There is a huge range of Brisbane day trips to try when you are visiting the Sunshine State. Have an island adventure – Moreton, Fraser, Bribie or Stradbroke. Maybe the vibrant Eumundi markets are your thing. Explore the beauty of Mount Tamborine or the Glasshouse Mountains. Have a wildlife experience at Australia Zoo or Lone Pine Koala sanctuary.
When you’re visiting Brisbane, day trips are a great way to explore the region. For each day trip from Brisbane we’ll let you know how long it takes to get there and what there is to do when you arrive.
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Brisbane Day Trips
Contributed by Pauline from Bee Loved City
Brisbane to Noosa – 1 hour 50 minutes
Noosa is one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Australia. If you are looking to go on a Brisbane day trip, you can be at this beautiful place in under 2 hours.
The best thing to do there is explore Noosa National Park. You can go on the coastal track from Noosa Heads to Sunshine Beach. It will take you along the coast and through the bush.
The shoreline is rocky and made of basalt. For this reason, it’s home to beautiful natural landmarks such as Hell’s Gate and Noosa Fairy Pools.
If you are up for it, complete the full 10km loop. It will take you about 3 hours. If you are travelling with kids, make the return trip to Hell’s Gate. It’s only a couple of hours long and there are loads of beaches along the way where you can stop and relax.
For food and drinks, head to Hastings Street. You will find all sorts of restaurants, cafes and bars. It’s very lively.
Insider Tip: The best way to get to Noosa from Brisbane is by car. However, parking can get a bit expensive. The carpark by the national park is free but limited to 2 hours.
- Explore the dark-hued waters and book your Noosa Everglades Wilderness Cruise
- Noosa Day Trip from Brisbane inc Hinterland, Eumundi Markets & Ginger Factory
Australia Zoo – Sunshine Coast
Brisbane to Australia Zoo – 1 hour 20 minutes
Heading to Beerwah to see Australia Zoo id a fantastic Brisbane day trip. If you are not self-driving, there are also bus and train options with transfers available from the Beerwah Train Station.
We did a seven month trip around Australia, and this was the thing the kids most looked forward. As our lap finished near Brisbane, they had to wait a long time but Australia Zoo didn’t disappoint.
There is an enormous amount to see at Australia Zoo. You only need to look at the list of animals on their website to see it goes from alligators to zebras and from the tiniest lizards and birds to elephants. There are keeper talks, feeding times and the arena spectacular to see.
The highlights for our visit were the tiger show and the bird and crocodile arena show. But feeding the elephants, seeing dingoes being taken for a walk and even watching the giant Aldabra tortoises being fed was great fun. There are interactive experiences you can pay extra to do.
We arrived as the gates opened and left as they closed so wear comfy shoes and plan for a big day. You can bring your own food to save a bit of money. If it is busy, arrive at exhibits a bit early to get a good view – it is also a nice chance to rest your feet!
Insider Tip: Skip the queues and purchase your tickets online before you go.
- Book your tickets to Cuddle a Koala and Australia Zoo Entry
Read More : Wildlife Encounters in Queensland
Eumundi Markets – Sunshine Coast
Contributed by Sinead from Map Made Memories
Brisbane to the Eumundi Markets – 90-minutes
Based in the small, inland town of Eumundi, just off the Bruce Highway 20 kilometres west of Noosa, the twice weekly markets are a great day out and a fun Brisbane day trip.
The well organised market covers a large area with spacious aisles that, despite the popularity of the market, never feel overcrowded. The stalls range from homemade wooden toys to locally produced arts and crafts, jewellery and clothing. Many stalls have a distinctive Australian flavour, selling art or crafts featuring Australian animals or landscapes. Most of the unique stalls are run by local artisans.
There is locally grown fruit and vegetables as well as a diverse range of street food and drinks. A rolling program of buskers from different genres are strategically placed around the huge market providing fantastic, free entertainment which helps to create a vibrant, convivial atmosphere.
