The 6 Best Day Trips From Brisbane

If you have more than a couple of days to spend in Queensland’s capital, then one of these day trips from Brisbane is an excellent addition to your itinerary and a great way to see a bit more of the city.

Brisbane is a city full of colour and life, with lots of great attractions. But that doesn’t mean you should stay there. When you take one of the many popular day trips from Brisbane, you can see weird and wonderful wildlife, spend the day on a beautiful tropical island, or hike through a dense forest. If you’re stuck for ideas when planning day tours from Brisbane, here are some of the best.

Springbrook National Park

Springbrook National Park is about 100 km south of Brisbane and offers kilometres of pristine natural forest, waterfalls, volcanic canyons, and amazing animal experiences.

It’s one of the best day trips from Brisbane if you want to get out in nature and get active. The park is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area and is simply stunning.

Purlingbrook falls in the Gold Coast Hinterland, Queensland, Australia
Purlingbrook falls in the Gold Coast Hinterland, Queensland, Australia

Some of the highlights are:

  • Canyon Lookout, where you can stare out across the Gold Coast.
  • The 4km Twin Falls Circuit, where you can hike past waterfalls.
  • Best of All Lookout, which is appropriately named for its unhindered views of New South Wales.
  • The 16km Warrie Loop Trail for serious hikers.
  • The easy, 1km hike to the Natural Bridge and nearby earthworm lit caves.
  • Beautiful Purling Brook Falls Lookout.

Make sure you get the most from your Brisbane day tours. Take a picnic, go horse riding, or join a tour through the beautiful Springbrook National Park.

Lamington National Park

Australia has always been famous for its weird and wonderful animals. You’ll get to see some of those unique creatures at the Lamington National Park. About two hours drive from Brisbane, this park is a wonderland for nature and animal lovers. It’s one of the best day trips from Brisbane if you want to go home with memories of Australia’s ancient rainforest.

Lamington tree top walkway
Lamington tree top walkway

Here’s what to look out for in the Lamington National Park:

  • Take one of the walks in the Binna Burra section of the park for everything from short, easy circuits to eight-hour hikes.
  • Hike the 7.2km to the beautiful Elbana Falls and take a dip in the pristine waters.
  • Test out your heart and your legs on the 54km Great Walk track between Springbrook National Park and Lamington National Park.
  • Keep an eye out for the local birdlife, especially bowerbirds and their obsession with the colour blue.
  • If you have a strong stomach, explore the rainforest from a winding boardwalk 16 metres above the ground on O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk.

If you love animals and want to experience the sheer age and majesty of Australia, then make sure the Lamington National Park is on your list of Brisbane day trips.

Moreton Island (Moorgumpin)

When you’re tired or stressed, there really is nothing better than the beach. If you’re looking to relax and unwind, make Moreton Island one of your day trips from Brisbane.

Moreton Island is 75 minutes away from Brisbane by Ferry. It’s the world’s third-largest sand island, a big beach that’s waiting for you to explore it! Just remember that about 98 per cent of the island and its wild inhabitants are protected, so make sure to respect the space.

Moreton Island in Queensland
Moreton Island in Queensland

Here’s what you should do on Moreton Island:

  • Just lay out and relax on a quiet stretch of beach.
  • Go snorkelling to see some of Australia’s famously colourful marine life.
  • Spend time at the Tangalooma Island Resort and feed the dolphins.
  • Spend all day in or on the water whale watching, swimming, kayaking, or fishing.
  • Hire a quad bike and explore the island the coolest way possible.

Moreton Island is one of the best day tours from Brisbane if you need stress relief. Check out the official Moreton Island tourism site for more ideas. This return ferry and adventure pass, which include kayaking and snorkelling, is a great choice. If you prefer someone else to organise the day for you, this all-inclusive cruise has a great itinerary.

The Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is a world-class destination on its own, and one of the best day trips from Brisbane. Located just an hour’s drive from the centre of the city, it has everything – from amazing beaches to great shopping and a popular food scene.

Sunset over Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Sunset over Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast

While you’re in the Gold Coast, don’t miss out on:

  • Surfer’s Paradise Beach, a glorious white sand beach that stretches forever.
  • Once you’re tired of the sun, go down to Cavill Avenue for fantastic shopping and entertainment. 
  • If you’re travelling with kids, head to the Gold Coast’s surrounding area, where you’ll find SeaWorld, Movie World, Dreamworld, and Wet ‘n’ Wild.
  • If you’re more into the nature experience, then spend a few hours at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Head out to sea for a whale watching tour.

The Gold Coast really is one of the best ideas for Brisbane day trips. The only problem is that a single day isn’t enough.

The Scenic Rim

The Scenic Rim is a massive area covering more than 4254sq km in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range. It’s about an hour south of Brisbane and one of the most varied day trips from Brisbane. This is a vast area surrounded by World Heritage-listed National Parks and dotted with rural communities, wineries, and art galleries. When you head out into this region, you can design a day trip that suits your interests.

Tamborine National Park Queensland
Curtin Falls, Tamborine National Park

Some experiences to include are:

  • Head to Mount Barney National Park to see the highest peaks in South East Queensland.
  • Try some local wineries for a delicious drop in beautiful surroundings.
  • Visit Lake Moogerah for camping, kayaking, paddle boarding, or just to watch the sunset over the water.
  • Visit Mount Tambourine and check out the Gallery Walk, a strip full of restaurants, art galleries, and quirky shops on top of the mountain.
  • Choose one of the local national parks, we loved Tamborine National Park, to see the dense forest and wildlife.
  • Stop at local farms for delicious meals and fresh produce.

When you’re choosing the Scenic Rim as one of your Brisbane day tours, make sure you carve out enough time to see it all. This one day Springbrook & Tamborine Rainforest tour includes UNESCO rainforest, waterfalls, glow worms and a winery.

North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah)

North Stradbroke Island – or ‘Straddie’ – is about an hour from Brisbane by car or ferry. It is the second-largest sand island in the world. It offers everything you could want from a tropical island destination – amazing beaches, wildlife, and great outdoor activities. In fact, it’s one of the most popular day trips from Brisbane among travellers of all kinds.

North Gorge Walk Stradbroke Island Queensland - a popular Brisbane day trip
Gorge Walk North Stradbroke Island

Some highlights are:

  • Swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, deep-sea fishing, surfing, and SCUBA diving.
  • Follow the North Gorge Walk along the seaside until you get to Point Lookout.
  • Visit the three tiny towns for fresh seafood and a slice of local life.
  • Keep an eye out for kangaroos and other native species.
  • Take a tour along the Goompi trail with a local Aboriginal guide to learn about the land’s original inhabitants and their culture.
  • Hire a scooter to explore the island the fun way.

If you don’t have a car think about joining this tour which includes an indigenous talk, time to take the North Gorge Walk, and lunch at the pub!

The Takeaway

The next time you find yourself in Brisbane, make sure that you see more than the city. Relax on the beach, plunge into the majesty of a rainforest, or cuddle some cute native animals on one of the many fantastic day trips from Brisbane.

Related: Still now sure where to stay in Brisbane?

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6 thoughts on “The 6 Best Day Trips From Brisbane”

  1. You’ve made a visit to Brisbane sound very appealing. Have some friends there, so when we’re allowed to travel again, might just go there, thanks for the tips!

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  2. Beautiful photos I can’t wait until the world opens up again and I can take advantage of some of those fabulous Australian housesits. Raring to go.

    Reply
  3. Great list. So wish I could travel to Australia soon. Purlingbrook Falls and Curtin Falls look great. Actually, I’d like to go to all of these places.

    Reply

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