7 Amazing Day Trips from Brisbane (2020 Edition)

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Make the most of your time in Queensland’s capital with this list of the best day trips from Brisbane!

Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and one of the largest cities within Australia.

It has a bursting food scene, incredible sporting events and views to rival any other city in the World.

While all of those things to do in Brisbane bring in millions of visitors every year, you might want to check out a few things outside the city on your next visit.

Hop in the car, grab the ferry or book into a day tour from Brisbane to some of the country’s most incredible destinations.

Marvel at the Glasshouse Mountains. Spend the day learning how to surf or exploring the National Park in Noosa.

Take a trip to any of the numerous islands nearby including Moreton Island and Bribie Island.

You’ll never be more than a few hours from some of Australia’s most iconic destinations with Brisbane as your base.

The Best Day Trips from Brisbane

Check out these 7 amazing day trips from Brisbane for inspiration for your next adventure down under. 

1) Noosa

One of the best day trips from Brisbane will take you up to the beautiful Sunshine Coast to Noosa.

It will be an early start as the drive North will take you a little less than 2 hours, and you’ll want the most time to explore every inch of the town.

Located on the pristine East Coast, home to stunning white sandy beaches, a lush National Park, and great surf breaks, Noosa has it all. 

A postcard-worthy setting everywhere you look, this resort town is the perfect spot to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.’

And it makes the perfect day trip from Brisbane with tons to do for everyone and at every budget.

From surfing to hiking, indulging in world-class food and even just admiring the views.

What to do in Noosa

Known as a World Class surf destination, you’ll want to be sure you’ve got your board with you for this Brisbane day trip.

If you don’t you’ll definitely be able to book into any number of Brisbane day tours that will kit you out.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, there are breaks for everyone.

Noosa Main Beach is great for beginners and a must-visit even if you aren’t there to surf. This is a great place to take surf lessons if you’ve never surfed before.

For longboard, lovers head to First Point by the Lifesavers tower on the beach, which is also a good spot for photographers too.

Nationals Break is recommended for more advanced surfers as is Alexander Bay.

Hastings Street is the heart of Noosa and the place that you’ll find all sorts of amazing shops and restaurants. Voted the best main street in the Country, Hastings street offers something for everyone.

The Noosa Farmers Market takes place every Sunday with tons of local vendors. Noosa Regional Gallery is the perfect place to find a souvenir to take home from your trip.

Local artists and photographers house their work here to be admired and purchased. Food lovers will be in heaven here as this is where all the main restaurants and cafes are.

Nosh Express is perfect for takeaway fish & chips for the beach. Moondoggy’s is a must-visit spot for brunch lovers and caffeine fiends.

No trip to Noosa is complete without visiting Noosa National Park either. Stretching over 4000 hectares there is a lot of ground to cover but here are a few must-see spots in the park.

Split into 4 sections the trails in all of these areas vary in length and difficulty, and more information can be found here.

Boiling Pot and Tea Tree Bay boast the most incredible beach views while Dolphin Point is where you can spot dolphins and whales from June – November.

For those hikers looking for a bit of a challenge head for Emu Mountain or The Hawkea Walk for sweeping views over the Hinterland.

READ MORE: Be sure to check out all the other great things to do in Noosa!

Noosa
Noosa

2) Moreton Island

Located off the east coast of Queensland, Moreton Island is one of the best day trips from Brisbane.

The island itself is actually entirely a National Park and can be accessed by ferry from Brisbane. To find out more about schedules and cost click here.

The island is best known for its stunning sand dunes, incredible dive spots, beautiful beaches and so much more.

Known as the Gem of SouthEast Queensland this Brisbane day trip is perfect for anyone. Families can take advantage of the calm waters and beaches.

Adventure seekers can hop on a 4WD and explore the island with a little bit of a thrill.

Channel your inner mermaid and opt for a day of snorkelling and diving sunken ships and beautiful reefs.

No matter what it is you’re after you can surely find it here.

Moreton Island Tangalooma Shipwrecks
Moreton Island from above. The famous shipwrecks are a must-see. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

What to do on Moreton Island

Moreton Island is just 25 km from the city centre and the perfect getaway for beach lovers. If you’re looking for an all-inclusive day trip out of Brisbane there are tons on offer.

Why not book in for a Moreton Island Shipwreck, Sand Dunes & Kayak trip for the best of all the island has to offer. Hop on the ferry from Brisbane and get ready for an awesome experience.

Slide down the steep and stunning sand dunes on a toboggan, kayak the crystal clear waters of the kays and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins.

