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Best day trips from Brisbane

Shannon Barker

What better way to spend the summer holidays than exploring what the Sunshine State has on offer? While many Queenslanders would usually be getting ready to pack their bags for an overseas trip this time of year, we are here to remind you that a little piece of paradise is waiting for you in your own backyard.

Stretching our legs from the confines of the city, we are embarking on the best day trips from Brisbane. The home of rainforests, mountains and some of Australia's most stunning beaches, Queensland has something for everyone this summer.

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Moreton Island

Ever wanted to explore a shipwreck? Or 4WD over sand dunes? Then Moreton Island is the place for you. Only a 90 minute ferry ride, a day trip to Moreton Island is a must if you’re heading out of the city in search of adventure.

Snorkel 14 different deliberately sunken shipwrecks and see the colourful and unique sea life that have made this island's crystal clear waters home. Walk the picturesque beaches and trails and get acquainted with the island's distinctive sandy hills. To get your blood really pumping, Moreton Island has 240 km of unsealed road accessible only by 4WD, so prepare for some rugged roads and a wild ride!

Mount Ngungun - Via Tourism and Events Queensland

Glass House Mountains

Remnants of volcanic activity that occurred between 25 and 27 million years ago, the Glass House Mountains have become a magnet for hikers, rock climbers and those wanting to get away from the concrete jungle.

As you make the one-hour drive from Brisbane, the Glass House Mountains appear abruptly out of the flat fertile farmland surrounding them. Comprising 13 different mountains, the area boasts many well-loved walks. Mount Ngungun is the sixth highest in the area and its relative ease and well-maintained walking tracks make it one of the most popular to climb. The two-hour return summit walk offers 360 degree views of the Glass House Mountains and the Sunshine Coast region: a great walk for beginners.

Mount Mee

Clear your mind at Mount Mee and soak up the sunshine and the smell of eucalypt from this stunning location only 90 minutes’ drive north west of Brisbane. With your choice of rainforests, rolling green hills and tranquil rivers, Mount Mee is the perfect location for a day trip away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Visit the bohemian town of Woodford, home of the famous Folk Festival. The town is well known for its rich farmland so don’t forget to grab some fresh fruits and veggies on your way home!

If you feel like staying a little longer, check out the Worldsaway Retreat to experience eco-friendly accommodation at its finest.

Currumbin Rock Pool - Via Tourism and Events Queensland


The friendly and vibrant Currumbin community are the heart and soul of this tranquil seaside town. Add rainforests, winding rivers and beautiful beaches, and this is one of the must see destinations on your day trip from Brisbane this summer.

Start your day with breakfast from The Salt Mill, where you can get the best acai bowls of your life (seriously, try the choc granola with peanut butter!) before heading over to the heritage listed Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Established in 1947 the sanctuary offers 27 hectares of lush rainforests and animal habitat, where you can get up close and personal with some of Australia's most beautiful flora and fauna. The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is also one of the world's busiest wildlife hospitals and took in hundreds of injured koalas during the 2019/2020 bushfires.

Finish your day with a walk along the iconic beaches before heading to dinner at one of the many top class restaurants in the area. Once you have been here, Currumbin will keep calling you back.

Lamington National Park - Photo by Chris Fuller from Unsplash

Lamington National Park

The heritage listed Lamington National Park has some of the most extensive subtropical rainforests in the world. With its abundant walking tracks, you will be able to explore the many natural wonders on offer. Venturing higher, its peaks provide panoramic views out over south east QLD and into northern NSW.

Lamington National Park also offers up some great camping opportunities. Choose from dozens of campsites dotted around the park, and see if you can spot the rare Albert's Lyrebird that calls this place home.

Looking for a campsite where the hard work is done for you? Try The Rainforest Campsite. Positioned on a ridge overlooking stunning valleys, this getaway retreat offers scenic glamping opportunities, as well as a unique sky lodge experience for those looking for something a little bit extra.

Gardners Falls

Gardners Falls in Maleny is one of the best-kept secrets in the Sunshine Coast. Walking downstream of the Obi Obi river, you’ll come upon a hidden swimming hole edged with lush greenery and tall river gums. Here you can find multiple rock pools of varying sizes and depths to cool off in, before soaking up some rays on one of the sunny rocks.

This is a popular spot for couples and families alike, due to its low foot traffic and variety of shallow pools for kids. Going on a day trip with friends? There are plenty of areas to position yourself on the green forest floor surrounding the swimming hole, so bring a picnic blanket and try some of the local award winning Maleny produce for lunch.

Shorncliffe - Via Tourism and Events Queensland


This north earstern coastal suburb of Brisbane is rich in both history and charm. Dating back as far as 1879, the famous Shorncliffe Pier is a must when visiting the area. Grab a morning coffee from the local favourite Cocoa Biscotti Coffee & Gelato, which operates out of a little red truck at the entrance to the pier, before embarking on the 2.2km ‘Lovers Walk’, which hugs the Shorncliffe foreshore to Sandgate.

Make time to visit the area's many bars, cafes and boutique shops. Local markets held in neighbouring Sandgate also showcase the best of what the local community has to offer.

TOP TIP: Shorncliffe’s best kept secret is that it’s home to some of the freshest seafood in Brisbane. Head to the inlet of Cabbage Tree Creek on Saturday mornings to find fisherman selling their catch straight from the Shorncliffe Trawlers!

Mount Barney - Via Tourism and Events Queensland

Mount Barney

One of the most stunning mountains in Queensland, Mount Barney's famous twin peaks can be seen along The Scenic Rim which runs through the world heritage listed Mount Barney National Park. Home to some of the best walks and hikes close to Brisbane, Mount Barney has long called to nature lovers wanting to explore the stunning landscape as well as hikers wishing to challenge themselves with the ascent to the summit.

Walk the Lower Portals trail, a good start for beginners, or traverse the area on horseback with one of the local trail riding tours on offer. If hiking isn’t your cup of tea, why not explore one of the many waterholes, rivers or waterfalls located here? Escape the summer heat with a refreshing dip before heading into one of the quaint towns that can be found in The Scenic Rim region.

Bribie Island - Photo by Tania Richardson from Unsplash

Bribie Island

Ever wanted to go kayaking or windsurfing? Perhaps camping or fishing is more to your taste? Located two hours north of Brisbane, Bribie Island offers all of this and more.

The only island in Queensland connected to the mainland by a bridge, it is easily accessible for those wanting a trip away from the city. Aside from its humble local community, the majority of the island is a national park. The island is also a haven for wildlife, with the southern tip boasting important bird habitat. It’s a great place to bring your binoculars and tick off some rare sightings.
Bring your furry friends and explore the island's pet friendly Red Beach, or take a romantic gondola tour and catch one of the island's breathtaking sunsets before enjoying a twilight dinner made especially for you. Bribie Island is calling: go and answer!

Header Photo: Moreton Island - Via Tourism and Events Queensland