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Destination Dreaming: Spotlight on South East Queensland

If you’ve been following us on social media, you know we’ve recently finished up our 30 days of Destination Dreaming. 30 days of bucket list inspiration. 30 days of mentally mapping out our dream itineraries. 30 days of exploring. Discovering. Getting off the beaten trail. 

Our inspired bucket list? Stretched long and far. We dreamt up must-do ideas for South East Queensland, Australia, New Zealand, and places right across the world that we can’t wait to jet off to. 

In this edition, you can read all the key South East Queensland activities and places that are at the top of our list. For the Australia, New Zealand, and the Global recap, keep an eye on the Airtrain Blog. They’ll be arriving in the coming weeks.

Scenic Drives

  1. Brisbane Valley Heritage Trail is a drive between Fernvale and Yarraman, covering 160km of Brisbane’s rich history.
  2. A drive done differently, Brisbane’s Churches and Memorials Trail is a fascinating insight into Somerset’s religious and social history.
  3. The Lockyer Valley’s Cobb & Co Tourist Drive follows the railway line and the original road from Ipswich to Gatton. Make a day of it and stop along the way at the charming Staging Posts, inspired by yesteryear.
  4. Explore the Great Dividing Range’s naturally stunning peaks and valleys on the Glen Rock Tourist Drive.
  5. Travel through bountiful farm land and see postcard-perfect views of the distant mountains on the Laidley Valley Drive.
  6. One of the most beautiful drives in Australia, if you’re looking to get back to nature? The Mt Barney and Rathdowney drive is for you.
  7. Explore the beach and bayside peninsulas on the Northern Moreton Bay Tourist Drive.
  8. Uncover World Heritage rainforest across several national parks by heading down Rainforest Way.
  9. Cruise through the relaxed vibes of the Moreton Bay area with the Southern Moreton Bay Drive.
  10. Spring Bluff and Murphy’s Creek is tucked away in the ranges of North Toowoomba. Head off the New England and follow the path of the creek through lush bushland.

Islands To Visit

  1. Grab your gear and head off for a weekend of camping at Bribie Island
  2. The largest sand island in the world, Fraser Island was practically made for sand dune tobogganing.
  3. Wait for low tide and walk (yes, walk!) from Wellington Point from King Island.
  4. Lady Elliott Island ‘Home of the Manta Ray’ is a coral cay at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. Spend the weekend amongst the ocean in a marine experience you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
  5. No roads. No city buzz. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Moreton Island is an unspoiled paradise, and just a ferry trip away.
  6. Wildlife, tradition, and unbelievable beauty, North Stradbroke Island has it all.
  7. A hop and a skip from the Gold Coast, South Stradbroke Island is a delightful day trip for the whole family.

Parks And Reserves To Visit

  1. Play and picnic under the 200-year-old gum trees at Alexander Clark Park.
  2. Best of All Lookout, Springbrook National Park is exactly how it sounds. Venture to the lookout on a clear and smoke-free day for best viewing.
  3. Not far from Brisbane is Bunyaville Conservation Park, a peaceful bush retreat away from the busyness of city life.
  4. Discover rainforest, eucalypt forest, pandanus grove and many more natural wonders at  Burleigh Heads National Park.
  5. Soak up the sunshine at Kangaroo Point’s Captain Burke Park.
  6. On the Redlands Coast is where you’ll find Cleveland Point Reserve, a beautiful spot for a picnic with beautiful Moreton Bay views on three sides.
  7. Coombabah Lakelands covers more than 1200 hectares of wetland, eucalypt forest, saltmarsh and mangrove habitat.
  8. In the Brisbane bushlands is D’Aguilar National Park, a sprawling national park covering 36,000 hectares.
  9. Experience the natural beauty of the Gold Coast with a visit to Federation Walk Coastal Reserve.
  10. Tucked away in the back of Ipswich is Haig Street Quarry Bushland Reserve. Natural beauty right on our Brisbane doorstep.
  11. Love bird watching? Lake Apex Park should be at the top of your SE QLD bucket list! It’s home to over 150 different species of birds and in a beautiful lakeside setting.
  12. Lush forest, ancient trees, and beautiful views. It’s time to pack your walking shoes and head over to Lamington National Park.
  13. Far away from the hustle and bustle of the city is Mount Barney National Park, a haven for rare species of plant and wildlife. 
  14. The Mount Cougal National Park walk isn’t for beginners. But if you’re up for a challenge, the views from the top are totally worth it. Just make sure to pack a good pair of walking shoes!
  15. Natural Bridge, Springbrook National Park is one of the most beautiful natural rock formations you’ll come across. Formed from the force of the waterfall over the natural basalt cave, this site has to be seen to be believed.
  16. Explore the Nerang State Forest on horseback or by foot. You can even cycle through on one of the designated bike trails!
  17. Join dozens of other picnic-goers for a sundowner at New Farm Park.
  18. Noosa National Park offer spectacular coastal scenery of Noosa Headland and nearby areas of Coolum and Peregian.
  19. West End’s Orleigh Park is home to 100-year-old trees, BBQ facilities and plenty of grassy space to kick back and soak up the rays.
  20. A hugely popular Gold Coast spot, Palm Beach Parklands is a perfect day out for the whole family. Home to a pirate-themed playground, a cafe, and plenty of picnic facilities, there’s no wonder the Parklands draw such crowds.
  21. Roma Street Parklands is Brisbane’s inner city escape from the fast-paced city environment. Just 10minutes from the city and you’ll find yourself in a green oasis.
  22. Walk among the ironbark trees and take a moment to slow down at Samford Conservation Park.
  23. Close by Sandgate pool is Sandgate Foreshores Park. Smell the ocean and hear the waves crash at this locals’ loved park.
  24. Sherwood Arboretum is a heritage-listed place for special trees. No words do this site justice, its beauty has to be seen to be understood.
  25. Springbrook National Park looks like the park from our dreams. An idyllic waterfall, beautiful tall trees, and impressive views.
  26. Wander through the other-worldy mangrove forest of Tallebudugera Conservation Park.
  27. The Lost World Valley looks like something straight out of a movie. Bright green grass, razor sharp cliffs, and stunning distant mountains peppering the view.
  28. Underwood Park transports you away from the city into a grassy, lush parklands space loved by children and parents alike.
  29. Located on West Mount Cotton Road, is Venman Bushland National Park. Home to koalas, ringtail possums, owls, and plenty of other wildlife, this park is thriving with natural wonders.
  30. White Rock – Spring Mountain Conservation Estate has ridges, escarpments, and valleys, all home to many species of native plant and wildlife.
  31. Home to Kilcoy’s iconic yowie statue, Yowie Park is a fantastic place for a spot of lunch. Beautiful scenic parklands and a relaxing view of the lagoon.

