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10 Best Weekend Getaways from Brisbane

When you live in the city, escaping for the weekend presents the perfect opportunity to relax, refresh and rejuvenate. With or without the kids. South-eat Queensland has so much to offer in terms of things to do and popular places to visit – hence this list of the best weekend getaways from Brisbane!

Whether you prefer the idea of exploring the hinterland of the Gold or Sunshine Coast, taking a trip on a ferry to a tropical island, visiting a popular place like Byron Bay or Noosa or escaping it all at a national park or in the mountains, these are the best places for a weekend away from Brisbane.

From bustling Surfers Paradise to idyllic beaches, unspoiled landscapes or away-from-it-all islands, this guide will show you all the best places to take short breaks from Brisbane.  

Let’s get started so you can find your perfect weekend getaway. Brisbane is such a great place to live when it comes to taking a break from the city! As you’ll discover if you continue reading. 

10 of the Best Weekend Getaways from Brisbane

1. North Stradbroke Island

Stradbroke Island with Kids
Blue Lake on North Stradbroke Island

Best for Aboriginal art

  • Where: About a 2 hour drive from Brisbane with ferry crossing
  • Why: Beaches, swimming, sports, wildlife and marine life
  • Stay over here

North Stradbroke Island – or simply Stradbroke Island or even Straddie to the locals – is among the most popular spots for a weekend away from Brisbane. It’s equally suited to families and those seeking romantic getaways near Brisbane. You can drive there, taking the ferry across from Toondah Harbour in Cleveland.

Things to do on North Stradbroke Island

You can be just as active or lazy as you please on the island. Swim in Brown Lake, Blue Lake or Lake Bummiera, or take a dip in the ocean. Go surfing, kayaking, snorkelling, fishing or sandboarding, play golf or bowls, take a hike along the Goompi Trail or the North Gorge Walk, gaze at Aboriginal art or delve into local history. You might also spot whales between late May and early November from Point Lookout.

We wrote a detailed article about things to do on North Stradbroke Island here.

Where to stay on North Stradbroke Island

Find more North Stradbroke Island accommodation here

2. Glass House Mountains

romantic getaways Brisbane

Best for fresh mountain air

  • Where: About a 1 hour drive from Brisbane
  • Why: Walking trails, lookout points, hinterland towns and Australia Zoo
  • Stay over here

The Glass House Mountains in the Sunshine Coast hinterland are only around an hour’s drive from the city. So staying in this area makes great weekend escapes from Brisbane when you’re short on time. 

Things to do in the Glass House Mountains

Spend a weekend away from Brisbane here and you can explore the national park via the hiking trails of the area. There’s a visitor centre, trails for all levels of fitness and plenty of lookout points offering stunning panoramas. You can also visit Australia Zoo on Steve Irwin Way in Beerwah, or visit hinterland towns such as Montville and Maleny. 

Where to stay in the Glass House Mountains

Find more Glass House Mountains accommodation here

3. Lamington National Park


Best for Scenic Rim views

  • Where: About a 1.5 hour drive from Brisbane
  • Why: Subtropical rainforest, Scenic Rim views, wineries and restaurants
  • Stay over here

National Parks in Queensland offer another option for those seeking weekend trips from Brisbane. Lamington National Park is only around 90 minutes’ drive from the city. 

Things to do in Lamington National Park

In the Lamington National Park area you can enjoy stunning views of the Scenic Rim region, venture into the subtropical rainforest or visit the top-level local restaurants and wineries. Look out for local wildlife, find your favourite waterfall, take to the trails or savour a fine dining or winery experience. 

Where to stay in Lamington National Park

Find more Lamington National Park accommodation here

4. Tangalooma Island Resort

Tangalooma Palm Trees

Best for a luxury getaway

  • Where: About a 1.25 hour passenger ferry crossing from Brisbane
  • Why: Tropical island resort with pools, water sports, beaches and restaurants
  • Stay over here

Tangalooma Island Resort is easy to reach by ferry from Holt Street Wharf in Brisbane. The crossing takes about 75 minutes, and is for foot passengers only. It’s one of those Brisbane weekend trips that makes you feel like you’re very far removed from the city and everyday life. 

Things to do at Tangalooma Island Resort

If you book short breaks from Brisbane at Tangalooma, the resort has a wealth of amenities to enjoy. You can laze on the beach, snorkel among shipwrecks, explore by 4WD or kayak, swim, go fishing or even take a scenic helicopter flight. 

The resort also offers several restaurants, including one by the sea. There’s also swimming pools, a bar and a beachfront location. You can book a range of spacious units, rooms and suites at Tangalooma Island Resort. 

We wrote about our holiday on Tangalooma here.

Book Tangalooma Island Resort accommodation here

5. Moreton Island

Moreton Island

Best for a glamping break

  • Where: About a 1.5 hour passenger ferry crossing from Brisbane
  • Why: Glamping, water sports, wildlife, 4WD trips and beautiful beaches 
  • Stay over here

You can also hop onto the Tangalooma passenger ferry to access Moreton Island from Brisbane. It’s a great place for immersing yourself in the culture of Quandamooka’s Ngugi people. Or for adventurous types searching for relatively cheap weekend getaways near Brisbane. 

Things to do on Moreton Island

Life on Moreton Island is all about driving on the sand in a 4WD, enjoying the opportunities offered by the ocean or cooking by the campfire. It’s a back-to-basics experience with added luxury, thanks to Castaways Moreton Island accommodation. Swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, snorkelling and glamping are all activities to take part in here. 

Where to stay on Moreton Island

Castaways Moreton Island supplies glamping accommodation on the island. You can book tented bungalows for families or couples, or a three bedroom apartment. The resort offers a garden with BBQ facilities, a restaurant and a private beach area. 

