As a local to the Gold Coast and former Brisbane resident, I know there's always something new to put on any Brisbane itinerary, no matter how many times you've been to the city.

From adventurous sports, and hikes to serene island getaways and charming hinterland towns perfect for a laid-back coffee break.

In this article, I'll share my top picks for the best and most unforgettable day trips from Brisbane, and who knows, you might find yourself planning your next weekend escape before you even finish reading.

So here we go with some of my favorite places to visit near Brisbane.

1. Gold Coast Theme Parks

Visiting the Gold Coast Theme Parks is a must if you like thrilling adventures.

Spend the entire day exploring the iconic attractions at Dreamworld, Movie World, Sea World or Wet'n'Wild. Whether you're seeking adrenaline-pumping rides, entertainment shows, or encounters with marine life, these world-class parks offer experiences for visitors of all ages, making it a perfect family-friendly day trip from Brisbane.

2. Food, Flowers and Art at Toowoomba

Just 1.5 hour drive west of Brisbane, you'll find the town of Toowoomba, which offers a delightful fusion of food, flowers, and art.

Known for its picturesque gardens and annual Carnival of Flowers, Toowoomba has a thriving culinary scene with local cafes, restaurants, and markets showcasing fresh produce and creative dishes.

The town also has a big arts community visible through galleries and exhibitions. Whether tasting delicious cuisine, admiring floral displays, or appreciating local art, Toowoomba is a unique cultural experience in regional Australia.

3. Spot Koalas at Noosa National Park

places near brisbane to visit Noosa National Park

What would you say about a trip to Australia without seeing a cute and cuddly koala? Well, they might be slow and sleepy but if you have a good eye, you will find them.

Head to Noosa National Park and go koala spotting! Word is those koalas are mostly spotted on the treetops close to the day-use areas and by the walking trails.

Other than the koalas, Noosa National Park is also a safe refuge for other wildlife like the ground parrot, wallum froglet, lace monitors, honeyeaters, and the glossy black cockatoo.

Besides wildlife spotting, you can also take a dip or even go for a surf or stand up paddle at one of the many beaches or coves in and nearby the national park. Worth spending a full day or weekend here!

4. Visit the Hinterland Towns of Montville & Maleny

Glasshouse Mountains drives from brisbane

If it's a dull day in Brisbane it might be a good day on the coast or the hinterland! Or a moody one. Either way, it makes for a wonderful trip to the charming towns of Montville and Maleny.

Montville is a bit of a whimsical town that offers an eccentric shopping experience. Antiques, stunning jewelry and other unique finds can be bought in the small shops along the main street. Products of handblown glass art can be found in Illume Creations while Clockshop Montville offers cuckoo clocks, modern timepieces, and German gift items. Yes, truly, cuckoo clocks from Germany!

Another must-see in Montville is The Chapel, a charming little chapel that's built to hold weddings. Besides it is very picturesque, what makes it truly unique is how it was built. Olden-time stonemasonry was used to hold the sandstone together. The pews and other fixtures were all hand-carved by Obi Valley Woodworks.

Off to another scenic town, Maleny. There's no doubt why Maleny is a frequented hinterland town by travelers from all over the globe. A few of Maleny's top attractions are Maleny Dairies which offers farm and milk factory tours, Pallet Life Gallery and Café, as well as Maleny Village Artisan Market for homemade goodies, vintage wares, and so much more.

Feed your sweet tooth with some of the most amazing ice cream at Colin James Fine Foods. If you're up for a killer view of the Glass House Mountains, the Sunshine Coast, and its surroundings, head over to Howells Knob Lookout. Or if you're up for some chill time, you can go swimming, canoeing, and fishing at Lake Baroon.

5. Have a Picnic or Go Rock Climbing in the Glasshouse Mountains

where to go near brisbane rock climbing

You'll find quite a few places around here to enjoy great panoramic views of the Glasshouse Mountains. I suggest having a picnic along the Glass House Mountains Lookout Circuit or at Mount Ngungun near Beerwah.

