Beyond the city: Brisbane's best day trips

There’s a lot to be said about Brisbane, and all of it good. The Sunshine State capital continues to attract both tourists and new residents in droves, with its combination of all-year-round great weather, burgeoning dining and cultural scenes and beautiful surrounding forest and bushland. With a wealth of activities and adventures easily accessible from the city, escaping the city for a day trip is easy.    

Whether you be a Brisbane local looking to escape the hustle of city life this weekend or a visitor in search of easily accessible adventures, we have you covered with our list of Brisbane’s best day trips.

Sunshine Coast Hinterlands

The Sunshine Coast Hinterlands bursts with numerous options for a stellar day trip. This spectacular slice of South East Queensland is home to historic towns and quaint villages like Montville and Maleny, set amongst rolling green pastures and spectacular mountain country. Day trippers looking for a hike should head to Glass House Mountains National Park, with walks of various of lengths and gradients to suit all family members and fitness levels. If you’re into ancient rainforest terrain dotted with waterfalls and swimming holes, explore Conondale National Park or Kondalilla National Park; you’ll find plenty of trails and places for hiking, swimming and bouldering. The Sunshine Coast is also home to the world-famous Australia Zoo; a day trip all of its own, you’ll easily pass the time exploring the incredibly maintained exhibits and breathtaking array of wildlife.

Noosa

Another north coast gem, the iconic town of Noosa combines beach chic with quaint village life to create one glorious day-trip destination. Enjoy lunch at one of the many popular cafes or restaurants after you have shopped ‘till you dropped on Hastings Street. Take a dip at Main Beach or check out the Noosa River where a plethora of water activities await; try some standup paddle boarding, fishing or take a boat cruise. Hikers can explore kilometres of trails in Noosa National Park and take in exceptional views of Noosa and beyond at Laguna Lookout. There’s also plenty to see and do in the broader Noosa Shire. For more golden sand and ocean views, head to Sunshine, Castaway, Marcus or Peregian Beaches. Explore the Noosa Everglades with a kayaking tour, visit the Noosa Botanic Gardens or head out on the Noosa Country Drive through the surrounding hinterlands.

North Stradbroke Island, Moreton Bay

If you’re looking for a little slice of island paradise, jump on the ferry to North Stradbroke Island in beautiful Moreton Bay. The world’s second largest sand island is home to stunning beaches, walking trails through lush bushland and plenty of great places to grab a bite. Be sure to enjoy the views at Point Lookout and have a swim in the in calm waters of Cylinder Beach. Once you’ve had your fill golden sands, take a stroll along North Gorge Headland Walk or enjoy some quite reflection at Blue Lake (Lake Kaboora) and Brown Lake (Lake Bummiera).

Tamborine Mountain

Nestled in the Gold Coast Hinterland region, Mount Tamborine is a hugely popular day trip destination. Experience the area’s beauty at its best on the Tambourine Rainforest Sky Walk or see one of the many waterfalls gracing the mountain; Cedar Creek Falls or Witches Falls for spectacular hinterland views. Follow the Gallery Walk for a uniquely quaint shopping experience. Ride Australia’s largest zipline at TreeTop Challenge and marvel at the natural twinkling of thousands of glow worms at the Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves. Take a walk through Tamborine Mountain Botanic Gardens or visit the Tamborine Mountain Distillery and taste award-winning boutique liqueurs and spirits.

Springbrook National Park

Springbrook National Park is another treasure of the Gold Coast Hinterland region and is accessible with an easy 45 minutes’ drive south of Brisbane. Experience some of South East Queensland’s most spectacular terrain, carved out of the earth by ancient volcanic activity. Take a drive through rainforest-enclosed roads, experience the majesty of sparkling waterfalls like Purling Brook Falls, picnic at Goomoolahra Falls Picnic Ground and marvel at the view from Canyon Lookout. If you’re looking to hike, there are plenty of walks to choose from; try the popular Twin Falls Circuit or the Warrie Circuit.

Samford and Mount Glorious

For a quick and easy city escape, take a 30 minute drive north from Brisbane through picturesque rolling bushland to Samford Village. Samford’s quaint village feel and lush surrounds make it a particularly attractive day trip option for families, with plenty to see and do. Get acquainted with the area’s history with a visit to the Samford District Historical Museum. Stop by the Slab Hut Art and Craft Gallery and peruse beautiful handcrafted wares. Grab a picnic basket and head to Samford Conservation Park for a walk and BBQ lunch or walk or cycle the Samford Valley Rail Trail. Continue the adventure with a drive up to Mount Glorious through the D’Aguilar Ranges, stopping in at Camp Mountain Outlook and Jollys Lookout to enjoy stunning views. Once you’re there, refuel at one of the cute mountain-side cafes before heading out on a walk; try the Rainforest Circuit or the Greene Falls Circuit. 

Inspired to visit Brisbane on your next break? Book your flights to Brisbane today with Virgin Australia and get ready for some serious day-tripping fun.

Words by Rebecca Walker. Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland - Published 16 August 2019
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