What One of the last surviving examples of the ancient Gondwana forest that used to cover most of Australia thousands of years ago, Springbrook has lots of walking routes to choose from, ranging from 10-minute strolls to seven-hour hikes. Among the most impressive routes is the Warrie Circuit, a 17km return hike that goes deep into the mossy heartland of the rainforest, across creeks and pools at the foot of the canyon, past silvery waterfalls flowing from the cliffs above, and through numerous lookout points with mountain views that stretch on for miles. The Natural Bridge walk, which features huge Strangler Fig trees, natural caves with thousands of blue-green glow worms and ancient hoop pine trees originating from the Jurassic period, is also highly recommended. Springbrook is home to many native creatures including koalas, pademelons (small, kangaroo-like marsupials), and endangered tree frogs, such as the tiny cascade tree frog, the red-eyed tree frog and the tusked frog, all of which you can view in their natural habitat.
Where? Springbrook Mountain is an hour-and-a-half drive from Brisbane.
What This subtropical rainforest will invigorate you with fresh mountain air as you try to spot over 160 species of bird (as well as kangaroos, koalas, platypus and other native animals) and listen to the soundtrack of a thousand chirps, buzzes, plant rustles and the occasional “eh-eh-eh-eh” from a passing pouched frog. Despite its height, Mount Warning is fairly easy to climb due to its zig-zagged route which creates a relatively low incline, and the reward as you ascend is panoramic views of the Tweed Valley. While you’re in the area, head over to the nearby mountain town of Murwillumbah to see the Tweed Regional art gallery, explore the independent craft shops and health food stores and, if you head into the countryside, visit the banana plantations.
Where Mount Warning is an hour-and-a-half drive from Brisbane.
What Founded in 1927, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is the oldest and largest koala sanctuary in the world and is home to over 100 native species of wildlife. This family-friendly park will fascinate animal lovers of all ages. You could meet the koalas, hang out with free-roaming kangaroos and wallabies, attend a raptor show and watch as the huge birds of prey show off their flying skills, be photographed holding a giant snake, watch the Tasmanian devils being fed and make a visit to see the platypus.
Where The sanctuary is a 15-minute drive from Brisbane.
What The quintessential Australian beach, Surfers Paradise is a 2km stretch of white sand surrounded by shops, restaurants, clubs and bars. It’s famous for its surfer-friendly waves and there are many surf schools where you can learn to ride the water. Surfers Paradise attracts millions of visitors a year and is very popular with young people and children, but if you’re looking for a quieter beach, there are plenty of other options close by. Rainbow Bay and Greenmount Beach are the only two north-facing beaches on the Gold Coast and have significantly gentler waves if you fancy a swim, while Main Beach is great for anyone who just wants to lie back, relax and listen to the waves.
Where Surfers Paradise is a one-hour drive from Brisbane.
What Moreton Island is the third-largest sand island in the world, with some seriously big dunes. If you’re up to a challenge, climb Mount Tempest, the largest coastal sand dune on earth, standing at 285 metres. If not, there are tons of other activities to choose from. Adventurous travellers can try sand-boarding or go scuba diving in Flinders Reef, a pristine coral reef with over 175 species of fish. You can also snorkel through the shipwrecks at Tangalooma, or go whale watching at Moreton Bay. Want to just kick back and relax? Head down to the Blue Lagoon and sink into the tea-tree-oil-infused depths of this freshwater pool, or visit the secluded beach at Honeymoon Bay.
Where The island is 40km away from Brisbane by ferry.