If you feel more active, rock climbing in the Glasshouse Mountains truly is an adventurous one. It's a thrilling experience and you gotta be very careful of loose stones and falling rocks. Best to try with a guide if you don't know the area or have friends who do.

The locally known climb to Mount Beerwah summit route involves steep climbs and a high fitness level for your part. The Mount Tibrogargan summit route requires rock scrambling skills. 

Not a fan of hiking or climbing? Try a surf lesson at Noosa main beach or kayak around the Noosa Everglades or go skydiving. I've done it, it's so fun!

6. Visit the Famous Eumundi Markets, Sunshine Coast Hinterland

brisbane day drives to Eumundi Markets

One of my favourite markets near Brisbane is the Eumundi Markets, set in the cute town of Eumundi just around the corner from Noosa, making it a perfect morning stop before heading on for a day at the beach.

things to see near brisbane Eumundi Market food

Besides beautiful locally made arts and crafts, homewares, skincare, fashion and jewelry, the market boasts an amazing variety of food.

From Thai to churros, Greek souvlaki, Paella and great coffee, you can go on a little food tour yourself here, sampling many different things.

A few of the must-tries are the gourmet Calamari, Tibetan Momos, the French Crêpes stuffed with the most delicious fillings and the vegan Hempburger.

weekend trips from brisbane to Eumundi markets

In season, you cannot go past the freshly picked strawberries which are handpicked from the strawberry farms nearby.

They also have strawberry jams with some nice twists. For your fill of different beverages, try out Eumundi Coffee, get a fresh juice, Noosa cane juice and so many other choices.

7. Explore Mount Tamborine, Gold Coast Hinterland

There is so much to see and do around Mount Tamborine. Where do I even start?

This 28 square km large plateau located in the Scenic Rim has everything for everyone no matter if you're interest is in art, hiking in nature, having a beer or glass of wine, love gallery shopping, fancy relaxing at the spa, learning a new skill by attending a course or workshops, explore the food scene… yes, Mount Tamborine has it all.

best places to visit around brisbane and Gold Coast Tamborine Mountain waterfalls

Just a few of the top attractions to visit are the thrilling Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk where you walk high up through the canopies, the underground Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves, riding a hot air balloon over the Scenic Rim and the Tamborine Mountain Distillery where high-quality liqueurs, schnaps, vodkas are skilfully created.

Refuel with a bite or two at Cedar Creek Estate Vineyard and Winery right around the corner of the Glowworm Cave, hit the idyllic Eden Restaurant, have a coffee at Café on Alpine at Birchgrove Nursery, treat yourself to some mouthwatering fudge at Granny Macs Fudge Store & Café and then fall sleep in a tree house at Pethers Rainforest Retreat.

Check out the stunning local art at the Arthur Hamblin Art Gallery, Hilltop on Tamborine known for its contemporary artwork and The Art Gallery Studio Retreat.

When you're up for a shopping hunt, head over to the Gallery Walk for everything fashion, jewelry, artwork and antiques. Don't miss to visit the German Cuckoo Clock Nest, my personal favorite!

German Cuckoo Clock Nest Mount Tamborine

8. Diving at Tangalooma Wreck, Moreton Island & Feed the Dolphins

Exploring a shipwreck may be just a dream for every one of us because we surely all have watched Titanic!

If you always had that notion of snorkeling or diving around a sunken shipwreck that is not too far or too deep for an amateur, well then, welcome to Tangalooma Wreck of Moreton Island. This is a cool exception as the wreck is only metres away from the seashore and you can snorkel or dive in from the shore.

This is not just one shipwreck but indeed over 15 sunken ships that are spread around a 450-meter distance. The shipwrecks themselves are a must-see and amazing to explore! Adding to that are the colorful fish and corals anchoring the boats.

short day trips from Brisbane Tangalooma Wreck on Moreton Island

On a good day, visibility can be super clear so snorkeling and diving beginners will surely have a sight to behold. Pro divers can explore up to 10 meters deep. If you have your own diving gear, you can also easily explore the shipwrecks at your own time. And if you don’t, no worries, there are many diving and snorkeling tours that you can book before you arrive.