We recommend this combo tour where you can snorkel over the beautiful Tangalooma shipwrecks while spotting gorgeous coral and fish and hit the beach and the bush on a 4WD with knowledgeable guides.

If you’re hoping to get some incredible views, head for the trails. Mt Tempest is a challenge, but the reward for those who take it on is worth it.

The island is essentially made up of sand, so climbing up nearly 1000 ft is quite a leg workout, but the panoramic views out to the Sunshine Coast are well worth it.

Cape Moreton Lighthouse is less of a trek and more of a cool place to go walkabout. Home to the first lighthouse in Queensland and a perfect spot for sunset and for spotting wildlife.

At the base of the cape is where you’ll find Harper’s Rock, red rock and sand create a very Mars-like spot to explore.

For the adventurers, Moreton Island has a few things in store to make your trip. Get high above the sea on a parasailing adventure, this might be the best place to spot whales (June – November), dolphins or dugongs from high up.

There are also helicopter trips where you’ll get an amazing sky-high tour. Rent out quad bikes and 4WD from one of the island’s resorts and take off on the beach for a thrilling afternoon.

The island is also home to some amazing diving locations including Bulwer Wrecks, Aarhus Dive Site, Flinders Reef and The Moreton Island Wrecks.

3) Glasshouse Mountains

One of the best things to see in Brisbane has got to be the iconic Glasshouse Mountains.

North of the city lies the heritage-listed National Park. Here the mountains are actually the cores of extinct volcanoes stretching up towards the sky.

Established in the early 1990s this National Park is a great side trip from Brisbane for any nature lover.

While the obvious suggestion on what to do in the Glasshouse Mountains area is hiking, there are a number of other activities here too.

This includes tons of walking trails in the area with beautiful lookouts, dozens of waterfalls and swimming holes. 

The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars, which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.

What to do in the Glasshouse Mountains

First things first, Glasshouse Mountains National Park is a must-visit spot.

While there are tons of rock climbing and abseiling to be done for those more experienced adventurers, there is still so much to do if that is not you.

There are 11 peaks that make up the Glasshouse mountains which make for spectacular viewing from most of the walking trails in the park.

Only 2 of the mountains are open to the public for hiking and bushwalking: Mount Tibrogargan and Mount Ngungun.

Both have a variety of trails ranging from simple bushwalks around the base of the mountains and more challenging hikes to incredible viewpoints.

Stop into the Visitors Center to find out what trails you should be checking out and get any additional information from the website here.

While the National Park takes up a large section of this region, that is not the only thing to do on a day trip from Brisbane.

Glasshouse Mountains
Definitely check out the Glasshouse Mountains for vistas like this!

If you have your own vehicle, then one of the things you definitely want to do is take to the roads. The Blackall Range Tourist Drive is 55km of gorgeous views.

Known as one of the most scenic drives in Australia, the Blackall Range boasts views all the way from the mountains straight out to sea.

With tons of farmland in the area, you’ll be sure to pass dozens of roadside stalls selling everything from locally grown macadamias, pineapples and even avocados.

The most central town in the area is Maleny. Known for amazing antique shops, with some of the best to be found on Fig Street and Maple Street.

Wander through the quaint town stopping into all the local shops along the way, and maybe take home a treasure or two.

If you’re keen to find out how milk goes from the cow to your coffee/cereal every day why not stop into the Maleny Dairy to find out. They even have a local shop and cute cafe on-site to enjoy the local produce.

One of the best parts of Maleny is definitely the Botanical Gardens. The site also boasts one of the most incredible views of the Glasshouse Mountains too.

Come for the gorgeous flowers and plants, and be sure not to miss out on the aviary on site. 

4) Bribie Island

One one the best things to do in Brisbane is to get out to one of the nearby islands. Trade your day of city adventuring for an island one in no time at all by heading to Bribie Island.

Just a short way off the Pacific Coast Way you won’t need a ferry to get here, just a bridge. Bribie Island is the only island in Queensland accessible by a bridge which means no ferry is needed. 

One of the smallest islands off the Queensland coast, Bribie is 34km long and just 8km wide. Beach hop around the island, explore the National Park, take in the views and indulge in some fantastic food! 

What to do on Bribie Island

When it comes to islands, one of the first things you’ll want to do is get out and explore the beaches.

Woorim Beach is a great spot for a beach walk, picnic or a game of beach footy.

For a safe and beautiful place to swim head out to Sylvan Beach. With bbq areas, lifesavers on duty and nearby cafes this is one of the most popular spots on the island.

