The Weekend Series: fill your tank for the best day trips from Brisbane
As much as we love our city, sometimes it’s nice to hop in the car and go exploring beyond the boundaries. Day trips are a great alternative to a full-blown holiday – you get all of the benefits of a little escape without breaking the bank with accommodation. What’s not to love? We’ve filled our tanks, curated a fire playlist and compiled a list of five killer day trips that are an easy drive from Brisbane.
Springbrook National Park
When we put together our list of favourite Sunday drives, we fell in love with a little ol’ place called Springbrook National Park. This evergreen wonderland isn’t too far of a trek but feels like it’s a world away – caves, waterfalls and secret garden paths are just some of the delights that await you here. Loads of the walks and tracks around the area and wheelchair- and kid-friendly, so this is one that the whole fam can enjoy. The lush little pockets and clearings are perfect for a picnic if that’s your vibe, or you can take advantage of casual eateries like Dancing Waters Cafe.
The Sunshine Coast hinterland is packed with stunning scenery and cute little gems to explore, which is why Montville has scored a spot on our top day drips list. Head into town and have a wander down Main Street, where you can check out the work of local artisans across everything from opal cutting to beer brewing. The natural beauty of the region will make your jaw drop – suss local wildlife at the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, take a dip at Kondalilla Falls or sprawl out on the shady shores of Baroon Pocket Dam. Sweet tooths best schedule in a stop at fudgyboombahs and Chocolate Country – because you’re going to want some snacks for the drive home, right?
If you haven’t been to Toowoomba in a while and your memories of it are less than impressive, we would strongly urge you to give it another shot. First of all, it’s a naturally beautiful place famous for its flowers – so be sure to check out the immaculately kept Queens Park, the Ju Raku En garden and Picnic Point Lookout if you want a feast for the eyes. Speaking of feasts, there are plenty of spots to nosh around town – be sure to schedule a visit to the amazing Baker’s Duck, fill up on fresh fare at Full of Life Organics or sample fine-dining done casually at Zev’s Bistro.
There’s a reason that Noosa tops the list of many day-trip seekers – have you seen the place? From pristine beaches to nature-packed bushwalks, this is a prime pocket of the world to explore. Wander beyond Main Beach and check out the bays for a more unobstructed spot to swim (or surf), or take the Noosa National Park walk to get a good look at the local spots. Make sure you go with a full stomach – beachfront lunch spots like Sails Restaurant and Bistro C are a must-try. It can get pretty mental in peak season, so if you’re after a more chill experience just be mindful to pick your timing carefully.
It may seem like an obvious choice, but you really shouldn’t write off Byron Bay as a killer day trip destination. There’s almost too much goodness to pack into a single day, but it is doable to max out your time. Take a dip at Tallow Beach, marvel at the view from Cape Byron Bay Lighthouse or go and get spiritual at Crystal Castle. If you’re keen to do some exploring in the car, make sure to head a little further out of town – drop into the amazing Harvest at Newrybar, go inland to Bangalow for an eclectic shopping experience or take the coast road south to idyllic Ballina. Further inland you’ll find the evergreen towns of Ewingsdale and Federal – be sure to nab some Byron macadamias while you’re in the neighbourhood.
Looking for more inspo on weekend escapes? Our Destination archive is loaded with gems – from farmstays to country pubs, we’ve got you covered.