Natural bridge springbrook national park day trip from brisbane

25 Incredible Day Trips From Brisbane

Last updated:

This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure

Get beyond the city with the best day trips from Brisbane, Queensland. These family-friendly destinations on Brisbane’s doorstep offer beautiful beaches, country escapes and everything in between!

While there are plenty of great things to do in and around Brisbane, it also happens to be a great central point to many other must-see locations, most of which are only a short day trip away.

The best day trips from Brisbane Queensland

This article was first published in August 2015 and updated for 2020.

South East Queensland is full of natural wonders, beautiful beaches and cool attractions, making Brisbane an ideal family travel hub that allows the chance to see so much more.

Check out these top-rated Airbnbs in Brisbane if you are looking for accommodation right in the city centre.

THE BEST DAY TRIPS FROM BRISBANE

We have put together a list of the best Brisbane day drive ideas aimed to appeal to the whole family, including some of the best things to do during these awesome Brisbane day trips.

1. GOLD COAST

Gold Coast Day Trip to beach

Distance from Brisbane: 1.5 hours

The Gold Coast is a well known Queensland hot spot and happens to be one of the most popular day trips from Brisbane for anyone wanting to visit the beach.

However, the Gold Coast has plenty more on offer than just beaches. With so many Gold Coast attractions, you may want to extend your stay for a few days if you have the time.

Surfers Paradise offers an action-packed destination, which is always a hub of activity and events. There are restaurants, shops and of course the beach.

The kids will love a visit to the Gold Coast Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum or Infinity.

For adults and teens, Dracula’s Cabaret Restaurant is an experience you won’t quickly forget!

And never mind if the weather isn’t perfect. There is a load of rainy day activities on the Gold Coast too!

There are plenty of other great activities for all ages – watersports, cruises, beach walks and markets.

Find the best Gold Coast theme park accommodation & family-friendly accommodation for longer stays.

Best Gold Coast Day Tours From Brisbane


2. MT TAMBORINE

Mt Tambourine Brisbane Day trip

Distance from Brisbane: 1 hour

If natural bushland scenery is more your style, Mt Tamborine in the Gold Coast Hinterland is a perfect day trip from Brisbane.

With amazing views and the opportunity to walk among the treetops at the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, you are sure to get up close with some native wildlife along the way.

Check out the natural wonder of the Glow-Worm Caves in North Tamborine, with some of the largest glow-worm colonies in the world. Tours operate daily, plus you can sample the Cedar Creek Estate wines while you’re there.

Mt Tamborine has many European influences with restaurants offering up many of your favourite cuisines. The Polish Place, with a variety of traditional Polish food and stunning views while you dine or try the Bavarian Grillhaus for some German favourites.

Another great stop is the Fortitude Brewery, with open plan dining and beer garden, while you sample the beers and sample Witches Falls cheese.

There are also several other wineries and distilleries in the area, as well as handmade fudge. A foodie delight!

Best Mt Tambourine Day Tours From Brisbane


3. SPRINGBROOK NATIONAL PARK

Natural bridge springbrooke national park

Distance from Brisbane: 1.5 hours

Another Gold Coast Hinterland gem is Springbrook National Park. While you could combine it with a visit to other areas in the Hinterland, there is enough to fill a full day drive from Brisbane too.

With sprawling rainforests and mountain ranges, a visit to Springbrook will have you marvelling at nature.

The Natural Arch or Natural Bridge is a must and if you extend your visit into the evening, you have the chance to see glow worms too.

Visit Purling Brook Falls and admire views of Mt Warning from Best of All Lookout.

You will find handmade and boutique stores with unique souvenirs and gifts too.

Recommended Day Tours From Brisbane to Springbook National Park


4. LAMINGTON NATIONAL PARK

Lamington National Park Rainforest

Distance from Brisbane: 2 hours

While you won’t find wild lamingtons, you will discover incredible rainforests and wildlife.

Lamington National Park has 2 sections – O’Reilly’s and Binna Burra. Both are incredible, but make sure you choose the correct route for where you want to go.

