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Best Weekend Getaway from Brisbane

Best Weekend Getaway from Brisbane

Ah, the glorious anticipation of a weekend getaway from Brisbane! The city’s hustle and bustle gets traded for the promise of adventure, relaxation, and, let’s be honest, a little escape from the daily grind.

Whether you’re a seasoned explorer or a weekend warrior, Brisbane’s doorstep is a treasure trove of escapades waiting to unfold.

So, grab your backpack (or suitcase if you’re feeling fancy), throw in a bit of excitement and a dash of sunscreen, because we’re about to embark on a journey that’s all about embracing the “out of office” spirit – even if it’s just for the weekend!

1. Mount Tamborine

Mount Tamborine
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Location: Gold Coast Hinterland

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour

Nestled within the lush Gold Coast Hinterland, Mount Tamborine is an idyllic weekend escape from Brisbane’s bustle. A mere hour’s drive away, this charming retreat offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.

Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or a family excursion, Mount Tamborine caters to all.

Set against the backdrop of serene rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and scenic valleys, this destination invites you to explore its numerous walking trails, take refreshing dips in rock pools, and indulge in delectable local wines and produce.

With its myriad of activities, from savoring culinary delights at local cafes and restaurants to wandering through the enchanting Glow Worm Caves, there’s something for everyone.

Whether you choose to meander through botanic gardens, bask by the lake, or stroll through the subtropical rainforest, Mount Tamborine promises a weekend of relaxation and reconnection.

Pro tips:Rise early to witness the sun’s golden rays pierce through the rainforest canopy. Head to Curtis Falls for a serene morning walk and be rewarded with the mesmerizing sight of the falls cascading amidst lush greenery.

2. North Stradbroke Island

North Stradbroke Island
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Location: Moreton Bay

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 2 hours with ferry crossing

North Stradbroke Island is just a ferry ride away from the bustling streets of Brisbane. Whether you opt for a leisurely barge journey with your vehicle or the swifter passenger ferry, this island escape promises a plethora of delights.

One of the go-to spots is the Amity Point for a camping rendezvous, but the island unfolds a spectrum of North Stradbroke Island accommodation choices, catering to diverse preferences.

North Stradbroke Island can cater to every whim whether you wade into crystalline waters, glide down sand dunes, and embark on an exploration of the beguiling Blue and Brown Lakes.

You can also traverse the Gorge Walk at Point Lookout to discover a thriving haven of native fauna including koalas, kangaroos, and a maritime world teeming with dolphins, pelicans, and even majestic whales.

Though the wonders can be savored within a single weekend, those seeking to relish the island’s full bounty may opt for a leisurely three-day expedition.

While the barge’s fare might not align with the category of pocket-friendly Brisbane getaways, North Stradbroke Island remains a cherished haven for nature enthusiasts, luring families and couples alike.

Pro tips: If you’re visiting between May and November, don’t miss the chance to spot whales from Point Lookout. It’s a breathtaking sight and a memory you’ll cherish. Bring binoculars and your camera too. When taking the ferry, consider reserving your spot in advance, especially during peak times. Also, keep an eye on the ferry schedule, as it can fill up quickly on weekends.

3. Noosa

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Location: Sunshine Coast

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 2 hours

Noosa is one of the ultimate weekend getaways from Brisbane located a mere two-hour drive away. With its laid-back ambiance and captivating beach life, Noosa is an ideal destination to unwind and rejuvenate. 

From exploring the untouched beauty of Noosa National Park by kayak to strolling along the iconic Hastings Street, the options are diverse. You might even spot koalas along the coastal trail at Tea Tree Bay.

Noosa isn’t just about the coastline – you can venture to Noosa Botanic Gardens and Lake MacDonald for a different perspective. This slice of paradise offers something for everyone, whether you’re seeking beachfront serenity or an active escapade.

As the sun sets over the horizon, Noosa’s charming cafes and boutiques come to life, allowing you to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Pro tips:Hire a kayak or boat and navigate the tranquil waters of Noosa Spit. It’s like finding your own secret island – a perfect spot to unwind, read, or simply soak up the sun away from the crowds.

4. Glass House Mountains

Glass House Mountains
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Location: Sunshine Coast

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour

Just a short hour’s drive away, these ancient volcanic peaks rise majestically, offering a perfect escape for city dwellers seeking nature’s embrace.

A weekend here is an invitation to explore the wonders of the Glass House Mountains National Park. You can hike through well-marked trails and catch your breath at lookout points that unveil panoramic vistas.

Don’t miss the chance to conquer Mount Tibrogargan or Mount Ngungun – with each trail catering to various fitness levels. The Glass House Mountains Visitor and Interpretive Centre adds a touch of history and local insight to your adventure.

You can also venture into nearby hinterland towns like charming Maleny and artsy Montville. And if wildlife intrigues you, Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo awaits, ensuring your weekend is packed with memories.

