Best Day Trips from Brisbane
Planning a trip to Brisbane, the capital of the "Sunshine State" of Queensland? This beautiful and multicultural city is Australia's third largest and one of the best places to go for a relaxing vacation in the sun. Surrounded by rolling blue mountains, beautiful beaches and the stunning Brisbane River, there is no denying the natural beauty of the city's landscape which it is known for. The friendly locals and pleasant climate are what make the city so loved as well as the abundance of historic attractions and modern activities.
Sometimes it can be fun to take small trips outside of the city to see what else the area has to offer. Below we've gathered a list of day trips from Brisbane that you might want to consider if you have some free time to spare! Feel like staying close by and enjoying the city life instead? This place is an epicenter for cultural and artistic talent; check out the best museums in Brisbane!
If you do want to leave town for several hours, find a place to store your bags in Brisbane. Don't carry unneeded items and large bags around with you. Pick them up after your adventure; travel light as you go from place to place.
How to get out of Brisbane
A big city like Brisbane has to have viable public transportation options since some locals might need to move around a lot. This is why the city streets are lined with parking spaces for cars, and there is a network of railway tracks and shuttle buses that move from place to place.
When you are moving around within the city center you can get from one area to the next using the buses and trains, and then either walk or bike around. If you want to learn more about the services offered, take a look at this guide on how to get around Brisbane.
Getting in and out of the city won't be much different; there is the Brisbane Airport that you will probably use to arrive for your vacation. When you are going on day trips you will have several options for getting around. Sometimes the buses and trains can get you where you need to go although you might have to use a car to reach other areas. Taxis, rideshares and car rentals are all available, and good choices when driving is your only option.
From Brisbane to Moreton Island
Ready for a Moreton Island day trip? This place is special because it is the third biggest sand island in the world. Expect a day filled with sandy beaches and sunshine as well as incredible fauna and wildflowers! There is no end to the natural beauty here, and most of the area is a protected National Park. You can see stunning views of the area from the Cape Moreton Lighthouse.
Most people who visit this island paradise like to go snorkeling around Moreton Bay and the crystal clear blue waters are absolutely perfect for it. There are even 15 wrecks found in the shallow waters; why not try diving and exploring the underwater world yourself? If you want to get hands-on with the underwater wildlife you should check out the Tangalooma Island Resort where you can hand-feed wild dolphins! Fishing, kayaking, and even sandboarding are other activities to try. Consider signing up for whale watching cruises, you might even see some humpback whales on your boat trip!
How to get to Moreton Island
There is no bridge to get to the island so the only way to reach it is by ferry. The directions are simple; make your way to the Tangalooma Ferry Brisbane and it will bring you straight to Moreton Island. Take some time to admire the scenery as you go by!
From Brisbane to Springbrook National Park
As you can tell, there are lots of beautiful nature reserves and National Parks in Queensland. The Springbrook National Park, which is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, is absolutely stunning and the ultimate destination for an outdoor adventure in Brisbane. From flowing waterfalls to volcanic canyons, this lush rainforest has it all. Keep it in mind when you need a break from the busyness of the Brisbane city center!
While you are in the park there are a few places that you should go. Check out the Canyon Lookout for one of the best panoramic views of the Gold Coast! We also recommend stopping by the Best of All Lookout; it really lives up to its name. Go see the eroded Natural Bridge made of rock and don't miss your chance to see the Purling Brook Falls Lookout. If you want to be active there is an abundance of hiking and walking trails that you can explore.
How to get to Springbrook National Park
Head straight down south from Brisbane and you will reach the park in about an hour and a half. It is a straightforward drive on the Via M1 which is, unfortunately, the only way that you can get there since the buses and trains don't reach it.
From Brisbane to Glass House Mountains
This Brisbane day trip will bring you to the southern end of the Sunshine Coast and is not too far from the Brisbane CBD. The Glass House Mountains are an unbelievably beautiful National Park where you can see remnants from volcanoes that are nearly 26 million years old. Today there are 12 mountain peaks that can be seen in the park, and if you are up for it you can even hike to the summit of some of them!
Some of the peaks are more easily climbed than others; for example, Wild Horse Mountain is an excellent choice for all difficulty levels. Some of the other hiking trails should be reserved for those who have more hiking experience. Even if you don't make it all the way to the top, this day trip is a nice way to spend time in the great outdoors. Keep a lookout for local wildlife! There are some cute cafes scattered around the area as well so no need to worry if you start to get hungry.
