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Needing a break from the big smoke? Despite being an easy 90-minute drive from Brisbane, Southern Queensland Country is a thrill-seeker’s playground, a foodie’s dream and a quiet country getaway — all in one. Perfect for solo travellers, couples and families, it's activities galore at this regional hotspot.

If you’re looking for unique experiences near Brisbane, we’ve put together a bunch of itineraries to choose from, that promise an unforgettable escape for everyone.

Vineyard with Kangaroos

Itinerary 1: The Adventure-Seeker’s Day Out

Thrill-seekers can enjoy an action-packed day, starting with a hike in Main Range Conservation Park (formerly known as Glen Rock State Forest).

Walk the Scenic Rim Trail with experienced hikers or join a guided walking group. This trail is not designed for casual walkers; instead, it features steep and challenging segments, catering to experienced hikers. Numerous alternative walking routes, both short and long, await in the area. All adventured-out? Take a leisurely stroll along Lake Apex Park.

Revel in a delicious lunch in Gatton before heading towards Ravensbourne National Park for mountain biking trails, where you’ll ride among towering trees, palm groves, trickling streams and breathtaking birdlife.

For a unique experience near Brisbane that won’t spike your adrenaline levels quite as much, you can jump on board a gravel riding tour with guided cycling tour company, VeloRoo.

Finally, end the day at a cosy cafe or a casual dining spot in charming Toowoomba, the perfect location for unwinding after an adventurous day. (You’ll need it!)



Itinerary 2: Cultural and Historical Exploration

Those staying in (or driving through!) Toowoomba can explore Southern Queensland Country’s rich history with a visit to the Cobb+Co Museum. Thespians will appreciate the Empire Theatre, where you can take a peek behind the iconic red curtain and sign up for a tour, or access a Backstage Pass to see the sound and lighting equipment and the inner workings of the theatre.

Other cultural stops to add to your road trip include: Highfields Pioneer Village, the award-winning Rudd’s Pub and the Royal Bull’s Head Inn in Drayton.

If you’re keen to keep exploring, head an hour out of Toowoomba to the Southern Downs, where you can pay a visit to the Warwick Museum and other heritage-listed buildings in Warwick, such as the Abbey Boutique Hotel.

Lastly, you can visit the Mary Poppins House in Allora, or sign up for a guided tour by appointment. Built in 1878, the heritage-listed house was the former home of PL Travers, the author of Mary Poppins.

Bring the day to a close with local cultural experiences like theatre performances or live music events.

For more history and heritage in Southern Queensland Country, hit the heritage trail.

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Itinerary 3: Food & Wine Lover’s Escape

Prefer to experience a new location with a wine in hand? When it comes to wining and dining, Southern Queensland Country is dotted with hidden gems to discover.

Clear your weekend schedule and plan a gastronomic journey, starting with a specialty café in the Lockyer Valley, moving to a cheese tasting at Stanthorpe Cheese in the Southern Downs & Granite Belt, before heading to the Truffle Discovery Centre where you can taste condiments aplenty.

Finally, end the day with a gourmet dinner in Stanthorpe. For an epicurean foodie experience, head to Essen restaurant, which offers an evolving set menu that best reflects the season, or Heritage Estate Winery, where you can book their Vine+Dine Journey Lunch, a Winery Dinner Tour, the 5-Senses Degustation Black-Tie Dinner and more.

Vineyard Stroll

Itinerary 4: Family Fun Day

If family-friendly activities near Brisbane are on your agenda, take the entire family on an adventure with animal encounters at Darling Downs Zoo. Just a two-hour drive west of Brisbane, the zoo is also a sanctuary with free-roaming native wildlife.

Next, wind down with a picnic at Toowoomba’s Queens Park or Picnic Point Lookout and Parkland.

Just outside of Toowoomba, go horse riding through a working cattle property in comfortable western saddles with Cowboy Up Trail Riding. (These horses are also hired for movies and commercials, so you could be paired with a celebrity without even knowing it.)

If biking is more your terrain, Bikeline offers e-bike hire so you can ride along picturesque views at your own pace.

We also love the Highfields Falls Bushland – it’s a great spot for birdwatching.

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Itinerary 5: Nature & Wildlife Discovery

Embark on a serene day trip from Brisbane to the Somerset region, starting with birdwatching and a nature walk at Lake Wivenhoe (the largest lake in South East Queensland), followed by kayaking on Somerset Dam.

Enjoy a delightful lunch and the iconic country markets in the quaint towns of Esk or Fernvale, then spend the afternoon exploring the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail – the longest rail trail in Australia.

For a delightful (and totally different) family experience, sign up for a llama and latte walk with Ottaba Llama Walks, where you can walk through the town of Esk to a local coffee shop for morning tea.

Lastly, for a dining experience that will guarantee happy bellies, draw the day to a close at The Linville Hotel or Esk Grand Hotel.


Tourism & Events Queensland

Constantly typing ‘scenic drives near me’ into your search engine? Whether you seek adventure, culture, culinary delights, family fun or nature walks, there are a plethora of diverse experiences to be had — and so close to the city. For your next day trip from Brisbane, set your GPS to Southern Queensland Country and enjoy the drive.

Can’t get enough of what Southern Queensland Country has to offer? Extend your stay with an overnight trip or a relaxing weekend getaway.

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Acknowledgement of Country

Southern Queensland Country Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the lands and waterways that run through these regions. We pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past, present and emerging.