You should know that you're not the only visitor in Tangalooma. Come sunset and wild bottlenose dolphins drop by to showcase their playful personalities. I'm not talking about just seeing them from a distance but you can actually be in the water with them.

Hand-feeding these energetic flippered animals is one of the best experiences you can have in Tangalooma!

9. Join a Wine Tasting at Sirromet Winery

brisbane half day trips wineries Sirromet

Located 818 meters above sea level in the Granite Belt Region of Queensland is the picturesque Sirromet Winery. Its 800 national and international awards are more than enough to prove the quality of its wine and service.

Sirromet Winery promises a different experience every time you open up a new bottle of wine from their collection. Sirromet Winery offers different tours and tastings.

I have done and loved the Winery Tour and Tasting lasting for 1.5 hrs for only $20. This includes behind-the-scenes workings of a winery and the process of making wine. The tour ends with a private tasting of 8 Sirromet wines.

Relax on the timber deck of the Tuscan Terrace afterward while feasting on delectable breads, snacks, salads, light meals as well as homemade pasta and pizza fresh out of the wood-fired oven. Yum!

Book your winery tour & tasting here.

beautiful places near brisbane Sirromet Winery
short trips from brisbane to Sirromet Wines

10. Cruise, Surf, Kayak and Sun Bake on North Stradbroke Island

Time to hit one of Queensland's islands, lovingly dubbed as Straddie. North Stradbroke Island is a little paradise close to Brisbane city.

The tranquil turquoise waters and the stunning flora and fauna will leave you in awe. If you want to explore the big blue around the island, you can join a day cruise on a catamaran. Alternatively, if you want to explore at your own pace, you can hire kayaks to go on the water.

good day trips from brisbane to Stradbroke Island

North Stradbroke's waters are also perfect for surfing, depending on the season. It's not just the waters that are fit for surfing, the sand will give you a good time. Surfing on the sand dunes offers a great experience that you shouldn't miss.

After all those activities, unwind on the white sandy beaches. Strip down to your bikini, kick off your shoes and just lay as you soak in the sun and work on that tan.

11. Hike Springbrook National Park, Gold Coast Hinterland

day trips from brisbane by car to Springbrook National Park

Springbrook National Park is a green haven amidst a modern world. It is rich in wildlife, unique plants, birds, and best of all, lots of waterfalls.

There are three waterfalls that you can explore – Purling Brook Falls, possibly one of the best ones around here, the Twin Falls and the Goomoolahra Falls.

12. Have a Coffee with City Views at Woody Point and Stop by Redcliffe & Scarborough

places to visit around Brisbane Woody Point

Want to know the locals' pick when it comes to coffee outside Brisbane City? Head to Watersun Café at Belvedere Hotel to see for yourself, or should I say taste for yourself.

Whatever time of the day, Watersun Café at Belvedere Hotel is perfect for a light meal too. Their coffee is great plus you have a stunning view of Moreton Bay and all the way to the Brisbane skyline.

The sunset view from this spot is pretty spectacular too. After your cup of joy, hang out at the quaint seaside villages of Redcliffe and Scarborough. If you want to beat the heat, Redcliffe Parade has the Settlement Cove Lagoon perfect for a cool dip.

There's also the Bee Gees Way, a memory lane for this legendary band exhibiting their phenomenal career. While the three brothers lived on the Redcliffe Peninsular in the 1950s, this is where they performed for the first time.

There are different beaches, museums, and markets such as the Redcliffe Jetty Markets that you can drop by in the Redcliffe area.

13. Watch the Sunset or Go Kite-Surfing at Wellington Point

best sunset places around brisbane

Among the many activities that you can do in Wellington Point, kite-surfing seems to be the favorite of the crowd. Kite-surfing here happens all throughout the year.