How to get to Glass House Mountains
One of the bonuses about visiting the Glass House Mountains is that they are pretty close to Brisbane. If you have your own car you can get there easily in just under an hour on the Via M1. Those who are restricted to public transport can also get here and it will only take a bit longer. Take a bus to the Eagle Junction train station and then ride the railway all the way to the mountains. The journey should take you between an hour and a half to two hours.
From Brisbane to North Stradbroke Island
Remember how we said that Moreton Island was the third-largest sand island? Well, North Stradbroke Island just beats it as the world's second-largest sand island and is full of fun things for you to do! With stunning beaches, hiking paths that will bring you past scenic landscapes, and some of your favorite Australian wildlife, what is there not to love?
Take a stroll down the North Gorge Walk all the way to Point Lookout and you will get to see some of the most beautiful parts of the island. If you look closely, you might even get to spot koalas or kangaroos on land or the occasional turtle, dolphin, whale, or shark in the water. Afterward, take a trip to a beach and play around in the sea. It is a surfing lover's paradise, so if you've never been surfing before this is your chance.
How to get to North Stradbroke Island
A voyage to this island will definitely be one of your favorite Brisbane day trips. Like with the other sand islands you will have to use a ferry to reach it but the trip won't be too complicated. You can either drive to the Cleveland North Stradbroke Ferry landing and bring your car across to the island with you or use local public transport to get to the ferry.
From Brisbane to Tamborine National Park
This national park located in the Gold Coast Hinterland is home to Tamborine Mountain of the Scenic Rim. Here, you will find a calm rainforest with incredible tall green trees, waterfalls, and fresh air. One of the best ways to admire the area is on the Rainforest Skywalk where you will be guided on a small group tour through the canopy of the surrounding area. If you want a more urban experience you can go to the gorgeous Tamborine Mountain Botanic Gardens.
Once you've seen enough of the park, stop by the town of Tamborine which is where you will find shops, boutiques, and everything that you need for a retail therapy session. The restaurants and cafes in the town will be enough to satisfy the cravings of any food lover and we highly recommend that you taste your way around each neighborhood and try some fresh local produce. Maybe even make your own picnic lunch from local foods!
How to get to Tamborine National Park
Tamborine Mountain and the park that it lies in are located about an hour's drive from Brisbane. The best way to get there is by car, just hop back on the Via M1!
From Brisbane to Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
You can never get enough of a beautiful place like Queensland, and the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve near Montville and Maleny in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland is another one of the best day trips from Brisbane. Each picturesque country town offers a unique experience and attractions, like the Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World in Maleny, or the shopping opportunities that are offered in Montville.
These towns are definitely worth a visit but you probably want to explore the nature reserve. From there you can reach the stunning waterfalls from Kondalilla National Park which is a fantastic place to take a hike. The entire reserve takes up about 55 hectares of space so you can spend all day exploring it. Bring a camera since you will probably encounter some wildlife while you are here.
How to get to Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
This day trip is found a bit over an hour north of Brisbane, although it can sometimes take up to two hours depending on traffic. Getting there on public transit is doable but can be challenging since you will have to take trains and buses, plus it will take a bit over two hours.
From Brisbane to Surfers Paradise
If you've had enough of trekking through mountains then you might want to take a day trip from Brisbane to Surfers Paradise beach. It is one of the most popular beaches on the Gold Coast and although its pleasant sands and surf beaches are its most popular attraction, it is not the only thing that you can see here.
There are lots of cafes and eateries in the area for whenever you get hungry; consider making your own food tour of the neighborhood! There is also a great shopping area nearby, the best place to go is Cavill Avenue. There are a few theme parks within traveling distance as well, like SeaWorld, Dreamworld, and Warner Bros. Movie World. Traveling with any animal lovers? The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a must.
How to get to Surfers Paradise
All ready to head to Surfers Paradise? Hop back on the Via M1 and you will get there in about an hour. You can also reach the beaches using public transport although it is not recommended. It will take about two hours and is a bit more complicated since you will need to take a combination of buses and the train.
Discovering Brisbane and Beyond
These are only some of the most popular Brisbane day trips and there are so many more attractions and events Queensland has to offer. Go experience country life in Toowoomba, see adorable animals at the Australia Zoo, or explore more of the natural landscape at the Burleigh Heads National Park, Lamington National Park, or Noosa National Park! One thing is for sure, you won't be bored on your trip to Brisbane.