When it comes to Australian cities, Brisbane is often underrated compared to the country’s other major tourist destinations. While travellers seek out Sydney and Melbourne, they ignore Brisbane at their own expense. The city is located near the gorgeous Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast of Australia. It is an area with some of Australia’s most splendid sights and many of them can be seen on a day’s trip from Brisbane.
Moreover, tourists to Brisbane are spoiled by the amount of day-trip destinations located near the city. Beautiful beaches, incredible islands, wonderful wildlife and nature parks are all available to explore on a day away from Brisbane. If you are an outdoor lover, there is plenty to see and do. The area’s immense walking trails are great for hiking. You can also visit the Australia Zoo to learn more about the country’s wildlife. If shopping and visiting cool cafes are your thing, then there are plenty of great places to stop off as well.
There is something for everyone on a day trip from Brisbane. With so much to see and do just a few kilometres outside of Queensland city, it is no wonder that it is a popular base for travellers.
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With a name like Surfers Paradise, it has to be good, right? You will find the gorgeous beaches of Surfers Paradise just two hours south of Brisbane. Located on the Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise is a hub for tourists and surfers looking for great waves. In addition, the area is always filled with life and has an incredible atmosphere throughout the year.
If surfing and spending days lounging at the beach isn’t your thing, then head to the town’s glitzy boutiques to buy some designer clothes. You will find the best shopping and entertainment options on Cavill Avenue.
One of the most popular tourist attractions is SkyPoint Observation Deck. The observation deck soars 230 metres in the air and offers 360-degree views across the Gold Coast and north towards Brisbane. If you have had enough of the beach and shopping, head to one of the theme parks located around the area. Movie World, SeaWorld, and Dreamworld are three of the popular theme parks that welcome visitors from across Australia every day.
Lastly, to finish off a trip to Surfers Paradise, head out on a humpback whale spotting tour. The waters off of the coast are popular routes for migrating humpback whales. You can see the mighty whales as they swim through the region on their way to find food.
Surfers Paradise’s appeal as a tourist destination hinges heavily on individual preferences. Yes, without a doubt, Surfers Paradise should be on your itinerary if you want to experience the best of what Australia has to offer.
Springbrook National Park
Hit the road south of Brisbane to find Springbrook National Park, some 100 kilometres away. The park is a part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. It is a park filled with natural wonders and you can explore it on a day trip from Brisbane. Springbrook is also a must-visit destination with its waterfalls, canyons, and eucalyptus forest. Further, the fragrant smells of the eucalyptus trees are enchanting and make for the perfect scent on a hike through the lush park.
Canyon Lookout is the most popular viewing point in the park. It offers visitors views of the surrounding Gold Coast. You will also find the Best of All Lookout, which provides visitors with breathtaking views of New South Wales.
The hiking trails are the main reason to visit the national park. Outdoor lovers will fall head over heels for the varying terrain and challenging trails. Additionally, there are cliff-top hikes, circuits that take you past gushing waterfalls, and dusty trails that will get the heart pumping. Springbrook National Park is a part of the Q150 Icons, a list of must-visit cultural hotspots in Queensland. Undeniably, it truly is a great place to spend a day as you get away from the hustle and bustle of Brisbane.
Location: Old School Rd, Springbrook QLD 4213
From Surfers or Broadbeach, a trip to Springbrook National Park takes around an hour. Taking the time to get there is rewarding. There are several trails for hikers to explore, but the park is much larger than it appears. It’s convenient, cheap, and there’s lots of parking.
Situated between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, Redcliffe is roughly 106 kilometres away from Queensland City. If you are a music fan, Redcliffe is a popular place to visit. Why? It was the childhood home of the Gibb brothers, who famously played in the Bee Gees. They spent part of their youth in Red Cliffe in the 1950s. Redcliffe celebrates its native sons with a 70-metre multimedia walkway between the waterfront and Sutton Street. It is free to explore 24 hours a day.
The waterfront, Redcliffe Parade, is a great place to spend some time wandering around on a beautiful day. The town’s seaside location makes it ideal for seafood lovers. Boat hire allows you to hit the high seas and explore the coastline. From June to November, you can also spot humpback whales off the coast. Redcliffe has been updated over the years but it has retained its charm as an old-time fishing village.
