If you are wanting to hit the road and do a little exploring just outside of our fabulous city then you may want to check out some of these short day trips from Brisbane. With so many beautiful locations and attractions close by, these trips all offer easy and fun ways to fill a day without having to travel too far.
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Short Day Trips From Brisbane
Ipswich Day Trip
Ipswich, at only 30 minutes drive west of Brisbane, is an easy day trip that can be filled in so many wonderful ways on arrival. With numerous family-friendly activities and places to visit, you can leave early and plan a full day and still easily be back in Brisbane in the late afternoon.
Queens Park, found right in the heart of Ipswich, is one of our favourite places to visit. Spacious, open and home to a very impressive playground, the park has plenty of room to enjoy a picnic on the lawns or you can visit the delightful cafe situated right beside it too. The real highlight though is the Ipswich Nature Centre, found within Queens Park, a free animal reserve that showcases over 40 different species of wildlife, focusing on those creatures native to the region.
If you are looking to add a little creativity and culture to your day trip then a visit to the Ipswich Art Gallery is always a sure-fire winner with the kids too. Not only do they have amazing artwork and displays, the children’s gallery is known for its year-round child-centred exhibitions and activities.
For some more ideas on how to full your day, check out our article on the best things to do with kids in Ipswich.
Redcliffe Day Trip
Beautiful Redcliffe and its surrounding headland and beaches is the ultimate short day trip from Brisbane.
A short 40 minutes drive north of Brisbane, Redcliffe offers beautiful beaches, a laid-back atmosphere, great cafes and restaurants, beachside playgrounds, fishing, whale watching, Sunday markets and so much more. The Redcliffe Lagoon on Redcliffe’s foreshore is a wonderful family destination for swimming and water play. Located within the Settlement Cove recreational precinct, the saltwater lagoon is especially kid-friendly thanks to its graduated depth.
Another place to visit while there is the Redcliffe Museum. Free to enter and featuring a dedicated kids space, the museum offers visitors the chance to step back into local history and understand the story of Redcliffe.
Be sure to check out all of our ideas of things to do with kids in Redcliffe before planning your day.
Samford and Dayboro Day Trip
There is something a little special about a day trip to neighbouring Dayboro and Samford Valley. Only half an hour north-west of Brisbane but with a feeling on arrival that you are in another world, this region has a delightfully laid-back, country feel about it and is also extremely family-family.
Be sure to drive through Samford’s countryside and try to spot a kangaroo, cycle the bike trails alongside horse riders or browse the eclectic mix of stores and eateries along Main Street. Get your Harry Potter on at the Store of Requirement and visit the Samford Conservation Park for a relaxing picnic and some light bushwalking.
This picture was taken at the Samford Lifestyle Centre which features a range of different stores and offerings from a farm animal tour (for gold coin donation), a cafe, a nursery, a gift shop, and a curated book store.
While in the area, be sure to visit Dayboro too. They have an incredibly popular main bakery, playgrounds to explore and a wonderfully quaint main street to wander through as well.
Mount Tamborine Day Trip
We are seriously so lucky to live where we do, with places like the spectacular Mount Tamborine only 30 minutes drive from our city centre. Nestled halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Mt Tamborine is a an easy short day trip option and offers families an abundance of things to do once there.
Whether your aim is to laze with a picnic beneath sun-filtered tree canopies, cool off with a swim in crystal clear rock pools, get active and explore the many glorious tracks (at whatever pace suits you best), or immerse yourself in a world of lush green rainforest, there is seriously something for everyone here; offering the perfect reset that’s so close to home, but feels a world away.
Once you are done with the bushwalks, rockpools, skywalk, glow worm caves and other natural wonders, The Gallery Walk in the main street boasts over 70 art, craft, gift and knick-knack shops that are a delight to wander through slowly, even if your purse is feeling lighter than usual.
Check out our full list here of things to do with kids at Mount Tamborine.
Noosa Day Trip
Spectacular Noosa. Even if you have never been there before you would have definitely heard about its spectacular beaches, nearby mountains, national parks, wildlife, shopping and so much more.
Some highlights to check out when you arrive include the Noosa National Park – a wonderland of natural beauty. Take your time breathing in the ocean air and stopping at each lookout to spot the wildlife. Pods of dolphins, green sea turtles and whales (mid-June to October) frequent the coastline. When the weather is fine, explore the eight hectares which make up the Noosa Botanic Gardens or hike up the family-friendly Mt Coolum track.
With so many natural landscapes to explore, you can even fill your entire day with free activities to do with kids in Noosa. Be sure to check them out before you go to make the most of your day trip from Brisbane.
Springbrook National Park
With its stunning scenery of breathtaking panoramic views, lush rainforest and cascading waterfalls, as well as amazing wildlife and great bushwalks, Springbrook National Park is a spectacular day trip option from Brisbane.
Situated about an hour’s drive south of Brisbane, this national park has so many things to offer Brisbane families including many beautiful walks, from 30 metres long to 54 kilometres! With kids, we recommend doing the 30m walks to Wunburra Lookout and Canyon Lookout, Best of All Lookout and, for a nice easy walk on a sealed circuit track, the Natural Bridge Circuit is excellent. The Natural Bridge is a stunning natural arched cave with a waterfall cascading through a hole in the top. It is spectacular and even has glow worms at night!
