Brisbane is a destination in and of itself, but if you want to delve into nature, it’s also the perfect base camp for exploring the unique landscapes nearby. Want rocky boulders? Sure thing. Want rainforest? You got it. How about waterfalls? No problem. Lace up your runners and hire a car, because you defs want to check out these beaut hikes on your next Brisbane vacay.

Girraween National Park

A casual three-hour drive from Brissy, Girraween National Park is part of the ‘Granite Belt’ area of the Great Dividing Range in the Darling Downs. There are amazing rocky landscapes here, along with an abundance of native flowers and animals. The 3.6km Pyramid Trail is a particular stunner, taking you uphill to exposed rocky boulders and views over the valley.

Springbrook National Park

Springbrook National Park is, uh, quite large. A full 15,310 acres that form part of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. So what? The Gondwana Rainforests are one of the largest of their kind in the world, and they’re super old with a lot of the flora and fauna here still pretty dang close to their ancestors, according to fossil records. It’s located in the Gold Coast Hinterlands, so yeah it’s slightly further from Brisbane then the others but it’s NICE okay guys? Just go.

If you want waterfalls, natural swimming pools, lush canopies, and/or bird watching, you got it bb. Locals are particularly proud of the Natural Bridge, a naturally formed rock arch that lights up with glow worms after dark.

The Glass House Mountains National Park

Head straight for the Summit Trail right up to the top of Mount Ngungun for rad panoramic views over to the craggy peaks of the rest of the Glass House Mountains. If you’re really trying to do it for the gram (let’s not pretend you’re not), time the 2.6km hike for sunset at the top, but bring torches to get yourself back down.

Lamington National Park

Hold onto your hats kids, because if you haven’t heard about Morans Falls yet, I’m about to blow your mind. I’m not going to lie to you, if you’re not a hiker the trail to Morans Falls Lookout isn’t easy. But it could also be harder and my god the views are worth it. If it feels like too much for you, the bottom of the falls also serves up some lush rainforest canopy realness that won’t disappoint. Or explore literally anywhere else in this giant stunner of a park.

Mt Tamborine

Another gem on the Gold Coast Hinterland, this fave and easy to access local spot has a few different walking tracks worth checking out, and most of them are pretty short and easy. Take the Curtis Falls Circuit and listen out for the loud calls of Albert’s lyrebird as you make your way passed the falls themselves and onto a giant strangler fig. If you haven’t seen one before just trust me, they’re cool.

If you want a view from above, you can grab tickets to the Rainforest Skywalk and wander over the suspended bridge 30-metres in the air. Side note, there’s also a winery here. Just saying.

Mount Coot-tha

If you really don’t want to leave the city at all but you still want some pretty views of the city skyline, head over to Mount Coot-tha. There are plenty of track options, but if you want to get to the top, hit up Summit Track. Hot tip, time it for sunset, because obviously.

D’Aguilar National Park

Change up the rainforest views with the eucalyptus forest at D’Aguilar National Park. Split into two parts, South D’Aguilar and Mount Mee, a variety of hikes at different difficulties let you check out sweeping views to Moreton Bay on tracks like Jolly’s Lookout, and over remote gorges, like X or take a dip in the middle of the eucalypts at Rocky Hole.

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Image: Instagram / [@elundsten]