Book Castaways Moreton Island accommodation here

6. Byron Bay

Byron Bay lighthouse

Best for beautiful beaches

  • Where: About a 2 hour drive from Brisbane
  • Why: Surfing, body boarding, diving, beach life and Cape Byron lighthouse
  • Stay over here

It may be in New South Wales, but Byron Bay is only under two hours by car from Brisbane. The town has grown from a hippy hangout to one of Australia’s most popular beach resorts. Now, this exceptionally beautiful stretch of coastline is a playground for the jet-set as well as Queenslanders. If you’re looking for 3 day trips from Brisbane, Byron could be spot-on. 

Things to do in Byron Bay

Byron Bay is about beach life, and is a favourite place to surf and bodyboard. The stretch of beaches here is magnificent, so if you simply want to kick back and relax, there’s no better place to do just that. Byron also offers upmarket dining, shopping and resorts. Don’t miss Cape Byron Lighthouse, especially at sunrise or sunset.

Where to stay in Byron Bay

Find more Byron Bay accommodation here

7. Mount Tamborine

Mount Tamborine Gold Coast Queensland Australia

Best for winding down

  • Where: About a 1 hour drive from Brisbane
  • Why: Tranquil surrounds, easy bushwalks, away from the city
  • Stay over here

Mount Tamborine in the Gold Coast hinterland is ideal for those seeking weekend road trips from Brisbane – without too far to drive. Whether it’s romantic or family weekend getaways from Brisbane you want, this is a place where you can all truly wind down. 

Things to do at Mount Tamborine

Mount Tamborine is a place offering lots of relaxing pastimes for all the family – or just the two of you without the kids. Visit the great cafes, restaurants and wineries of the area and burn it all off by taking the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk. See the fascinating Glow Worm Caves, explore the botanic gardens, swim in the rock pools, picnic by the lake or stroll through subtropical rainforest. 

Where to stay at Mount Tamborine

We wrote a huge round up of all the best things to do on Mount Tamborine here.

Find more Mount Tamborine accommodation here

8. Surfers Paradise

Things to do on the Gold Coast with kids - Surfers Paradise River Cruise

Best for glitz and kitsch 

  • Where: About a 1 hour drive from Brisbane
  • Why: Surfing, shopping, dining, sun, fun and family attractions
  • Stay over here

Surfers is only about an hour north of Brisbane. Yes, it’s a built-up resort that can be tacky in parts, but it’s also got one of the best surfing beaches in the world. Hence the name! You’ll never be stuck for something to do in Surfers, which is why it makes one of the best overnight trips from Brisbane. 

Things to do in Surfers Paradise

If you can tear yourself away from the broad sweep of golden sand fronting the ocean in Surfers, you’ll find there’s lots more to do. The world is your oyster when it comes to shopping and dining, and there are options for all budgets. There are plenty of tourist attractions to entertain visitors of all ages – from Ripley’s Believe It Or Not or Timezone to the Q1 Skypoint observation deck.

Where to stay in Surfers Paradise

Find all the best things to do on the Gold Coast with kids here.

Find more Surfers Paradise accommodation here

9. Bribie Island

Woorim Beach - Bribie Island

Best for bridge access

  • Where: About a 1 hour & 45 minutes drive from Brisbane
  • Why: Surfing, swimming, wildlife, a marine park and 4WD trips
  • Stay over here

Bribie Island completes the trio of islands in Moreton Bay – the other two being Moreton and North Stradbroke. This is the smallest, but is also the easiest to reach as there’s a bridge you can drive over. The trip takes about an hour-and-three-quarters, so it’s ideal for a family or couples’ getaway from Brisbane. 

Things to do on Bribie Island

Bribie Island’s attraction lies largely in the fact that there’s a very relaxed pace of life here. There are good surfing and swimming beaches, plus a marine park. You can also venture into the bush to look out for local fauna and flora, or take a trip by 4WD. 

Our two favourite beaches on Bribie and Woorim Beach (pictured above) and Bongaree Beach. Beautiful!

Where to stay on Bribie Island

Find more Bribie Island accommodation here

10. Noosa

things to do in noosa with kids

Best for laid-back loveliness

  • Where: About 2 hour drive from Brisbane
  • Why: Sun-drenched beaches, shopping, cafes, nature and wildlife
  • Stay over here

Noosa is one of the Sunshine Coast’s loveliest and most laid-back spots. It’s perfect for weekend getaways near Brisbane, and the drive takes only a couple of hours. There’s a lot to do here, or you can simply sit back and enjoy beach life. 

Things to do in Noosa

You can explore Noosa National Park by kayak, where you might even find a stretch of sand to call your own. Alternatively, dip into the appealing cafes and boutiques of the Hastings Street area, or take the coastal trail to see koalas at Tea Tree Bay. You can also discover Noosa Botanic Gardens and Lake MacDonald – and much more!

We wrote about the best things to do in Noosa with kids here. Rainy? We wrote about what to do in Noosa when it rains here.

Where to stay in Noosa

  • The Lookout Resort Noosa: 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments with pool, spa, gym, gardens and BBQ area in Noosa Heads
  • RACV Noosa Resort: Apartments, Suites and Villas with pools, water slides, spa, gym, tennis courts, playground, restaurant and bar in Noosa Heads
  • Picture Point Terraces: Apartments with pool, sauna, hot tub and gym in Noosa Heads

Find more Noosa accommodation here

Weekend getaways from Brisbane | final thoughts

Whether you want to take family getaways from Brisbane or romantic getaways near Brisbane without the kids in tow, there are some great options to pick between. Which will it be – a glitzy resort, a tropical island, a glamping break or an escape to the mountains? Whatever you choose, Brisbane residents sure are spoiled for choice when it comes to spending quality time outside the city!

Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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