Bongaree Jetty is an exciting spot to do some fishing or jumping into the ocean. It’s also great for photographers.

If you fancy yourself a great place to catch the sunset on a Brisbane day trip, then Banksia Beach is where you should set up shop.  

There are beaches for fishing, for boating and for dog walks, so you won’t go without finding the perfect spot for whatever you fancy doing.

Not just known for its beaches but the town on the island is a great spot to find some fun things to do. The Seaside Museum is a great place to find out more about the military history of the area.

Bribie Island
Definitely check out Bribie Island if you’re looking for an escape from Brisbane! This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

The Bribie Island Community Art Center hosts a weekly market, and you’ll also be able to find woodwork, pottery and art from local crafters to admire.

If the weather takes a turn or you’re looking for some shelter from the sun head over to the Twin Theatre for a cheap movie in a classic cinema.

Thrill-seekers will find plenty to do here too. Take the leap with Bribie Skydive and head sky high for a tandem jump at 15,000 feet!

Or book in on a helicopter tour of the island where you’ll get the chance to see Bribie like never before.

With most of the island making up a National Park, there are plenty of 4WD tracks to take advantage of to get you off the beaten track.

Learn to surf at one of the islands’ many beaches or hire out kayaks and enjoy your day on the water.

The island may be small but there is no shortage of amazing things to do here on your one day trip from Brisbane.

READ MORE: Click here to read our definitive travelling in Australia guide!

5) The Gold Coast

Famous for its golden beaches and lengthy stretches of oceanfront property, the Gold Coast is a great option for a day trip from Brisbane.

Less than an hour’s drive south of Brisbane you’ll feel as if you’ve been whisked away to a completely different place.

The Gold Coast is a laidback city vibe perfect for anyone wanting to hit the beach and do some shopping or for those wanting to explore the great outdoors. 

This city by the sea is a major tourist destination for so many reasons.

From learning to surf and beach hopping, to exploring multiple national parks in the area and getting some incredible views in.

The Gold Coast is one of the most visited regions of Australia, and it really is not hard to see why that is.

What to do on the Gold Coast

Known for its beaches, it would be criminal to go to the Gold Coast and not explore a few.

Surfers Paradise is exactly that. It’s a heaven spot to catch some waves and one of the most popular sports on the Gold Coast.

For somewhere a bit more quiet and free of crowds head out to Coolangatta Beach and wade into the turquoise waters.

Mermaid Beach is beautiful and also a great spot to look at some incredible million dollar homes on the waterfront.

For anyone looking to do some kitesurfing or parasailing Kirra beach is the place to be. 

There are several national parks on the Gold Coast worth checking out for a day of hiking too.

Mt.Tamborine will transport you right into the tropical jungle with its stunning waterfalls, magical miles of bushland and incredible views.

One of Queensland’s oldest National Parks also has the most incredible views of the pacific ocean.

Lamington National Park is another stunning spot to do some hiking. Located in the hinterland of the Gold Coast and home to some incredible trails.

The Lost World Valley is one definitely worth exploring, with private swimming holes, magical waterfalls and lush rainforest canopies. The trail is challenging but the reward at the end is more than worth it. 

The city experiences on the Gold Coast are some of the best on Australia’s East Coast too.

SkyPoint is Australias only beachside observation deck and one of the best views of the coast. Head up and check out the view, do a twilight climb or enjoy a meal up top.

For more details and pricing visit the SkyPoint website.

At the Miami Marketta is a hot spot for unique dining options, live music and a fun place to have a few drinks on a Friday evening.

Balter HQ is a trendy brewery and a perfect spot for any beer lovers looking to try something new. It’s a great space offering not only beer but great food truck options too. 

Gold Coast
Can’t beat the Gold Coast!

6) North Stradbroke Island

Located 30km off the coast, North Stradbroke Island is a great day trip from Brisbane. This is the second-largest sand island in the world at nearly 70,000 acres.

Accessible by ferry, passengers can drive their vehicles right on and use their vehicles on the island.

Or if you want to leave the car at home you can book in for a water taxi transport to the island as well. Details on times, pricing and routes can be found here.

This natural wonder of Australia is an oasis for anyone looking for a less touristy destination.

Known as “Straddie” by the locals, this is a spot a lot of Brisbane residents head for a holiday.

Picnics on the beach, paddleboard the calm waters, watch for whales, learn or surf or just soak in the laid back atmosphere of the island, you won’t be bored on your visit here.

North Stradbroke Island Beaches and Trees
The beaches on North Stradbroke Island are postcard-perfect!

