Spend the next long weekend exploring the beautiful Brisbane region.
Have too many of your long weekends ended with you sitting at home regretting not doing anything? If you answered yes then this article is for you!
Brisbane-ites, it’s time to leave the house and venture out of your old stomping ground this upcoming long weekend. Be it north, south, east or just out the door, we’ve got some great ideas for you to make the most of your well-earned days off that will result in some epic Instagram posts and Snap stories.
5. Stay and explore Brisbane
Yes, we know, but stay with us. If you don’t have access to a car or are simply just a little too lazy to pack a bag for a weekend away, then this is your most obvious choice. As a local Brisbane girl myself, I know all too well the struggle of leaving home to venture into the city, but since full-time work fills up my days instead of napping and watching Netflix
during between lectures, I’ve learned to live for the weekends and love the long weekends.
There are a number of great activities and adventures sitting right under your nose all around Brisbane. Depending on how adventurous (and budget-conscious) you are will limit the kinds of things you sign up for, but here are our top picks for staying local.
Instead of the dragging trip to Coles or Woollies for the upcoming work week, head to your local farmer’s market to pick up some fresh produce, fresh air, and fresh conversation. If you’re lucky, you might be able to make friends with a dog as the majority of attendees bring along a four-legged friend.
As an added bonus, you’ll be able to pick up some delicious produce, ready-to-eat food, meat and random products for a good price (usually). Some of the stand out markets includes Jan Power’s Farmers Markets in New Farm, Davies Park Marketin West End, Brisbane Markets Limited at Rocklea, and newcomer Milton Markets near Suncorp Stadium.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
A gem of an attraction that often surpasses expectations, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Fig Tree Pocket is just as the name suggests, a sanctuary for koalas. Now, if you’re living in Brisbane and haven’t yet had the chance to cuddle up to one of these adorable marsupials, then this is the ideal opportunity. Queensland is one of the only states that allows you to hold a koala and Lone Pine’s proximity to the CBD makes it an adventure you won’t have to think twice about.
You can drive yourself out there, jump on a public bus or cruise along Brisbane river to arrive at the gates of the sanctuary.
Once inside you’ll be able to cuddle up to koalas, hang out with and feed wallabies and kangaroos, walk next to dingoes, watch keeper presentations and feeding sessions and more! This is a great adventure for the whole family to enjoy, but you don’t have to have kids to be able to have a ball at this popular animal attraction. Think of it more as a giant animal-themed playground for adults!
If you have your own bike then you’ve probably navigated your way around the city and its surrounding suburbs a few times, however, if you don’t own a bike and don’t intend to anytime soon, don’t fret. You can hire a City Cycle bike from the various stations dotted around the city or you can embark on a cycling tour that comes complete with a bike, helmet and local guide.
The Brisbane region loves cyclists and the riverway cycling lane is proof of that. Getting you from as far west as Toowong to the other end of the City with ease and safely away from the rushing traffic, cyclists of all ages will be able to enjoy a leisurely ride along the water, with the only hazard being the river to your side.
For visitors to the region, I suggest a cycling tour. Local operator Brisbane Cycle Tours have mastered the art of cycling tours with their various options around the city. Choose from their popular Morning Tour, the Essential Brisbane tour, Foodies Aboard, which is an evening ride to the popular Eat Street Markets in Hamilton, or the twinkling Twilight Tour. All of the available tours are from a local’s perspective so you won’t have that feeling of being on display as a tourist for the locals riding next to you.
Blue Room Cinebar
Another favourite for lazy locals like myself, the Blue Room Cinebar (yes, I said cineBAR) in Rosalie is a dream come true. Combining the latest flicks on the big screen with some delicious food and drinks, you’ll have everything needed for a great night out in the one place. Forget dinner and a movie at two separate locations, Blue Room lets you have dinner and a movie in the one convenient chair.
Playing a handful of flicks from the latest release catalogue, you’ll be able to catch a number of different sessions each night, meaning you won’t have to move too far or get up and click ‘Play Next Episode’ to enjoy a comfortable and relaxing night in (or is it out).
4. Drive north to the Sunshine Coast
Venturing north, you’ll come to the beautiful Sunshine Coast. With a more laid back and relaxed vibe to that of its southern rival, the Gold Coast, the Sunny Coast exudes relaxation while still offering the chance of an adventure.
Located around 1.5 hours from Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast is split up into a number of suburbs, with stand out beaches being Noosa and Mooloolaba.
