National Parks in Toowoomba
This regional capital in Darling Downs, southern Queensland, is less than two hours drive from Brisbane City. A wealth of activities is on offer making a weekend in Toowoomba well-suited to everyone. The Cobb and Co Museum for which Toowoomba is famous should be first on your list. See old horse-drawn vehicles, enter the national carriage factory, peek at fossils found in the local area and discover more about the Indigenous culture of the region. Animal-lovers will enjoy cosying up to the critters at Darling Downs Zoo.
For more immersive history lessons, stop in at Downs Steam Tourist Railway or Royal Bull’s Head Inn, a colonial homestead from the 19th century. To experience the glory of the Great Dividing Range, take your lunch to Picnic Point Lookout and Parkland. National Parks near Toowoomba also make for a great day out – check out the red cedars of Ravensbourne National Park and the eucalypts of Crows Nest National Park.
Gold Coast - best known for theme parks
This Queensland city just over an hour south of Brisbane certainly goes for gold. Best known for its theme parks, Gold Coast is worth a visit if you want to meet superheroes in Movie World, fly sky-high in Dreamworld, dive deep into Sea World and get wet at Whitewater World or Wet ‘n’ Wild. For run-ins with native wildlife, spend a day feeding lorikeets at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and meeting koalas and crocs at David Fleay Wildlife Park.
Nature lovers will find everything they’re after at Mount Tambourine, where you can embark on a Rainforest Walk, Treetop Challenge and explore glow worm caves and waterfalls. For more thrills, try out Air Factory Trampoline Park, iFly Indoor Skydiving and King Tutt’s Putt Putt, before cooling off in the famous Gold Coast beaches. The crowd-pleasers are Burleigh Heads, Broadbeach, Coolangatta and Rainbow Bay
Coastal beach fun on the Sunshine Coast
The Sunshine Coast lives up to its name when it comes to its summery vibes and great beaches. Caloundra is the easiest to get to from Brisbane, with the lovely Bulcock Beach and Pumicestone Passage marine park to enjoy by SUP, kayak or boat ride. Mooloolaba has an awesome patrolled beach and a delicious line-up of family-friendly eateries such as the Surf Club and Augello’s Pizzeria. Head into the hinterland for a scenic drive along Blackhall Range Tourist Drive and to marvel at the magnificent Glass House Mountains. Hit the track in Noosa with a coastal walk through Noosa Heads National Park, or enjoy the Saturday morning markets of Eumundi. At the southern end of the Sunshine Coast, an hour from Brisbane lies Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo in Beerwah.
Whale watching in Fraser Island and Hervey Bay
Head even further north to chase the tropical sun of Hervey Bay, approximately three and a half hours from Brisbane. Walk along the delightful Esplanade, and from June to October, keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales. Offshore, you’ll find Australia’s most famous sand island, Fraser Island. This beach paradise is perfect for a long weekend, but too far to venture for one night. You can go four-wheel-driving on 75 Mile Beach, check out the shipwreck at Eurong Beach, and enjoy a refreshing swim at Lake Mackenzie, the Champagne Pools or Eli Creek.