Pro tips: Be sure to pack sturdy hiking shoes, sunscreen, insect repellent, and plenty of water. The trails can be rocky, and the sun can be fierce. Staying comfortable and hydrated enhances the experience.

5. Tangalooma Island Resort

Tangalooma Island Resort
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Location: Moreton Island

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1.25 hour passenger ferry crossing

Tangalooma Island Resort is a haven of relaxation just a short ferry ride away from Brisbane. This gem beckons with its easy accessibility, reachable in a mere 75-minute foot-passenger ferry ride from Holt Street Wharf.

Here, you can bask on pristine beaches, snorkel amidst captivating shipwrecks, venture into the wild by 4WD or kayak, and immerse yourself in the refreshing azure waters.

As the sun sets, indulge in the joy of dolphin feeding and explore the vibrant marine life that surrounds you.

The resort, nestled along the beachfront, extends a warm invitation with its variety of accommodations, including studio rooms, self-contained apartments, and spacious holiday homes.

With a range of restaurants, cafes, swimming pools, and the fascination of wildlife encounters, Tangalooma Island Resort presents a seamless fusion of relaxation and adventure, creating a quintessential tropical escape that’s closer than you think.

Pro tips: Tangalooma offers a host of activities so to ensure you get the slots you desire, pre-book activities before your trip. This guarantees you won’t miss out on the experiences that pique your interest. Delight in the resort’s dining options, offering a blend of delectable seafood and island-inspired dishes. Embrace the opportunity to savor the fresh catch of the day while enjoying breathtaking views of the ocean.

6. Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise
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Location: Gold Coast

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour

Surfers Paradise, a mere hour’s drive north of Brisbane, is a world-renowned surfing beach that truly steals the show.

The name says it all! This dynamic haven is a haven of activity, making it a prime choice for a weekend getaway that’s brimming with options.

Amidst the shopping and dining delights catering to all tastes and budgets, you’ll find an array of tourist attractions designed to captivate all ages. From Ripley’s Believe It Or Not to the Q1 Skypoint observation deck, the choices are as abundant as the ocean’s waves.

Accommodation options abound to suit various preferences. Whether it’s the ocean-view apartments, the stylish abodes of Meriton Suites, or the family-friendly haven of Surfers Aquarius on the Beach, you’re sure to find the perfect abode.

Pro tips: Surfers Paradise comes alive at night with its bustling entertainment scene. Plan to experience the dazzling lights of Cavill Avenue, where you can find lively bars, clubs, and street performers. While the beach is a major draw, venture beyond the shorelines to discover the vibrant local culture. Explore nearby markets, art galleries, and boutiques along the Esplanade.

7. Lamington National Park

Lamington National Park
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Location: Scenic Rim

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1.5 hours

Lamington National Park is located just 90 minutes away from Brisbane and is an ideal sanctuary for those seeking rejuvenation in nature.

Amid the lush greenery, you can embark on immersive rainforest explorations, tracing pathways adorned with enchanting waterfalls and refreshing rock pools.

For a touch of indulgence, the area boasts top-tier restaurants and wineries that tantalize the taste buds. Nature enthusiasts can also look forward to captivating wildlife encounters and soul-soothing bird songs.

O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, renowned for its guided wildlife walks and iconic Tree Top Walk, invites guests to connect with the natural world. For an even more extraordinary escape, Nightfall offers luxurious glamping experiences amidst the rainforest’s embrace.

Pro tips: Lamington is a haven for bird lovers. Bring along a pair of binoculars and a bird guidebook. Engage in a peaceful morning by spotting and identifying the diverse avian species that call the rainforest home.

8. Bribie Island

Bribie Island
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Location: Moreton Bay

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour and 45 minutes

Nestled in the embrace of Moreton Bay, Bribie Island is an ideal choice for families or couples seeking a relaxed sojourn, just an hour-and-three-quarters away.

What sets Bribie Island apart is its unhurried pace of life. Here, you can revel in the simple joys of beach life, with options ranging from tranquil shores to exhilarating surf breaks.

The Pumicestone Passage, a protected marine park, offers a haven for water enthusiasts while framing breathtaking sunsets against the backdrop of the Glass Mountains.

For those enamored by nature’s beauty, bushwalks through the Bribie National Park unveil an array of local fauna, from kangaroos to wallabies.

Whether you’re drawn to its sandy beaches, abundant wildlife, or a community imbued with warmth, Bribie Island stands as a testament to the joys of a well-deserved weekend escape.

Pro tips: Whether you’re an experienced angler or a novice, try your luck at catching some local fish! Beyond the beaches, Bribie Island offers some wonderful coastal walks that reveal stunning views and unique landscapes. 