Winds blowing from the north, west, southwest, and northwest make for great conditions. Kitesurfing is done best on the western portion of Wellington Point and during high tide.

Wellington Point is also one of the best places to see the sunset. You'll be in awe when the sun paints the color in shades of yellow, orange and red. After the sunset, head for dinner at one of the restaurants along the main road.

best places to visit around brisbane by the water

14. Go Stand-Up Paddle Boarding in Raby Bay, Cleveland

Truly more laidback than kite-surfing at Wellington Point and still nearby is stand-up paddle boarding.

The best destination closest to Brisbane is Raby Bay. You can enjoy your paddle boarding with glorious views of the islands nearby and the boats cruising to and from the jetties.

Raby Bay Cleveland Brisbane

Keep your eyes open for turtles, dolphins, and eagles. If you already know how to balance a stand-up paddle board, you can instantly rent a paddle and board for A$25 an hour.

If you need lessons first, this will set you back A$69. There is usually a coffee van parked around here on the weekends, so you can get your dose of caffeine afterward. Or head to the Old Cleveland Lighthouse to hang out and get a coffee at the Lighthouse Restaurant instead.

15. Surf the Waves of Burleigh Heads

trips from brisbane to Burleigh Heads
day trips near brisbane to the gold coast and burleigh heads

Burleigh Heads is the place to go if you want to ride the waves or have a trendy brunch.

If you don’t know a thing about surfing, book your first surf lesson and you'll be on the water in no time. An hour and a half surfing lesson for adults cost around A$45 including the board and a rashie or wetsuit if the weather is a little cooler.

16. Visit Samford and Mount Nebo

When you love to bask in anything quaint with a cozy country feel, the place to go to is Samford. A a picture-perfect town set on a valley filled with cafés, markets, museums, craft shops, pubs and more.

There are 13 historical spots on the Samford Valley Heritage Trail, something you must not miss if you are a bit of a history buff. After your exploration at Samford, go on with your trip to Mount Nebo.

Mount Nebo is a small village characteristic of the surrounding rainforest and bushes. You can stop and drop by the Walkabout Creek Visitor Center in The Gap for more information about the place. Get the inside scope from the rangers and a map and head off.

Your Brisbane day trip to Mount Nebo must include seeing the Abu Badd Rolling Stone, the Mount Nebo mosaics, and the Mount Nebo viewpoint.

17. Hike or Stand Up Paddle at D’Aguilar National Park

best places to visit near brisbane

With the Walkabout Creek as your starting point, drive up among the eucalyptus forests and you'll end up on the south side of D'Aguilar National Park, named as Brisbane Forest Park before. There are picnic tables set amidst the tall trees.

This is also an amazing place for a round of SUP, if you own one yourself as there are no rentals around here. Definitely one of my favorite places close to Brisbane to have a paddle.

Read also: The Best Inflatable Paddle Board For Travel

18. Cuddle a Koala at Australia Zoo

day trips out of brisbane

Think of 5 things that remind you of Australia. Surely, koalas are on that list.

Cuddling a koala is the number one thing you have to do at Australia Zoo. Don't miss this unique experience!

But Koalas are not all you get to see here, Australia Zoo is also home to the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, so you'll get to see crocs in all shapes and sizes as well as other native Australian animals and other mammals from around the globe.

day trips around brisbane to Australia Zoo
places to visit near brisbane Australia Zoo

Alternatively, try Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary located in Fig Tree Pocket, a suburb of Brisbane. It's definitely smaller than Australia Zoo with fewer animals and shows but if you are especially into koalas and kangaroos, this may be for you, I really loved spending half a day here.

19. Go Whale Watching

things to do outside brisbane in winter whale watching

Did you always want to get up close and personal with the magnificent humpback whales as they breach, blow, and play just in plain sight?

