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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.