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Are you looking for the best affordable family day trips that are close to Brisbane? Here are 9 ideas for fun family day trips from Brisbane that won’t break the bank.
We spent six months in Brisbane on our 15 month trip around Australia. My mum lives there so we visit often anyway but even after 6 full months, we didn’t run out of things to do. Brisbane is a bustling and colourful metropolis with heaps of affordable family day trips from Brisbane city. The following list is some of the best day trip options in my opinion.
Southbank for a Local Family Day Trip in Brisbane
Lets start the list with something that is close to home. You do not have to travel far to have a great family day trip from Brisbane. This is a part of the city that is jam-packed with fun and free things to do.
Southbank is home to the Brisbane Cultural Centre which houses the Queensland Museum, the Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art. All of which are free to enter. There is also a huge playground, a large free pool and man-made beach, a rainforest boardwalk and heaps more.
I have written a comprehensive post on Southbank and the Brisbane Cultural Centre which goes into detail on the many activities that are available in the area.
Pine Rivers Park in Strathpine
Pine Rivers Park is a huge parkland that includes a massive playground, a large picnic area, a couple of lakes and a disc golf course. It is located about 40 minutes away from Brisbane in the Moreton Bay region.
The playground is huge and includes a maze, bikes on a guided rail, flying fox, climbing frames, all abilities equipment and much more. There are many different sections to the playground with separate areas suitable for different age groups. The playground is close to the toilets and has barbeques and picnic tables, so bring some food and make a day out of it.
There are also walking tracks that weave through native woodlands and lakes. Bring a frisbee with you and turn the walk into a disc golf challenge. Disc golf is one of El Enrique’s favourite past times and is what bought us to the park in the first place. There are 9 Disc Golf holes (which are basically big chained buckets) at Pine Rivers Park and it is free to play.
Redcliffe for a Seaside Family Day Trip from Brisbane
Redcliffe is one of our favourite areas in Brisbane. It is also located in the Moreton Bay region of Brisbane and can be added to a visit to Pine Rivers Park as they are not too far from each other.
We enjoyed Morgan’s Fish and Chips which is located in nearby Scarborough. It has a great atmosphere with outdoor seating beside the boat harbour. It also sells fresh fish and seafood. We have also tried Yabbey Road Fish and Chips which is opposite the Redcliffe Pier, which was also good.
Redcliffe was the home town of the BeeGees and has an alleyway which is dedicated to them which is fun to walk down. The highlight for Lala though was Settlement Cove Lagoon, a large lagoon similar to the man-made beach at Southbank. It gets very busy on a hot day so get there early to get the best spot.
Redcliffe jetty is perfect for a spot of fishing – Flathead, whiting and bream are all common in the water here.
Visit the Gold Coast
One of the best things about Brisbane is it’s proximity to the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. You can get to both in about an hour.
The Gold Coast is well known for it’s beaches and if you are looking for a bit of beach action from Brisbane, the Gold Coast is your best and easiest option.
Surfers Paradise is one of the easiest beaches to get to from Brisbane city it is a 1 hour drive) and is a busy area with heaps of restaurants, hotels, shops and activities. Our favourite beach is Burleigh Heads which is a little bit further to travel but only adds another 10 minutes to your travel time.
There is heaps to do in the Gold Coast and I am in the middle of putting together a separate post with much more information.
Visit the Glass House Mountains
The Glass House Mountains are located on either side of the Bruce Highway in the sunshine coast hinterland. They are a significant landmark in the area and their unique pointed peaks are a sight to behold.
The Glass House Mountains National Park is home to multiple walks, drives, lookouts and picnic areas. The Tibrogargan base walk is an easy one to do for a family as you walk around the base of the mountain. It is approximately 4km in length and took us just over an hour to complete. Alternatively you can climb Mount Beerburrum summit which is only about 2km return (but is hard work on the way up).
It is possible to do abseiling from the glass house mountains, which would be an incredible experience. Just make sure you book and plan in advance.
Australia Zoo costs about $170 for a family entry fee, so is a bit more expensive than most of the other things on this list, but it easily provides a full day of entertainment, so I decided to include it anyway. The Croc Express is a bus service that is available from Brisbane if you don’t have your own transport.