Get on board one of the whale-watching catamarans and keep your eyes out for any movement on the horizon. You'll be in for a good time watching those large gentle creatures and then enjoy a gourmet lunch with guaranteed window seats.

Book your whale-watching tour here.

20. Walk the Tree Tops of Lamington National Park

day trip from brisbane Treetops walk

There's always something intriguing about experiencing things that you normally wouldn't a regular day. Aside from hang gliding with a birds-eye perspective, how about being as high as the treetops? At Lamington National Park, you have the opportunity to experience that on their Tree Top Walk.

There are 9 suspension bridges in total and the highest one takes you 16 metres off the ground. The viewing deck perched on a fig tree is even over 30 meters from the ground.

If you want to see birds during your walk, the best time to go is early morning or late afternoon. Did I mention the Tree Top Walk is free? Yes, it's absolutely free.

21. Go on a Hot Air Balloon Ride with Champagne Breakfast

brisbane day trips hot air balloon ride

There is not a single doubt that you will not forget about this day trip. Ever.

Riding in a hot air balloon is an unforgettable experience. From the moment you arrive and the balloon is pumped up with hot air to the moment you take off and suddenly ride above the tree tops looking down as everything is getting smaller.

A hot air balloon ride is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience that you should add to your things to do in Brisbane. And afterward, as you come down in the early hours, it's time for breakfast – with champagne obviously!

You can book your hot air ride right here. This includes return coach transfers in an air-conditioned car with Wi-Fi and a full hot breakfast including champagne. Be aware, pick up tends to be in the early hours of the morning. It surely is worth it though!

22. Day Trip to Bribie Island

Bribie Island is a hidden gem that's not as well known as Moreton Island but it boasts the same pristine beaches, tranquil waterways perfect for kayaking or fishing, and scenic walking trails through untouched natural beauty.

Bribie Island is a nice escape for families or as a romantic couples break.

23. Go Hang Gliding

Sky's the limit on your first Brisbane day trip adventure. If you've ever wondered how it feels to be a bird soaring through the sky, this is your chance to experience all that and South East Queensland Hanggliding is the key to that fly-high dream of yours.

You can experience flying through tandem hang gliding or paragliding with an expert. So the choice is yours if you want to actually soar like a bird or hang like a koala with the parachute above your head.

best day trips from brisbane
good day trips from brisbane

Both require no training but some wind and fingers crossed, a beautiful day to enjoy the endless views over the hinterland, beaches and ocean.

I recommend if you have never been up in the air, opt for a scenic cruise to get a feel of flying. I will surely never forget the feeling of running off Rosins Lookout, located in the Gold Coast hinterland.

My feet hit the air and I was about to fly up the hilly hinterland looking down on the houses getting smaller and smaller and acres of property, farmland, green forests and the occasional street in between.

brisbane day tours
things to do south east queensland

A little while later, the Gold Coast skyline was in sight, and since the day was so very clear, the ocean was visible in the distance too. Your safety is the highest priority at SEQ Hanggliding, so don't worry, even if you feel a bit queasy. It's totally normal on your first flight.

If you are hooked after this first flight, you can also go for a 2-day training course or a full 9-day course of paragliding or hang gliding. Practice takes place on flat ground and small hills before you can scale up and take off on a higher flight from Mt. Tamborine.

24. Join a Gold Coast Food and Wine Tour

Gold Coast Food And Wine Tours

I love food tours! I try to join one in almost every city I travel to.

Actually, I was a little surprised that Queensland's beautiful Gold Coast had not only golden beaches to offer but a pretty great food tour as well.

While Australia is not especially known for its food, like for example the Italians for their exceptional pizza and pasta dishes, food and wine are very social in Australia and have a growing reputation internationally.

brisbane nearby attractions Gold Coast

And really, with the Gold Coasts' exceptional restaurants, it certainly makes sense to tour around and let your inner foodie get full and happy. I had an indulging afternoon of gourmet food and wine tasting with Gold Coast Food and Wine Tours in Burleigh Heads and still rave about it.

