Need to get back to nature? It’s easy to forget that the urban metropolis of Brisbane is surrounded by a diverse array of national parks protecting landscapes ranging from lush ancient rainforests to wind-sculpted sand islands, and rugged Aussie bushland to tucked-away historic sites, with plenty just a short hop from the city.
The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service website is the ultimate resource for reading up on national park facilities and checking timely updates before you go, and no matter which green space takes your fancy, remember that everything you bring into a national park must go back out with you. Here are six top spots within two hours’ drive of the CBD.
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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 it’s miles of sandy beaches and dunes, crystal-clear creeks and lagoons, wildflower-rich heathlands and epic snorkelling opportunities just a 75-minute ferry ride from Brisbane you’re after, Moreton Island (Mulgumpin) has got the goods. Come for the day to snorkel the Tangalooma shipwrecks or stretch your legs on a walking track or two, or pack your camping gear and make a weekend of it.
You don’t even need to leave Brisbane to check out one of the area’s most interesting national parks. Hugging the south bank of the Brisbane River, opposite Brisbane Airport, tiny Fort Lytton National Park is more of a historic site than park, but history buffs will love the pentagonal fortress it was named for. Built in 1881, Fort Lytton was used for the defence of Brisbane until the end of the Second World War.
Nestled in the Gold Coast hinterland, only an hour’s drive south of Brisbane, Tamborine National Park offers glimpses of the Pacific Ocean and the Gold Coast skyline to the east and the national parks of the Scenic Rim to the west from its lush plateau setting, home to 85% of animal species in the Gold Coast area. There are half a dozen picnic areas and 11 walking tracks to be found in the park, including the enchanting 1.1km(0.5mi)-return walk to stunning Curtis Falls, where you might spot a tortoise paddling in the pool at the base of the falls.
With one of its access points just 12km (7.5mi) west of Brisbane’s CBD, D’Aguilar National Park makes for an easy day trip when you need a breath of fresh air in the Aussie bush. Home to a diversity of landscapes, from lush subtropical rainforests to eucalypt woodlands, there is plenty to discover within the park’s boundaries, from stunning swimming holes to abandoned gold mines, and plenty of native wildlife. Kids will love the Walkabout Discovery Centre on the park’s southeastern boundary, which has a panoramic viewing platform and rangers on-hand to introduce you to some of the park’s wildlife on weekends, while hikers can discover the area’s gold rush history on the Golden Boulder track, which starts at Bellbird Grove.
When only a true Aussie bushwalk will do, Venman Bushland National Park, just 40 minutes’ drive south of the city, is the national park for you. One of the largest remaining areas of eucalypt forest in the coastal lowlands near Brisbane, this park is an important habitat for furry critters ranging from koalas to sugar gliders, wallabies to possums. Expect to spot some of them on the parks’ two walking tracks.
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