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While the rest of the country anxiously awaits the arrival of summer, our northern neighbours in Brisbane have been revelling in near-year-round sunshine. For them, it’s not so much about getting out of the city to escape the chill – it’s about breaking free of their comfort zones.
From learning to surf at Coolum to exploring the epic Tamborine Mountain, these are some of the most adventurous things you can do on day trips around Brisbane and South East Queensland.
Feast your eyes on the incredible sights of Tamborine Mountain. Just an hour South of Brisbane City, this natural wonderland comprises multiple exciting attractions in one. Savour the natural splendour of the mountain as you check out Tamborine Mountain Distillery, as well as the awesome Tree Top Challenge, which includes 11 flying foxes and high rope courses. Or if you want to dig deeper into the wine, spirit and craft beers found along the Tamborine Mountain Food Trail, you could always take a guided wine tour to kick things up a notch. The showstopper, however, is the Rainforest Skywalk, a spectacular 1.5km elevated walkway through the rainforest’s stunning middle and upper canopies.
A much sought after Brisbane-area day trip for over 130 years, Sandgate still offers a delightfully historic colonial escape for the city-weary. Cute 1950s-era boutiques, heritage buildings, preserved Victorian villas and the 150-year-old Shorncliffe Pier greet the budding day-tripper, not to mention some of the most charmingly calm coastline in the region (all just a short drive 16km north of the CBD).
Just 90 minutes’ drive from the Brisbane CBD, a day out in the surf among the stunning beaches of the Sunshine Coast is always on the cards. Consider going one further next time you head north: learn how to surf with a beginners surf lessons at Coolum Beach, held each morning from 9 to 11am. You’ll be riding your first wave in no time at all.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Nestled on the outskirts of Brisbane, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is the world’s first and largest sanctuary of its kind, with a cast of over 130 furry residents. Situated a convenient 12km from the centre of Brisbane, get up and close with your koala brethren, hand feed a few friendly local kangaroos, and learn all about some of Australia’s most cherished and unique wildlife.
Jetboating On The Gold Coast
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If you’re running short on time, you can pack a bunch of sightseeing into a quick spin around the Gold Coast’s famous waterfront – literally. Perfect for thrill-seekers, jetboat rides are a completely safe way to up your adrenaline levels.
Described as a “roller coaster on water”, around a dozen daredevils are fitted with life vests and strapped into the specially designed boats before cutting across the waves at incredible speed. Operating on a policy of “the wetter, the better”, drivers expertly spin the jetboats a full 360 degrees for 55 thrilling minutes.
There are a number of experienced jetboat operators on the Gold Coast, with 55-minute tours starting at around $60 for adults and $45 for children. Best of all, the action is only an hour’s drive from Brisbane.
Sleepy Redcliffe was once the number one coastal getaway for 19th Century Brisbanites, and it still holds its own as a charming coastal retreat. Decades before Stayin’ Alive dominated the ’70s disco airwaves, The Bee Gees – brothers Barry, Maurice and Robin – called this place home. Check out their heritage, feed some pelicans, disconnect from the hustle and tune into Redcliffe’s relaxed vibes. The best part is you’re only 40 minutes from the city (and just another 40 minutes to the awesome beaches of the Sunshine Coast).
As well as its gorgeous stretch of golden sand, one of the Sunshine Coast’s most sought-after drawcards is the Original Eumundi Market. Open rain, hail or shine every Wednesday and Saturday, Eumundi is an art, craft and homeware lover’s delight: a bountiful hub of artisan stalls, boutiques, and live entertainment. Get your palm read by a soothsayer, dine on delicious treats at the market’s sumptuous food stands, and take home a few handmade goodies for the trip home.
If north, south, east or west doesn’t exactly float your boat, head up instead – 14,000 feet directly up to be precise. Take to the skies at Sunshine Coast’s Coolum Beach and feel the rush with a life-changing tandem skydive – a sure-fire way to bust free from comfort zone peril.
Springbrook National Park
Often, the best days out are ones spent among the revitalising beauty of nature. Springbrook National Park is one of Queensland’s true wonders: a remarkable ancient forest wilderness formed from a 23 million-year-old volcano. Get delightfully lost in Springbrook’s magical canopies of strangler figs, glow-in-the-dark mushrooms, wild vines, giant boulders, fern groves and all the fascinating critters and characters that live within them.
RACQ offers discounts on many of Brisbane and South East Queensland’s incredible day trip experiences – find out more here. Not an RACQ member? Join the club with RACQ Lifestyle for only $26 and start your adventure!
Cam Hassard is an international penman, sax-wielder and rogue wayfarer who writes for Junkee, Carryology, Huckberry, Caddie, Fairfax Media, Carryology, Intrepid, Peregrine Adventures and Europe Up Close. He’s eaten ant salad in Laos, hauled trucks from NYC to Vegas, and destroyed himself on the Camino de Santiago. Originally from Melbourne, he currently calls Berlin home.