Little feet can get tired at Australia Zoo, and it gets crowded, so I suggest getting there at opening time and then hopping straight on to the Safari shuttle and taking it to the last stop in the park. That way you will beat the crowds (as most people work from the entrance out) and you will only have to walk back towards the entrance, rather than both ways. We found that the shuttle was full later in the day when we were all tired and could have used it.
There are quite a few shows on throughout the day so have a look at the schedule to plan them into your day. The shows do get very busy and crowded though, so make sure you get to them early if you want to see them. The only one that you cannot miss is the Wildlife Warriors Show which is in the crocoseum.
Also remember to take your kids bathers as there is a splash park for the kids which is a great way to end the day.
Swim at a Waterfall in Montville
Montville is also located in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and is home to Kondalilla National Park where you will find Kondalilla Falls. At the top of the falls is Skene Creek which is the perfect area for swimming.
Before you go for a swim, I suggest doing the quick bush walk through to the lookout to see the waterfall in all its glory before walking back up to the waterfall.
It is about a 30 minute walk from the carpark to the viewing area and about 15 to 20 minutes from the viewing area to Skene Creek.
Montville is a charming town with a bit of an arty vibe. Head into town to have a look at one of the many galleries that line the main street. Have lunch at a local winery or try Secrets on the Lake which is located on the edge of Lake Baroon.
Spend the day at Mount Coot-tha
Mount Coot-tha is a beautiful bushy oasis in the suburbs of Brisbane. There are multiple bushwalks and mountain bike trails to choose from depending on your level of ability. There are 2 waterfalls at Mount Coot-tha, both with picnic areas nearby and easy walks to view the falls. They are best to see after a few days of rainfall as they may be dry during the dry season.
You can drive, hike or ride a bike to the summit of Mount Cootha for sweeping views over Brisbane and the Moreton Bay region. At the top there are multiple information boards describing what you are seeing, with some history of the area and information about how the traditional owners used the area.
The base of Mount Coot-tha is home to the Botanic Gardens. It is a 56 hectare park with a variety of different gardens and plants. Stop in at the visitor centre, which is located near the carpark, and pick up a brochure for the hide and seek children’s trail. It works like a scavenger hunt and the kids can tick off the various items as they find them.
It is also home to the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, which includes a free exhibit. There are also multiple shows that play at regular intervals, which they kindly class into different age groups or levels to help you decide which is most appropriate.
Explore Brisbane City and Brisbane River
Brisbane itself has plenty to entertain and proves that you don’t have to go far for a fun family day trip from Brisbane.
The City Hopper is a free ferry service that sails up and down the Brisbane river in the CBD and inner Brisbane area. It stops at Newfarm, a short walk to Newfarm Park where the kids can run wild at the huge playground beneath the giant Moreton Bay Fig Trees.
I recommend taking the ferry all the way to the end and back again, getting off at Newfarm for a quick play in the park. The full ferry ride takes about an hour and a half. If you are lucky, you can get a seat on the roof top level which has views over both sides of the river.
Full details, including the time table are located on the Brisbane City Council website. Don’t confuse the City Hopper with the City Cat, which is the larger paid ferry service that operates in Brisbane.
Also in Brisbane City is the Town Hall and Museum of Brisbane. Book in for a free tour up to the Bell tower and wander through the small museum learning about indigenous culture and colonial settlement of the area.
Roma Street Parklands is a huge parkland and public space located at the centre of Brisbane. The park is divided into a number of different areas, like ‘The Forest’ or ‘Celebration Lawn’ and the garden is beautifully maintained with many gardens of colourful flowers, a lovely bamboo grove and much more.
A highlight is the trackless train which loops around the park. It is great value, run by volunteers for a gold coin donation. This is a great way to see the park if you would prefer not to walk (or just to rest your feet for a bit).
As you can see there is so much to see and do around Brisbane. These 9 day trips from Brisbane will provide hours of fun and entertainment for your family.
I will be publishing posts on the Gold Coast and the Sunshine coast soon (both are great for day trips from Brisbane) and have a lot more information to come on travel in Queensland.