If you’re looking to explore other parts of stunning South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales, the Gold Coast is the perfect home base. Within an hour’s drive, there’s such a diverse choice of destinations to visit, from a buzzing capital city, to quaint coastal villages and a bohemian country town. With world-class art and architecture, exceptional eats, picturesque settings plus waterfalls, creeks and seaside adventures, there’s a lot of ground to cover.
Pack the car and pick a good play list. Here are four fabulous day trip options that will fill your adventure cup right up and have you back to the Gold Coast by nightfall.
First cab off the rank is Brisbane, approximately a 120km round trip from Coomera in northern Gold Coast to the heart of the city. In a relatively small area, there are an absolute myriad of things to see, do and (perhaps most importantly) eat. Kick off the day in South Bank where culture vultures will be right at home. Here’s a few must see spots to pop into.
QPAC: One of Australia’s leading destinations for live performances, QPAC hosts world-renowned shows year-round. On any given day you’ll be treated anything from an award-winning Broadway musical to the wild ways of a cabaret slash burlesque experience. Make sure to check the schedule before you go.
Where: Cnr Grey and, Melbourne St, South Brisbane
GOMA: The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art is undoubtedly one of Brisbane’s most loved attractions because who doesn’t love wandering amongst some of the most revered art in the world. There are interchanging exhibitions to peruse, hands on workshops and activities for the kids and both casual and fine dining eating options.
Where: Stanley Pl, South Brisbane
Museum of Brisbane: Bringing culture to life, Museum of Brisbane is a firm favourite for young and old with plenty of enjoyable learning opportunities on offer for everyone. The Museum’s collection is made up of artworks and objects that reflect the stories and people of Brisbane and there’s always something new to uncover.
Where: City Hall, 64 Adelaide St, Brisbane City
Howard Smith Wharves: If you’re keen to move onto another part of the city for lunch or afternoon beverages, Howard Smith Wharves is where you want to be. Nestled underneath the spectacular Story Bridge in Fortitude Valley you’ll have a multitude of bars and eateries to choose from.
Felons Brewing Co. offers a huge range of beers brewed onsite and best enjoyed on a bar stool overlooking the river. GRECA is the Greek dining experience of your dreams – hot tip; do not go past the Saganaki with honey and oregano. Mr Percival’s is one of the prettiest venues you’ve ever seen, serving up burgers, wood-fired pizzas and snacks with a side of epic cocktails. Stanley Restaurant offers out-of-the-box Cantonese flavours showcasing some of the best seafood, meat, vegetables and fruit in the world and Yoko Dining is a lively Japanese dining experience including incredible seafood, snacks and of course, cocktails.
While you’re in the neighbourhood treat yourself to a Story Bridge Climb. You’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of Brisbane and its surrounds. From the Glass House Mountains to Moreton Bay and south to the Scenic Rim. It’s an absolutely magical experience that both kids and adults will love.
Where: 5 Boundary St, Brisbane City
It’s not hard to see why Queensland’s Scenic Rim was named by Lonely Planet as one of the top ten regions in the world. From incredible vistas to flower farms (!) and some exceptional eateries, all you need to do is jump in the car and take yourself on a 240km round trip from Broadbeach. Here’s a few things to see while you’re there.
Scenic Rim Brewery: If you’re a fan of family-owned establishments in the most beautiful little country towns that celebrate the people and places they love (and honestly who isn’t), a trip to Scenic Rim Brewery is a must. You’ll sip brews like Digga’s Pale Ale, Shazza’s Mid Strength and if you’re after something a little different Ginger Extra Dry’s Ginger Beer is the goods. There’s also a café stacked with European-inspired eats.
Where: 898 Reckumpilla St, Mount Alford
Summer Land Camel Farm: Australia’s largest wild camel training centre and dairy operation is a delightful experience where you’ll meet and feed the locals, learn about the health benefits of camel and even watch the products being made right there on the farm. Sit down to sample their tasty cheeses, gelato and cakes and try some anti-aging skin care products too.
Where: 8 Charles Chauvel Drive, Harrisville
Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm: Consisting of a cellar door, restaurant and lavender shop which overlooks a six-hectare vineyard and a breathtaking lavender fields, with magnificent views of the Scenic Rim mountains, you won’t to miss this beauty. The award-winning restaurant offers a menu filled with modern Australia cuisine, made with locally sourced produce.
Where: 168 FM. Bells Road, Mount Alford
Sunflower Festival: If you’re planning a trip in March, add the Sunflower Festival to your list. It goes without saying that being immersed in the magic of millions of sunflowers (16 acres to be exact) in one of the most beautiful places in the world is a once in a lifetime experience but throw in entertainment, rides, merchandise and of course, plenty to eat and drink.
Where: 56 Warumkarie Road, Kalbar
Nestled in the Northern NSW mountains is the loveliest of country towns, Murwillumbah. It’s a 60km round trip from Currumbin and we highly recommend you take the scenic route through the magical Currumbin Valley and up over Tomewin Mountain. Think winding roads with little veggie stalls dotted throughout, cane fields and crisp country air. Check out these beauties.
