Brisbane is surrounded by sun-kissed tropical beaches, cosy hinterland retreats and relaxed coastal towns. We take a look at some of the great places you can drive to from the Queensland capital in two hours or less.
Whether you're the athletic type, a romantic, an eco-tourist, adventure seeker, travelling with your family or love the outdoors, Queensland has a getaway location for you!
One and a half hours by car north of Brisbane is the Sunshine Coast.
The beaches of the Sunshine Coast, such as Kings Beach, Golden Beach and Sunshine Beach, are great for action seekers and families alikei. The alluring golden sands call for surfing, swimming, sandcastles and much more! For a more soothing beach experience, opt for the 27km-longii Caloundra Coastal walk, which begins at Golden Beach and finishes at Point Cartwright in Kawanaii.
To get a glimpse of the area's natural heritage, take a boat cruise through Caloundra's Pumicestone Passage marine park or hire a kayak to explore the area on your own. Along the way you can spot bottlenose dolphins, the wreck of the SS Avon, pelicans, black swans, and 40 species of shorebirdsiii. For an amazing experience, check out the Bellingham Maze in Tanawha, which is only an hour's drive from Brisbane. Bellingham Maze features a huge garden maze, a tyre maze, a rope maze, two tile puzzle mazes, a wooden maze and a huge mini golf courseiii. In the surrounding area, you'll find other amusement parks such as Underwater World and Aussie World.
Noosa is another popular Sunshine Coast destination. Its attractive beaches, such as Noosa Main Beach or Noosa Spit, shopping strips, trendy cafes and bars are the perfect combination for a relaxing holiday. A short while away is Noosa National Park: go on a walking trail through the ancient coastal forest to see koala habitats and cool down near a cascade. For a similar experience, visit the Sunshine Coast hinterlands where you can see the impressive Glasshouse Mountains and the 120m high Mapleton Falls in the Mapleton Falls National Parkiv.
The world-famous Gold Coast is just an hour south-west of Brisbane. It boasts beaches such as Surfers Paradise Beach, Broadbeach and Main Beach, which draw over 10 million visitors each yearv. Surfers Paradise offers 14 shopping centres and arcades that are open till late 7 days a weekvi. A large number of nightclubs, pubs, bars and clubs offer visitors night-time fun.
Nearby Tamborine Mountain and surrounds offers a selection of boutique wineries, breweries, restaurants, art galleries, and rustic hideaways. A wide range of local produce is grown or made in the area including avocadoes, kiwifruits, macadamia nuts, cheeses and mouth-watering fudgevii.
There are also walking trails on and above the ground! The Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk allows an intimate exploration of the rainforest. The journey starts through the middle and upper canopies of the rainforest, and slowly descends to the low canopy where you can see rock pools and butterflies, until you reach the rainforest floorviii. South-west from the Gold Coast, you'll find Lamington National Park, which also offers its own Tree Top Walkway and marked walking trails.
Action-packed fun can be had at the theme parks that the Gold Coast is renowned for. Warner Bros Movie World, Dreamworld, Sea World, Infinity Attraction, and Wet'n'Wild - to name a few - will be sure to set your heart racing.
South of Brisbane, near the NSW border, are the areas of Kingscliff, Hastings Point and Byron Bay. These places have beautiful beaches such as Tallow Beach and Kingscliff Beach, and a relaxed feel to them. Byron Bay, home to Cape Byron, the most easterly point of Australiaix is popular with local and international tourists alike. Here you'll find the Cape Byron Lighthouse, the Cape Byron Headland Reserve, regional markets and a relaxed vibe. The surrounding Byron hinterland is perfect for bushwalks, camping and picnics. Discover the nightcap oak, Albert's lyrebird and Fleay's barred frog on the round-trip bushwalk to Minyon Falls in the Nightcap National Parkx.
Remember to pack your swimmers for any day trip from Brisbane because the temptation of diving into cool water will be ever present, no matter which location you find yourself in.