Locations To Visit

  1. Head to the South end of Bribie Island bridge and you’ll find Bongaree Beach’s gentle waters and picturesque seaside views.
  2. A rainforest gem, and only just a skip away from Brisbane City. The Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt Cootha are a subtropic luscious haven for native plant species.
  3. Brisbane’s original botanic gardens, the City Botanic Gardens boast ornamental ponds, the Bamboo Grove, and Weeping Fig Avenue.
  4. Budds Beach is a Gold Coast locals’ favourite. Quiet, serene, and relaxing.
  5. A historical site, Cunninghams Crest Lookout is the place that has inspired its visitors for centuries.
  6. 20 kms in length, Currumbin Creek runs adjacent to the NSW border and supports subtropical rainforest, woodland, mangrove and seagrass communities.
  7. A secret swimming hole, Currumbin Rock Pools are the perfect place to splish-splash the day away with the family.
  8. Located in Tamborine National Park, Curtis Falls track runs below the incredible canopy and stays cool and lush.
  9. Northwest of Brisbane, Dayboro is the quaint country town you’ll soon fall in love with.
  10. Watch the sunset from one of the many awarded restaurants along Eagle Street Pier.
  11. Visit the bush water playground at Enoggera Reservoir.
  12. Check out Queensland’s foremost military exhibit, Fort Lytton.
  13. Dance the night away at Fortitude Valley in Brisbane.
  14. We’re pretty sure that images of Greenmount Beach alone have been enough to inspire tourists to visit Australia.
  15. Eat, drink, play and stay at Howard Street Wharves, one of Queensland’s newest entertainment hubs.
  16. Retail heaven, and just a stone’s throw from Brisbane City? It has to be James Street.
  17. Take on the breathtaking scenery of Brisbane City from the Kangaroo Point Cliffs.
  18. Listen to the crashing waves at Labrador Foreshore.
  19. Spend the weekend camping with your loved ones at Lake Maroon.
  20. Located on the Scenic Rim is Lake Moogerah, an expansive lake perfect for water sports, swimming, and relaxing.
  21. Unwind, relax and let your worries wash away at Lake Somerset.
  22. Lake Wyaralong has something for everyone. Fishing, biking, camping and paddle craft – this location is sure to excite the whole family.
  23. Every year, a plethora of tourists visit the Gold Coast with a key goal to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of Main Beach.
  24. A Sunshine Coast hinterland gem, Maleny is a beautiful small town, bordered by rich farmlands and stunning natural scenery. Our tip? Dive into Gardners Falls for a refreshing dip.
  25. A charming small town, Mapleton offers beautiful coastline views.
  26. Another Sunshine Coast wonder, Montville specialises in handcrafted food, local art experiences and of course, the stunning Kondalilla National Park.
  27. The backdrop to Brisbane City, Mount Coot-tha is an expansive forest, right in our backyard.
  28. Looking for some quiet? Mount Glorious is the perfect place to take a walk in nature and take a break from the big city.
  29. Overlooking the Glasshouse Mountains, a visit to Mount Mee will give you a brand new perspective.
  30. Take a walk in the Aussie bushland of Mount Nebo. Remember to watch for Padimelons!
  31. Pristine beach, clear waters, soft sand. Pumicestone Passage is cut straight from the cloth of our dreams.
  32. Get the iconic Brisbane shopping experience at Queen St Mall.
  33. Spend a day by the seaside at Redcliffe Peninsula.
  34. Only a 30-minute drive from Brisbane is Samford Village. The charming small town at the foot of Mount Glorious.
  35. Feel your toes in the sand and the wind in your hair at Scarborough Beach, Redcliffe.
  36. Formerly known as Sandgate Pier, Shorncliffe Pier is the perfect spot to take a post-dinner stroll.
  37. South Bank River Quay is South Bank’s premier dining precinct. Feeling peckish? Head to the Riverside for some of the best foodie experiences in Brisbane.
  38. Who says you need to travel for a refreshing sip? Streets Beach in South Bank is Brisbane’s artificial lagoon. Perfect for those sweltering Brisbane days!
  39. Play, eat, and shop the day away at iconic beachside town, Surfers Paradise.
  40. An idyllic setting, Tallebudgera Creek is the refreshing answer to a fun-filled family day out.
  41. Dining, restaurants, and cafes, all smack bang in the middle of natural beauty? It must be Tamborine Mountain.
  42. The gateway between the open ocean and the Gold Coast Broadwater, The Spit is the go-to for Gold Coast surfing.

