Lamington National Park is approximately two hours drive South / South-West of Brisbane, next to Springbrook. Like Springbrook Lamington National Park is covered in luscious green fields and mountains, long, windy roads, and plenty of natural beauty to experience up close and personal. Although the national park occupies a large area and boasts over 160 km of walking trails, one of the more popular areas to visit is O’Reilly’s .
Situated 930 metres above sea level, in the heart of Lamington National Park, O’Reilly’s is a great starting point for discovering the surrounding area. Accessible only via a two way, single lane, road up a windy mountain it would be wise to take your time and enjoy the scenery – ensuring you watch out for the Kangaroos around dusk, as they pop out from the foliage. One thing you will notice while ascending the mountain is the rapid change from bushland to rainforest; suddenly less light is able to penetrate to the road and there is a distinct drop in temperature. Although it can still get fairly hot, I would suggest packing an extra set of warm clothes, just in case, as it does typically tend to be cooler in the rainforest areas.
Although O’Reilly’s has been able to – with marvellous engineering – provide a canopy walk of the rainforest, it is not very long or overly fascinating. Throw in some time feeding the birds at the resort and you may have been able to occupy yourself for an hour or two, but the real rewards await on some of the trail walks. With walks ranging from between 1 km to over 20km, you’re sure to find one to suit you.
One particularly enjoyable track is the Moran’s Falls’ track, which takes you on a leisurely 4.6km (return) through a sub-tropical rainforest to the top of Moran’s Falls’. Although the Moran’s Falls’ track takes you across the waterfall, to a picnic area with spectacular views (see image above), those more daring (ensuring all safety precautions are taken) can follow the stream a bit to the edge of the waterfall. Please do be warned though – this is a very high cliff face and any slip could lead to serious or fatal injuries or death.
Note: Prior to visiting Lamington National Park, as with all National Parks, it is important to check the EPA website for any warnings or closures.
Springbrook is about an hour drive South-West of Surfers Paradise (approximately 2 hours from Brisbane) and is lined with luscious green fields and mountains and is renowned for its waterfalls and natural beauty.
From the moment you leave the M1 and pass through the outer suburbs of Advancetown you are presented with a completely different, more relaxed and peaceful, surrounding. Billboard and tall buildings replaced with tall trees and mountains. Houses after house replaced with long fields of green grass, with the occasional house erected amongst the fields.
During my visit, it had been a fairly overcast and dismal day (as South East Queensland seems to be often lately), however, I was fortunate enough to have had a break in the weather. With the clouds sparingly parting I pushed on with great reward as the sunlight shines through gaps in the cloud, selectively lighting the surround hills, providing spectacular views on a peaceful drive. Unfortunately, I did not take the chance to capture this moment on digital film so I’m hoping that will not be the last time such events occur!
Not only is Springbrook good for visiting, it’s also great for passing through. With long windy roads pathing the way, it’s sure to be a joyful drive for any keen travellers or riders. A word of caution: Some of the roads are hilly with sharp corners and as a result are known black spots.
With plenty to discover in Springbrook and surrounding areas of Binna Burra, Lamington National Park and Natural Bridge this must do will take many full day visits to truly take in all it has to offer. I for one will certainly be revisiting the area on a number of future occasions.
Pumicestone Passage is a narrow channel of shallow sand banks and islands which separate Bribie Island and the mainland. Bribie Island is located approximately an hour and a half’s drive north of Brisbane, Between Redcliffe and the Sunshine Coast.
This must do is not particularly one of my favourites; however, Bribie island is home to numerous parks and surf beaches which would make a great day out for those wishing to bring along the family or simply have a seaside picnic and possibly a swim. There are also a few recreational activities readily available throughout the island. The 150 must do campaign website also suggests taking a tour of Pumicestone Passage aboard the Bribie Island Ferry or exploring the passage on a small hire boat.
The few times that I have been to Bribie Island it appears to be a windy area, with an offshore breeze certain to come in and stir things up of an afternoon. Along with the winds, although the actual parks are luscious and green, some of the surrounding rivers are not the most healthy looking or smelling. However, after all, is said and done, if you are looking to take the family for a BBQ picnic Bribie Island certainly is a place to investigate.
Australia Zoo is a wildlife conservation located approximately an hour and a half north of Brisbane, in Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast. It is was the home of the Australian Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, and is now run by Terri Irwin. One of the first things that you will notice about the zoo is its size. Currently situated on over sixty acres of land, you will have plenty of places to explore throughout the entire day.
Entry fee is $53 per adult and $31 per child or alternatively, a family of four (two adults and two children) pass can be purchased for $157, saving you $11 on entry fees. In my case, I was lucky enough to obtain free entry due to failing EFTPOS machines!
One thing to note about is the car park. There are two car parks; a small one at the front and a larger one at the rear. Due to the fact that only the small car park is visible from the main road, and is always full, it may deter some people from visiting. However, rest assured there is a much larger car park just beyond the front car park, with lots of parking and still only a very short walk from the main entrance.
Along with all the traditional zoo displays, there are three main Exhibitions at Australia Zoo: Tiger Temple, Elephantasia and The Crocoseum. The Crocoseum is the main stage, capable of seating 5,000, and is used for live animal shows and special performances such as Bindi and The Crocmen.
Mt Coot-tha is best known for its spectacular views of Brisbane city from its lookout. Approximately only a short ten-minute drive from the CBD of Brisbane, Mt Coot-tha is a great spot to go for a quick or lengthy visit during the day or at night. Personally, I would recommend going both during the day and at night to see the contrasting landscape as night falls over Brisbane.
On top of the lookout, there is a small café and gift shop, as well as the Summit Restaurant — which can get fairly busy as it is often considered to be a romantic restaurant with great views. The views and romantic feeling of the place are also the reason why you will often find newly weds getting their wedding photos taken on top of the look out.
While the lookout is the star of the show, Mt Coot-tha does have more to offer; Mt Coot-tha is home to the broadcasting stations in Brisbane (including seven, ten and nine) and also has a few parks, treks and picnic areas including JC Slaughter Falls and Simpson Falls. There are also plenty of places to pull over and park on the mountain road, which also offers great views, and tends to be filled with plenty of people during the annual Brisbane RiverFire.
Queensland is turning 150 next year and the RACQ has started the 150 Campaign where they are promoting 150 great Queensland Experiences. Being a large state a vast portion of the 150 experiences are out of reach for a day trip or even a weekend trip, and others are just not that interesting. I have compiled a shortlist from the 150 to come up with 20 Brisbane (or close enough to be a day or weekend trip from Brisbane) must do’s and a few Queensland like to do’s.
Over time I am going to be creating a new post entry for each item, along with Flickr photos, in order to track what I have done and to give my opinion on each one. I will also update this list with links to the posts, striking out any completed items. Although I have already done several of the items I may do them again simply because they were that good or because I’m lacking photos of them.