Got some free time on your weekend and tired of spending it hanging around Brisbane like a bad smell? Well, it’s time to back away from Westfield, get in your car and head out for a day trip.

It turns out there are plenty of great places you can explore near Brisbane. So get your GPS, fuel up the car and get ready to have a weekend adventure, because these are seven of Brisbane’s best day trips.

Rainbow Beach

Pack the car the night before and wake up super early to hit the road up to Rainbow Beach. The drive will take just short of three hours, but you’ll find yourself spending the day in paradise. There are plenty of great restaurants to grab a bite and a pint in Rainbow, but most importantly, the beaches here are spectacular. Spend the day swimming, fishing and exploring the Carlo Sand Blow then drive back home in the evening.

Stanthorpe

Girraween National Park

The two and a half hour drive out to Stanthorpe takes you out of the city and back into Queensland’s spectacular county. It’s a chance to reconnect with the Australian bushland and remember how beautiful our country is. You can spend a few hours hiking and exploring Girraween National Park, visiting local farms and stocking up on fresh produce or making your way to wineries and cheese factories.

Samford and Mt Nebo

It should only take around 40 minutes to get from the heart of Brisbane out to Samford, but you’ll feel like you’re much further away. Spend your day visiting gorgeous little cafes and craft shops or discovering local museums. Then, head outdoors for an afternoon walk at Mount Nebo, a chance to reconnect with nature and replace the sounds of everyday life with the sounds of the Australian bush. You’ll also find some great spots for lunch and dinner in the local area, serving up hearty, delicious meals.

Maleny and Montville

You’ll need to be up early to beat the traffic heading north, but it’s worth it once you arrive in the picture-perfect Sunshine Coast hinterland. Lose yourself in Maleny and Montville, visiting quaint coffee shops, exploring antique stores, taste-testing cheese or wandering a local farmers market. To really soak it all in, stock up on cheese, bread and fresh produce and drive up to Gerrard’s Lookout for a picnic in the afternoon sun.

Toowoomba

Toowoomba First Coat

While the rest of us weren’t looking, Toowoomba turned into a Queensland destination with a burgeoning food and art scene. Take a drive out west and spend the day wandering through town on the trail of the First Coat artworks; huge murals adorning the sides of buildings. Then, stop in at one of the local restaurants or cafes for an amazing lunch, prepared with local produce. Toowoomba also has a great scene for savvy thrift shoppers.

Springbrook National Park

For more of a nature fix, spend your day trip in the Springbrook National Park. Take a hike out to the Natural Arch, to see one of the most beautiful and unique natural waterfalls on offer. For a real kick-start to your weekend, wake up early and visit Canyon Lookout to watch a sunrise you won’t forget. The Park also boasts some really spectacular waterfalls to explore and swim in. Fuel up at a local cafe or drive down to the Gold Coast for lunch by the water.

Moreton Island

It’s hard to believe you can spend a day away from Brisbane sprawled out on picture-perfect beaches that most people would spend their lives wanting to visit! Thankfully, it’s right on our doorstep. Hop aboard a boat at Pinkenba and cruise over to Moreton Island for the day. Snorkel the famous Tangalooma Ship Wrecks, spend the day zipping down the sand-dunes, eating fish and chips, wading in the shallows or napping in the shade. Then, go home refreshed, recharged and ready for the world.

What are your favourite Brisbane day trips? Have your say in the comments below!