Sipping a finely aged wine at the outdoor patio of a country vineyard. Driving off the main route and onto a bumpy dirt road just to see what you might find. Walking with your feet in the sand and watching the tide crashing on the beach. Eating salty popcorn at a retro drive-in. Watching tiny glow worms light up a cave and glow with phosphorescent light…
There is a lot for the curious explorer to discover in and around Brisbane, Australia. And for my fellow travellers who, during my Australia planning and research, have dismissed it as ‘nothing much’, I want to prove them wrong.
Because taking a trip to Brisbane means getting the opportunity to explore all that Greater Brisbane Country has to offer. Whilst the city offers plenty to enjoy in terms of culture, dining and shopping, your adventure wouldn’t be complete without venturing out into the countryside and seeing the stunning wilderness that surrounds Brisbane. You can head out in almost any direction from this city and discover an abundance of national parks, peaceful lakes, wineries and much more.
So what is there for you to explore around Greater Brisbane Country? Here are just a few ideas I’ve been given as a starter:
Take a Scenic Rim Drive
Hook yourself up with a car rental (as in the done thing amongst travellers in Australia), and head for Canungra, with the plan to then head east out-of-town toward Tamborine and take another rustic goat track up to Tamborine Mountain. This scenic drive will take you up 550m above sea level, so make sure you know how to use the panoramic photo setting on your camera, as the view is fantastic.
How to Get There: Canungra is an hour’s drive south of Brisbane. You can find driving directions here.
The Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves
There is something quite surreal about standing in a cave surrounded by thousands of glowing points of lights. These caves have been created to meet the specific conditions that glowworm colonies require to thrive. You will feel like you are walking around inside a galaxy filled with stars, it’s a truly unearthly experience.
How to Get There: The glowworm caves can be found one hour southeast of Brisbane at Tamborine Mountain. They are open daily from 10 am until 4 pm and bookings are recommended for group tours.
Wellington Point – King Island Walk
Take your shoes off and feel the sand between your toes as you soak up on the sun at Wellington Point, then go for a leisurely walk to King Island, a small mangrove-covered island that used to be home to a family back in the 1900s. After you have worked up an appetite for walking, stop at the friendly Wishing Well Café or the Rock n’Roll Café. Better yet, have your meal to go and enjoy a picnic in the park.
How to Get There: Wellington Point is a 30-minute drive east of Brisbane. There is also a railway service between Brisbane and the Wellington Point railway station.
The Yatala Drive-In
Even if you are not old enough to remember the days of the drive-in cinema, you can experience a blast from the past at this retro theatre. The Yatala Drive-In is set up beside cow paddocks just off the M1 and it has all of the original features, including the old school metal speakers and the kiosks selling hamburgers, hotdogs and popcorn. You can pretend it’s the 1960s and take your sweetheart on a date, maybe even ask her to go steady?
How to Get There: The Yatala Drive-in is located a half-hour drive south of Brisbane, just off the M1. Take the Yatala North exit number 38.
Where to Stay
Brisbane has accommodation aplenty, with the city providing the ideal main base from which to embark on day trips outside of the city. There’s plenty of hostels in Brisbane including the popular Base Hostels chain, which you can find throughout the country. The Ibis Budget is a step up from a typical hostel as its cleaner and rooms are non-share, or you can opt for a touch of luxury with Brisbane’s multitude of luxury hotels, which seem to have options for all price points. Alternatively, check out Trip Advisor if you feel like digging around for accommodation gems in Brisbane.
There seems to be more to ‘Brissy’ than just the city, with these simple days trips providing a gateway to Greater Brisbane and its diversity of landscape and nature. I’ll just be sure to set an alarm early to make the most of it and let you know what I think.