Discover regional produce, vineyards and wineries, cute boutiques and stunning views, all just a few hours’ drive from Brisbane. Here are five of my favourite spots for day trips from Brisbane, whether you prefer shopping, swimming, bushwalking or soaking up the vibe at stylish cafes.

Scenic Rim

You’ll find plenty of country charm at the Scenic Rim, a picturesque rural area located in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range two hours south of Brisbane. Stalls selling everything from local avocados to freshly cut roses line the grassy roadside and everything is impossibly green. Canungra Valley Vineyards is perfect for a picnic lunch before you tackle the drive up the mountain. There are two roads to choose from, both stunning in their own way. Narrow switchbacks offer plenty of white-knuckle thrills on the way to O’Reilly’s Plateau whereas the winding road to Binna Burra is a little more sedate with beautiful views. At O’Reilly’s you’ll find brilliantly coloured parrots in every colour of the rainbow, a free tree top canopy walk and well-signed trails winding through the rainforest. Binna Burra is easier and quicker to reach and has some truly spectacular walks. If you have time, why not visit both?

Treetop walk at O’Reilly’s

The Blackhall Ranges

High on the Blackhall Ranges you’ll find Maleny and Montville, two pretty rural communities with an artistic heritage and a stunning ridge-top location. Montville is a popular tourist hub where galleries line the street, sitting side by side with quaint gift shops and cafes serving Devonshire tea. A picturesque 10 minute drive away you’ll find Maleny, a laid-back country town with a friendly, community vibe and excellent cooking schools. Hone your wok skills with a Stir Crazy session, cook Thai-inspired Dude Food or whip up tasty yum cha treats at a Dim Sum and Then Some class at the Spirit House. Spicers Tamarind offers ranging from French and Italian to bread making and delectable desserts. Nearby you’ll find Spa Anise where romantics can enjoy a private steam and spa overlooking rolling green hills prior to their treatment.

Learn to cook great Thai food at Spicers Tamarind

Ingredients at Spicers Tamarind cooking school

Mt Tamborine

This pretty mountaintop community is an easy 40 minute drive from the Gold Coast but feels like a world away. Galleries and restaurants line the picturesque main street known as Gallery Walk and Queensland’s oldest national park, Tamborine Mountain National Park, offers stunning scenery and impressive views of the distant high rise. Wineries and providores are scattered throughout the area which means stumbling across yet another lovely place to stop is part of the fun.

Shopping along Gallery Walk

Moreton Island
It’s hard to believe this natural wonderland is just 75 minutes from Brisbane, with the ferry terminal located just 10 minutes from Brisbane Airport by taxi.  Moreton Island is home to the world’s highest coastal dune – Mount Tempest – which offers stunning views of the surrounding area but most people come here to feed the wild dolphins which have been visiting the Tangalooma Island Resort jetty since the 70s. If would like to swim with some underwater wonders, there is a snorkelling tour of the Tangalooma Wrecks dive and snorkel site, home to stingrays, wobbegong sharks and a kaleidoscope of colourful tropical fish. If you would prefer to stay dry, a Segway tour offers a unique way to enjoy Moreton Island’s pristine surrounds.

Snorkel on Moreton Island


Noosa has always been known for its natural beauty and there are many ways to enjoy it. Go for a walk in the National Park or explore the Noosa Biosphere Reserve, a series of freshwater tidal parklands covering 150,000 hectares. Noosa Everglades Discovery run serene boat tours which glide through dark tannin-stained water that acts like a mirror, reflecting the beauty of the surrounding bush. Hastings Street is a top spot for shopping with an impressive choice of boutiques and homeware stores. If you feel like a coffee or a glass of wine, drop into Aromas Noosa where wicker chairs face outwards in classic European style and everyone comes to see and be seen. If you are after something more low key, million dollar views can be yours for the price of a drink at the Noosa Heads Surf Club. There is no better spot for a beer on a lazy Sunday afternoon and the chicken parmigiana is a delicious blast from the past.

Shopping along Hastings Street at Noosa

Disclosure: The writer is always keen to jump in her VW Beetle and set off on an adventure from her hometown.