.
You will feel like you are so far from Brisbane on the small sand island with vibrant blue water surrounding it. It’s definitely an underrated oasis, with something for everyone.
North Stradbroke Island
Another sand island that is only a ferry ride away from Brisbane is Stradbroke Island or Straddie as the locals call it. You can read a little bit more about the island here. You can relax and enjoy the slow, laid back culture of the island or check out some mantarays on a dive trip. During the winter you can go whale watching and the gorge walk never disappoints for some kangaroo spotting at dusk.
You can make a whole weekend (or longer) trip like we did for a friend’s birthday (here) or just take a day trip to the island as Trav has done to scuba dive.
You can mention a Brisbane day trip without thinking of the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast is just an hour away and has something for everyone. It’s a vacation destination for the rest of the country due to it’s theme parks, sunny weather and gorgeous beaches. You do want to avoid the main tourist strip, Surfer’s Paradise, during school holidays though. We prefer hitting up some of our favorite beachside suburbs for the day, such as Burleigh Heads, Palm Beach or Currumbin.
There are too many great beaches to list, and your choice would depend on what you are looking for. You really can’t go wrong, unless you hit up Surfers during schoolies, then you might complain. At little further past the Goldie, across the border, is the town of Byron Bay. It’s closer to two hours from Brisbane, so you might save it for a weekend trip but we have easily done it in a day multiple times. Read about Byron here or here.
If you travel a little over an hour north of Brisbane you will find yourself in the Sunshine Coast. Similar to the Gold Coast, you will find more picturesque beaches than you knew could exist in such a small stretch. One of the most popular places on the Sunshine Coast in the vacation hotspot, Noosa.
Noosa is a picture perfect family friendly holiday town. Great food, shopping and five star accommodations. Aside from the Noosa there are so many other great areas to explore such as another family friendly hotspot, Caloundra or Mooloolaba, which is home to the Sea Life Aquarium.
Obviously these aren’t the only day trips that are worth checking out if you live in beautiful Brissy, and we are always on the hunt for new places to see. Please let me know if you have a favorite that I didn’t mention. 🙂