Discover regional produce, vineyards and wineries, cute boutiques and stunning views, all just a few hours’ drive from Brisbane. Here are five of my favourite spots for day trips from Brisbane, whether you prefer shopping, swimming, bushwalking or soaking up the vibe at stylish cafes.
What to do in the Scenic Rim
You’ll find plenty of country charm at the Scenic Rim, a picturesque rural area located in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range two hours south of Brisbane. It’s possible to drive yourself or do an organised tour. Stalls selling everything from local avocados to freshly cut roses line the grassy roadside and everything is impossibly green. Canungra Valley Vineyards is perfect for a picnic lunch before you drive up the mountain. There are two roads to choose from, both stunning in their own way.
Narrow switchbacks offer plenty of white-knuckle thrills on the way to O’Reilly’s Plateau whereas the winding road to Binna Burra is a little more sedate with beautiful views. At O’Reilly’s you’ll find brilliantly coloured parrots in every colour of the rainbow, a free tree top canopy walk and well-signed trails winding through the rainforest. Binna Burra is easier and quicker to reach and has some truly spectacular walks. If you have time, why not visit both?
What to do in the Blackhall Ranges
High on the Blackhall Ranges you’ll find Maleny and Montville, two pretty rural communities with an artistic heritage and a stunning ridge-top location. Montville is a popular tourist hub where galleries line the street, sitting side by side with quaint gift shops and cafes serving Devonshire tea. A picturesque 10 minute drive away you’ll find Maleny, a laid-back country town with a friendly, community vibe and excellent cooking schools.
Hone your wok skills with a Stir Crazy session, cook Thai-inspired Dude Food or whip up tasty yum cha treats at a Dim Sum and Then Some class at the Spirit House. Spicers Tamarind offers ranging from French and Italian to bread making and delectable desserts. Nearby you’ll find Spa Anise where romantics can enjoy a private steam and spa overlooking rolling green hills prior to their treatment.
What to do in Mt Tamborine
This pretty mountaintop community is an easy 40 minute drive from the Gold Coast but feels like a world away. Galleries and restaurants line the picturesque main street known as Gallery Walk. Queensland’s oldest national park, Tamborine Mountain National Park, offers stunning scenery and impressive views of the distant high rise. Wineries and providors are scattered throughout the area which means stumbling across yet another lovely place to stop is part of the fun. The easier way to experience Mt Tamborine (and enjoy a glass of wine or two) is to book a tour.
What to do at Moreton Island
It’s hard to believe this natural wonderland is just 75 minutes from Brisbane, with the ferry terminal located just 10 minutes from Brisbane Airport by taxi. The easier way to visit Moreton Island is on a Moreton Island Day Tour. Moreton Island is home to the world’s highest coastal dune – Mount Tempest – which offers stunning views of the surrounding area but most people come here to feed the wild dolphins which have been visiting the Tangalooma Island Resort jetty since the 70s.
There are loads of things to do at Moreton Island. If would like to swim with some underwater wonders, there is a snorkelling tour of the Tangalooma Wrecks dive and snorkel site, home to stingrays, wobbegong sharks and a kaleidoscope of colourful tropical fish. If you would prefer to stay dry, a Segway tour offers a unique way to enjoy Moreton Island’s pristine surrounds.
What to do at Noosa
Noosa has always been known for its natural beauty and there are many ways to enjoy it. Go for a walk in the National Park or explore the Noosa Biosphere Reserve, a series of freshwater tidal parklands covering 150,000 hectares. Serene boat tours glide through dark tannin-stained water that acts like a mirror, reflecting the beauty of the surrounding bush. Hastings Street is a top spot for shopping with an impressive choice of boutiques and homeware stores.
If you feel like a coffee or a glass of wine, drop into Aromas Noosa where wicker chairs face outwards in classic European style and everyone comes to see and be seen. If you are after something more low key, million dollar views can be yours for the price of a drink at the Noosa Heads Surf Club. There is no better spot for a beer on a lazy Sunday afternoon and the chicken parmigiana is a delicious blast from the past.
Disclosure: The writer is always keen to jump in her car and set off on an adventure from her hometown.
If you’re looking for accommodation in Brisbane, we have reviewed the Treasury Hotel, The Calile, Ovolo The Valley, W Brisbane, Capri by Fraser Brisbane, Hilton Brisbane, The Johnson, NEXT Hotel Brisbane, Sage Hotel James Street, The Westin Brisbane, Oaks Brisbane Festival Suites, Royal on the Park, Ibis Styles Elizabeth Street, Sofitel Brisbane, Crystalbrook Vincent, The Inchcolm by Ovolo, Alex Perry Hotel & Apartments, and Pullman Brisbane Airport.