Calling all Brisbanites! Fill up your tank and hit the road – it’s time for a scenic day road trip.
Queensland’s lockdown restrictions are slowly being eased which is great news for those of us who are getting a bit of cabin fever. Now that we are allowed to travel within 150-kilometres of our primary residence, it looks like scenic weekend drives and day trips are back on the cards. From the beach to the hinterland, South-East Queenslanders are lucky to have so many amazing destinations at their fingertips – the hardest part is deciding where to go first!
Coolangatta Beach. Photographed by Madeline Paulsen. Image supplied via Hunter and Bligh
Itching for the feeling of sand in your toes, salty air in your hair and cold water lapping at your ankles? Sounds like a trip to the Gold Coast is in order! If you’ve been to Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach and Burleigh more times than you can count, why not try somewhere a little farther afield like Coolangatta? Head as far south as you can (without crossing the border of course), bypassing Tugun and Kirra to get to this magnificent stretch of coastline. Grab an ice cream at Gelato Messina or take a seaside stroll past Greenmount, Snapper Rocks and Point Danger. Wildly underrated, Coolangatta is a great choice if you need to get your beach fix while maintaining a good social distance from others.
Morans Falls, Lamington National Park. Photographed by Madeline Paulsen. Image supplied via Hunter and Bligh
Gold Coast Hinterland
If lush rainforests and flowing waterfalls are more your thing, then the Gold Coast Hinterland is the place for you. Reconnect with the outdoors on one of the many walking and hiking tracks and take in the jaw-dropping panoramic views from the mountaintop lookouts. Try Springbrook National Park for spots like Purling Brook Falls and Natural Arch; or check out Binna Burra, O’Reilley and Moran’s Falls at Lamington National Park. The ever-popular Tamborine Mountain is also another great destination to explore whether that be through a scenic walk or a picnic with a view.
Scenic Rim. Photographed by Matt Murray. Image via Shutterstock
Staying away from the coast and heading inland, the Scenic Rim is just as picturesque a region to visit as any. Encompassing the surrounding areas of Beaudesert, Boonah and Mount Barney, the Scenic Rim lives up to its name and is perfect for enjoying one of the best parts of any day trip: the drive. You can’t help but wind your way through the open countryside with your windows down and a smile on your face. For those who love the outdoors, have a go at one of the hiking trails at Moogerah Peaks National Park and Mount French, otherwise opt for a quiet waterside picnic at Lake Moogerah.
Picnic Point Lookout, Toowoomba. Photographed by Purmak Marina. Image via Shutterstock_
Heading west of Brisbane, you will find Queensland’s Garden City, Toowoomba. Its crisp air and beautiful parks are a gem in the Darling Downs region and are worth the near two hour drive to get there. Explore the town’s history at the Cobb + Co Museum and heritage walks or pick a grassy spot among the flowers for a nice picnic in the park. Laurel Bank and Queens Park should be at the top of your must-see list as well as Picnic Point, where you can take in sweeping views of the Lockyer Valley and Table Top Mountain.
Stradbroke Island. Photographed by Thicia Luiza Zuqui. Image via Unsplash
Thanks to the easing of restrictions, Stradbroke Island has now been reopened for day trips. Despite the popular holiday spot not allowing any weekend camping getaways or resort accommodation for now, there is still plenty of time to enjoy all the things that this island has to offer. Have a dip in the cool, tea-stained waters of Brown Lake or enjoy a walk around the stunning Blue Lake. Take in the coastal vistas on the North Gorge Walk around the Point Lookout headland – you can even try and spot some of the abundant wildlife while you’re at it. Just make sure to book your ferry ticket before you head off!
Glass House Mountains, Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Photographed by David Anton Anderson. Image via Shutterstock
Sunshine Coast Hinterland
If crisp, mountain air is what you’re craving then head north to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Start by stretching your legs with a hike at Mount Tibrogargan, Ngungun or Beerburrum in the Glass House Mountains region or go searching for waterfalls in the Kondalilla, Mapleton and Conondale National Parks. Next, visit the quaint town of Montville or take in the magical view of the surrounding landscape from Maleny. If you’re feeling a bit peckish, pop into the Kenilworth Country Bakery and give their 1kg Donut Challenge a go – you can even sip your coffee out of one! There is something for everyone in this region and it’s absolutely worth a visit (or two).
Noosa Heads. Photographed by Luisa Denu. Image via Unsplash
On the other end of the coastal spectrum that Brisbanites have access to is Noosa. Found on the Sunshine Coast this heavily frequented spot is known for its gentle waters at Main Beach, the plethora of boutiques and cafes on Hastings Street, as well as the Noosa River. Head up to Laguna Lookout that overlooks Noosa National Park or make your way around to Sunshine Beach for some stronger surf and fewer people. Being 138 kilometres from Brisbane, it’s almost as far north as you can venture at the moment so you might as well make every kilometre count.
Want to venture outside but still remain local to Brisbane’s CBD? Check out these seven best secluded walking tracks around Brisbane instead! Or, if you’d rather just stay indoors, these Brisbane cafes are offering takeaway and delivery on their brunch menu – so you never have to leave!
Featured Image: Lamington National Park. Photographed by Madeline Paulsen. Image supplied via Hunter and Bligh