Moreover, the great thing about Red Cliffe’s location is that you can leave Brisbane on the way to the Sunshine Coast and stop off for a few hours. If you need a relaxing day out or want to let the kids run about for a while, then be sure to stop off in the quaint town.
Within Redcliffe are several popular tourist destinations, including Suttons Beach (where Luna Park Redcliffe stood from 1944 to 1966), the Redcliffe Jetty, Settlement Cove Lagoon, the Redcliffe Museum, the Redcliffe Botanic Gardens, and the Redcliffe Showgrounds.
Home to the legendary Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, Australia Zoo is just an hour north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast. If you expect Australia Zoo to simply be your typical animal experience, then you are in store for a rude awakening. It is completely different from anything you have ever seen previously.
The animal experiences are incredible and the zoo’s staff works 24 hours a day to provide you with an unbelievably fun time. Irwin may have died in 2006, but the family continues to run the famous wildlife conservation.
Overall, Australia Zoo covers 110 acres and is home to some of the most exotic animals in the world. You will find Sumatran tigers, elephants, zebras, cheetahs, and rhinos roaming around the zoo. Furthermore, Crocoseum is the best reason to visit the animal habitat. You will see animal shows, demonstrations, and feedings throughout the day. A trip to Australia Zoo takes all day, so schedule your day trip from Brisbane carefully to spend as much time as possible taking in the animals.
Location: 1638 Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah QLD 4519
When it comes to animal welfare, the Australia Zoo also has a big, warm heart. It is the busiest wildlife hospital in the world and is the most engaging conservation attraction in the world.
North Stradbroke Island
Known locally as ‘Straddie’, North Stradbroke Island offers up a laid-back atmosphere full of days at the beach. If you want a quiet day trip away from the hustle and bustle of Brisbane, then this is the place to go. Straddie is 57 kilometres from Brisbane and you will find the stereotypical Aussie holiday treats on the island. Here, you can find golden sand beaches, amazing surfing, and unique wildlife.
Although only 57 kilometres away from Brisbane, it takes over two hours to get to North Stradbroke Island due to the ferry. The ferry runs from Brisbane’s southern suburb of Cleveland. May through October is an ideal time to visit Straddie for whale watching. Migrating humpback whales make their way through the area and the ferry makes a great viewpoint to see them.
Even if you don’t fancy taking the ferry across from Cleveland to North Stradbroke Island or vice versa, you can see the migrating whales from the shore with a set of binoculars. Humpback whales swim close enough to the shoreline that it is possible to spot them from land. If you do make the trip across the water, North Stradbroke Island will reward you with endless summer adventures. Cycle the island and hire a tent for glamping in style for a truly unique holiday.
There is something for everyone on North Stradbroke Island, whether you want a quiet getaway surrounded by beautiful nature or a thrilling experience. Experience the amazing local fauna, including some well-known Australian species like kangaroos, koalas, and wombats.
You can reach Moreton Island via ferry from Brisbane’s city centre. The ferry journey takes around 75 minutes. Once you reach the island, you will find it to be one of the most peaceful locations in the Brisbane area. It is claimed that Moreton Island is the perfect remedy for Brisbane locals dealing with stressful workdays thanks to its landscape. The island is 40 kilometres off the Aussie coast. If you happen to know someone with a private boat or fancy renting one, you can make the trip on your own rather than the ferry.
The island is the third-largest sand island in the world. You are bound to see Brisbanites wandering Moreton Island since it is a popular day-trip destination for locals. Outdoor lovers have plenty to do once they arrive. You will find freshwater lagoons and creeks, lush beaches, and fields of wildflowers. Around 98% of Moreton Island is protected as a national park.
Visitors to the island enjoy snorkelling around the shoreline, hiking, and sandboarding down the rising dunes that are found there. Just off the shore are 15 shipwrecks. You can also scuba dive in the shallow waters to explore the wreckage. In addition, tours are available on the island that takes you to see its many wonderful spots.
Ferries, barges, and boats all provide access to Moreton Island. Every day, people and cars can take boats and barges. Long weekends and holidays saw an increase in service. The need for reservations cannot be overstated.
Lamington National Park
Lying on the Lamington Plateau about a 2-hour drive from Brisbane is the Lamington National Park. This National Heritage Site is a must-go for travellers who want to explore the natural wonders of Australia and be amazed at the wide variety of flora and fauna species that can be found in the area.