Check out our list of things to do in Springbrook National Park with kids before you go.
Bribie Island Day Trip
Located in Moreton Bay, north of Brisbane, Bribie Island is the perfect destination for a short family day trip from Brisbane. In just over an hour of leaving the hustle and bustle of the city, you can be lying on a beach towel, making sandcastles and jumping waves on a beautiful, pristine beach, surrounded by stunning natural scenery and amazing wildlife.
On top of the amazing beaches and scenery, Bribie Island also has a rich and colourful history, which you can find out all about at the Bribie Island Seaside Museum. There are also many bushwalks and weekend markets to explore and a trip to Bribie would not be complete without dropping into the Sandstone Point Hotel, if only to visit their free animal farm and amazing playground.
Be sure to check out our complete list of fun things to do with kids on Bribie Island when planning your day trip.
Currumbin Day Trip
Currumbin, found at the end of a short hour’s drive from Brisbane, is a spectacular section of the Gold Coast that is the perfect natural playground for families. With pristine beaches, calm waters, rock pools, national parks, a wildlife sanctuary and an abundance of dining options, this is an easy winner for a great short day trip idea from Brisbane.
Get your wildlife fix at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, cool down in the Currumbin Rock Pools, try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding in the calm waters of Currumbin Creek or climb the stairs to the top of Elephant rock, a beloved Gold Coast landmark, for stunning views. You may even want to time your trip to take in the impressive Swell Sculpture Festival’s open air art gallery, which comes to life every September on Currumbin Beach.
Sunshine Coast Hinterland Day Trip
If you are looking for a short day trip from Brisbane that will provide you with breathtaking natural landscapes, mountain views and picturesque hillside towns, then a drive to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland towns of Montville, Maleny and Mapleton may be just what you need.
Set in the hills and only just over an hour’s drive from Brisbane, you will be spoilt for choice with craft shops, cheese stores, nature reserves, lookouts and more. Pack a picnic to enjoy at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, bush walk to Kondalilla Falls or simply enjoy a Devonshire Tea at one of the many cafes found along the main streets.
Be sure to plan your day out in full by checking out our lists of things to do in Maleny, Monville and Mapleton with kids.
Stradbroke Island, or “Straddie” as it is affectionately known by all the locals, has been a gem of the Australian south-eastern coastline for as long as we can remember. Surrounded by ocean and beaches and offering freshwater lagoons, rainforest walks and abundant wildlife, it is easy to see why the island is also one of South East Queensland’s most popular holiday destinations.
Although it is an island, the trip there is not a long one and families can easily get there, do all they want to do and be back in one day. The journey to the island takes 40-50 minutes for vehicle ferries and 20-25 minutes for the passenger water taxi. You can definitely travel to the island without a car, (there are plenty of buses).
North Stradbroke Island is known for its unique natural formations like Blue Lake and Brown Lake, its amazing surf and play beaches and the North Gorge Walk, which is one of the most iconic and breathtaking walks in Australia.
Check out our ideas of things to do on North Stradbroke Island with kids.
Scenic Rim Day Trip
Reading through this list and already I feel we are spoilt when it comes to where we live in this world, but add to it the Scenic Rim and it sinks in even more.
Roughly 1.5 hours from Brisbane, the Scenic Rim is an arc of spectacular mountains lying from the south of Beaudesert, around to the area south-west of Ipswich, and boasts stunning scenery, quaint country towns and plenty of activities for families. Canungra is a great place to stop to visit either Lamington National Park, O’Reillys Rainforest Retreat – or kids will love visiting the Mountview Alpaca Farm.
Lake Moogerah and Lake Maroon make for the perfect place for boating, camping and fishing, while the lovely rural towns of Kalbar, Roadvale, Harrisville, Peak Crossing and Rosevale all offer a delightful, country feel.
Explore more of what a Scenic Rim day trip has to offer families here.
Toowoomba Day Trip
Toowoomba, affectionately known as the ‘Garden City,’ is about a 90-minute drive west of Brisbane. While the area is known for its parks and gardens, there is also a deep history to explore and lots of things to do in Toowoomba with kids.
The State Heritage-listed Queens Park and Botanic Gardens features an abundance of spectacular gardens and monuments, while children and adults will be entertained for hours as they make their way around the Cobb and Co Museum. Visitors can take part in hands-on workshops, and interactive exhibitions, view a collection of historical carriages or have a bite to eat at the onsite café. The Japanese Gardens in Toowoomba, also known as Ju Raku En, is the most beautiful place to take the family to explore the many species of Japanese and Australian trees and plants.
If you are planning a day trip to Toowoomba, then check out our article on things to do with kids in Toowoomba.
With so many amazing places so close to home, what’s stopping you from packing the kids, a picnic and some swimmers in the car this weekend to show off this incredible part of the country we live in? What are your favourite short day trips from Brisbane too? We would love to hear!