Brisbane plays home to many city-loving Queenslanders, but it’s always nice to escape the city, if only for a day. From crystal clear beaches and waterways, to wineries and country escapes, once you leave the city you’ll realise there is a whole lot more of the Sunshine State to discover. Here are some great day trips to enjoy.
North Stradbroke Island
North Stradbroke Island, or ‘Straddie’ as it’s known to locals, is a quaint coastal community that has beaches that rival the world’s best. Only 30km from Brisbane including a short boat trip, it’s a world away from the city. Straddie is the perfect destination for adventurers or those who want to just unwind. Think beautiful beaches, natural lakes and stunning bushwalks. If you love seafood then don’t miss out on buying fresh prawns, oysters and fish directly from local fishermen. For a sweet treat don’t miss the famous Oceanic Gelati and Coffee Bar at Point Lookout.
North Stradbroke Island, Australia
North Stradbroke Island Beach | © Lawrence Murray/Flickr
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
If your ideal day includes a swim, a glass of wine over lunch and a spot of shopping then Noosa is the place for you. A buzzing coastal town, it’s got all the mod cons of the city, including a thriving restaurant scene (trust us, dine beachfront at Bistro C) as well as some of the best boutiques in Queensland. Noosa is approximately a two-hour drive north of Brisbane so it’s worth leaving the city early to make the most of your day in this beachside haven.
Noosa Waters | ©Tourism Queensland
Head south-west approximately 150km and you’ll arrive at the top of the Darling Downs in Toowoomba. This expanding city has the charm of a country town, and is filled with activities. It’s the perfect destination to explore the rural side of Queensland. In Toowoomba you’ll not only see cowboys walking the streets in their signature checked shirts and boots, you’ll also find an abundance of cafes and an unexpected foodie scene. Toowoomba really shines during spring when they host the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers when there is a burst of colour on every corner, and the sweet smell of spring in the air!
Carnival Of Flowers | © Allan Henderson/Flickr
One of south-east Queensland’s trendiest suburbs of 2017, Burleigh Heads is not to be missed. A little further south than the glitz of Surfers Paradise, Burleigh has a more relaxed, creative vibe. It’s filled with the hippest restaurants, a selection of boutique shops and of course, stunning Burleigh Heads beach. It’s here where the ‘cool crowd’ hang, whether they’re sipping Aperol spritz at Justin Lane Rooftop, taking a surf in the popular Burleigh Heads break or gazing out to the ocean while enjoying a modern Asian meal at the ultra hip Rick Shores.
Burleigh Heads, Australia
Burleigh Heads | © Rick Shores
For a quick escape from the city to the bayside, head to Redcliffe. Approximately a 45 minute drive from Brisbane’s downtown, Redcliffe promises a relaxing day trip overlooking Moreton Bay. Don’t forget to pack the swimsuit for a dip at Suttons Beach. A must see is the iconic Redcliff Jetty, which wouldn’t look out of place in a British seaside town. Each Sunday, the Redcliff Jetty Markets are filled with fresh local produce, arts and crafts, fashion and entertainment. If it’s fish and chips you’re after, there is an abundance of classic take-away shops scattered along the Redcliffe foreshore.
Redcliffe Pier | © Bert Knottenbeld/Flickr
For a country vibe and a spot of wine tasting, Dayboro is the ideal spot. As soon as you drive into the main street you’re transported into a country village, thanks to the fresh air, original buildings and horses and cattle roaming in nearby paddocks. The town has charming café choices, vintage shops, the Dayboro Art Gallery and even its own winery. For those feeling active there is the Dayboro Historic Town Walk where you can learn about the history of the town while burning a few calories before settling into lunch. For those looking for fine dining, the Ocean View Estate offers an impressive menu paired with drops from the winery onsite. The perfect country escape.
View of Dayboro | © Bert Knottenbeld/Flickr
There are no guarantees that you’ll be able to leave Byron Bay after a day. Byron has a gravitational pull that means you’ll want to stay for the whole weekend, especially if you’re shacked up at the ultra chic Atlantic Guesthouse. If you can manage to fit everything in a day trip then there are a few must-dos. After a walk to the iconic Byron Bay Lighthouse, have a dip at Byron’s popular beach ‘The Pass’. You’ll need to refuel with brunch from Bayleaf Cafe. Have a stroll around the shops and enjoy the relaxed, bohemian vibe that Byron Bay oozes. If you’ve brought your designated driver with you then pop into St. Elmo for one of their decadent cocktails before heading north back to Brisbane.
Byron Bay, Australia
Byron Bay Lighthouse | © David Huynh/Flickr
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