Brisbane is a city that has it all, a thriving bar and restaurant scene, plenty of sunshine and diverse culture. However, sometimes you need to break out of the CBD and explore a little further from the city limits.
So, if you're craving a bit of extra breathing space, rent a car in Brisbane and try one of these day trips:
1. Noosa Heads
From central Brisbane, head north on the M1. Wind down the windows and enjoy the sea breezes and coastal scenery for which this part of Australia is so renowned.
After approximately two hours, you'll reach Noosa Heads and will find yourself spoiled for choice in terms of activities and sightseeing options. Stroll along the seafront promenade at Noosa Beach until you discover the perfect spot to lay down your towel and bury your feet in the sand. If sunning yourself on the golden sands proves tiresome, head to Hastings Street, for an alfresco lunch.
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Next, walk back along the boardwalk from Noosa Main Beach into Noosa National Park, where you can enjoy a relaxed stroll with views of Laguna Bay, or grab your sneakers for a decent hike through woodlands, rainforests and heathlands. There's 15 km of walking tracks ranging from easy to moderate, and on your excursions, you might even get the chance to see dolphins frolicking in the waters or koalas in the trees. Once you've experienced much of what Noosa Heads has to offer, pack up the car and head back to the city revived.
Queensland isn't all about pristine beaches and endless ocean views, and if you want an experience that's a little different head for Springbrook. Hire a car in Brisbane, pack a picnic lunch and take the two-hour trip south to Springbrook National Park.
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This vast nature reserve covers 6,725 hectares and comprises of four sections: Springbrook plateau and Mount Cougal to the south-east and Natural Bridge and Numinbah to the west. Explore dense forests punctuated by cascading waterfalls and mountain streams. Breathe deeply and enjoy the birdsong, of which there's bound to be a lot – over 600 species are found in Queensland – approximately 80 per cent of all the bird species found in Australia. Make use of one of the area's sheltered picnic areas for lunch then continue exploring, before enjoying the short drive back to Brisbane.
For rolling vines, award-winning wines and gourmet cheeses, give Stanthorpe a sip. After selecting your ride in Brisbane, embark on the three-hour drive south-west along National Highway A15. Stanthorpe is a picturesque little town, with much cooler temperatures than other parts of Queensland, where vineyards and orchards thrive. It's also known for gem fossicking (prospecting for precious gems such as topaz and sapphire in the local streams).
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After bathing in your newly acquired riches, check out the Stanthorpe and District Historical Society Museum, which includes a shearer's hut circa 1842, railway artifacts and other local memorabilia. After the museum, you might want to do a little wine and cheese-tasting, or just enjoy wandering through the vineyards and orchards, before heading back to Brisbane rich and satiated.
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