Brisbane is fast becoming one of Australia’s best cities, not least because it is situated in beautiful Queensland, with some of the country’s best weather and scenery around.
I’ve already written about 10 of the best things to do in Brisbane, but if you are visiting this city for more than a day or 2, then I can definitely recommend you explore a little beyond the urban boundary too.
From theme parks to national parks, hippy surf towns to tropical islands, there really is a whole heap of gorgeous things around Brisbane to see and do.
So make you don’t miss some of this area’s most enchanting sights and fun activities by neglecting these 10 unforgettable Brisbane day trips.
- 5 Best Areas to Explore in Brisbane
- Brisbane to Cairns: The Perfect Road Trip Itinerary
- Coffs Harbour to Brisbane: Best Travel Plan
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Sitting right at the top of the Sunshine Coast about 1 and a half hours drive from Brisbane is the gorgeous coastal resort of Noosa.
With stunning beaches, great surf and a fun lively atmosphere, Noosa is a must-see if you’re staying in or near Brisbane for any length of time.
Start your day in Noosa with a walk through the National Park there and try your luck at seeing a koala or echidna.
After that, why not head to the beach for a surf lesson or Noosa River for a spot of stand-up paddleboarding.
Finish your day dining at one of the many great restaurants in this fun little town and you’ll soon see why a visit to Noosa is, without a doubt, one of the most unforgettable Brisbane day trips.
For more ideas, check out my post about the best budget-friendly things to do in Noosa.
#2 Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Heads is one of my favourite spots on the Gold Coast, and many others seem to agree as the place is always packed!
The beach is beautiful, there is a great national park and the open green communal spaces are a lovely place to hang out and enjoy a picnic.
If that’s not enough, there are also some lovely cafes here to tempt you with excellent coffees.
All in all, it’s definitely one of the best Brisbane day trips and definitely my pick of destinations along the Gold Coast strip.
#3 D’Aguilar National Park
Often known as Brisbane’s back garden, this huge national park stretches right from the western boundaries of the city all the way to the bottom of the Sunshine Coast.
Enjoy some great walking in D’Aguilar National Park and some stunning lookout views to boot.
Alternatively, you can just enjoy driving through this beautiful forestland and perhaps cooling down with a dip in some of the great natural swimming holes.
If you do have a bit of time up your sleeve, then you can also camp here and make a weekend of it!
We did that and absolutely loved it.
Learn more about D’Aguilar National Park here.
#4 Byron Bay
Ok, so it might be a little far, like 3.5 hours drive far, but Byron Bay is so awesome, I couldn’t resist putting it in this list of the most awesome Brisbane day trips!
This famous hippy town is no longer the quiet retreat to nature it once was, but nevertheless, it still possesses a whole heap of charm, an awesome beach and plenty to see, smell and taste.
Favourite cafes of mine in Byron include Twister Sista and Manna Haven – no worries here if you are vegetarian!
The gorgeous enclave of Suffolk Park also has a lovely beach to relax and of course who could resist a stroll out to Cape Byron Lighthouse and the easterly point in Australia?!
Check out my list of the top 10 free things to bo in Byron Bay for more deets!
One of Queensland most entertaining tourist attractions, Dreamworld is a huge hit with tourists and locals alike and is definitely one of the funniest Brisbane day trips if you want to let your hair down!
Situated on Queensland’s Gold Coast, many of the rides here, including the Tower of Terror and The Giant Drop are sure to get your adrenaline going like nothing else!
So why not grab a few mates, drive the short distance south and put your nerves to the test!
#6 Bunya Mountains National Park
Hikes high in the hinterland behind Brisbane and near the town of Dalby, lies the enchanting Bunya Mountains.
This is one of oldest national parks in Queensland and has some fantastic facilities including a great campsite and also some stunning cabin accommodation if you have a few nights up your sleeve.
If it’s only a Brisbane day trip you have time for however, then don’t worry there’s still plenty of gorgeous walks and wildlife to enjoy in this alpine area.
Especially popular during the winter months when the crisp weather here gives Queenslanders a good excuse to pull on their Uggs, this is a beautiful and pristine are well worth taking the time out to explore.
I loved the weekend I spent there, so definitely read more about my experience in the Bunya Mountains National Park if you’re looking to plan a great trip there.
Situated in the gorgeous Sunshine Coast hinterland, the country town of Maleny is an alternative, little community that boasts some wonderful cafes, bookshops and local produce shops.
Explore the famous Maleny dairy, or the annual real food festival and get a taste of some of the treats made in this area.
Otherwise head into town to explore boutique shops, the weekly markets or to try to spot a platypus in the local creek.
Driving through the Blackall Range to get to Maleny from Brisbane is a wonderful trip in and of itself, so try to pick a clear, sunny day for this day trip and you’ll be rewarded with some stunning views that stretch for miles.
West of Brisbane, the large town of Toowoomba sits right at the top of the Great Dividing Range and, as such, can have a totally different climate to that of lowland Brisbane.
Winters can drop below freezing, while summers can be boiling hot, so if you feel like a change of scene, this is a great place to head!
Attractions here include weekly markets, the Cobb & Co. Museum, the Japanese Garden and the massive Queen’s Park.
Alternatively, Toowoomba is also a great stopover if you are heading further west to places like the Bunya Mountains too.
#9 Mount Tamborine
If you’re looking to get some peace and quiet away from the city, then a visit to Mount Tamborine is definitely one of the top Brisbane day trips to make.
Located in the Gold Coast hinterland, this small country community has a real alternative, earthy vibe and boasts many lovely walks.
If you’re really looking to unwind, then why not consider lengthening your trip and even staying a night, the clean air and wonderful starry night skies out here are bound to do you the world of good!
#10 Moreton Island
Catching the ferry from Brisbane River out to Moreton Island is a great trip in itself, but that’s only the start.
Once you reach this great holiday island, you’ll feel miles away from the city as you hit the fabulous beaches.
The Tangalooma Resort is the perfect option on Moreton for day trippers. Simply pay a day fee and enjoy all the best amenities of this great holiday spot.
If you’re feeling a bit more active, then you might also like to try your hand at sandboarding whilst on Moreton.
Fishing and dolphin-feeding activities are also popular.
Brisbane Travel Guide
Where to Stay in Brisbane on a Budget
If you’re just day tripping from Brisbane and need somewhere to stay in the city, I highly recommend Brisbane YHA, which is centrally located and very well-priced.
5 Essential Packing Items for Brisbane
#1 Good Camera – You will be pretty much snapping non-stop in Australia and will need a good camera to do this gorgeous country justice. I highly recommend the Sony A6000, which I use for all my travels and love, not least because it’s light, compact and robust!
#2 Good Walking Shoes – There will be a lot of walking in Australia – from cities to national park! Make sure your feet are comfortable therefore with a pair of New Balance Trainers. Perfect for stylish strolling, I love mine.
#3 Good Guidebook – I’m still a massive fan of the Lonely Planet Guidebooks and do think their Australia edition is well put together.
#4 Good Water Bottle – Travelling in hot old Australia can be thirsty work, so make sure you have a metal water bottle that you can refill as you go, because tap water is drinkable… and free!
#5 Good Sun Hat – And there’s no denying you’ll need a good sun hat for protection in Australia too. In my opinion, you can’t go past this Hello Sunshine one, which is both gorgeous and ideal for keeping the rays off your face.
Travel Insurance for Australia
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.
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So those are the 10 unforgettable Brisbane day trips you really can’t miss.
Which is your favourite?
Much as I love this city, I do recommend getting outside of it too and exploring some of the best of spots in Queensland that lie just beyond its border.
So, what are you waiting for?