It includes 22,000 hectares of varying forest types, from temperate Antarctic Beech forest high, sub-tropical rainforests and dry eucalyptus forest of the northern escarpment. The park has held World Heritage Listing since 1994.

Take a journey along the many walking tracks to spot wildlife hidden within.

O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat offers a huge range of family-friendly activities and wildlife encounters, making this section of the National Park most popular.

Be sure to do the tree top walk so you can experience life amongst the trees and a unique perspective on the rainforest.

Recommended Lamington National Park Day Tours


5. GOLD COAST THEME PARKS

Seaworld Gold Coast

Distance from Brisbane: 40 minutes to 1 hour

The Gold Coast Theme parks are every kid’s favourite day trip in Queensland. Although there is no way you’re fitting them all into a single day trip!

While you could do an express multi-park visit in one day for 2 of the theme parks, they really do need a day each! And if that’s the case, you might need some convenient theme park accommodation instead.

Dreamworld and Seaworld both cater well to younger children, with junior rides and wildlife. Plenty of thrill rides too.

Warner Bros Movieworld brings movie magic and superheroes to life and is fun for all ages.

Wet N Wild water park is perfect for summer or Dreamworld’s neighbouring White Water World is another fun alternative.

Get Gold Coast Theme Park Tickets


Got a rainy day in Brisbane? Check out these indoor activities you can do no matter the weather!

6. CURRUMBIN WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

Feeding a kangaroo at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Distance from Brisbane: 1 hour and 10 minutes

For a day out on the Gold Coast with wildlife, you can’t go past Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. This is one of Queensland’s best zoos and while it does not compare in size to Australia Zoo, its definitely well worth the trip.

They have a huge variety of Australian wildlife species as well as several from around the world. Iconic is their twice daily rainbow lorikeet feeding sessions.

They have many different animal shows throughout the day to learn and encounter creatures with fur, feathers and scales.

There is also a really cool splash playground area for kids that will occupy them for a full afternoon if you let them!

Get Curriculum Wildlife Sanctuary Tickets


7. BYRON BAY

Byron Bay lighthouse day trip with kids

Distance from Brisbane: 2 hours

Day trip over the New South Wales border to beautiful Byron Bay. This coastal town is a popular holiday destination and always a hub of activity.

From surfing to handmade shopping, there is plenty to see and do.

Visit the Byron Bay lighthouse for great views and walking tracks. Kids will love a visit to the Byron Bay Farm to meet animals and enjoy yummy food.

If you decide to extend your stay, the Discovery Parks Byron Bay safari tents are a cool option! And the brewery is a perfect choice for a meal.

Recommended Tours & Byron Bay Activities


8. COOLUM

Coolum Beach - Sunshine Coast

Distance from Brisbane: 1.5 hours

The Sunshine Coast is north of Brisbane, offering a quieter alternative to the bustling and energetic Gold Coast scene, with pristine beaches and plenty to see and do.

Coolum is one of our favourite Sunshine Coast areas, with beautiful white sand beaches and that laid back beachy vibe.

You can enjoy fine dining at one of the many cafes and restaurants.

Or if you want something a little more daring, you try skydiving like my father in law did for his 60th birthday. But if that’s too crazy, you could always learn how to surf or just the tranquillity of the waves.


9. MOOLOOLABA

Mooloolaba day trip from Brisbane

Distance from Brisbane: 1 hour & 20 minutes

Mooloolaba is another favourite for family travel.

Kids will love visiting Sea Life Mooloolaba and coming up close with different species of sea creatures, as you walk through the aquarium tunnels and enjoy the other sea-themed attractions.

There are also great restaurants right next door along the boardwalk.

And of course, beaches and water activities to enjoy.

Recommended Day Tours For Mooloolaba


10. NOOSA

Noosa National park

Distance from Brisbane: 2 hours

As one of the most popular areas of the Sunshine Coast, Noosa can be a hub of activity, with beautiful beaches and within easy distance to the Noosa Coast National Park.

