If there’s one thing you can say about ol’ South-East Queensland, it’s that choosing a road trip destination for all those weekend wanderlust feels is no easy feat. With the beach, mountains, rainforest and many a quaint country town at our fingertips, how are we supposed to decide where to go and what to see on our weekend adventure?
Psh, don’t you worry about a thing because we've got you covered; pack up the car with supplies (bulk cheese, of course) and pick one of the best road trips around Brisbane. What can we say, we’re givers.
Located only an hour’s drive northwest of Brisbane, Mt Mee is a must-see for any road trip enthusiasts worth the name. The winding roads will take you through an idyllic country town, vineyards, waterfalls worth chasing and stunning views over lush, rolling hills. Start your adventure by heading up to Pitstop Café on top of the Mt Mee ridge, a tin-shed-turned-memorabilia-filled-café that offers jaw-dropping views over the valley below. Then, head to the nearby Ocean View Estate Winery – with a stop at the llama cottage on the way for some quality petting time, of course – for lunch with the perfect vino accompaniment overlooking a lake. Life is just so hard sometimes, you know?
Nestled in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Montville is the quaint mountain town you didn’t know you needed in your life but absolutely do. With a population of only about 900, Montville is overflowing with fashion boutiques, independent art galleries and stylish cafes dotted amongst leafy, paved streets. It also just so happens to be the starting point of a few hiking trails that will leave nature lovers jumping for joy. A picnic beside the gushing waterfall that is Kondalila National Falls, anyone? After your walk, head to Brouhaha Brewery for a cold beer brewed on site and a share plate made of locally-sourced produce aimed at showcasing the best flavours of the Sunshine Coast Region. Time to don your best stretchy pants, friends.
Baroon Pocket Dam
Guys, did you know Queensland has its very own European-esque lake, located smack bang in the middle between Montville and North Maleny. Okay, so Baroon Pocket Dam is technically more of a reservoir than a lake, but the lush greenery framing the banks and the crystal-clear water don’t exactly make it hard to pretend otherwise. One of the quieter waterways in the area - with only electric powered boats and paddle craft allowed on the water - Baroon Pocket Dam is the perfect place for a lazy Sunday afternoon swim. Or you could kick back in the shade of a leafy tree with a picnic basket and your favourite people. Heck, why not do both? We’re chronic wanderers, not the police. You do you, friends.
North Stradbroke Island
No road trip guide would be complete without a mention of North Stradbroke Island. North Straddie is the place that Brisbaneites go to relax and the closest thing we have to a tropical island paradise. Adventure lovers can finally tick learning how to surf off the bucket list at Point Lookout, or lend your board skills to something a little bit more land-based with sand surfing. Hikers are spoilt for choice with the iconic North Gorge Walk and challenging Whale Walk within easy distance. But, since you’ll be hitting up Straddie in your vehicle of choice, the real island experience can only be had by four-wheel-driving on the beach. Let’s be real: are you even a Queenslander if you’ve never driven on Stradbroke Island’s golden sand?
Springbrook National Park
If driving through sub-tropical rainforests are more your style than beaches, Springbrook National Park was practically made for you. Located in the Gold Coast Hinterland, Springbrook National Park is home to waterfalls worth chasing and the must-see Natural Bridge, marking the site where a natural rock formation forms a bridge over a magical, water-filled grotto below. But do you want to know the best part? The five most prominent points of interest in Springbrook are entirely accessible by car, or by car in combination with a short walk. Score! We’re talking a forest drive, followed by a visit to a lookout that offers killer views across New South Wales to Byron Bay and finished with lunch next to a gushing waterfall. BRB, going to pack the car.
Long considered the forest getaway for Brisbaneites everywhere, Mt Tamborine is a lush mountain paradise well worth gathering the squad and piling into the car for. Start your adventure with a hike to Curtis Falls for one killer Instagram pic, then head to town to shop your way through Tamborine’s thriving independent artisan culture. Then, pick one of the many award-winning wineries dotting the region for lunch and decide on which adventure activity to tackle next. Personally, we’d go with a glow worm tour – because who doesn’t love a good encounter with glow worms - but you could also try your hand at the Mt Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk or hot air ballooning. See what we mean? Mt Tamborine pretty much has it all and we are so on board.
Lost World Valley
Cradled on one side by the dramatic mountains of Lamington National Park and on the other by the rock pools of Christmas Creek, the Lost World Valley is a hidden gem well worth discovering. With a location only a 90 minute drive south of Brisbane, the Lost World Valley covers everything from farm stays in real-life working farms to luxury glamping at Christmas Creek that just so happens to include a massage amid the gently bubbling waters of the creek. In the activities department, you can choose between horse-riding, enjoying the true farm-to-fork experience with a hamper from Tommerup’s Dairy Farm or book in for a class at Wild Lime Cooking School that will familiarise you with using wild ingredients in cooking. Adorable baby animals, next-level glamping AND a cooking class? Sign us the heck up!
Looking for a holiday with a little bit more oomph? Make sure to check out this ultimate adventure holiday courtesy of our Canadian friends.
Image credit: Jessica Pridmore