When summer arrives in the southeast of Queensland, the months of December, January and February are notoriously hot. As the temperature rises and the humidity kicks in, everyone heads to the sea. With long stretches of golden beaches to the north and south of Brisbane, and many islands to the east, Brisbane is the centre point for leaping into all things sandy. We know the best Brisbane beach hotels to choose – and they’re bookable on Culture Trip.
How handy is this place, just a 40-minute drive from the CBD and not even half an hour from Brisbane Airport? The Sebel has a superb beachfront setting overlooking Moreton Bay, and staying here means quiet seclusion in a popular seaside community. Sandy beaches, boardwalks and cute cafes enhance the leisurely, laid-back feel of the place, hence its appeal for families. The hotel has much to recommend it, not least a rooftop bar and pool. Top tip: ask for an oceanfront room for unforgettable views over Moreton Bay.
Right in the thick of Manly Harbour Village, the family-owned Manly Hotel, near Brisbane, has occupied its harbourside location for decades, and has a solid fan base. With two bars, a bistro, a chattery beer garden and a sporting lounge popular with locals, this beach hotel is a no-brainer for holidaymakers on a budget. There are 18 rooms – ask for one with a balcony for views over beautiful Moreton Bay – and when you’re relaxed and refreshed, aim to walk to Manly Yacht Club, where boat lovers gaze longingly at the glinting vessels moored in the marina.
Peaceful Bribie Island is 70km (43mi) north of the CBD. In just over 60 minutes’ drive from the heart of the city you’ll be walking the white sands of Woorim Beach on the eastern side of Bribie. Calling all 4WD lovers: Bribie has access to over 30km (19mi) of open beaches where 4WDs are permitted. Take in the open ocean views all day long in one of the luxury two-bedroom beachfront suites – these are filled with light that pours through the full-length windows, and as pale and coastal-cool as the sands themselves. We’d opt for the three-bedroom beachfront accommodation every time.
Caloundra is a 90-minute drive from Brisbane, and Ocean Views Resort is a good-looking affair, with standard and superior rooms upholstered in jaunty white and kingfisher-blue or coral-pink. The podium-level pool is a winner, and steaks at the Three Bar and Grill never disappoint. You won’t need a car here, as everything is within walking distance. At nearby Bulcock Beach – 400m (a quarter of a mile) from the resort – are walking paths linking to other popular Caloundra beaches, notably Kings Beach and Moffat Beach. Bulcock is a waveless beach with a strong current, but lifeguards patrol daily.
North Stradbroke Island is a tropical island paradise blessed with wide-open beaches to explore. It’s accessible only by boat, and ferries depart from Cleveland on the bayside. The journey takes about 45 minutes if you’re taking your car on the car ferry, or 20 minutes by water taxi. The Anchorage beachfront resort is the only resort on the island with direct beach access, via Home Beach. With headlands at both ends, this is the most protected beach on Straddie.
Perfect for couples and families seeking a unique nature-based experience, Moreton Island is the third-largest sand island in the world, and a national park. Catch the ferry departing from Pinkenba Wharf, and arrive 90 minutes later in luscious landscaped gardens at the Tangalooma Island Resort jetty. There’s a spread of uncluttered beachfront accommodation, including hotel rooms, units, villas and apartments. Don’t miss the sunset wild dolphin feeding run by the Marine Education centre.
Escape to Manly, a seaside community around 40 minutes from the CBD. Here you’ll find Manly Marina Cove Motel, a four-star motel in the grounds of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, next to Moreton Bay. We can’t fault the snazzy, bright interiors in the rooms and suites, splashed with sunshine colours and jaunty marine art. Ocean lovers should head out to drool over the vessels in the marina. Otherwise, take a short stroll to the local precinct, Manly Harbour Village and Wynnum Esplanade.
Swap big-city rattle and thrum for the whispering of waves on the beach at the QT Hotel Gold Coast. An hour’s drive south of Brisbane down the Pacific Highway, it’s a right rollicking retreat where you can book your own private cabana near the pool and while away the hours. Friendly hotel staff will bring drinks, snacks and even sunscreen if you need it. Rooms and suites are bright, striped and nautically nice, with custard-yellow injections from lamps and stools. Wander across the road to the Surfers Paradise Beach for an ocean swim, or stroll along the long stretch of white sand. Hungry? Back at the ranch, order delicious Japanese cuisine at the hotel restaurant, Yamagen.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
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.
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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.