Enjoy one of the many walking tracks that take you along the cliffs and beaches.

Noosa is popular amongst surfers and there are lessons available.

Or wander along iconic Hastings Street for yummy eats, shopping and souvenirs.

Recommended Day Tours & Noosa Activities


11. AUSTRALIA ZOO

Australia Zoo with young children

Distance from Brisbane: Just over 1 hour

Located in Beerwah, near the beautiful Glasshouse Mountains, a visit to Australia Zoo is easily a full day trip of its own from Brisbane.

You will need a full day to explore the extensive area covered by the zoo and enjoy the huge range of wildlife. Even then, you may not see it all.

Check out our guide to visiting Australia Zoo with small children to help you plan your day.

Recommended Australia Zoo Day Tours


12. GLASSHOUSE MOUNTAINS

Glasshouse Mountains sunshine coast

Distance from Brisbane: Just over 1 hour

If you wanted to cut your time short at Australia Zoo, you could certainly visit the Glass house Mountains in the same day, or dedicate a full day to exploring the impressive mountain ranges instead.

There are walks to suit all ability levels and ages, making it a great place to spend a good weather day, exploring the outdoors.

There is a great lookout around 10km from the township.

We were lucky enough to stay at Glass House Mountains Ecolodge last visit to extend our visit overnight.

Recommended Day Tours For Glasshouse Mountains


13. MALANEY & MONTVILLE

Montville from BRisbane

Distance from Brisbane: 1 hour & 25 minutes

These two quaint Sunshine Coast Hinterland towns are only 18 minutes apart and make a fun duel stop day trip into the North coast.

If you love art, handmade wares and treats or fine dining, you will love wandering around Montville and seeing what you can find.

Head to Maleny and visit Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World. You may end up with an exotic bird on your shoulder. Or discover natural beauty with waterfalls and nature walks.

Don’t miss a chance to sample some wine at Maleny Mountain Wines or taste beers at Brouhaha Brewery.

Recommended Day Trips & Tours


14. NAMBOUR & WOOMBYE

The big pineapple

Distance from Brisbane: 1 hour & 25 minutes

Australia likes big things and Woombye near Nambour is home to the famous icon The Big Pineapple. Here you will find much more than a giant pineapple.

There are Wildlife HQ Zoo and the Treetop Challenge with zip lines and rope courses through the trees. You can also ride the train for $5 each – an experience younger kids will love.

The Nambour region has a unique history and natural scenery. There is a historical museum and Dulong Lookout offers views of the nearby area.


15. NORTH STRADBROKE ISLAND

North Stradbroke Island

Distance from Brisbane: 40 minutes + 45 minute ferry trip

North Stradbroke Island is one of the many beautiful island getaways off the coast of Brisbane. The ferry departs Cleveland and can be a fun experience for kids.

There is the option to take your car across to the island via barge for beach 4WD adventures (permit needed).

There are plenty of watersports on offer, swimming, walking and exploring along the beaches.

If you visit during certain times of the year, you may be lucky enough to see migrating humpback whales off Point Lookout. Whale watching cruises are a great option too, or a spot of fishing or scuba diving.

While there are not a lot of restaurants and shops on the island, there are a few cafes and takeaway shops to grab some lunch or ice cream, as well as other essentials during your visit.

Recommended Day Tours For North Stradbroke Island


16. SOUTH STRADBROKE ISLAND

Seaplane Over Straddie

Distance from Brisbane: 1 hour to Sanctuary Cove, Gold Coast + 40-minute ferry

South Stradbroke Island is a day trip of its own, offering different experiences that are equally appealing as North Stradbroke.

Located across-shore from Sanctuary Cove, getting to South Stradbroke Island is a little trickier, with most day tours and transfers leaving from the Gold Coast. You can easily take a water ferry from Sanctuary Cove Marina.

Once there you can enjoy activities such as swimming, surfing, fishing, bushwalking, hiking, rock climbing and the incredible scenery of the 1800 hectare conservation park.