Plan to stay at least half a day, not just to browse the stalls and to enjoy the freshly cooked cuisine on offer but to soak up the colourful, friendly atmosphere. There is even a shaded playground for kids with picnic benches for a well-earned rest.
Insider Tip: Don’t forget a large shopping bag; we visited Eumundi Markets as part of our East Coast road trip and our biggest regret was not having more space for all the beautiful products we wanted to buy!
- Noosa Day Trip from Brisbane inc Hinterland, Eumundi Markets & Ginger Factory
Sunshine Coast Beaches
Contributed by Christine from Travel2next
Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast – 90 minutes
100km to the north of Brisbane, it only takes a bit over an hour to reach this strip of coastline that everyone raves about. Sunshine Coast beaches are perfect for swimming, sunbaking, and surfing all-year-round. There is a beach for everyone in this quintessential Queensland holiday destination, and with over 100 beaches, you could spend a month or more exploring them all. With warm water temperatures in summer of around 26C and around 21C in winter, it doesn’t matter when you do this Brisbane day trip.
The region’s most famous beach is Noosa’s Main Beach, which is an iconic destination. Hastings Street is the Sunshine Coast’s most famous strip and has a fantastic choice of restaurants, bars, cafes and beachside luxury apartments. Noosa can get a little crowded in summer, but there are plenty of other fantastic beaches to choose from. The beaches in Caloundra in the southern part of the coast – such as Kings Beach, Dickey Beach and Moffat Beach – are great for families.
If you’re learning to surf, Robbie Sherwell’s XL Surfing Academy at Alexander Headlands is an excellent surfing school for kids. Mooloolaba Beach has a relaxed vibe and is well-equipped with playgrounds and barbecue facilities. It’s also right across the road from the Mooloolaba Esplanade, which has a huge selection of eateries and shops. But it doesn’t matter which beach you pick; most have restaurants where you can fuel up for breakfast or sip a cocktail at the end of the day.
- Aquaduck Sunshine Coast Tour – See the Sunshine Coast Beaches from both bus & boat
Read More: Find Amazing Waterfalls in Queensland
Contributed by Janine from Get Out With Kids
Brisbane to Bribie Island – 90 minutes
If you are looking for long sandy beaches and a quick island getaway, then this is the perfect Brisbane day trip. Bribie Island is a 34km long sand island comprised largely of national park and it is conveniently linked to the mainland by a road bridge.
On the south-east side, Woorim Beach is a perfect spot for day trippers. The fully patrolled beach has waves just big enough for boogie-board fun at an average 0.5-1m high, and a playground, picnic area and BBQs make it ideal for families. The Surf Club at Woorim Beach is perfect for those who would rather leave the food prep to someone else!
On the western side of the island, not far from the bridge, is Bongaree Beach. Being sheltered, the water here is calm, and you may even spot a dolphin or a dugong too. There are plenty of shady trees at both beaches and free parking nearby, though parking can fill up fast on busy days.
When you are all ‘beached out’ head to the Bribie Island Butterfly House to see hundreds of butterflies and learn about their conservation. The Butterfly House is entirely run by volunteers and only open on Sundays and Wednesdays, but well worth a visit. A small entry cost applies.
There is so much more to see and do on Bribie Island, so head on up and explore!
Contributed by Heleen from The Global Wizards
Brisbane to the Glass House Mountains – 1 hour and 10 minutes
Over 10 rocky peaks highlight this remarkable landscape. They are a result of volcanic activity millions of years ago, creating these peculiar vertical columns. The hills got their name from Captain Cook who thought the mountains resembled the glass furnaces from Yorkshire in England.
Take your car for a scenic drive through the Glass House Mountains National Park, on the Blackall Range tourist drive. Stop along the way for some epic views, enjoy the windy roads through lush forests and get active hiking, abseiling or rock climbing.
