Nothing beats a good road trip and Brisbane has heaps to choose from. Including easy day trips to multi-week expeditions here’s our round-up of the absolute best road trips from Brisbane, Queensland.
It’s no secret, Brisbanites are outdoor people. With superb weather year-round and some of the world’s most spectacular natural attractions right on the city’s doorstep, it’s little wonder why.
When the opportunity presents itself, there’s nothing locals like more than loading up the car with friends, family, and the esky* before hitting the road for a day, a weekend, or even a couple of weeks.
*cooler, ice chest, chilly bin
After spending the last six months driving Queensland south to north, and then south again, we have discovered some of the best road trips from Brisbane.
If you’re familiar with our blog you’ll probably know that for us it’s all about unique experiences, nature, food, and getting off the beaten path, if that sounds like your kind of road trip then we’ve got something for you.
Read on to discover the best road trips from Brisbane.
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Best Road Trips From Brisbane: 1 Day – 1 Week
Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast Road Trip
1 Day Road Trip from Brisbane: 300km Return
The drop-dead gorgeous Sunshine Coast is one of Australia’s best stretches of coastline, and it’s right on Brisbane’s doorstep. Less developed than the Gold Coast, many people (like us) prefer it for its laid-back atmosphere and skyscraper-free beaches.
Leaving from Brisbane make your way north up the Bruce Highway. An easy drive takes you out of Brisbane through the hinterland of Moreton Bay and the Sunshine Coast.
Get an early start and make the Glass House Mountains your first stop for an opportunity to hike these iconic landmarks before it gets too warm.
Back on the Bruce Highway, head toward the Sunshine Coasts’ southern beaches, beginning at the relaxed Caloundra. Cool off with a swim at Kings Beach. Stop by the Mooloolaba Spit for prawns fresh off the trawler. Grab a coffee on the esplanade. Surf at Alexandra Headlands. Paddle at Lake Currumundi. There is more than enough to do here for a day and you’ll certainly leave wanting more.
To extend this road trip consider carrying onto the Sunshine Coast’s beautiful northern beaches Peregian, Sunshine, and Noosa. Or take your time to explore the gorgeous hinterland towns behind the Sunshine Coast such as Eumundi, Montville, or Maleny.
Pro-tip: To beat the traffic avoid this road trip during busy weekends and during the school holidays.
Brisbane to Stanthorpe Road Trip
2 Day Road Trip From Brisbane: 400 km Return
Two hundred kilometers southwest of Brisbane, Stanthorpe is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway. Located on a cool plateau, Stanthorpe offers a point of difference (not to mention a respite from the heat) from the many coastal experiences that Queensland is famous for.
Stanthorpe is Queensland’s premium wine-producing area and Stanthorpe’s wineries are now developing a reputation on the national and international scene. No trip to Stanthorpe would be complete without visiting a few vineyards here. Our favorite wineries in the area include Symphony Hill Winery for unique and interesting white varietals and Boireann Winery for delicious red varietals!
Wine isn’t all there is to do here, check out these other ideas for things to do in Stanthorpe.
If you’re are looking to extend this road trip, there is lots more to see and do in the wider Southern Darling Downs region.
Brisbane to Yamba Road Trip
3 Day Road Trip From Brisbane: 550 km Return
Byron Bay has been played out. Now home to Hollywood movie stars and Instagram influencers, there’s no longer anything authentic about this hippie-themed tourist trap. For a genuine beach-town getaway keep on rolling past Byron toward the beautiful and unspoiled Yamba.
Perfectly situated for a weekend getaway Yamba has great beaches, surfing, fishing, camping, a beautiful headland, a variety of cafes and restaurants, and a great beach town vibe.
Stay at the iconic Pacific Hotel. Set high on the cliffs above Yamba’s main beach, you cannot beat the views from this picturesque hotel. Wake up to the sun rising over the ocean and the waves crashing on the beach below.
From Yamba, you are perfectly situated to visit Angourie, another of Australia’s quintessential surf towns. Alternatively, grab a tent and head to the Yuraygir National Park for absolute beachfront camping. On your way home stop off at some of the stunning beaches the Northern Rivers region has to offer like Kingscliffe and Cabarita.
Brisbane to Fraser Island / K’gari Road Trip
4 Day Road Trip From Brisbane: 800 km Return
Fraser Island, known for a longer time as K’gari by the traditional landowners, is a largely undeveloped island off the coast north of Brisbane.
More of an ‘off’ road trip you will need a high clearance four-wheel drive to explore the world’s largest sand island. But for those prepared to leave the bitumen behind, this trip offers one of Queensland’s hero destinations and one of the best national parks in Queensland. Discover 166,000 hectares of national park featuring freshwater lakes and creeks, rock pools, ancient rainforests, shipwrecks, and kilometers and kilometers of unspoiled beaches.
You’ll need to drive three hours north of Brisbane to Inskip Point to catch the ferry to the southern point of Fraser Island. On the island, beach driving and a series of sandy tracks allow you to navigate the island. Highlights of Fraser Island include the crystal clear Eli Creek, the Champagne Rockpools, the stunning white sand of Lake Mackenzie, the dense interior rainforest, Orchid Beach, fishing, and watching the sunset over Harvey Bay on the western side of the island.