If you are into exploring new restaurant hotspots, love sampling on deserts and don't shy away from a great coffee or cocktail, this tour will more than satisfy your craving for amazing food.

Gold Coast Food Tour
Gold Coast Foodie Tour in Burleigh Heads

All the tours are entire walking tours, so you can (hopefully) walk off some of the food between the stops.

If you are looking for a mix of new venues, local favorites and a special introduction to unique food and drinks while meeting some lovely people from around the world, one of the walking tours is exactly the right thing.

25. Visit the Coastal Town of Byron Bay

While Byron Bay is a little further than the above-listed day trips from Brisbane, I think it's absolutely worth it. In just about 2 hours, you'll get to this coastal town that embodies the essence of relaxation and adventure.

Dive into its iconic surf culture, relax on golden beaches like Main Beach and Wategos Beach, and catch panoramic views from Cape Byron Lighthouse. There are plenty of trendy cafes, boutique shops, and vibrant markets as well.

I truly love Byron Bay and living on the Gold Coast, I visit the town frequently. You can read some of my guides on what to do and where to stay if you have some extra days, it's definitely worth it for a weekend escape.

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About the Author:

Carolin is a travel expert born in Germany. She has been travelling around the world since 2014 and now lives in her adopted soul home Australia. Her travel advice has been featured on Forbes, Daily Mail,, Tour Radar, Expedia and she's also been named one of the top travel bloggers you need to follow by Tourism Queensland.


  1. Karen April 6, 2017 at 5:07 am - Reply

    Glad you enjoyed the Taste of Burleigh Heads Food and Wine Tour Carolin and thank you for writing such a lovely story.
    Look forward to seeing you on another tour!
    (Gold Coast Food and Wine Tours)

    • Carolin April 9, 2017 at 6:01 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much Karen for showing us the best food Burleigh has to offer, really loved every minute of the tour and still return over and over again to the lovely restaurants we have eaten at! Hope to taste some more of the Gold Coast with you soon 🙂

  2. Marion Halliday (Red Nomad OZ) April 8, 2017 at 9:36 am - Reply

    I haven’t been to Brisbane for a long time – but way back in the dim, distant past, I remember going to Mt Coot-tha which was a beautiful spot! I’ve done quite a few on your list, but I’m thinking I need another trip to do some more!

    • Carolin April 9, 2017 at 6:03 pm - Reply

      Mount Coot-tha is absolutely beautiful, come sunrise or sunset or just throughout the day, it’s always worth the little trip up the hill. I also discovered a lot of hiking paths around the mount which I can recommend checking out! So great to hear you have done quite a few trip already, I cannot wait to add more to the list as I have just gotten back to Australia and now housesit on the beautiful Gold Coast for a while 🙂

  3. Australian ETA Status May 5, 2017 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Australia is indeed a beautiful country to visit. I’m gonna recommend this post. I hope you’ve enjoyed your trip. Awesome photos!

    • Carolin May 6, 2017 at 7:09 pm - Reply

      Thanks a lot, I absolutely love Australia, it’s such a great country to visit!

  4. Mary March 31, 2019 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    Great stuff here. Thought you might want to add – gardeners falls, Mary caincross scenic reserve , kondalila falls and Maleny botanical gardens 🙂 for Maleny. Saw wallabies at the scenic reserve.

  5. Charles Kennedy July 9, 2019 at 8:27 pm - Reply

    What a great list of day trips you compiled here. Some places I haven’t even heard of before. Definitely save this post. Lovely photos, too.

  6. Jeanne December 12, 2020 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    Amazing article! Brisbane sounds very exciting after reading your article! I am thinking of moving to Australia in one year, and the information you share are precious, thanks!

  7. Alyson April 14, 2021 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    We’re heading down to Brisbane soon. Thank you, from one travel blogger to another, for useful content. We’re based in Port Douglas.

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