Your first stop should be the Glass House Mountains Visitor and Interpretive Centre. They will give you all the information you need on which things to see, the regions historical background and maps of the area. Find out which of the tracks and walks in the area are really worthwhile.
One of the best known hikes is Mount Ngungun, popular at sunrise and sunset and we immediately understood why. When you reach the top of this 3 kilometres summit walk, you are treated to breathtaking views, that showing off the hills of the Glass House Mountains. A trip to the Glass House Mountains is one of the most spectacular Brisbane day trips.
Contributed by Sharee from Inspire Family Travel
Brisbane to Morton Island – 75 minutes from the Holt Street Wharf
The big sandy playground of Moreton Island is one of the best day trips from Brisbane. A 75-minute ferry ride will see you disembarking on the third largest sand island in the world.
The sunken shipwrecks near Tangalooma Island Resort are among the most popular places on the island to strap on a snorkel and fins. It is here where you’ll discover an underwater ecosystem filled with tropical reef fish, coral formations, and other marine life.
With 95% of the island made up of National Park, there are many walking and hiking trails that cater to all fitness levels. Five Hills Lookout gives a 360-degree view of the northern point of the island. While at the end of the Blue Lagoon track, you’ll be rewarded with a freshwater lake that is a popular swimming location.
There are many places on the island where you can take in stunning views, and one of the best is at Cape Moreton Lighthouse. The historic red and white striped lighthouse was the first built in Queensland and is an impressive structure standing 23-metres high.
For the adventure seekers, pack your bodyboards and take a drive to the Big or Little Sand Hills, towards the southern end of the island for some sandboarding and guaranteed adrenaline rush.
Insider Tip: To travel around Moreton Island, you will need a 4WD, or join one of the day tours that take visitors to the hot spots.
- Dolphin Feeding Day Cruise to Tangalooma on Moreton Island
- Moreton Island Day Trip from Brisbane – Action Packed – Kayak, Snorkel & Sandboard
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Contributed by Karen from Smart Steps to Australia
Brisbane to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary – 25 minutes
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is one of our favourite family day trips from Brisbane. It’s a compact wildlife attraction, perfect for small kids as you can easily get around it in a couple of hours. It’s the oldest and largest koala sanctuary in the world.
Lone Pine is set in the beautiful, leafy suburb of Fig Tree Pocket, about half an hour from the Brisbane CBD. You can drive but, if you’re visiting Brisbane on holiday, the best way to get there is on a boat trip along the Brisbane River as there are day trips that include attraction tickets. If you do choose to drive, consider visiting on a day when they’re running their free outdoor cinema in the evening and make a full day of it (don’t forget to bring a picnic rug, mozzie repellent and pillows!).
If you’re a local, their annual passes are amazing value and they give you a discount in the shop and café too which quickly means they soon pay for themselves.
At Lone Pine, you can cuddle a koala for a photo, hand feed kangaroos, laugh with a kookaburra and marvel at the platypus. There is a café on site or you can bring your own picnic.
Lone Pine is a small, friendly wildlife park that offers something very different to the big attractions like Australia Zoo.
Insider Tip: As always, come prepared for your day out with a bottle of water, a hat and sunscreen.
- Cruise down the Brisbane River and visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Contributed by Emma from MY RIG Adventures
Brisbane to Mount Nebo – 50 minutes
If you’re looking for a nice Brisbane day trip then Mount Nebo west of Brisbane will definitely hit the mark. Mount Glorious and Mount Nebo are often paired together as they both sit in the D’Aguilar Mountain Range, about 30 km (45 minutes) from the Brisbane CBD.
While visiting Mount Nebo, you can explore at least five different hiking trails – there’s something to suit most fitness levels:
- Pitta Circuit – 1.1km return, bush track plus boardwalks;
- Thylogale Walking Track – 8km return, bush track;
- Atrax Circuit – 700m return, bush trail;
- Morelia Track – 6km return, bush track;
Refuse Transfer Station Walks – A few interesting walks behind the transfer station.