Fraser can be done over four days but you could easily spend a week or more exploring the great sand island.
If you are looking for an island experience but would prefer to drive on the road. Stradbroke Island is another huge sand island near Brisbane but with the added luxury of roads, accommodation options, and shops.
Brisbane to The Town of 1770 Agnes Water Road Trip
5 Day Road Trip From Brisbane: 1000km Return
The Town of 1770 and Agnes Water is an iconic Queensland destination and makes for one of the best road trips from Brisbane. Two neighboring towns often referred to in tandem offer two unique experiences. Calm and picturesque 1770 with its shimmering turquoise inlet and the exposed Agnes Water, bordered by untamed national park and surf beaches.
The road trip from Brisbane takes travelers past the Sunshine Coast, Fraser Island, and Bundaberg. Once you arrive in 1770 it’s time to kick back and enjoy the slower pace of life in this historic seaside town. Explore the inlets and estuaries, walk along the wild exposed beaches of Agnes Water, enjoy fish and chips in the breezy Endeaour park, take a trip out to see the Great Barrier Reef and Lady Musgrave Island, or camp in the national parks Erimnbula or Deep Water to the north and south of the towns.
Whatever you do, you are sure to enjoy the shimmering beauty and relaxed lifestyle of this remote coastal destination.
Best Road Trips From Brisbane 1 – 2 Weeks
Brisbane to Carnarvon Gorge Road Trip
8 Day Road Trip From Brisbane 1450km Return
One of Queensland’s unsung wonders, this off-the-beaten-path destination is perfect for the outdoor adventurer and bushwalking enthusiast. Forged over millennia, this natural gorge is a sight to behold. An important gathering place for indigenous Australians, people have made the pilgrimage here for thousands and thousands of years. An oasis in the middle of the arid outback, the cool shady gorge is home to an ancient forest of palm trees, ferns and cycads.
We recommend camping at Big Bend, the campsite located at the end of the Main Gorge Track for a unique experience camping under the stars in the shadows of the gorge walls. But if hike-in, hike-out camping is not for you, Carnarvon Gorge can easily be explored in a few days by the Main Gorge Track and the connecting sidetracks to the many attractions within the gorge.
On the road trip from Brisbane to Carnarvon Gorge to stop off at outback destinations like Toowoomba and Roma.
Brisbane to Cairns Road Trip
14 Day Road Trip From Brisbane 3400 km Return
No list of the best road trips from Brisbane would be complete without mentioning the journey to Queensland’s Tropical North. Passing many of Queensland’s most famous landmarks and destinations, everyone should have a go at this epic Queensland adventure at least once.
While 14 days is enough time to get up to Far North Queensland and back again, you could spend months exploring everything this route has to offer. From the reef to the rainforest, you’ll see islands and hinterlands. Beaches and farmland. Small coastal communities and dusty outback towns. Feast on the freshest seafood and farm-to-table dining from the heart of one of Queensland’s most fertile farming regions.
Featuring the world heritage-listed wet tropics, the Daintree, the Atherton Tablelands, Mission Beach, and countless other world-famous destinations, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding on things to do along the way.
Best Road Trips From Brisbane: 2 Week +
Brisbane to Melbourne Road Trip
21 Day Road Trip From Brisbane 3500 km Return
An iconic, 3,500 km return road trip that takes in many of Australia’s most famous attractions, the journey can be made in many ways.
Following the coastal highway that runs between Brisbane and Sydney take in many of the world’s best beaches and sleepy surf-towns. Visit the world-famous landmarks of Australia’s most well-known city. Explore the Blue Mountains National Park. Take a pit stop in the nation’s capital Canberra. Discover the Snowy Mountains, the country’s most impressive alpine region. Experience, Victoria’s impressive Gippsland and spectacular Wilson Promontory. Spend a few days soaking up the world’s most livable city in Melbourne.
Return to Brisbane via the interior Newell Highway taking in the Australian bush, expansive pastoral lands, and iconic outback towns. Alternatively, extend this epic adventure by continuing on from Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road or drive aboard the Spirit of Tasmania car ferry, to continue your road trip through Australia’s southern isle.
Brisbane to Cape York Road Trip
28 Day Road Trip From Brisbane 5400 km Return
The ultimate east coast adventure, a road trip from Brisbane to Cape York is a truly epic undertaking that should be on every Queensland bucket list. After taking in the epic coastal adventure that is Brisbane to Cairns you can continue on to one of Queensland’s final frontiers. Stop a couple of days in Cairns to prepare for the trip of a lifetime to the Cape York Peninsula.
This trip, however, is not for the faint of heart. Rugged 4WD tracks, limited cell service, and apex predators will test even veteran road trippers. But the reward is a vast wilderness mostly untouched by humans. It is a road trip to remember and one for which careful preparation should be undertaken.
Along the way see Captain Billy’s Landing, do some fishing at the tip, wash the dust off under Fruit Bat Falls, test your four-wheel driving skills on the harrowing Old Telegraph Track, and chow down at the roadhouses along the way.
What do you think of our list of the best road trips from Brisbane? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below!
Looking for more adventures on Queensland’s coast, check out these other fantastic Queensland destinations!
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