Have you been spending way too much time indoors? You guys, you gotta get off that couch and slowly back away from the Netflix. If you live in Brisbane or are planning a trip and want to get outdoors, I’ve pulled together a whole bunch of the very best hikes and day-trips to stack your weekend with! These are a great opportunity to explore more of Brisbane, find some hidden and unique spots and get some much needed fresh air and sunshine. The hikes are also a very good way to stretch your legs and get in some sneaky exercise! Perfect for feeling healthy, happy and just generally great about life.
Jump in the car and take the 1.5 hour drive west, from Brisbane City to Toowoomba. It turns out, Toowoomba has quietly been cultivating an amazing food scene out there. You’ll find so many great restaurants and cafes as well as a slew of amazing thrift stores for savvy shoppers. Explore the local shops, immerse yourself in stunning views, go for a hike or drive through farmland.
Spend a day exploring Samford and Dayboro, sifting through antique shops and loading your car up with all your vintage finds. This area is home to quaint cafes and killer pub meals. We’re talking Devonshire Tea in the morning and a hearty pub roast with a nice cold beer for lunch. Be sure to stop in at the Famous Sausage Man to stock up on top-notch snags and visit some of the historic sights in the area, like the Dayboro Cottage.
3. Lamington National Park
Drive south to Canungra, grab a bite to eat then head into the Lamington National Park. You’ll find a whole host of walking trails and towering trees just waiting to be explored. Follow the winding road all the way to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and do the treetop walk, climbing up to the top of ancient figs for stunning views.
4. Venman Bushland National Park
You’ll find the Venman Bushland National Park on Brisbane’s Southside, about 25 minutes south of our fine city. This place is an oasis, offering up gorgeous, dense bushland as it’s one of the largest remaining areas of eucalyptus forest in the coastal lowlands near Brisbane, which means you might spot a Koala. Try the 2.5km Tingalpa Creek Circuit or the 7.5km Venman Circuit, winding along the banks of the Tingalpa Creek, through melaleuca swamp and the eucalyptus forests.
5. St Helena Island National Park
This beautiful little island happens to be one of the most historic in Queensland as it once served as a maximum-security prison for men. Not only can you recreate your favourite Orange Is The New Black scenes, but you can also explore the island to see a part of our region you’ve probably not seen before. Catch the boat over from Manly, spend a day exploring, then head back home.
6. Girraween National Park
It’s an all-day commitment, but it’s well worth it to take a trip out to Girraween National Park. The drive takes around 3 hours one-way, but who doesn’t love a good roadie? Once you’re there, you’ll be treated to a wonderland of bright blue sky, beautiful trees and massive granite boulders to play on. Warm-up with the 1.4km circuit to Granite Arch, then try the 3.4km return trip to The Pyramid or the 5.2km return trip to Castle Rock, both offer stunning views.
7. Purga Nature Reserve
It takes 50 minutes or so to drive from the heart of Brisbane to the beautiful Purga Nature Reserve. This hidden gem, South-West of Brisbane, is home to the largest protected area of endangered Swamp Tea Tree in the world as well as wallabies and koalas. The raised tea tree boardwalk is the perfect starting point, winding along the paperbark trees. Then, head out along the Melaleuca Circuit. Both are short but sweet, perfect for newbies and kids!
9. Tambourine Mountain
There are so many amazing viewpoints at Tambourine you’ll be spoilt for choice. Head down for the day and stop at as many as you can, soaking in views and snapping off beautiful photographs. The drive up is, of course, gorgeous, taking you through winding roads and bushland. Have lunch atop the mountain, stock up on fudge then drive home with a full belly. It’s nap time.
A slightly bigger commitment, but well worth the trip, you’ll find Stanthorpe offers up the perfect winter escape. Visit art galleries, the Granite Belt Brewery, take a trip to the beautiful Storm King dam, visit wineries and Suttons Juice Factory too. If you like to get active, try a hike through Girraween National Park. If you plan on visiting in spring, be sure to stop in at the amazing lavender farm.
10. Bunyaville Conservation Park
The Bunyaville Conservation Park is tucked between Albany Creek and Everton Hills. It offers some beautiful open spaces, perfect for kicking a footy around or setting up a well-deserved picnic post-hike. Warm-up with the short Tree Discovery Circuit then tackle the 1.6km Bunyaville Track, leading you through eucalyptus forests and beautiful bushland.
11. Daisy Hill Regional Park
Another Southside gem, the Daisy Hill Regional Park sits 25 minutes out of the city. Take the trip out to The Old Quarry, tucked deep inside the park and offering a really beautiful hidden escape from the world. Take the Stringybark trail from the carpark and head into the forest to the Buhot Creek Circuit. Continue along until you cross over to the Neville Lawrie Reserve, continue on a few more hundred metres to the quarry. The 3km walk will see you rewarded with the beautiful quarry, adorned with lily-pads and bouncing beautiful reflections off it. Also, it’s dog-friendly! (On-leash only).
Useful travel resources for your trip to Australia
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Agoda – for booking hotels
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Booking.com – for booking hotels
Motorhome Republic – for booking RVs
RentalCars.com – for car rentals
SCTI – for travel insurance
Skyscanner – for booking flights
Surfshark – for online security and VPN
TourRadar – for booking tours
Uber – for ground transport