Jollys Lookout at Mount Nebo is arguably one of Brisbane’s most popular picnic spots and rightfully so! Once you climb out of your car and head up the little hill to the lookout, your eyes can’t help but take in the panoramic views across Enoggera Forest Reserve and out to the waters of Moreton Bay.
At Jollys Lookout you will find a dedicated lookout nook with wheelchair access and BBQ’s, Picnic Tables, Toilet facilities. No dogs are allowed at Mount Nebo, as it’s a National Park.
Insider Tip: Take a picnic lunch and enjoy Jollys Lookout or visit the ‘Café in the Mountains,’ just down the road, where you’ll meet the local, friendly parrots.
Read More : Try your hand at fossicking in Sapphire
North Stradbroke Island
Contributed by Toni from 2 Aussie Travellers
Brisbane to Toondah Harbour – 40 minutes plus a 25 minute ferry ride to North Stradbroke Island
Visiting North Stradbroke Island in Morton Bay is a great day Brisbane day trip. It’s only takes 25-minutes on the ferry from Cleveland but you’ll feel like you are a world away from the city.
There are plenty of reasons to love this area. The Gorge Walk follows the cliff edge around the coast and is a must for the scenery and wildlife. From the walkway you’ll see plenty of whales during the winter migration, kangaroos regularly thump through the hillside behind you and sightings of dolphins and sea turtles are frequent.
Take the stairs down to the beach and around the rocky headlands where you’ll find even more gorgeous beaches. The surf here is great but don’t be surprised if a pod of dolphins decides to share your wave. Cylinder Beach is a good pick for the family, its gorgeous wide stretch of white sand is protected by the headland, and you can swim safely between the flags.
Fishermen and 4-wheel drivers will want to head for Main Beach through the middle of the island and if you are looking for a quieter spot you can also head this way to the blue or brown lakes.
Insider Tip: You can get around the major spots on Straddie using public transport but an option that gives you extra freedom is hiring a scooter. These let you zip around the island following your own timetable and stopping wherever you want.
- Enjoy a Full Day Tour to North Stradbroke Island for walks, whale watching, wildlife & lookouts
- North Stradbroke Island Sunset Tour inc Ferry Ticket from Brisbane, wildlife, walks & history
Contributed by Janine from Families Magazine
Brisbane to Mt Tamborine – 65 minutes
Mt Tamborine is a beautiful sub-tropical rainforest destination with a surprising array of things to do. You might go there to see the stunning waterfalls on the rainforest walks, but you will soon be captivated by the quaint and quirky Swiss style artisan shopping villages, the wineries, and unique tourist venues.
Rainforest walks are clearly signed and vary in length and intensity. Visiting after recent rain is a treat as all the waterfalls are looking their photogenic best, and you are more likely to spot the abundant wildlife, including giant earthworms (up to 1m long!), lyrebirds, bandicoots, and – if you’re quiet and patient enough – maybe even a shy platypus in a rockpool.
I recommend stopping at one of the tourist information boards or the Doughty Park Visitor Information Centre before starting your walk for the latest information on track conditions and accessibility, especially after rain. The Mount Tamborine Botanic Gardens are a great place to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
For something different, take a guided glow worm spotting tour. Glow Worm Caves at Cedar Creek Estate are open daily, providing guaranteed sightings in an incredible setting. Adventurous souls will get a kick out of the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk or Treetop Challenge, while connoisseurs will enjoy the epicurean delights of a winery tour.
- Book your Gold Coast Day Tour and enjoy a Tamborine Mountain Rainforest Walk with an expert guide
- Full Day Mount Tamborine Winery Tour from Brisbane inc lunch, wine and fudge tasting
Contributed by Silvia from MumsDelivery
Brisbane to Springbrook National Park – 90 minutes
This is one of our favourite Brisbane day trips and our number one spot when we need to relax and unwind. Springbrook is a National Park that boasts some of South-East Queensland’s most beautiful waterfalls, nestled amongst ancient rainforest. There are many walking tracks in Springbrook catering for different levels of fitness.
