7 must-do day trips before summer is up

Lamington National Park rhysdunmall feature

Believe it or not, there’s only six weeks of summer left. Grab your mates and pack up the car, here are seven must-do day trips to go on before summer ends. The best part? They’re all under a two hours’ drive from the Brisbane CBD. Whether you love hikes, national park adventures, waterfalls or the beach, there is an adventure or two in this list for everyone. 

Please note: due to recent bushfires that may have affected some of the destinations listed below, please check online for safety warnings or alerts prior to your visit.

Lamington National Park

Travel time from Brisbane CBD: approx. 1.5 hours

Known for its section of the Gondwana Rainforest, Lamington National Park is a sight for sore eyes. With both short and sprawling walks through the park’s forest, stunning lookouts, waterfalls and more, there is something for every adventure lover to enjoy. If you’re after an absolutely stunning view, Python Rock is the lookout for the whole family – it’s even wheelchair accessible! Enjoy a relaxed day off spent sipping wine at O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards or even pitch a tent at nearby camping spots if you are wanting to spend a few extra days in the area.

Image IG: @rhysdunmall – sunset at Lamington National Park

Moreton Island adventure

Travel time from Brisbane CBD: 20 minute drive to Holt St Wharf, Pinkenba + 75 minute ferry which leaves every 2-3 hours.

Not only is Moreton Island home to some of the greatest seafood in the world, there’s plenty to see and do including snorkelling and scuba diving in the crystal-clear waters of Flinders Reef, heart-racing tobogganing and learning about the history of the island from World War II. 

We also highly recommend stopping by for a swim at the popular Blue Lagoon, visiting Cape Moreton Lighthouse and feeding the wild dolphins at sunset. Yep, that’s right. You can say g’day to a handful of bottlenose dolphins when they visit the Tangalooma Island Resort jetty for some dinner! And of course, you can’t go to Moreton Island without checking out the shipwrecks. Grab a snorkel and spot tonnes of tropical fish, coral and turtles living around the ships.

And last, but certainly not least, if you’re after a picturesque view, we recommend you climb Mount Tempest. The sand mountain has a 285 meter climb but the sweat you’ll break on the way up is absolutely worth the 360-degree views boasting the beauty of the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.

Image IG: @adventure_division – Moreton Island barge

Visit the world’s oldest koala sanctuary

Travel time from Brisbane CBD: approx. 20 minutes drive.

You can’t deny it – everybody enjoys holding a cuddly koala. 

The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary was founded in 1927 making it the world’s oldest and biggest koala sanctuary… and it’s on our back-door step in Fig Tree Pocket! Lone Pine is home to 70 species of native Australian wildlife including 130 koalas. Other species include platypus, crocodile, kangaroo, the Tasmanian devil, the southern cassowary, freshwater turtles, birds and stacks more. 

The sanctuary is open seven days a week, from 9am-5pm. Day entry for an adult is $42 and entry for a child, student or senior is $25. For more information visit koala.net

Please note: there are 28 stairs to climb to enter the koala sanctuary.

Image: Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary – cuddle train

Splash around at North Stradbroke Island

Almost every Brisbane resident has taken a little camping trip to Straddie, but did you know that it’s possible to do it in a day? Yep, we dare you to clear your schedule for just a day and head over to North Stradbroke Island for some idyllic views, good times and incredible marine life. And you don’t even have to pitch a tent! (Although, we know that once you’re there you never want to leave.)

There are too many “must-do” experiences at Straddie than we can count, but here are just a handful that we highly recommend:

  • North Gorge Walk: Located at the north western end of Point Lookout, this gorgeous walk has some amazing views. At the Gorge you’ll have a vantage point to see dolphins and whales (June – Nov). Find jagged headland on one side, natural bushland on the other, and keep an eye out for the Blow Hole! Access via Moloomba Road opposite Fishes Cafe and Oceanic Gelati Shop.
  • Turtle nesting: Catch the experience of a lifetime from Dec – Feb on Frenchman’s and Deadman’s beaches. Turtles travel from as far as Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia to lay their eggs, which hatch later in the season. Did you know Moreton Bay is the only place in the world where turtles and dugongs still live on the doorstep of a major city?
  • Go diving at Manta Ray Bommie: the Manta Ray Bommie dive site, located just off Point Lookout, is mentioned by Queensland Tourism as one of the state’s best dive sites… and they’re not wrong! There’s a good chance you will spot manta rays, fish, coral, turtles and leopard sharks on your dive.
  • Kayak tour: Calling all moderate to experienced kayakers, the Peel Island kayak is a must-do. The sea kayak voyage passes the platypus shipwreck just off the island, which sank in 1930. And before you head home, you’ll even get the chance to snorkel around the wreck. For more information about the tour click here.

While you’re on the island, be sure to also check out the historical museum and the Salt Water Murris Quandamooka Art Gallery! And if you happen to be there on a Sunday during school holidays, stop by at the markets at Point Lookout Bowls Club on Dickson Way.

Image IG: @floboniface – North Stradbroke Island

Take a drive to Montville and Maleny, tucked away in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Travel time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour 30 minutes (with tolls).

From dairies, restaurants, waterfalls and farmland to niche shops and views that are to die for, the Sunshine Coast Hinterland’s Montville and Maleny are a must-see. Treat yourself to a relaxing day of arts, culture and food from some of the best artisans the Sunshine Coast has to offer.

Home to Maleny Diaries, Gardner’s Falls, Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve and much more, Maleny is a must-see. Mesmerise yourself with it’s stunning natural spaces and even pop into the Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World on your way through.

Just 15 minutes drive north of Maleny is Montville – one of the Sunshine Coast’s best destinations. Montville is home to Kondalila falls, local shops, art galleries and the iconic Chapel – a popular wedding spot. We recommend stopping by Montville’s Edge Café which overlooks the lush hinterland with stunning panoramic views. For anyone who has a sweet tooth, make sure you also pop in to Fudgyboombahs for some delicious sweet treats before the drive home.

Image: The Edge Montville

Take a drive to Mount Tamborine

Travel time from Brisbane CBD: approx. 1 hour.

From bushwalks and treetop challenges to full-day wine tours and glow worm caves, Mount Tamborine sure is full of adventures. Before summer is over, this spectacular part of Queensland is definitely worth a day trip. 

Why not hop on The Vino Bus and tour your way through Mount Tamborine’s many wineries, distilleries, craft breweries and even a cheese factory (this is a great one for a date or getaway for mums and dads!). Stop by the popular Cedar Creek Estate Glow Worm Caves for a unique adventure. Trust us, they’re spectacular. Did you know Cedar Creek is the only place in Queensland where you can see Glow Worms during the day? How cool is that! And lastly, for all the thrill-seekers out there, we recommend you register for the TreeTop Challenge high ropes adventure with rope courses for all levels. It’s sure to be a memorable experience.

Image IG: @Bax.tr

Mount Mee

Travel time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour, 10 minutes

With postcard worthy views, bush walks, waterfalls and wineries, Mount Mee is the place you want to visit this summer. Take the day off and spend it on a hinterland day trip or even make a weekend of it. For breathtaking views of the Glass House Mountains, the coastline and Brisbane CBD, head down to Dahmongah Lookout Park on Mount Mee Road. The area is grassed, so you can even pack a picnic blanket and some snacks while you soak up the view. Mount Mee is part of the D’Aguilar Range, home to the national park and the well-known Rocky Hole. Photographers, this is a day trip you’ll want to whip out your best lenses for, it’s a stellar shot.

Image: _blissfulnomad_ – Rocky Hole Mt Mee