In 2009, the park was named one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for being a natural attraction. Moreover, it was added to the Australian National Heritage List in 1986.
Guests who want to visit the national park are offered a wide range of accommodation choices. Guesthouses can be found in the area as well as campgrounds for the more adventurous travellers. In addition, guests can find different species of plants and wildlife since the park is considered a conservation area and is protected by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. Examples of the animals that may be found in the area are the Coxen’s fig parrot, the Eastern bristlebird and the large-eared pied bat. All of these species are already threatened animals and are conserved in the area.
Lamington National Park, this Gondwana rainforest of Australia’s World Heritage Area is a must-see because of its lush rainforests, old trees, breathtaking views, numerous walking routes, unique biological importance, and natural beauty.
The Glasshouse Mountains are at the southernmost point of the Sunshine Coast. They are easy for people who live in Canberra to get to. Before volcanoes erupted here 26 million years ago, the whole area was covered, but now there are only 12 separate peaks that make up this National Park.
We like trails that go around mountains more than ones that go up them. This photo was taken from the top of Wild Horse Mountain. We recommend the Lookout Cafe because it is close to the lookout park, which has hiking trails and a lot of native plants and animals, and because it has beautiful views.
Those who enjoy a challenge can take on the 2.6-kilometre summit climb in Glass House Mountains, which typically takes between three and four hours to accomplish. Wear comfortable, but durable, shoes for walking. Beerwah is not for novice climbers because of its dangerously steep and exposed rock faces and occasional high winds.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Even though other parts of this post talk about many places in Brisbane where you can see Australia’s wildlife in its natural habitat, people who want to see a variety of Australian species and learn more about them may choose to visit a wildlife sanctuary.
Currumbin and the nearby David Fleay Wildlife Park are both good places to go. These two groups care more about protecting native species than bringing in exotic ones. They also teach people about the importance of animal welfare, conservation, and being a good pet owner.
Feeding the animals at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a gold coin donation, but seeing them is free of charge.
You can get to Bribie, one of Queensland’s big sand islands, without having to rent a boat. A causeway connects the island to the mainland. Surfers go to the side of the island that faces the ocean to catch world-class waves, while the side that faces the land is great for a family beach day.
In recent years, there has been more development in southern Bribie, but most of the island is still a National Park and has no roads. To get around, you need a 44, a permit, and experience driving on sand. The southernmost point is especially beautiful, and it only takes a few minutes to walk from the parking lot to a quiet stretch of beach. The island is a great place to watch birds, and it also has great hiking trails and historical sites that are worth seeing.
Bribie Island National Park has 55.8 km2 of beaches, camping, boating, fishing, and bird watching. You can explore wooded trails and sand dunes. Island’s community is excellent.
Between the busy cities of Brisbane and the Gold Coast is a quiet area called Mount Tamborine. On the Scenic Rim, it takes a little over an hour to get to a beautiful rainforest. You can explore the local National Park in one of its six different areas, each of which has its hiking trails, scenic views, and water features. The parts of the trail that take us to Witches Falls and Cedar Creek are our favourites.
Mount Tamborine is known for its beautiful natural scenery, but it also has many man-made attractions like a zoo, botanical garden, the Skywalk (which offers beautiful views of the mountain’s rain forest), glow worm caves, and many restaurants and shops that serve local foods and drinks.
The rainforests and cliffs and waterfalls of Tamborine Mountain are popular destinations for hikers. The Curtis Falls Rainforest Track and the Knoll are two of the most well-known.
Toowoomba is a small city about 78 miles inland from Brisbane. It is in a province. This place has one of the best Japanese gardens in all of Australia. It also has a lot of great hiking trails and a stunning view from a nearby lookout.
If you like to eat, you should visit the farmer’s markets, farm gate sales, and cellar doors in the area. In the past few years, the city’s cafe culture has grown, and it now has a lot of cool street art murals.
Toowoomba, Queensland’s largest inland city, has a booming coffee culture and street art scene. Toowoomba has hundreds of parks and gardens and hosts the Carnival of Flowers spring event.
Brisbane is a thriving paradise with a cultural scene all its own. Its location in the nearby Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast makes it ideal for day trips. So, if you want a home base that allows you to explore further afield and see some of Australia’s best treasures, then book a trip to Brisbane and plan a day trip or two.