5 easy must-do weekend trips from Brisbane

Published by: BouncePosted
Weekend trips from Brisbane

One of Australia's biggest and best-loved cities, Brisbane, located on the East Coast of Australia between the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, is the perfect gateway to the great outdoors. But Brisbane offers more than a great base for exploring the Sunshine Coast hinterland. The city is also one of the cultural treasures of Australia and a great place to get to grips with the history and modern-day character of this continent-spanning country.

Brisbane is a great place to shop, dine, visit incredible art galleries, or take in an exciting sporting event. In fact, there's enough to do in Brisbane that it's hard to imagine ever running out of fun activities. Explore Brisbane CBD for as little as a couple of hours, and you'll find yourself swept up in the energy and atmosphere of this highly livable town.

But as enjoyable as time spent in Brisbane can be, there's more to this area than the city itself. After all, part of the charm of exploring any Australian city is knowing that there is some truly incredible scenery close by. So if you've seen enough of Brisbane, or you just want to get a better sense of what eastern Australia has to offer, consider these great weekend getaways from Brisbane. There's so much to see in this region that it would be a shame not to take advantage of it while you can.

Of course, exploring Australia's natural treasures is much easier if you travel lightly. Drop off your unneeded bags at a suitcase storage in Brisbane, and you can bring only what you need to enjoy adrenaline-fueled adventures or romantic getaways in this vibrant area. The best weekend getaways from Brisbane offer you everything from beautiful coastline to dense forest to mountain wilderness to cultural activities, so there's no excuse not to try them out for yourself.

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Weekend trips from Brisbane to Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast is hardly a hidden gem. In fact, it's easily one of the most popular weekend getaways from Brisbane for locals and visitors alike. But sometimes, popularity is justified. There's so much to do here. Whatever you're into, you really can't afford not to consider the Sunshine Coast on your list of Brisbane weekend getaways.

Distance from Brisbane:

The Sunshine Coast sits around 100 km north of the city of Brisbane. That makes it easy to reach with a little over an hour of driving. Plus, this is one of the rare weekend getaways from Brisbane that you don't need a car for, as you can reach Sunshine Coast by a combination of trains and buses from Brisbane in around two hours.

Our activity recommendations:

Rainbow Beach: The perfect place for a romantic weekend getaway from Brisbane, this coastal town gets its name from the beautiful and colorful beach that sits at the water's edge. And there's more to do here than just enjoy the scenery, as great as that is. This is a good area for four-wheel driving, fishing, and exciting water sports, so if you want to get your Sunshine Coast adrenaline fix while you're here, you're in luck.

Sunshine Coast Hinterland: If you want a wilder experience of Australia than the white sand beaches of Sunshine Coast itself can offer, consider taking a trip into the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. The star of many of the best weekend getaways from Brisbane, this region combines beaches and jungle with mountains to show Australia at its very best. Don't miss the Glass House Mountains, 16 dramatic and beautiful volcanic crags that dominate the surrounding area, or the gorgeous waterfalls of Kondalilla National Park.

SEA LIFE: This incredible aquarium will take you on a dive beneath the waves of the Australian ocean to encounter some of the incredible plants and animals that call it home. Marvel at the rich ecology of this area and come face-to-face with some of the ocean's most charismatic - and scary - residents.

Best season to visit:

Sunshine Coast has plenty of outdoor activities that make it especially popular in the Australian summer, which takes place from December to February. However, the cities and towns of the region have more than enough to offer, even in the winter. Plus, the Sunshine Coast Hinterland offers enough by itself for a memorable weekend getaway at any time of year.

Gold Coast weekend trips from Brisbane

Gold Coast

Another legendary destination near Brisbane, Gold Coast offers a huge amount of activities ranging from laid-back and relaxing to fun and exciting. A fantastic location for weekend getaways from Brisbane no matter how you like to spend your time, Gold Coast has everything you need for the best weekend getaways in the area.

Distance from Brisbane:

It's around 80 km from Brisbane to the town of Gold Coast. Expect the drive to take around one hour.

Our activity recommendations:

Surfers Paradise: Surfers Paradise is the central district of Gold Coast and is where you'll find the best restaurants, the most exciting nightlife, and many of the best attractions in the area. This is where the people of Brisbane come to enjoy the natural environment surrounding the city, so it certainly gets busy, especially in the summer season, but it's a fun place with a lively atmosphere that makes for great weekend getaways from Brisbane.

Gold Coast Hinterland: Just like Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast is surrounded by an enormous backcountry that is a fantastic playground for weekend getaways from Brisbane. The incredible scenery here encompasses mountains like Tambourine Mountain and dense rainforests as well as the beautiful coastline itself, so it's a fantastic place to explore, and almost the exact opposite of the busy urban life of Surfers Paradise.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary: Get up close and personal with the charismatic wildlife of Australia at this beautiful nature park. Home to kangaroos, koalas, and crocodiles, as well as dozens of species of beautiful birds, the park holds several interactive encounters where you can get closer to the animals and learn more about their care.

