Sure, Brisbane city is awesome (we’re definitely a fan) and it’s no lie that there’s endless nooks and crannies that are out there to explore. But sometimes you’ve just got to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy what nature has to offer. That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to round up the most beautiful outdoor spots around Brisbane you’ve never been to but probably should. Bust out those bucket lists guys, it’s time to tick a few off.
Enoggera Dam is easily one of Brisbane’s best swimming holes and is a local secret we are not afraid to shed light on. First built in 1866, this heritage-listed man-made lake comes to life on the weekends as swimmers from across the Brisbane pump-up their floaties and head to this secluded beach to escape the heat. If swimming isn't really your thing, you could also throw on your walking shoes for a jaunt on the Araucaria Track, a 5km circuit around the edge of the reservoir offering stunning views, or head to the Wildlife Centre for a chance to view the elusive platypus. Located in the middle of the Gap’s D’Aguilar National Park, Enoggera Dam is the perfect escape to lush green nature without the hassle of having to drive very far from Brisbane. Now that sounds like a win-win to us.
J.C. Slaughter Falls
This one might take a little planning, but it is more than worth the trip. After a downpour J.C. Slaughter Falls becomes a gushing waterfall, framed by a stunning gorge, providing the perfect backdrop for those Instagram shots you’ve had in mind. For the hiker-at-heart, you can follow a track all the way past the falls to the top of Mt Coot-tha to drink in those killer panoramic views, or you could always chill out in the picnic area with some cheese and nibblies. When it comes to weekend exploring, the world is your oyster friends. Just don't do what we did and go for a dip when it's bone dry.
Keen to jet off on an island holiday but can’t afford those exxy resort prices? Why not just hop on the ferry from Victoria Point and head out to Brisbane’s very own island paradise: Coochiemudlo Island. Colloquially known as Coochie, this teensy island is home to 4km of beautiful, surfless beaches, which is perfect for those amongst us with kids or just the casual beach relaxer. Nicknamed the jewel of Moreton Bay, Coochie is a must-see for those of us dying to get away but who have limited holiday time. Just don’t forget to tag us in your Instagram photos.
If island-living doesn’t sound like your sort of thing, you could always spend an afternoon kicking back at Nudgee Beach, home to nothing but blue skies and sand. The closest beach to the CBD, Nudgee Beach also offers a generous off-leash dog beach so you can bring your fluffy better half along as you relax after a long week. Nature lovers are also in for a treat, as the beach is bordered on two sides by mangroves home to a diverse variety of protected Australian birdlife. Just make sure your fur-baby doesn’t take off after those birds, as any disruption to their habitat can net you a hefty fine – which is not a great a way to end a weekend escape. Remember, looking after the environment is cool, guys!
Maiala National Park
Located only 45 minutes from the CBD, Mount Glorious is a slice of rainforest paradise within the D’Aguilar Range. Featuring such native delights as tropical birds, brightly-coloured parrots, and massive trees, Mount Glorious is home to a kind of peaceful atmosphere that we can’t seem to get enough of. The hilltop also offers a few small cafes for the perfect breakfast pit-stop before you meander through the many walking tracks available. Did someone say Sunday plans are sorted? We’re definitely down.
Tropical Display Dome At Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens
Mt Coot-tha’s Botanical Gardens are home to a variety of natural splendour, including a Japanese garden, an arid zone (succulent lovers listen up), and the star attraction, a tropical greenhouse that makes you feel as if you’ve been transported to (much prettier) pre-historic time. Boasting a glass lattice roof, the Tropical Display Dome is home to a number of plants that wouldn’t normally grow in Brisbane, which is perfect for the nature-lovers amongst us who are looking for something different. Don’t forget to stop in on the Bonsai House on your way out for a chance to grab a peek out over 100 plants.
The Valley Of Lakes
The result of a junction where three man-made lakes —Lake Atkinson, Lake Somerset and Lake Wivenhoe— combine, the Valley of Lakes is absolutely stunning and a great spot to kick back with a picnic and soak up some Vitamin D. Water sports are also popular in the area if you’re lucky enough to have access to a boat, or you can simply chill out underneath one of the gazebos dotting the landscape as you watch the plethora of native wildlife calling the valley home. Plus, you’ll drive through Mount Glorious on your way, so you can tick two things off the list in one go #NailedIt
Scarborough Beach Park
Move over Whitehaven, there’s a new best beach on the block and it’s only a half hour drive away from Brisbane. Scarborough Beach, located in Redcliffe, is one of the local area’s best kept secrets for a very good reason — the locals want to keep it for themselves. Featuring stunning blue water and white sand pretty enough for a postcard, Scarborough Beach is what Queensland’s beach culture is all about. At low tide, the waters of Scarborough only reach to about knee-deep and Moreton Bay shelters it from the unpredictable weather of the open water, making it the ideal spot for a chilled family bonding sesh. Yeah, we’re packing our bags too.
Need more local travel inspiration? Check out these stunning spots you had no idea were near Brisbane