What to do on North Stradbroke Island

If you want to make sure your visit goes off without a hitch why not book onto a day tour from Brisbane?

Joining this tour will take all the logistics out of planning and include a transfer via ferry across Moreton Bay to the island. Take in the incredible views out on the bay, look out for dolphins, turtles and even whales on the 40-minute ride.

Once on the island, you’ll have your pick of activities including swimming, hiking and a guided walk with a knowledgeable guide to learn more about the indigenous people of the island.

It’ll be the perfect way to ensure you see all the best bits of North Stradbroke without missing anything.

One of the top things to do on the island is searching out the wildlife who call it home.

If you want to see kangaroos head for the North Gorge Walk. Roo’s come out to feast here in the mornings and the evenings.

Point Lookout is perfect if you’re visiting from June – November as this is the best time to spot humpback whales from the lookout.

Amity Point is the perfect spot for dolphin watching at sunset and sunrise, also not a bad spot for photographers either.

And if scuba diving and snorkelling is your thing head to Shag Rock or Flat Rock to see the underwater wonders that await. 

If you want to head out on a good old fashioned walk to take in the sights there are a few trails to check out on North Stradbroke too.

The Whale Walk starts at the Western point from Home Beach and goes all the way out to North Gorge.

The Naree Budjong Djara National Park is somewhere worth getting lost for a few hours.

The Blue Lake is a 5km trail out to a beautiful lake that has incredible significance for the indigenous people in the area so no swimming is allowed, but it’s beautiful to see.

One of the most popular walks on the island is the 1.2km North Gorge Walk. Stretches of coastline on one side and beautiful bushland on the other. 

READ MORE: Check out these other great things to do in Queensland!

7) Springbrook National Park for our Final Brisbane Day Trip

South of Brisbane lies Springbrook National Park. This mountainous plateau can be reached in just under 90 minutes.

And it will have you feeling as if you’ve been transported into Jurassic Park, minus the velociraptors and t-rex of course!

Home to incredible amounts of wildlife including tropical birds and koalas this is a great one day trip from Brisbane if you want to escape the concrete jungle for an actual jungle.

Situated on the Macpherson Range you’ll be sure to find views as far as the eye can see. Multiple trails to explore from challenging summits to flat bush walks for all.

And possibly the best of all, there are a handful of incredible rushing waterfalls to be discovered within the park.

Be sure to pack the essentials like water, snacks, sunscreen and of course your camera for your adventure, you’ll need it all.

What to do in Springbrook

As part of the UNESCO World Heritage list of National Parks, Springbrook National Park is a must-visit location.

Springbrook National Park
Springbrook National Park

If you want to make sure you get the best views possible there are a few lookouts to stop at on your adventure.

Canyon Lookout can be found hidden near the Canyon Lookout B&B. From here you’ll be gifted one of the most spectacular views over the mountains.

And just off the main road, you’ll find Purling Brook Lookout. This is also where you’ll be able to see the Puring falls which are awesome.

The Best of All lookout is pretty self-explanatory when you see it for yourself. You’ll be able to see out over Queensland and all the way into New South Wales on a clear day.

For waterfall lovers, this national park is home to some incredible ones. Purlingbrook Falls can be accessed via a 4km trail that should take about 2 hours to complete.

At the car park on Forestry Road, you’ll find the entrance to the park and within 500m you’ll find the lookout. Continue onward and the trail takes you all the way to the base of the falls which is incredible.

One of the most scenic walking trails in the park takes you to Twin Falls. About 4km return, this track passes through ancient palms, dense rainforest and behind two lush waterfalls.

One of the most iconic spots in the park to explore is called The Natural Arch (or Bridge) and is a 1km trail from the car park.

Follow the marked trail down the rocky trail and some paved steps to find a waterfall that flows through a natural rock made archway. 

DISCLAIMER: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you book accommodation, tours or buy a product, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us keep creating more free travel content to help people plan their holidays and adventures. We only recommend the best accommodations, tours and products, and regularly review these. Thanks for your support, kind friend!

About the author

Laura Oxley

Hi, I'm Laura Oxley of She Who Wanders, a Canadian content creator who is the resident Canada travel expert at NOMADasaurus, along with tonnes of incredible experience with exploring Australia. My travel experiences have taken me to the volcanoes of Central America, the waterfalls of Hawaii, the castles of England, the beaches of Australia and Middle Earth to name a few. In addition to writing for NOMADasaurus, my work can be found published on Contiki, Women Who Explore, Penguin & Pia and Buzzfeed.

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