The best day trips from Brisbane for a family adventure 6

The best day trips from Brisbane for a family adventure

In this guest post Caz Makepeace of shares her recommendations for fun family day trips from Brisbane:

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Who said adventure, stunning nature, and relaxation was not on the doorstep of Brisbane? The tendency for family day trips is to pack your car and head to the beach – you’re spoilt for choice going north or south. But, for a different day-tripping, or overnight, experience with your family, I recommend going inland to a world of ancient forests, fresh mountain air, crystal clear creeks and breathtaking sunsets.

One of the most memorable experiences we had on our road trip around Australia was a visit to O’Reilly’s in the Lamington National Park. It provides a perfect balance of fun activities for adults and kids, so neither will be whinging about boredom nor stomping their feet shouting, “its’ not fair!”

That’s usually me, when I’m dragged away from my coffee with a view to the playground to watch my daughter swing across the monkey bar for the 500th time!

A family getaway should be about creating memorable moments and O’Reilly’s offers many opportunities for that.

All you have to do is pack your bag for an overnight stay, jump in the car with lots of energy and an attitude ready for adventure.

Lamington National Park. Copyright: ytravelblog

Suggested stops between Brisbane and the Lamington National Park

Mt Tamborine

Gallery walk is the infamous street in Mt Tamborine, filled with colourful shops, art galleries, wine tasting and cafes. You might want a driving break here to do a bit of shopping or grab a quick cuppa before moving on.

Canungra Winery

This might be the chance for Mum and Dad to slip in an activity of their own to enjoy. On the way to the Lamington National Park is O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards. This area is one of Queensland’s newly emerging wine-growing regions. You can experience delicious wine and food combinations on the sweeping verandas of the centuries old homestead (complete with resident ghost! The kids should love that story). Wine tasting is complimentary when dining or picnicking, otherwise it costs $3 per person. (You could also do this on your return home from O’Reilly’s.)

Mountview Alpaca farm

25km from Canungra Winery is the Mountview Alpaca Farm, nestled amongst 200 acres of lush rolling hills. It provides a fantastic chance to stretch your legs on the way up to O’Reilly’s and for the kids to feed the alpacas (bag of food $3). The farm has about 25 of them to meet.

If your belly is not too full, this might be a lovely spot for a cup of coffee while you enjoy the incredible views street stretching across to Tamborine Mountain and the Gold Coast.

Lamington National Park. Copyright: ytravelblog

Lamington National Park and O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat

Arrive in the afternoon to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat high atop the World Heritage, Lamington National Park. Drive slowly as the road can be very narrow, winding, and a little nauseating. It ill also give you a chance to admire the stunning views and lush, green forest.

O’Reilly’s has quite a diverse itinerary of activities, both free and paid that you can do.

Plan it around your afternoon and morning before returning to Brisbane. Let the kids help you decide which activities would be the most fun to experience together.

Here is what I recommend:

The Tree Top Walk

The free tree top walk is 180 metres in length and is made up of 9 suspension bridges, with much of the walkway being 15 metres above the ground. The kids will love climbing up the ladder to observation decks constructed in Strangler Fig trees. The views are pretty special if you’re brave enough to go all the way up.

Bird watching

O’Reilly’s has long been regarded as a bird lovers’ paradise and is renowned as one of Australia’s premier birding areas with over 232 recorded species. I enjoyed this complimentary early morning guided walk through the rainforest to find some of the bird wildlife. It really opened my eyes up to the huge variety of animals Australia has – it’s not just about koalas and kangaroos.


O’Reilly’s Birds of Prey show. Copyright: ytravelblog


The Birds of Prey Show

The kids will love this entertaining and informative show, which includes awesome aerial predators including owls, falcons and eagles in free flight as they perform amazing displays of natural aerobatics. We learned a lot about these birds and it was cool to get so close to them. You can choose to have your photo taken with them after the show. (Family pass: $48)

Glow Worm Tour

The kids will love this night-time tour through the bush to sit by the creek and watch the Glow Worm Grotto sparkle like Pixie Hollow. An experienced guide will teach you all about the glow worms’ unusual lifestyle. It’s quite magical and something I’ve not experienced anywhere else before. (Cost: Adults $30 Kids $15)

Segway Tour

This one’s for the adults and the older kids (12+), zipping around the ancient subtropical rainforest and eucalypt forest to spectacular Moran’s Falls on a Segway Safari. Glide on the winding dirt tracks, over creek crossings to the original O’Reilly family settlement before the tour stops to enjoy breathtaking views of the falls! ($119 per person)


O’Reilly’s Flying Fox. Copyright: ytravelblog

Flying Fox

We LOVED this adventure as a family and was one of our most memorable moments on our Australian road trip.M ostly because our two and a half year old braved the 25m high, 180m long ride across the forest canopy. If your group is small you can keep going back for more until you get sick of it. I think we clocked up six goes each! (Cost: Adults: $34 Kids: $22 PLUS, there are plenty of hiking trails you can do in the Lamington National Park. Full activity passes are available for $60 a day (excludes Segway and private guiding))

Accommodation at O’Reilly’s and the Lamington National Park

Green Mountains Campsite, next door to O’Reilly’s, is run by the Department of Environment. A site costs only $23 per family. No caravans allowed.

If you’re looking for bit of a more lux getaway, we recommend a villa with views out over the sub-tropical rainforest. On average, they cost around $400 a night, which may include some activities. Grab yourself a glass of wine, and jump in the hot tub for sunset. It’s stunning and equally impressive if you rise early for sunrise over a misty forest.

If you’re camping, or don’t have views from your accommodation, you can head up to the Rainforest Bar at sunset for magnificent views. You will have to purchase your own drinks at the bar, which are expensive. Happy hour is 5:00 –6:30pm.

You can bring your own food to cook in your well-equipped villa kitchen. One of our biggest tips with travelling with kids is to eat out for lunch or breakfast. I’m sure they’d be really tired after your day of adventure, so cooking in your villa will give them a chance to soak up the spa, chill out on the lounge and watch some TV, or hang out on the deck.

The food at the restaurant is delicious, although a little pricy and the views and ambiance is not as good as your villa.

Don’t forget to cook up a hearty BBQ breakfast in the morning and enjoy one last lingering look at those views before you return home.

About the author: Caz Makepeace wants to live in a world where people fearlessly follow what’s in their heart and embrace travel as more than just a two week annual thing. She’s the co-founder of, one of the world’s biggest travel blog and has been featured by The Today Show, Virgin Australia, Expedia, and Lonely Planet. When not travelling and writing about it, you can find her swinging in a beach hammock at sunset to the tunes of Jack Johnson. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.


(Feature image: Josselin Berger)

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