Activities To Do

  1. Play with your perception at ArtVo illusions.
  2. Cuddle a koala and feed a kangaroo at Australia Zoo.
  3. Brisbane Powerhouse is home to comedy, theatre, and music. What more could you want?
  4. Canungra Valley Vineyards offer value-packed picnic baskets. Bursting at the seams with goodies, they even provide the picnic rugs!
  5. Take a ride up to Brisbane’s iconic Clock Tower.
  6. Animal lovers, pack your bags! Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is the Gold Coast’s go-to hub for interesting animal encounters. From red pandas to cassowaries, this is where you’ll meet your newest furred and feathered friends.
  7. A foodie paradise, Eat Street Northshore will have you drinking and eating your way around the world, and you don’t even have to leave Brisbane.
  8. Thirsty for thrills? The Gold Coast’s Theme Parks will quench your thirst and then some. Grab the whole family, there’s something for everyone.
  9. Is there a better way to take in the Scenic Rim than via a hot air balloon tour? We don’t think so!
  10. With three Brisbane markets under their umbrella, Jan Powers Farmers Market is your go-to for fresh produce, flowers, artisan bread, and plenty more.
  11. Gaze at the magnificent views of the Scenic Rim mountains from the Kooroomba Lavender Farm & Winery and enjoy the spoils of the Kooroomba restaurant and cellar door treatment.
  12. Support conservation all while cosying up to a koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
  13. Indulge in some seriously good street food at the Miami Marketta.
  14. Book a babysitter and escape for a weekend of pampering at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat.
  15. Ottaba Llama Walks lets you stroll through the countryside with a cheeky llama as your companion. There’s no better way to see our beautiful Aussie landscape!
  16. Immerse yourself in art and ignite imagination at QAGOMA.
  17. Catch a show over at Southbank’s QPAC theatre.
  18. Discover our rich past at the Queensland Museum. To get there? Follow the Whale Walk!
  19. Get involved in Riverlife’s hands-on outdoor activities. From kayaking to abseiling, they’re the Kangaroo Point activity aficionados.
  20. 300-metres of unobstructed water frontage and ice cold drinks? Sandstone Point Hotel has you covered.
  21. Shoot for the stars at Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium.
  22. Home to 9 Gold and Silver awards, Sirromet Winery is an international success and right here in Mount Cotton, a stone’s throw from Brisbane.
  23. Check out the view from Australia’s only beachside observation deck, the Skypoint Observation Deck.
  24. Learn more about our beautiful country’s history with an evening at Spirits of the Red Sand in Beenleigh.
  25. Take on the Story Bridge Adventure Climb and get to know this iconic piece of Brisbane the best possible way – by climbing it!
  26. Tamborine Mountain Wineries is a collection of 7 different wineries. From whites, reds, sparkling, fortifieds and everything in between – this is a winery experience unlike any other.
  27. A rainforest playground, Thunderbird Park will have you scaling the treetops in search of treasure-filled thunder eggs.
  28. No trip to the Sunshine Coast is complete without a visit to Sea Life (formerly Underwater World). Dip your hand into the Tidal Touchpool and get a good look at the fascinating marine creatures in the Ocean Tunnel.
  29. If it’s Winter, make sure you stop by for Whale Watching at Moreton Bay to wish the whales luck on their grand sea journey.
  30. An iconic structure of South Bank, no Brisbane trip is complete without a trip on the Wheel of Brisbane.
  31. Rated one of the best cooking schools in Brisbane, Wild Lime Cooking School is the perfect place to brush up on your cooking skills and indulge in local produce.
  32. Got a train fanatic in the family? Make all their dreams come true with a visit to the Workshops Rail Museum.
  33. Grab yourself a Milton mango and check out the behind the scenes of Queensland’s favourite brewery – the XXXX Brewery.
  34. Throw on your comfiest clothes and rug up for a night of movie-watching at the Yatala Drive-In

Thanks for tuning in to our Destination Dreaming’s South East QLD bucket list.
Watch this place for our top must-dos in New Zealand, Australia, and Globally.

Until then, safe travels!