If you’ve been dreaming about spending a day doing whatever you like when restrictions lift, or planning the ultimate romantic, chilled-out, weekend getaway, you’re not alone. And with restrictions starting to ease across Queensland, it’s time to make those dreams a reality. We’ve put together some great Queensland getaways to inspire you to escape for one to two days around Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
What do the easing of travel restrictions mean for Queensland?
With restrictions impacting almost every aspect of our life, it can be hard to keep up. So before you start planning a trip around Australia with fifty of your friends, let’s get the lowdown on what you can and cannot do from June 1 in Queensland.
The great news is that you can say goodbye to your lounge for a bit, because many of your favourite activities are back on. From June 1 unrestricted travel is allowed throughout Queensland, and tourist accommodation will be able to open. Restaurants, cafes and pubs will also be allowed to open, as will galleries and some tourist sites. All these places will be subject to restrictions on the number of visitors, changes to the way bookings are made, adhering to social distancing and illness reporting.
We checked the Queensland government website for information. Here’s a summary of the places that can open and activities that are permitted:
- Unlimited travel and overnight stays.
- Hiking, camping and recreational activities permitted in state and national parks.
- Cafes, licensed clubs, RSL clubs, hotels and casinos can operate (restricted to 20 people).
- Museums, galleries and historic sites can operate.
- Parks, public spaces and playgrounds can open.
- Travel, camping and tourist accommodation can open.
Day trips & fun city explorations
If you’re after some fun things to do in a day, we’ve got you covered. Below you’ll find a choice of great things to do in Brisbane, as well as ideas to get you out of town for the day.
1. Gardens: Brisbane City Botanic Gardens & Mount Coot-tha
For garden enthusiasts, Brisbane has two premiere botanic gardens to satisfy all your horticultural cravings. Brisbane’s oldest gardens, the City Botanic Gardens, sit alongside the Brisbane River and feature a Weeping Fig Avenue, ornamental ponds, and a mangrove boardwalk.
The Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mount Coot-tha (fifteen minutes from the CBD) are a living museum of native and exotic plants, featuring a Japanese garden, arid garden, Bonsai House, Lagoon, Bamboo Grove, waterfalls and Tropical Dome.
After marvelling at all types of exotic plants and flowers, get the best bird’s eye view of Brisbane from the top of Mount Coot-tha. Then go bush in Brisbane Forest Park and explore the extensive range of tracks through natural eucalypt forests, rainforest and waterfalls.
2. Walking on water: Brisbane Riverwalk & New Farm Park
Walk or ride along the Brisbane Riverwalk - the perfect way to get yourself moving and see Brisbane from a different vantage point. Start your journey at the City Botanic Gardens. Travel along the Brisbane River foreshore and then out across the water on a suspended boardwalk, before arriving at New Farm.
Relax waterside at the heritage listed New Farm Park, and enjoy a picnic. Go gourmet and grab a real Italian coffee, or order a wine and cheese hamper, from the famous New Farm Deli. This Brisbane institution has been providing original Italian fare to locals since 1975.
3. High in the hinterlands: Glasshouse Mountains to Montville
A leisurely road trip exploring the townships and scenery of the lush hinterlands is a great way to spend a day. Wind your way to The Glasshouse Mountains - an hour north of Brisbane - for amazing views across eleven volcanic peaks. Continue through idyllic rolling hills and explore the bohemian townships of Maleny and Montville, filled with boutique shopping and local produce.
4. Romantic day trip for foodies: Mount Tamborine
If you’re looking for a romantic way to spend the day, then Mount Tamborine, just an hour’s drive from Brisbane, has all the ingredients you need. This beautiful rainforest region is perfect for foodies and nature lovers.
Mount Tamborine National park has a series of short forest walks through untouched rainforest, and you can enjoy walking for 1.5 km, suspended high in the rainforest canopy at Rainforest Skywalk. Foodies will be in paradise with an array of premium handcrafted cheese, wine and beer, at local wineries and distilleries. And you can walk off the feasting by browsing the many boutiques in town. Most wineries will be open, but many are offering restricted services. To avoid disappointment, phone ahead or check for any changes to services before you arrive.
5. Move yourself: Gold Coast Oceanway
Get your body moving and work up a sweat, on the Gold Coast Oceanway. This 36 kilometre cycling and pedestrian path hugs the beach and travels from the Spit on the Gold Coast, all the way to Point Danger Lighthouse at Coolangatta. For a day trip, the four kilometre Gold Coast stretch will satisfy your craving for fresh air and sunshine.
6. Laidback beach hopping: Gold Coast
If you’re just hanging out for some chill time and sunshine, grab a towel and sunscreen and head to the Gold Coast for the day, to explore the smorgasbord of beaches on offer. It’s a tough choice choosing one, so why not choose them all!
Surfers Paradise: Skyscrapers, people, palms and a long boulevard for running, walking, and roller-blading, Surfers Paradise Beach is the main tourist hub.
Main Beach: Quieter than Surfers Beach, Main Beach gives you sand dunes, continuous white sand, as well as views across to Stradbroke Island. If you’re a walker, start here and keep on going - there’s 36 kilometres waiting for you.
Mermaid Beach: Beautiful and deserted most of the time, Mermaid Beach has everything you want in a beach - pristine, squeaky white sands to sink into. Keep walking to Nobby Beach, with plenty of local cafes serving great nosh.
Nobby Beach: Ugly name, but don’t judge. It’s named after the ‘nob’ of the headland. Walk the stair climb for 180 degree views.
Burleigh Heads: Norfolk Island pines edge this popular beach, where you’ll be rubbing shoulders with the locals. Fish and chips, coffee, pizza or a vegan nourish bowl - there’s something for everyone.
Currumbin Creek: Stunning white sands greet you on this laid back beach. It’s also the place to spot a dolphin pod.
Two day escapes
While there’s plenty to see and do in Queensland in a day, there’s even more to explore in a two night getaway. Walk through the ancient forests of Gondwana, sample fruits and wines from rich granite soils and town-hop your way deep into the Gold Coast hinterland. Relax for the night in a luxury B&B, eco resort or camp under the stars.
1. Romancing the stones: Stanthorpe
Large prehistoric granite outcrops and boulders feature heavily in the drive south-west of Brisbane to the town of Stanthorpe. The region is known as the Granite Belt, and it’s perfect if you’re looking for a romantic foodie getaway for a couple of days.
Only a three hour drive from Brisbane or the Gold Coast, the rich fertile soils produce an array of fresh produce and wine grapes. Travel the Strange Bird Wine Trail and discover local distilleries, before settling into your cosy accommodation for the night.
2. Wind down with the whales: Hervey Bay
If you’re looking for a beach getaway, that’s far from the crowds, then the three and a half hour drive north to Hervey Bay is worth it. Swim, kayak or go snorkelling or diving in the pristine waters. Walk along the 17 kilometre beach foreshore, edged by cafes, restaurants and boutiques. For the ultimate pampering, book yourself a massage or spa treatment.
Whale watching season begins in July, and with restrictions easing, tours are likely to be operating with restricted services. Make sure to check with tour operators before.
3. Glamping in Gondwana: Lamington National Park
If the sounds of birds, seeing rare animal species, and exploring ancient Gondwana forests appeals, a weekend getaway to Lamington National Park, staying in an eco resort will revive your senses. Lamington National Park has a choice of walking trails for all levels, including the amazing OReilly’s Treetop walk - which takes you across nine suspension bridges. Don’t miss Tooloona Circuit, which takes you past no less than thirteen waterfalls. A great place to watch the sunset is Moonlight Crag. A short walk takes you to a lookout, providing spectacular views.