Both islands are great for camping if you have more time to spend!

If you want to really enjoy the day, we visited via a seaplane tour from Seaworld Resort, giving us free time to explore the island, dine at the included buffet lunch and relax.

Recommended Day Tours To South Stradbroke Island


17. MORETON ISLAND

Tangalooma Wrecks
Tangalooma Wrecks

Distance from Brisbane: 25 Minutes + 75 minute ferry trip

Like North Stradbroke Island, Moreton Island is a great island day trip from Brisbane, with a ferry ride across the bay to kick off a day of adventure. Think white sandy beaches and brilliant blue water, with plenty on offer to fill your day.

The Tangalooma Wrecks are a perfect spot for snorkelling.

Or take a chartered cruise for some dolphin watching, and enjoy these friendly sea animals as they surf alongside the boat.

The majority of Moreton Island consists of a national park, so there are plenty of bush tracks to explore or you can do some 4WD ventures along the sand roads.

Feeling daring? The kids will enjoy sand tobogganing down a sand dune. We weren’t that brave but we did enjoy the view from the top.

Recommended Day Tours From Brisbane To Moreton Island


18. BRIBIE ISLAND

Bribie Island picnic bench

Distance from Brisbane: 1.5 hours

If you are looking for a Brisbane island day trip that doesn’t require a ferry to get there, Bribie Island is the perfect option for a day drive. Connected to the mainland, simply jump in the car and make your way there.

A 4 wheel drive is the best way to get around so you can venture off road through the National Park. Make sure you have a permit!

The Pumicestone Passage is a protected marine park and safe haven for wildlife, running 35 kilometres between Bribie Island and the Caboolture coastline, making it popular for water sport enthusiasts.

Recommended Bribie Island Tours & Activities


19. IPSWICH

3 Things to do in Brisbane's Western Suburbs

Distance from Brisbane: 45 Minutes

While Ipswich is not a place that has the usual tourist appeal as many of the other day trips from Brisbane listed, it does have some pretty cool family attractions to see and do, and is only a short distance away.

Ipswich is especially appealing for family travel day trips, with some great playgrounds and parks on offer.

Queens Park is one of Queensland’s oldest parks, with a huge playground, a cafe and a free entry wildlife park right next door.

The Ipswich Nature Park is home to many native Australian animals.

Another great Ipswich park a little closer to Brisbane is Robelle Domain Parklands in Springfield Lakes, with a water play zone and a free public swimming lagoon that is patrolled by lifeguards.

The Workshops Rail Museum is a must for train lovers, with lots of interactive displays and educational resources, and the Ipswich Art Gallery in the centre of town has a Children’s Gallery, providing exhibits and activities just for kids.

Recommended Day Tours For Ipswich


20. TOOWOOMBA

Picnic Point Toowoomba

Distance from Brisbane: 1.5 – 2 hours

When it comes to Toowoomba, think large country town and gardens.

Picnic Point Lookout is a perfect stop for lunch at the restaurant and a play on the playground if travelling with kids. They will be very impressed with the ice cream and views too.

Once a year, Toowoomba hosts their annual Carnival of Flowers if you are a fan of floral displays. The event brings a lot of visitors to town, with plenty of events coinciding.

The Cobb & Co Museum has lots of activities year round for all ages.

If you don’t mind driving a bit further, the Darling Downs Zoo is a fun addition to your day trip. The zoo is small and family-owned but has plenty of the animals bigger zoos have, including several big cats and monkeys.

Otherwise, the drive to itself Toowoomba and back can be a great day trip for the scenic views, with plenty of small country towns to explore along the way.


21. LAKE WIVENHOE

Lake Wivenhoe

Distance from Brisbane: 1 hour

If you are looking for a day out on the water, kayaking or fishing (permits may be needed), or a great location for a family picnic, Lake Wivenhoe has plenty of wide open spaces on offer.

