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6 big days out in Queensland

Discover the sunshine state’s best day-trips, from picturesque towns and idyllic islands to renowned national parks and more in between. 


Queensland’s famed weather may be beautiful one day, perfect the next, but take nothing away from the state’s awe-inspiring natural beauty, splendid attractions and diverse holiday destinations. Here are six big day-trips worth short-listing on any Queensland adventure. 


It’s only located a 40-minute drive west of Brisbane, but Ipswich is full of cultural, architectural and gastronomical surprises. The leafy historical town features gorgeous Queenslander homes, historical buildings, a fabulous antiques centre, a craft brewery, delightful cafes, award-winning restaurants, and Queensland’s first park – the manicured gardens of Queens Park – which is also home to its very own wildlife sanctuary. 


Located a beautiful one-hour drive south-west from the sunny Gold Coast through the surrounding hinterland, the World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park is an ideal day trip. Magnificent Gondwana Rainforest trees meet raging waterfalls, densely forested mountains and two former volcanoes – but rest assured, they haven’t erupted in over 20 million years so you’re safe to admire the region’s geology up close. Best of all, you can easily explore this diverse environment via a network of walking tracks. 


A full-day tour from bustling Brisbane will take you to picturesque North Stradbroke Island, where natural beauty abounds and a population of wild kangaroos and koalas awaits you. Spend the afternoon swimming in the surf or a freshwater lake, taking short hikes to coastal viewpoints, or looking for marine life including whales, dolphins, turtles and manta rays in the waters of Moreton Bay. There’s only one problem – you may find it hard to leave at the end of the day. 



For a different island experience, leave your base at Hervey Bay to take a self-guided or organised 4WD-vehicle day tour of Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island. Stretching over 120 kilometres, Fraser Island is filled with natural highlights and iconic spots. Your exhilarating 4WD adventure along pristine Seventy-Five Mile Beach will reveal the historic S.S. Maheno shipwreck and the eye-catching sand cliffs of the Pinnacles. You’ll have a chance to marvel at postcard-worthy Lake McKenzie and float down the freshwater of Eli Creek. 


If you like packing in the fun from morning to sunset, you’ll love a Sunshine Coast Hinterland day trip from Brisbane. Aside from the iconic beaches, highlights include the lively, open-air Eumundi Markets which date back to 1979, the world’s largest ginger factories in Yandina, and of course Noosa, the popular resort area famous for its impressive surf flanked by cafes and boutiques. You might even squeeze in a visit to the lovely rural town of Montville and the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve – 55 hectares of subtropical rainforest that overlooks the landscape surrounding the craggy peaks of the National Heritage-listed Glass House Mountains. 


When it comes to exploring the rainforests of Tropical North Queensland, Daintree National Park gets a lot of attention – and for good reason. But a trip to the less popular (and less crowded!) Atherton Tablelands will not disappoint nature lovers. If anything, the relative serenity of this lush region of rainforest is what makes it so special. The Atherton Tablelands start just south-west of Cairns and rise more than 700 metres above sea level. The plateau is rich in unique Australian wildlife as well as spectacular natural sights and wonderful local produce. Make sure you find time for an easy walk to the waterfalls: Josephine Falls, Millaa Millaa Falls and Dinner Falls.