The main attractions include Purling Brook Falls, Twin Falls and Natural Bridge. The latter is home to glow-worms that can be spotted in the stillness at dusk. Walks range from a few hundred metres from carpark to lookout, to overnight hikes for the more adventurous.
Among many stunning lookouts, a must-see is the aptly named “Best of All” lookout. Along the winding road to the lookout carpark, keep your eyes out for the adorable pademelon, a small wallaby-like marsupial.
Springbrook is a fabulous romantic gateway for couples with numerous chalet-style accommodation options, but it is also wonderful as a destination for the entire family with lots of interesting things for kids to see. One thing to keep in mind is that Springbrook is a very small town with a handful of cafes only, so you might want to take some supplies with you. It is certainly a small price to pay for the experience!
Insider Tip: Be sure to bring plenty of water, plus wet weather gear – there’s a reason why the rainforest is so lush!
- Springbrook & Tamborine Rainforest tour inc Natural Bridge and Glow Worm Cave
- Rainforest & Waterfalls Extravaganza from Surfers Paradise inc lunch
The Gold Coast
Contributed by Holly From Four Around the World
The Gold Coast is one of the most popular day trips from Brisbane for good reason! It only takes just over an hour to get there, and there is no end of fun things to do once you arrive.
You will want more than one Brisbane day trip to experience the Gold Coast, but there is a lot you can do in a single day! The Gold Coast is home to Australia’s most famous theme parks and water parks.
While it’s impossible to visit them all in a day, you could easily visit one or two for an epic day of fun. Dreamworld, Movieworld, Wet N Wild and White Water World water parks are all located close together. Seaworld is a little further from Brisbane, on The Spit.
There are beautiful golden sand beaches and national parks to explore. There are also wildlife attractions, such as Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary or David Fleay Wildlife Park. Pack a picnic and head to the Gold Coast Botanic Gardens for a relaxing afternoon.
Cavill Mall is a constant hub of activity, with street performers, shops, restaurants and fun indoor Gold Coast attractions such as Timezone, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not or Infinity.
And of course, getting out on the water by boat, jetski or learning to surf are a great way to experience the Gold Coast beaches. The Aquaduck is a perfect way to see both land sights and hit the water for a leisurely cruise as your tour bus converts into a boat. This is a fun tour for all ages!
- Gold Coast Kayaking & Snorkelling tour – swim with fish & turtles on Wave Break Is
- Aquaduck Gold Coast City & River Tour – Hop aboard and check out the Gold Coast
Contributed by Claire from Stoked to Travel
Brisbane to Currumbin – 75 minutes
A great day trip from Brisbane and one the highlights of Australia’s East Coast, is the area of Currumbin, and specifically its renowned Wildlife Sanctuary. The drive is just under 100km from Brisbane with Currumbin lying just south of the heart of the Gold Coast.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is an amazing destination to visit for up-close and personal experiences with dozens of species, most of which are endemic to Australia. The park is beautifully organised, with spacious enclosures for animals such as Tasmanian Devils, dingoes, wombats, echidnas, emus, red pandas and cassowaries, to name just a few.
There are plenty of wallaby and kangaroo feeding opportunities, in fact, you’ll spot these creatures hopping all around the park. You can pay an extra fee for the opportunity to hold a koala and have your photo taken, as well as other encounters such as the capybara (the world’s largest rodent) or a troop of Cotton-top Tamarins. Make sure to also enjoy the early morning lorikeet feeding at the sanctuary entrance, it’s amazing to have these friendly, colourful birds coming to sit on you (or your head!)
