As Sunshine Coast locals we are well aware of how lucky we are to call this beautiful place home. But when the tourists start rolling in on the weekend things can get very busy, and sometimes it can get a bit hectic to get to our favourite spots. Luckily, there are plenty of spectacular places not too far from the coast that are perfect for a day trip, (or an even a weekend getaway if you’re in need of an extended escape). We’ve put together our top day trip locations for when you want to escape the hustle and bustle and get back to the quiet of nature.

Photo Credit – Visit Sunshine Coast

Rainbow Beach

Distance from the coast: 2hrs

Pack up the 4WD and get ready to hit the sand, Rainbow Beach offers one of the best beach driving experiences in Queensland. Spend the day travelling the seemingly endless stretches of coastline and enjoying the insta-worthy views along the way. Check out the Carlo Sand Blow, the Coloured Sands and even go for a horse ride on the beach. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes to stop in for a bit to eat or enjoy a picnic on the beach (just remember to leave nothing behind). Permits are required to drive in certain sections so be sure to arrange this ahead of time.

D’Aguilar National Park

Distance from the coast: 2 hrs

Perfect for a day trip, the D’Aguliar National Park has plenty to enjoy. Take in panoramic views from one of the 3 lookouts in the park, or have a relaxing picnic by the creek, or simply just enjoy the scenic drive. There are a few easy short walks to do and even a swimming hole to cool off in if you’re up for it. If you want to extend your visit, there are also two, tent-only campgrounds in the park.

Photo Credit – Visit Moreton Bay Region

Photo Credit – SEQ Water

Somerset Dam

Distance from the coast: 1.5 hrs

Hook up the boat or jet ski and hit the road. Although technically not a ‘natural attraction’, Somerset Dam is a favourite for water sports enthusiasts and perfect for a day out. There are three different day use areas to choose from, 2 of which have designated swimming areas. There are also some great spots in the northern section of the dam if you’re keen for a bit of fishing. If you want to extend your stay overnight there is also camping available at Kirkleagh and Somerset Park.

More Information – http://www.seqwater.com.au/water-supply/dam-operations/somerset-dam

Bunya Mountains

As Queensland’s second oldest national park, there is a lot of history in the Bunya Mountains. Home to the world’s largest stand of ancient bunya pines and over 30 rare and threatened species, the flora and fauna that are on show are worth the drive alone. The winding rainforest walks take you to spectacular waterfalls and lookouts, with plenty of places to stop for a picnic along the way. Pack your tent and stay the night at one of the three camping areas if you want to make a weekend of it.

More Information – http://bunyamountains.com.au/about-the-bunya-mountains/

Photo Credit – Bunya Mountains Escapes

Photo Credit – Remote Traveller

Springbrook

Distance from the coast: 3 hrs

One for the nature lovers! This stunning national park has 3 waterfalls, 2 swimming holes, 3 lookouts and 7 walks to choose from, so there is plenty to see and do. Home to the famous Natural Bridge and world heritage listed Gondwana Rainforest, this park is a must visit. Most of the walks are suitable for all fitness levels so lace up your walking shoes, pack a picnic and get ready to explore.

More Information – http://explorespringbrook.com/

Got a long weekend free? Check out the rest of the Scenic Rim

Distance from the coast: 2.5 – 3 hrs

If you’ve got some extra time to spare, we’d suggest extending your trip to the rest of the Scenic Rim. This region encompasses the Gold Coast hinterland and surrounds and features no less than 6 National Parks (including Springbrook). There are 14 lakes and waterfalls throughout the region, and over 30 walks to choose from so there is a lot to cover. There are heaps of accommodation options to suit just about everyone. You can rough it with camping and farm stays available or live it up in luxury in secluded cottages and retreats.

More Information – https://www.visitscenicrim.com.au/

Photo Credit – Visit Scenic Rim

Photo Credit – Visit Brisbane