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