There’s also the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, which is on-site. Glass fronted windows allow for guests to peek inside and see the daily goings-on of the wildlife hospital. You could see any animal coming in for treatment, from a koala with a broken arm to a poorly echidna!
Currumbin Beach, just beside the sanctuary is also well worth visiting, with great surf conditions and there’s also the lively Currumbin Beach Viking Surf Life, a legendary venue in the Golf Coast for a drink and a bite to eat.
- Skip the queue and book your Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Entry here
Contributed by Rachel from Coffeewise
Brisbane to Byron Bay – 2 hours
For beach and food lovers, a great Brisbane day trip is the popular coastal community of Byron Bay, on the Far North NSW Coast.
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to gorgeous beaches in Bryon. The north facing patrolled main beach is popular with backpackers and families alike thanks to the wide-open beach and easy access to town.
Wategos Beach, tucked away north of the main beach near the lighthouse is a lovely protected beach popular with beginner surfers and families thanks to the slow rolling surf. A little more isolated is Tallow Beach to the east. While not patrolled and often a little wild, it is great for a beach walk and to escape the crowds that descend on the town in the Summer months.
A trip to Byron Bay wouldn’t be complete without a walk to the Lighthouse, which sits at the most easterly point of Australia. On a clear day you have wonderful views of the town, surrounding beaches, the Pacific Ocean and you might even catch sight of some dolphins and whales too.
If you have the time and energy, the longer route to the Lighthouse and back is via the Cape Byron walking track. The 3.7km loop track winds its way through steep bush tracks, along pretty beaches and open ridges to the Lighthouse. It is a great little walk that takes 1-2 hours to complete.
If you can drag yourself away from the beaches, Byron Bay has some fantastic restaurants, cafes and boutiques to explore too. Bryon Bay is an easy 2 hour drive from Brisbane.
Insider Tip: Our top tip is to leave early and plan to get home late as it is a great place to spend the day and you won’t want to leave in a hurry!
- Get out on the water with the dolphins on a Byron Bay Dolphin Kayak Tour
- Byron Bay, Bangalow and Gold Coast Day Tour from Brisbane with stops along the way
Contributed by Melissa from Queensland Camping
Brisbane to Fraser Island – 4 hours
It is no surprise that the local Butchulla people call Fraser Island K’Gari which literally means Paradise. With a length of 120kms, Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island and offers plenty of stunning natural attractions. Here you can explore lush rainforests, swim in crystal clear freshwater lakes, relax on stunning beaches and spot an array of wildlife.
It is best to spend a few days exploring Fraser Island, but it is doable as a Brisbane day trip for those short on time, but be prepared for a big day. If doing it as a day trip, it is recommended that you join one of the group tours, as this way you will make the most of your time. Day trips from Brisbane tend to be around 12 hours long.
Your first glimpse of Fraser Island will be driving along 75 Mile Beach – an official highway as well as an aircraft runway. A must do on your trip is to swim in one of Fraser’s 40 freshwater lakes, with Lake McKenzie being one of the most stunning as well as the most popular. Also be sure to stop by Central Station and walk through the lush World Heritage listed rainforest.
On a day trip, you’re unlikely to get time to explore the northern part of the island, but if time does permit do yourself a favour and get up to Eli Creek. This is another ideal spot to cool off.
If you do decide to drive yourself, you will need a high clearance 4WD as well as a permit to drive on the beach. The barge to get across to the island is located at Inskip which is a 3 hour drive from Brisbane.
- Oakwood Hotel & Apartments Brisbane – Near CBD with great views, outdoor pool, gym
- Royal on the Park – Directly opposite City Botanic Gardens, outdoor pool, hot tub
- Evolution Apartments – 2 min walk from Brisbane River, self contained, pool, hot tub
- Quest River Park Central – 11 min walk to Southbank & close to river, self contained
- Vine Apartments South Brisbane – Serviced Apartment, hot tub, restaurant
- Parkview Apartments – Self contained, balcony, free car park, outdoor pool, bbq area
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