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Day Trips from Brisbane

Brisbane may be the capital of Queensland, but it turns out that many people like to use it as a hub for getting to some of the other jewels in the state. Being a larger city, and one not so close to the ocean, the charms that are found in more quaint parts of Australia are not found without taking a day trip excursion. Here are some great ideas for exciting day trips that are reached from Brisbane:

Moreton Bay

moreton islandMoreton Bay is located to the east of Brisbane, and there are said to be 365 islands in this area. Two major ones to visit would be North Stradbroke and Moreton Island. The bay is a popular area to go whale watching between the winter and spring months as humpbacks make their journey south again with their newborns.

Moreton Bay is about 45 kilometers east, and it can easily be reached by car or coach. To visit the islands of Moreton Bay, you can catch a ferry from necessary cities on the bay, including Cleveland, Manly and Scarborough. Read about a day trip to Redcliffe.

Gold Coast

gold coastLooking for a party? Looking for a beach getaway? The Gold Coast definitely has you covered. From Surfers Paradise to Coolangatta, there are plenty of things to do in the Gold Coast to keep you busy for quite some time. My favorites would be the theme parks, such as Dreamworld and Seaworld, but there’s also activities like surfing and kayaking to take part in. If you’re after something more relaxing, you can have dinner and drinks at the top of the Qdeck, or check out the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

It takes less than an hour to get to the Gold Coast from Brisbane when driving, but taking the Airtrain from Brisbane can bring it to 1.5 hours depending on your destination.

Tamborine Mountain

tamborine national parkTamborine Mountain is located to the northwest of the Gold Coast, and south of Brisbane. It is part of the Tamborine National Park and offers visitors access to lush forests and gorges. A big draw would be the Tamborine Mountain Distillery where visitors can taste spirits produced from local, organic fruit.

The best way to access places like this is to rent a car, but plenty of tours can get you to the Gold Coast Hinterland, including Tamborine Mountain.


caloundraCaloundra is a little town located to the north of Brisbane as part of the Sunshine Coast. It is a quiet, more family-friendly and relaxed beach option than Surfers Paradise. It’s known for its gentle surf and beautiful beaches – nine of them to be exact. In addition, there’s plenty of restaurants and bars to keep you entertained.

You can get to Caloundra by driving north for about an hour, but buses are regular from Brisbane as well.

Australia Zoo

koalaThe world famous Australia Zoo can be reached in an hour from Brisbane and makes for an amazing stop while down under. Once home to Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, the claim to fame can definitely be the Irwin family’s love for wildlife of all kinds. Visit the zoo to see crocs, snakes, birds and even tigers.

You can get to Beerwah by rail, coach or car. For detailed instructions, visit the official website.

Glass House Mountains

glass house mountainsThe Glass House Mountains are not too far from the Australia Zoo to the north of Brisbane. They are peaks of lava rock that stick out like “glass houses” from the lush jungle that surrounds them. Part of a national park, the Glass House mountains offer visitors places to picnic, hike, enjoy scenic lookout, rock climb and just get away from city life.

You can get to the mountains and the national park via the Bruce Highway.

Photo credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.