Keith: Obviously coffee, craft beer and natural wines are a priority on any day trip and the (very) popular Keith has all three. He’s a café slash restaurant in case you were wondering, and he also serves up delicious baked goodies including some of the very nest doughnuts around.
Where: 132 Murwillumbah St, Murwillumbah
Knox & Co: If perusing beautiful little boutiques is a thing you love to do while day tripping (same), the very best place you can do so is Knox & Co. With all the latest books, art, fashion, candles, beauty products and homewares, you will absolutely not walk away empty handed.
Where: 3-5 Brisbane St, Murwillumbah
Imperial Hotel: You certainly won’t miss the pretty pink façade of Murwillumbah’s famous Imperial Hotel. Built in 1931, it’s got that delightful country charm of the Victorian era and has recently been refurbished ensuring it’s a must-visit. Pop in for lunch or a frosty beverage and experience one of the most unique spots in the region.
Where: 115 Murwillumbah Street, Murwillumbah
Op Shops: For fan of thrifting, there are some absolute gems in Murwillumbah filled with unique bits and pieces you’d never find in the city.
Where: Salvos Store – 102-106 Main St, Vinnies – 138 Murwillumbah St and Salvation Army – 162 Murwillumbah St
Tweed Regional Gallery: On the outskirts of the town centre, set amongst the vast green valley you’ll find the Tweed Regional Gallery. With seven exhibition spaces, including contemporary touring shows, the gallery showcases the work of local, national and international artists. The onsite café serves coffee, tasty eats and breathtaking views and the gallery shop stocks gifts and handcrafted goodies by local designers.
Where: 2 Mistral Road (corner Tweed Valley Way), Murwillumbah South
Mavis Kitchen: A little further on you’ll find one of the most stunning spots in northern NSW, Mavis’s Kitchen – a destination restaurant tucked into the rainforest that offers one of the absolute best dining experiences you’ll ever have. The country-style restaurant serves food grown organically, sourced locally, harvested seasonally and prepared with love. Dine in for an a la carte lunch from Wednesday to Sunday and absolutely choose the paired wine option.
Where: 64 Mount Warning Rd, Uki
KINGSCLIFF & CABARITA
Jump in the car for a tiny 40km round trip to Cabarita (from Coolangatta) and delight in one of the most beautiful seaside villages in Australia. On the way home, stop into Kingscliff and you’ll have spent in day in full relaxation mode, having taken in some stunning sights and some stunning eats (and drinks of course). Here’s what to see while you’re there.
Tropical Fruit World: Just north of Kingscliff is Tropical Fruit World, one of the most colourful spots around the Coast. As the name suggests it is a world of fruit – a huge plantation established amongst the rainforest in 1983. The working farm sits within the perfect environment to grow over 500 fruits from across the world and you can (and should) book a ride on the tractor train that tours the property. Then settle in at Plantation House, the onsite dining venue and sample some goodies made with exotic fruit from the orchard.
Where: 29 Duranbah Road, Duranbah
Husk Distillers: Set amongst the lush green surrounds of Tumbulgum, Husk Distillers is a beautiful spot to pull up a picnic blanket and sample some locally made rum or gin. Their multi-award-winning rum is unlike anything you’ve sampled before and you’ve no doubt sampled Ink Gin, the petty purple sip that took Australia by storm. Book a tour, treat yourself to a tasting and enjoy some incredible tasting plates to round out a top-notch experience.
Where: 1152 Dulguigan Road, North Tumbulgum
Taverna: If a five-star dining experience is your idea of a must-do day trip inclusion (same), Kingscliff’s Taverna is for you. A modern Greek-inspired restaurant with sparkling ocean views, the beautifully fit out venue has long been a drawcard of Northern NSW. Indulge in a range of share plates, washed down with a Spritz or two and you’ll have sampled one of Australia’s best dining experiences.
Where: 22 Marine Pde, Kingscliff
Tweed Eco Tours: Seeing the region via our world-class waterways is an excellent option and doing so with Tweed Eco Tours, a team dedicated to preserving those waterways, is the way to go. From A Tweed River lunch cruise to the Ultimate Sunday Session option (via Husk Distillery, a Float and Paint Cruise and a cruise to Fingal Booningbah led by the traditional owner of the land complete with some lively storytelling, there’s plenty to choose from.
Where: 2 River Terrace, Tweed Marina, Tweed Heads
Beautiful beaches: It goes without saying that there are infinite beautiful beaches to dip your toes into along the way. Both Cabarita and Kingscliff have flagged beaches if you’re keen to pull up a piece of sand for a few hours. Cudgen Creek at the north end of the beach in Kingscliff is a lovely, calm spot for little kids and those who prefer to float about, and you should also stop in at Hastings Point for a paddle too. The possibilities are endless.
Like this article? You might like 25 Great Gold Coast Dates.
Dreaming of a Gold Coast holiday? Subscribe to our email list below to receive holiday inspiration and exclusive deals straight to your inbox!