Best season to visit:

There's enough to do in Gold Coast that it makes a great destination for a weekend getaway at any time of year. Although there are tons of outdoor activities in the region, the city of Gold Coast itself has enough indoor activities you can enjoy no matter what the weather does.

Wildlife viewing near Brisbane

Ravensbourne National Park & Crows Nest National Park

Brisbane can sometimes seem surrounded by one National Park after another. You don't have to travel far from the city to encounter the stunning scenery of Australia on weekend getaways from Brisbane. These two national parks, only half an hour's drive apart, are a great place to start.

Distance from Brisbane:

About 135 km from Brisbane, Ravensbourne National Park is the closer of the two parks to the city, requiring a drive of around two hours to reach.

Our activity recommendations:

Explore the rainforest: Ravensbourne National Park is the perfect weekend getaway if you want to do some hiking. Home to dozens of trails, this park will give you an intimate encounter with the rainforest that lies just outside of Brisbane.

Camping: Both of these stunning National Parks allow camping, and spending a night or two in the jungle will give you a deeper appreciation of the incredible nature of this part of Australia. Enjoy your weekend getaway roughing it in the bush, and if nothing else, you'll come back with a greater appreciation for the comforts of the city.

Wildlife viewing: Crows Nest National Park is home to some fascinating wildlife species, including wallabies and platypi. Explore the rainforest trails or even take a swim in the pools and rivers of the park and keep an eye out for the creatures that call it home.

Best season to visit:

Summer is the best time to visit a national park if you plan on hiking and camping since the warmer weather makes it fun to be outside. However, spring can also be a great time since the rivers and waterfalls are at their peak of power during this time.

North Stradbroke Island weekend trip from Brisbane

North Stradbroke Island

The world's second-largest sand island, North Stradbroke Island is a great place to encounter the wildness of the Queensland coastline. With several great activities to enjoy in the area, plus some good restaurants and places to stay, you won't run out of things to do on this popular island.

Distance from Brisbane:

It's less than 60 miles from Brisbane CBD to North Stradbroke Island, but because you'll need to take a car ferry, it can take longer than you might think. Expect that journey to take around two hours. However, the bonus is that once you arrive, you'll feel even further away from the city than you really are.

Our activity recommendations:

Eco tour: Go in search of native Australian wildlife on a four-wheel-drive eco-tour that will show you more of the unique natural environment of North Stradbroke Island. See echidnas, koalas, and kangaroos in their native habitat on one of the best weekend getaways from Brisbane for nature lovers.

Whale watching: North Stradbroke Island lies on a major migration route for whales, which makes it one of the best destinations in all of Australia for whale watching. Head out on a boat tour of the nutrient-rich waters around the island, and you're very likely to encounter some of the giants of the deep.

Scuba diving: The waters off Straddie offer exceptional visibility, especially in the summer. Dive below the ocean waves here to encounter incredible wildlife like leopard sharks and manta rays. There are dive schools here that can get you certified and teach you how to explore the ocean safely.

Best season to visit:

June to November is the whale migration season, so if you want to go whale watching on North Stradbroke Island, that's the time to do it. Alternatively, the always-good underwater visibility is even better in summer than at other than other times of the year, so if scuba diving is your thing, consider visiting between December and February.

Weekend trip from Brisbane to Moreton Island

Moreton Island

Another fantastic island to explore on weekend getaways from Brisbane, Moreton Island is a great place to view fascinating wildlife, see beautiful scenery, and enjoy everything that makes this part of Australia so special.

Distance from Brisbane:

You can bring your car to Moreton Island, but there are no bridges, so you'll need to take a ferry. The ferry leaves from Brisbane Harbor and takes around 90 minutes to make the journey to Moreton Island. If you're not bringing a car, you can also take a water taxi or even a plane.

Our activity recommendations:

Feed wild dolphins: At the Tangalooma Island Resort, an ideal place for romantic getaways, you can meet friendly native dolphins and even feed them. A pod of dolphins visits the resort every day at sunset and will happily accept fish right from your hand.

Sand tobogganing: This huge sand island is a great place to participate in the fun sport of sand tobogganing. A highlight of weekend getaways from Brisbane, you can slide over the dunes on your toboggan and reach speeds in excess of 50 km an hour.

Best season to visit:

Summer is probably the best time to visit Moreton Island and enjoy all its outdoor activities, but there's really no bad time of year for a weekend getaway here.

Best weekend trips from Brisbane


With only three days or so to spend in Brisbane, you'll want to focus on the main attractions in the city. But if you have a little more time in this part of Australia, don't neglect some of the best weekend getaways from the city. Whether you want to soak up the vibrant atmosphere of the Gold Coast, go on romantic getaways to a National Park, or explore the pristine wildlife of Moreton Island, you'll find plenty to do in this part of Australia. Whether you're looking for the best day trips from Brisbane or the best weekend getaways, you'll be spoiled for choice here.

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