There are plenty of great things about Brisbane, but my favourite? How easy it is to leave! I love nothing more than hitting the highway and escaping the city for a day of adventuring. Here are some of the best day trips near Brisbane:
Lamington National Park
Just two hours south, Lamington National Park is in the heart of the Gondwana rainforest. There’s plenty of beautiful walking tracks for all levels of fitness. On the way there, do yourself a favour and stop for a coffee in Canungra – there’s heaps of super cute cafes to try. Once you get to Lamington National Park, it’s time to explore. Try either the Tree Top walk (short), the Box Forest Circuit (medium, about 10km) or if you’re really keen, the Toolona Creek Circuit (it’s 18km of incredible waterfalls and rainforest).
If you want to turn it into a weekend away, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat offers cosy accommodation with sweeping valley views. Don’t miss the sunset from the top of Moran Falls.
On the way home, pull in to O’Reilly’s Vineyard to sample their wines and pat an alpaca (no, I’m not kidding).
Hike the Scenic Rim
It’s time to dust off those hiking boots… There are plenty of awesome places to explore in the Scenic Rim, and most of them are best seen on foot! From family friendly walks to climbing some of the biggest peaks in Queensland, this place has it all! For some of the best hikes in the scenic rim, click here.
Regardless of what hike you choose, there’s plenty of great little towns to grab coffee on your way through. Aratula, Boonah & Beaudesert are all great places to get your caffeine fix.
Make sure you stop by Kooroomba Vineyard to re-hydrate after your hike. My tip, grab your vino and walk up to the back of the vineyard… There’s a giant wooden swing with the best views in the house.
Noosa National Park
The coastal track at Noosa National Park is an awesome walk, and makes for the perfect day trip from Brisbane. The walk starts near Main Beach at Noosa and follows the coast all the way to Sunshine Beach. Pack your swimmers and a picnic and head to Tea Tree Bay, the Fairy Pools or Hells Gate for lunch with the view. Keep an eye out for Koalas along the way.
If you want to avoid the crowds, it’s worth mentioning that some of the beaches south of Noosa are just as pretty and way less busy. Try First Bay at Coolum Beach, Peregian Beach or Marcoola – they’re more exposed so have more surf than Noosa, but are definitely still worth a visit.
You’ll find the Sunshine Coast, about 90 minutes north of Brisbane.
Visit the Sunshine Coast Hinterland
The picture perfect hinterland offers the perfect weekend escape from the city. Drive through the rolling, green hills to impossible cute towns of Maleny or Montville, and treat yourself to a tasty lunch at one of the local cafes and restaurants (Brouhaha Brewery is a great option!).
If you want to stretch your legs, the falls walk at Kondalilla National Park is absolutely stunning. If you’re feeling more adventurous? Climb one of the Glasshouse Mountains for a great workout and one of the best views around!
Go Hot Air Ballooning
Want to treat yourself or spoil a loved one? Well, I’ve got just the thing. You’ll need to set your alarm super early, but I promise you it’ll be worth it! It’s also not the cheapest day trip (Hot Air offer packages from about $260), but it’s one you’ll definitely remember. Most trips include a sunrise balloon flight over the Scenic Rim and an epic champagne breakfast at O’Reilly Vineyard.
There’s so many beautiful waterfalls both north and south of Brisbane. In the summer months, there’s nothing better than leaving the heat of the city in search of a great spot for a dip. For some of the best waterfalls near Brisbane, click here.
Only an hour south of Brisbane, Mt Tambourine makes a great day trip. It’s close, but not short on things to do. Start the day with coffee (obviously) & breakfast at the Treehouse Cafe. Then, work off the calories with a little hike. The Curtis Falls circuit track (about 4km return if you do the full loop) is probably the best to start with. If the weather’s nice, go for a walk and a dip at Cedar Creek Falls (but be warned, they get BUSY in summer!). If you’ve still got energy, the Witches Falls track is another good one.
Ready for more food? Good. Have lunch (they do great pizzas at a reasonable price) and a beer at Fortitude Brewing Co. Next, head to Witches Falls Winery for a wine tasting. I highly recommend doing the premium tasting ($10) and trying their platinum wines. The best part is, if you’re still hungry, you can create your own cheese plate! Just choose the cheeses you want directly from the vineyard (the ash brie is GREAT), and they’ll create a little platter for you.
To finish the day (and digest), take a picnic blanket and watch the sunset at Hang Glider lookout. It’s the most incredible view and if the winds are right, you’ll see the hang gliders launching into the sunset. It’s pretty special.
D’Aguilar National Park
It’s probably one of the lessor known day trips from Brisbane, but that doesn’t make it any less special. The drive out here is SO scenic, and there are plenty of cute cafes to grab your caffeine fix on the way (try Elm House near Mt Glorious or the Pitstop Cafe near Mt Mee).
Once you’ve had your coffee, get ready to walk. For shorter walks, start in Maiala (Mt Glorious). There’s three easy walks ranging from 2 – 4.5kms. If you’re feeling more adventurous, I can’t recommend the Northbrooke Gorges highly enough.
If you’ve got a 4WD – Rocky Hole in the Mt Mee section of the National Park is a great spot for a swim in summer! Don’t forget to stop at Ocean View Estate winery on the way home.
Hit the water on the Gold Coast
Only an hour or so south, the Gold Coast is one of the best day trips near Brisbane. With plenty of epic beaches and creeks, there’s heaps of fun to be had on the water. My tip, the southern beaches are the best (and are less crowded than Surfers or Broadbeach).
For the perfect day trip, start with breakfast at Paddock Bakery then go SUPing or for a dip at Tallebudgera creek. Next, go for a walk around the Burleigh Headland and enjoy a late lunch and drinks at Burleigh Pavilion.