9. Byron Bay

Byron Bay
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Location: New South Wales

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 2 hours

Situated just across the border in New South Wales, Byron Bay is a leisurely drive of under two hours. This coastal haven has evolved from its hippy roots into a sophisticated beach retreat.

With stunning beaches and close proximity to Brisbane, it’s a haven for surfers and sun-seekers alike seeking memorable 3-day getaways.

Whether you’re riding the waves, strolling along the golden sands, or indulging in upmarket dining and shopping, the town offers an irresistible blend of relaxation and luxury.

One iconic highlight is the Cape Byron Lighthouse, a must-visit spot that promises breathtaking sunrise and sunset views against the backdrop of the vast ocean. For accommodation, choose from an array of well-appointed options that cater to different preferences.

Whether you opt for The Bower’s tranquil poolside retreats, Byron Quarter Apartments’ central convenience, or the coastal charm of Gosamara Apartments, you’ll find comfort that enhances your Byron Bay experience.

Pro tips: Join the sunset drum circle on Main Beach if you’re in town over the weekend. This community gathering is a unique Byron Bay tradition where people come together to play music, dance, and celebrate the day’s end. Byron Bay is known for its vibrant local markets with an array of fresh produce and handcrafted goods. Be sure to explore the Byron Bay Markets or the Bangalow Markets if they’re open.

10. Broadbeach

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Location: Gold Coast

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Nestled on the Gold Coast, Broadbeach offers a delightful escape from city life. It’s often considered the more refined counterpart to its lively neighbor, Surfers Paradise.

With its stunning beaches, family-friendly amenities, and an array of dining and shopping options, Broadbeach is a prime example of the fantastic weekend getaways near Brisbane.

During the warm summer months, the beach boasts an enticing playground that will keep the little ones entertained. If you want to beat the heat, the Pacific Fair Shopping Centre awaits, brimming with shops, cinemas, and dining spots.

Nearby, the Broadbeach Mall offers more shopping delights, while a monorail ride to the Star Casino provides family-friendly dining options.

Dining in Broadbeach is a treat, with a variety of family restaurants and cafes to choose from. And if you’re an adventurer, the tram conveniently connects you to neighboring beaches.

Pro tips: As the sun starts to set, take a leisurely stroll along the beachfront promenade. The soft hues of dusk cast a magical ambiance, and you’ll find street performers, live music, and the joyful buzz of the evening crowd.

11. Stanthorpe

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Location: Southern Downs, Granite Belt Region

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 2 hours and 45 minutes

When it comes to weekend escapes from Brisbane, Stanthorpe stands out as a delightful choice, especially during the cooler winter months. It’s just a few hours’ drive southwest of Brisbane near the New South Wales border

Stanthorpe offers a blend of rustic charm and family-friendly attractions, making it an ideal destination for both wine enthusiasts and those seeking a relaxed getaway.

The highlight of Stanthorpe is its array of wineries. Beyond the vineyards, the region is renowned for its delectable local produce, including apples, cheese, truffles, and olives.

The nearby Girraween and Bald Rock National Parks offer scenic hiking trails, inviting outdoor enthusiasts to explore the natural beauty of the area.

For families, Stanthorpe surprises with its kid-friendly attractions. From savoring locally crafted treats to interacting with farm animals, there’s a range of experiences for every member of the family.

Don’t miss the chance to stay in unique cabins or luxurious accommodations, such as those offered at the Granite Brewery Retreat.

Pro tips: From sampling fresh apples to indulging in artisan cheeses and truffle-infused delicacies, make a point to immerse yourself in these local products. If you’re keen on hiking through Girraween or Bald Rock National Parks, plan your trails in advance. Carry comfortable walking shoes, ample water, and a camera to capture the breathtaking landscapes and unique rock formations.

12. Moreton Island

Moreton Island
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Location: Moreton Bay

Travel time from Brisbane CBD: 1.5 hour passenger ferry crossing from Brisbane

Moreton Island, situated off the coast of Brisbane in the pristine waters of Moreton Bay, is accessible via the Tangalooma passenger ferry.

For those seeking adventure on a budget, Moreton Island serves as an ideal haven. focusing on back-to-basics experiences complemented by touches of luxury.

Try to picture days filled with 4WD sand escapades, ocean exploits, and evenings by campfires under starlit skies. Here, swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing, and even glamping are on the menu.

Even without a 4WD, you can camp on pristine beaches or opt for the comfort of Castaways’ luxurious glamping tents.

Pro tips: To make the most of your limited time, plan your activities in advance. Research the must-visit spots like the Moreton Islands Wrecks for snorkeling, and the best trails for 4WD adventures. As you explore the island, practice responsible tourism by respecting its fragile ecosystem. Stay on designated tracks, avoid feeding wildlife, and take your rubbish with you. This ensures that Moreton Island remains a pristine haven.
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