8 awesome day trips Brisbane students need to take

While Brisbane is bustling with things to do, it’s nice to venture further afield to find those hidden gems located just outside the city. All within two hours’ drive of Brisbane, these cracking day trips are right on Brisbane’s doorstep.

While most are accessible using public transport – you can plan your journey here – we recommend going by car to reach your full exploration potential.

So what are you waiting for? Put your exploring caps on and visit these eight hot spots.

Venture to Stradbroke Island

Girl having a picnic overlooking the ocean

Just 30km off the coast of Brisbane, you can visit this subtropical paradise pretty much any time of year. Take the day easy by lounging on the beach and leisurely exploring the island, or partake in one or all of the many activities on offer including: swimming, bushwalking, whale watching, surfing and fishing.

However you choose to spend your day we recommend ending it with an ice-cream from Oceanic Gelati and Coffee Bar and heading to Point Lookout to watch the sunset.

To get to North Stradbroke Island from Brisbane you’ll need to make your way to Cleveland via bus, train or car and hop on a passenger ferry over to the island.

Head north to the Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast is a maximum 2-hour drive or train ride north of Brisbane, and is well worth the trip. With an abundance of activities on offer you won’t struggle to fill your day.

With plenty of beachside locations to choose from, head further up the coast to Noosa (a 1 hour 55 minute drive) or stay closer and visit Mooloolaba and Caloundra (1 hour and 20 minutes away). Each Sunshine Coast town has its own charms but all are ideal for the perfect beach day.

Swim at one of the many beaches, wander through Noosa National Park, take a dip in Gardners Falls, browse the Eumundi Markets, and in the cooler months go strawberry picking at Strawberry Fields.

Or south to the Gold Coast

Heading south from Brisbane you will find the Gold Coast. With extensive stretches of coastline you will easily find a suitable beach to set up camp for the day.

Had enough sun? Treat yourself in one of the many cafes, do some damage at the Harbourtown Outlet Shopping Centre, or venture into the hinterlands to check out Springbrook National Park.

The Gold Coast is easily accessible via car or train, but, if you choose the car route you’ll want to avoid peak hour traffic: Monday to Friday, 7-9am and 4-7pm.

Get adventurous on Moreton Island

Male and female sand tabogganing

Moreton Island is an adventurer’s dream. Located 40km off the coast of Brisbane, activities on the island include sand tobogganing, swimming, dolphin feeding, whale watching, fishing, snorkeling, hiking and surfing.

Keep in mind that some of these activities require pre-booking, so plan your trip accordingly.

To get to Moreton Island you will need to drive or uber to the Port of Brisbane and take the passenger ferry over.

Chill out in Byron Bay

A group of people walking on the beach

Want to venture into another state? Head south into New South Wales and say hello to Byron Bay. The drive is about 1 hour and 50 minutes via car, but Greyhound and Premier Coaches also make the trip.

Activities on offer include swimming, surfing, shopping and cafe hopping.

For something a little different book in skydiving and view Byron from above, chase the sun and watch it rise from the Byron Bay lighthouse, dolphin spot from The Pass or take in nature at the Cumbebin Swamp Nature Reserve.

Cut loose at theme parks

Brisbane has found itself quite central to the cacophony of surrounding theme parks. Ideal for thrillseekers of any age, there are six theme parks in easy driving distance – you’ll want to allocate a day to each. Dream World, Movie World, Wet ‘N’ Wild and Sea World are on the Gold Coast, and Underwater World and Aussie World – the little brothers of the theme parks – are on the Sunshine Coast.

Hot tip: buy your tickets online to avoid long queues, and BYO food and drinks to avoid overpriced purchases.

All of these theme parks provide plenty of free parking and public transport options.

Get a little wild at Australia Zoo

Koala sleeping in a tree

The original home of the Crocodile Hunter, Australia Zoo prides itself on conservation and education while simultaneously providing animal experiences like no other. You’ll get to meet over 100 different animal species and enjoy daily live shows.

Want to get up close and personal with the animals? Australia Zoo offers a multitude of experiences for an additional cost so you will want to budget accordingly.

You can easily get to Australia Zoo via car or train.

Become one with nature at Mt Tamborine

Woman overlooking rainforest from a viewing platform

An easy 1-hour drive from Brisbane will take you into the picturesque world that is Mt Tamborine.

Stroll through the Tamborine National Park, part of which is Queensland’s oldest national park – Witches Falls – and discover several waterfalls on the way. Visit Cameron Falls for a panoramic view; to experience the falls from the bottom head to Curtis Falls; and if you’re after a swim go to Cedar Creek Falls.

For a unique perspective, experience the rainforest from the sky with the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, and for those looking to indulge, try a winery tour at one of the mountain’s many wineries, or visit the award-winning Fudge Heaven for some sweet treats.

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