While the main purpose of the lake is a water reserve as part of Wivenhoe Dam, it is a popular option for day trips from Brisbane.

At certain times of the year you can see the dam spillway in action, otherwise there are playgrounds, walking tracks and barbeque areas, as well as a cafe.

Or you may want to pick up some baked goods from the very popular Fernvale Bakery on your way to Wivenhoe.


22. STANTHORPE

Stanthorpe sunset

Distance from Brisbane: 2.5 – 3 hours

Stanthorpe is the perfect longer day trip from Brisbane if you are a fan of wineries, breweries, and distilleries, as well as country living.

Situated near the New South Wales border, Stanthorpe is one of the treasures of the Scenic Rim, and if you are lucky enough, you may even get to visit on one of those very rare moments when it snows in Queensland.

Since wine is a huge part of the Stanthorpe community, there are several annual events focused around it, such as the Apple and Grape Harvest Festival and the Australian Small Winemakers Show.

For the rest of the year, a visit to different wineries can be a fun way to explore the area. Or taste local produce, such as fresh fruits.

Kids will love the opportunity to pick their own strawberries at the Strawberry Fields.

If you want to learn a little more about the history, the Stanthorpe Heritage Museum may be a great stop, in between visiting some of the local heritage listed sites, such as the Quart Pot Creek Rail Bridge.

Stanthorpe is a bit of a longer day trip so make sure you are prepared with some great driving songs for your car.

Recommended Day Tours For Stanthorpe


23. MT COOT-THA

Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens

Distance from Brisbane: Within 20 minutes from the city centre

While technically part of Brisbane, Mt Coot-tha is a short trip from Brisbane city and is popular for the Mt Coot-tha lookout, overlooking Brisbane and surrounds.

There are restaurants up the top of Mt Coo-tha, or if it’s wide spaces and gardens you prefer, head on down to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at the bottom of Mt Coot-tha.

In the Botanic Gardens you will be able to spend the day enjoying a picnic or eating at the restaurant, in between exploring the gardens themselves.

There is a greenhouse, and fern house, along with the newly developed pond and playground area.

You may also enjoy a visit to the Planetarium, which will excite kids who love space.

Recommended Mount Coo-tha Tours


24. LONE PINE KOALA SANCTUARY

Koalas at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Distance from Brisbane: 25 minutes

Within half an hour from Brisbane city you can be cuddling a koala or feeding kangaroos at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

This is a place special to my heart after doing my high school work experience there. We visit as a family semi-regularly and it is always a fun day out.

There is enough to fill a half day trip from Brisbane, or longer if you take your time to explore the sanctuary.

You can drive there or catch the Lone Pine cruise from Brisbane city centre. This is a fun opportunity to see the scenery along the Brisbane River on the way.

Recommended Lone Pine Sanctuary Tours


25. SIRROMET WINERY

Sirromet winery

Distance from Brisbane: 40 minutes

Sirromet Winery is one of Queensland’s most famous wineries, not just because of their award-winning wines either.

The winery hosts regular events throughout the year, such as concerts on the green.

They have daily wine tasting and food and wine tours, for the grown ups.

There is also a golf course on site, Supa Golf, with oversized equipment for a fun twist. Play with simplified rules to make it a fun family experience to do with your kids.

Recommended Sirromet Winery Experiences

Before you head off on your day trip, if you are travelling with kids, you may want some tips on surviving road trips with kids on board since even short drives can sometimes result in backseat chaos.

If you have more than one day to visit, a 3 day Brisbane itinerary will give you the chance to see so much of what this incredible city has to offer.

And yes, we may be a little biased since we are Brisbane locals, but we have no doubt you will love day tripping around Brisbane too!

With beaches, mountainscapes,  natural scenery and of course, plenty of family-friendly activities to keep you occupied as well!

And when you’re ready for a bigger adventure, why not take a road trip from Brisbane to Sydney! Or head north and take a road trip from Brisbane to Cairns instead.

You may also like:

What are your favourite type of day trips? Family fun? Adventure? Outdoors?