-Updated September 2017-
I’m a Brisbane local through and through. I was born here, grew up here, and though I’ve traveled the world, I think I’ll always call Brisbane “home”. Brisbane has just about everything that you could want; the convenience and variety of a big city, friendly locals and easy access to great beaches, rainforest and country scenery. There are so many things to do in Brisbane, but if you’ve only got limited time (i.e. a weekend stopover), here are some of the best things I’d recommend. Rather than a set itinerary, I’ve listed lots of things that you can pick and choose from to create your own adventure to suit your taste, budget and weather!
Updated August 2017
“Starting in 1876, the “Intercolonial Exhibition of 1876″ was created to promote and encourage agricultural and industrial development in Queensland”
To anyone that grew up in Brisbane, the word “Ekka” conjures up memories of dagwood dogs, fairy floss, nausea-inducing rides, animals, showbags and fireworks. For me it brings back memories of shovelling cow poo and watching the precision driving team (though not at the same time). You see, my family is full of dairy farmers, and every year they would bring their best show cows to Brisbane to enter them in the dairy judging at the Ekka.
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Planning a Road Trip for the Gold Coast to Melbourne Drive
The south east corner of Australia holds many the best natural wonders, sprawling cities and rolling coastline that this magnificent country has to offer. Planning a road trip for the Gold Coast to Melbourne drive will take you through some of the highlights, spanning a journey that covers 1,700km and taking approximately four or five days, depending on how long you wish to stop off for along the way.
-updated August 2019-
Melbourne to Gold Coast Map
Want to know “How far the Gold Coast from Melbourne by plane”? Start off by finding a flight to Gold Coast, and then follow the scenic routes to take in the best of Australia. The pretty journey isn’t just for looking at though – along the way you’ll go through dozens of national parks which all deserve to be explored, as well as some of the best cities where you can enjoy culture, nightlife and Australia’s famous food.
Start from the town of Gold Coast, where the aptly named Surfers Paradise epitomises what the city is all about. Stroll along the beach and watch the surfing buffs hit the waves, or get involved and learn how to surf from one of the many schools here: you may just find you’ll need it on your journey down Australia’s coast!
Bundjalung National Park
Credit: Stephan Ridgway on Flickr
A two and a half hour drive from Gold Coast, you’ll pass through quaint surfing towns like Byron Bay and Ocean Shores to get to Bundjalung National Park where you can go canoeing down the park’s rivers and creeks or even explore the coral reef just off the coast. And if you really want to be at one with nature, you can camp overnight here.
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Approximately three hours from Bundjalung, Coffs Harbour is a favourite holiday destination for many Australians. A quaint tourist settlement, highlights here include the Big Banana, one of the first of Australia’s Big Things. There’s also a range of accommodation here if you need a well-deserved break.
Crowdy Bay National Park
Credit: Robyn Jay on Flickr
Perhaps one of the lesser-known of Australia’s National Parks, Crowdy Bay is a pretty swathe of coastline, perfect for stopping off and enjoying a day by the seaside, and it’s around 3 hours from Coffs Harbour. One of the more serene stop-offs on this journey, it’s a nice place to stop and stretch your legs.
“Canberra is Australia’s capital, and while it’s not as vast as Melbourne or Sydney, it has its own unique attractions that are well worth a stop-off on your journey.”
Credit: Rina on Flickr
Two and a half hours down the coast, you’ll enter Newcastle, one of Australia’s largest cities. A diverse settlement, you’ll find a backdrop of mountains and beaches with wineries and trendy restaurants nestled in between. Make sure you visit one of the famous Newcastle Baths – outdoor swimming pools which attract sunbathers and swimmers alike.
Just over two hours away lays the gem in the crown of Australia: Sydney. The largest of Australia’s cities, it offers up some of the most recognisable landmarks including the Sydney Opera House and the harbour. Spend a few days here sampling the cuisine, surfing at Bondi Beach, and getting to know what Australia is really about.
Canberra is Australia’s capital, and while it’s not as vast as Melbourne or Sydney, it has its own unique attractions that are well worth a stop-off on your journey. A planned city in the middle of the bush, it offers up manmade lakes and national monuments surrounded by Australia’s untamed outback. Take a trip up the Black Mountain Tower for amazing views over the cityscape.
Credit: Framton Goodman on Flickr
Australia’s largest inland city, Wagga Wagga has close Aboriginal ties, which is how it got it’s unique name. Enjoy attractions like the Wagga Zoo and the RAAF Wagga Heritage Museum to understand how life in this town has developed.
Credit: Tourism Victoria on Flickr
Your final stretch of the journey will be the longest; you’ll travel through untamed outback and small villages along the route, which will take just over four hours. Once in Melbourne enjoy the cultural arts at Southbank, or catch a game at one of the city’s many sporting arenas including the world famous MCG. If you’re feeling inspired to continue your journey, why not take a road trip on the Great Ocean Road?
Finding school holiday activities for Brisbane kids can be a challenge, especially if the weather is not cooperating. But, don’t stress! We’ve gathered together some of the best things to do around Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. You’ll find some classics in there (like the museum) but we’ve been on the hunt for some more interesting ideas, too. Many of these activities would make great birthday party ideas. Maps are included for some listings to help you find the closest venue, and Queensland school holiday dates are at the bottom. As always, if you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments below!
School Holiday Activities for Brisbane Kids Updated 2017
Vivid Sydney is an annual festival of light, music and ideas and features an amazing light show projected onto the Opera House called “Lighting the Sails”. The Vivid Sydney festival is usually on around May/June, and even though I don’t live in Sydney I’ve been lucky enough to experience it a couple of times.