Brisbane is has great beaches to the north, to the south and on the various islands of Moreton Bay. It is not hard to find the beach for you. Many people avoid the Gold Coast because Surfers Paradise is too busy, but there are a range of other beaches to visit with my favourite being Burleigh Heads. To the north there are amazing beaches from Caloundra all the way up to Noosa. But I like to pop into Bribie Island for the easily accessed secluded beaches on the Island.
Burleigh Heads is my favourite beach on the Gold Coast
Normally you find lookouts by driving along and then there will be a sign on the side of the road informing you that there is a lookout there. You have to decide whether to slam on the brakes, keep going and find a safe place to do a u-turn, or just promise yourself to visit the lookout on the way back. It is worth researching the lookouts you want to visit as some require a short walk and others are down roads you might not normally visit. Some of the best lookouts are on the Boonah to Killarney scenic drive with 4 major lookouts on the drive plus many other scenic spots you can stop at.
Morton Bay is full of islands. Some you can drive to such as Bribie Island, others like King Island are a popular place to walk to at low tide. North Stradbroke is often the key attraction on the bay while Moreton Island is more of a tourist destination with most people visiting as part of a tour. However, there are a number of little islands to visit as well. St Helena has historic tours and this is really the only way to visit the island, while Coochiemudlo describes itself as Brisbane's best kept secret and is perfect place to go with young families.
There are plenty of country cafes that are well worth visiting. The UpFront Club in Maleny is one of my favourties that isright in town. But there are plenty that are out in scenic locations. Popular spots like the Spring Creek Mountain Cafe has amazing food and great views. For something more down to earth there is The Falls Cafe at Queen Mary Falls, which is a great place to go for filling country meals. There are also places that are both shops and cafes, such as The One Stop Cafe in Aratula or the Flaxton Barn near Mapleton. Lamington National Park features two of the best cafes in South East Queensland. The Lamington Tea House not only has lovely lamingtons, but nice meals and fantastic views. While O'Reilly's Mountain Cafe on the other side of the National Park also has nice views and good food.
Many weekend destinations are also popular shopping locations. Maleny and Mt Tamborine are two places where you could spend hours shopping, eating in cafes, and sampling the local fudge and ice cream. Even outside these centres you will find shops full of local crafts with a cafe attached. Here is a suggested list of items to shop for around South East Queensland.
South East Queensland wineries are rapidly makings their mark. The main winery regions are Montville, Mt Tamborine and Stanthorpe. There are also a number of wineries just over the NSW border in Tenterfield. My feeling is that Montville's Wineries are the most scenic, while Stanthorpe has the better wine thanks to all the granite.
Enjoy fine wine in a beautiful setting at a Queensland Winery
One reason to head out of town is to search for the perfect restaurant. These can be somewhere simple like the Spring Creek Mountain Cafe that specialises in great meals made with local produce, The Flame Hill Vineyard which has a fine dining restaurant attached to the winery, or Songbirds which is set in beautiful rainforest in Mt Tamborine. Some of the best restaurants are out in the countryside and are often worth the drive.
Fresh local ingredients are used at the Spring Creek Cafe