If setting yourself up on the beach all weekend is the type of getaway that appeals to you, then you couldn’t be in a better place. With a number of beaches to choose from including the popular Noosa Main Beach and Sunshine Beach, and quieter, local hotspots of Cotton Tree and Coolum Beach you’ll be able to sit back, relax and enjoy the sun, sand and surf.
If water based adventure is the name of the game on your long weekend then get ready for some excitement. All over the Sunshine Coast, you can embark on a number of different activities suited for a range of visitors. You can go jet boating, cruising, surfing, dolphin spotting, jet skiing, kayaking, swimming with seals and more!
If you’re planning to visit with kids, some of the most popular attractions include Aussie World with their amusement rides and attractions, SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast and their range of resident marine animals, and Australia Zoo, one of the most famous zoos in the country!
3. Drive south to the Gold Coast theme parks
If you’re looking for a way to keep the young, and young at heart, entertained then a trip to the world-famous theme parks on the Gold Coast should be at the top of your list! Don’t be deterred by the crowds and queues as the parks are quite large and keen easily accommodate and entertain hoards of visitors on a daily basis.
Which theme park to visit is the ultimate question when planning a trip down the M1, so we’ve tried to make the choice a little easier for you.
Movie World is a great choice if you’re eager to come face-to-face with some of your favourite Warner Bros. characters, entertain the kids with some themed children’s areas, and buckle up for a thrilling ride on some of their awesome rollercoasters.
Dreamworld is a haven for kids with the new Lego Store and Tiger Island entertaining visitors all day. As an added bonus, the park is right next door to WhiteWater World meaning you can swap between the two all day.
If you’re looking for an aquatic themed theme park where you can stay dry, then Sea World is the way to go. Home to polar bears, dolphins, penguins, and sharks, as well as a number of rides and kids areas keeping a range of visitors entertained.
If you’re staying in Brisbane and don’t have access to a car, you can jump on board a train and bus to get to the parks or buy your tickets with a combination transfers. If you’re staying on the Gold Coast and have access to a car, you’ll be pleased to know that there is ample parking for free at all parks.
Also, if you still can’t decide which parks to visit, don’t stress, as there are a number of great value combo passes that will combine entry to a number of parks for 3 or 7 days, a few months, or an entire year.
2. Fly to Lady Elliot Island
A mecca for all things aquatic, Lady Elliot Island is on of the best snorkelling and diving destinations on the Great Barrier Reef, and us Brisbane dwellers are lucky enough to have it sitting right at our back door.
Visiting the island is easy, with the help of a Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort day tour with flights departing Brisbane. Reached via a scenic flight up the coastline, which is both convenient and picturesque, this day trip includes a snorkelling adventure, glass bottom boat tour and seafood buffet lunch.
Even though this adventure will only take up one day of your long weekend, the amount of exploring you’ll do and adventures you’ll have will tire you out for the rest of the weekend (in the best way possible). Upon your return, you’ll be able to admire photos of the whirlwind trip to one of the most beautiful places in the country.
Tours depart from Brisbane, with pick-ups from your accommodation, at 6:30 am and return around 4:30 pm, giving you more than enough time to explore, relax and enjoy Lady Elliot Island.
This is the only trip of its kind in Australia, so come the inevitable start of the work week you’ll have a story to brag about to make even the most well-travelled colleagues jealous.
1. Cruise to Moreton Island
One of the most visited islands off the coast of south-east Queensland, and for good reason, Moreton Island is a dream destination for visitors looking to combine sun, sand and snorkelling.
Reached in just 70 minutes from Brisbane, Moreton Island will surprise even the locals (I’m proof of that). The home of the famous Tangalooma Wrecks, which have created a thriving reef environment for local fish, turtles, dolphins, dugongs and wobbegong sharks to live in, you can snorkel amongst the wrecks and come face-to-face with these creatures. With no real fear of humans, a rainbow of tropical fish will surround you as they swim about the wrecks.
Making your way onto the island, you’ll come across some of the best and biggest sand dunes in the country. If you’re up for the adventure, grab a boogie board, skimmer board, or anything of the sort, and run up the dunes before surfing back down to the bottom. A thrilling adventure for all ages to enjoy, the Moreton Island sand dunes are often the most talked about part of visitor’s trips to the island.
Other highlighting factors on the island include the 4WD adventures, visiting Cape Moreton Lighthouse, wading in the Champagne Pools, swimming in the Blue Lagoon, and spotting and feeding the resident dolphins.
There are a number of operators who conduct tours out to Moreton Island from Brisbane on a daily basis, as well as some who offer 2-day tours letting you spend the night on the island.