The 5 Best Daytrips From Brisbane
Sand dune tobogganing, a fancy cheese shop and the world's largest Timezone.
When you’re visiting Brisbane, it’s easy to forget that there’s more to see in the surrounding area than the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, which tend to hog the limelight. But as well as the beautiful beaches (and the Big Pineapple) south-east Queensland offers a variety of wonders worth checking out, both natural and man-made, and all of them are within a couple of hours of Brisbane by car, train, or ferry. Here are five of them.
#1 Majestic Theatre, Pomona
Pomona’s a small town at the north end of the Sunshine Coast that you can reach by rail (a two-and-a-half-hour trip from Brisbane’s Central Station) or car (closer to 90 minutes, if traffic is light). Its main attraction is the Majestic Theatre, which still shows silent movies the way they were meant to be seen. The heritage-listed building was originally constructed as a social hall in 1921 before being converted into a picture theatre, and is now home to a 1936 model electric organ that accompanies screenings of movies like Son Of The Sheik and The General. The best days to go are when they show mini-festivals of short comedies featuring the likes of the Keystone Kops, Buster Keaton, and Laurel & Hardy – the kind of movies best enjoyed in a packed room full of laughter, the way it would have been 90 years ago. Check their website for screening details, and call in advance to get the most up-to-date info.
#2 The Glass House Mountains
Located 70 kilomestres north of Brisbane in the coastal plain of the Sunshine Coast hinterlands, about a one-hour drive, the Glass Houses are a range of 11 mountains that formed from cooling lava. The volcanoes that once surrounded them have eroded to nothing over the course of 26 million years, leaving unusually shaped volcanic plugs. Two of the mountains, Ngungun and Tibrogargan (the one that looks like a face staring out to sea), are open to the public for bushwalking and hiking along a variety of trails with differing levels of difficulty. All of them are worth it for the views from the peaks.
#3 Maleny Cheese, Maleny
Within sight of the Glass House Mountains on the Maleny to Montville Road, the Maleny Cheese Cafe offers a variety of dairy-based delicacies made from local cow and buffalo milk. Book a tasting tour in advance to sample a selection of their products, which include an award-winning apple and cinnamon yoghurt and various cheddar, feta, and white mould flavours. For the adventurous they serve wasabi cheddar and a variety of buffalo cheeses (available seasonally). Visit during the week and you can see the cheese being made through viewing windows, though due to hygiene regulations tours don’t take in the factory floor. Make sure to bring an Esky you can fill with cheesy goodness to take home with you.
#4 Moreton Island
A 75-minute ferry ride from Brisbane will take you to Moreton Island, one of the largest sand islands in the world. The Tangalooma resort town organises dolphin-feeding and wreck diving at several shipwrecks that were deliberately sunk off the island to create wavebreaks. Most of the interior is national park rainforest (you’ll need a permit to camp on the island), and there’s a “desert” of sand dunes steep enough to toboggan down on cardboard sheets. As well as beaches and several good fishing spots the coastline has five lighthouses to show off including the heritage-listed Cape Morton Light, the only stone lighthouse in Queensland. Moreton Island is also the place to go for whale watching, or for hopping to the surrounding islands: Bribie, Fraser, North Stradbroke, and South Stradbroke.
#5 Timezone Gold Coast
Sure, you could go to the Gold Coast for the beaches. But you could also go because Surfers Paradise has the largest Timezone Family Entertainment Centre in the entire world. Spread over 5000 square metres, as well as the arcade games you’d expect – from classics like Pac-Man to modern creations like The Walking Dead Pinball – they have bumper cars, laser skirmish, rollercoaster simulators, a six-lane bowling alley, and a mini-golf course with a full 18 holes. And it’s on the same street as the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! museum and odditorium, with its magic mirror and “mystery couch”. OK, yes, there are beaches nearby as well.
(Lead image:Andrew Sutherland/Flickr)