22 scenic drives near Brisbane
Updated: 21 July 2021
Take the road less travelled and explore the hidden pockets of nature and history surrounding Brisbane on one of the many scenic drives in the region. Whether you’d like to stay near The City centre or travel further afield, we've made the choice easy. Discover the best scenic drives in the Brisbane region.
There is still a lot to do if you don’t want to venture too far on your travels. Tackle one of these scenic drives that are just a hop, skip and a jump from the Brisbane CBD.
Take the twists and turns up Sir Samuel Griffith Drive for a glorious route to Mount Coot-tha Lookout. Beginning at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, circle up the road towards the peak and be rewarded with views out across Brisbane and beyond.
Head south of the Brisbane CBD and take a drive through the suburb of Mt Gravatt. Your final destination is the Mt Gravatt Lookout, which faces north-west towards The City, producing epic sunset views. As such, we recommend you plan your timing around dusk to take in all this lookout point has to offer.
The Scenic Rim region is located about an hour’s drive south of the Brisbane CBD. It’s a vast area so be sure to set aside at least a day to explore all this region has to offer. For travelling times, distances and maps of the Scenic Rim routes, click here.
From Canungra, make your way along Lamington National Park Road past two local wineries. Explore the World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park or escape to a world of crystal-clear creeks and fresh mountain air at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat.
Get snap-happy along one of Tamborine Mountain’s picturesque drives. Pull in at one of the many vantage points along Main Western Road that offer spectacular views of the valley below.
Get back to basics with a drive through the Lost World Valley found at the wilderness end of Lamington National Park. This tranquil valley is the perfect place to go horse riding, milk a cow or take in a scenic bushwalk.
If it is magnificent scenery you are after, then don’t miss the Boonah-Rathdowney road that loops between the two, running past Mt Barney and the Maroon Dam.
Follow one of the area’s four themed heritage trails: Colourful Characters (history), Inspiration (artists and works of art), Feathered Friends (bird watching), Serenity (scenery). Pick up a brochure from one of the Scenic Rim’s Visitor Information Centres.
Journey west for about an hour and you will be in the region known as “Australia’s Salad Bowl” – the Lockyer Valley. Gifted with some of the most fertile soil in the world, the Lockyer Valley’s rich natural beauty and rich history can be experienced through a number of scenic and educational drives.
The Cobb & Co Tourist Drive celebrates the early days of stagecoach transportation in South East Queensland. The drive follows the railway line and original road from Ipswich to Gatton.
Explore creeks and valleys under the Great Dividing Range via the small communities of Ma Ma Creek and Junction View. Stop and visit the settler-built church and historic cemetery at Ma Ma Creek. Note: this drive has steep inclines and some sections are unsealed. It is not recommended for buses or caravans.
Be rewarded with panoramic views across the Laidley Plains from Cunningham’s Crest Lookout. The lookout features murals, poetry, sculptures and mosaics that celebrate the European and Aboriginal history of the site and reflect on Laidley's early pioneers.
Pack a picnic and head up to Schultz Lookout, situated in the Blenheim Hills, where you will be greeted with stunning views of rich agricultural farmlands.
Travel south from Laidley through the rural towns of Mulgowie and Thornton to Crosby Park for a picnic beside Laidley Creek. In the wet season, take in picturesque views of waterfalls flowing from the distant mountain slopes.
Experience the challenges faced by railway engineers of the 1860s, constructing tracks up the notoriously steep 'Main Range' into Toowoomba. Stop at the Railway Museum for interesting tales and artefacts on the local rail history, and make a pit-stop for lunch at the picturesque town of Murphy’s Creek.
Take home a memento from your trip with a visit to Preston Peak Winery. Enjoy spectacular valley and mountain views via Flagstone Creek and Stockyard. Drive south around Flagstone Creek Conservation Park and Mount Campbell to Preston.
Centred on the town of Esk, the huge Somerset region is home to three large lakes which make it the perfect spot for boating, fishing and water sports enthusiasts. Located an hour’s drive north-west of Brisbane, it’s a popular destination for history and nature buffs.
The Brisbane Valley Heritage Trail is a drive route between Yarraman and Fernvale offering amateur historians points of interest to visit along a pleasant 160km drive.
For history buffs, take the full day to explore the 160km Somerset Heritage Trail that takes you back in time to discover an abundance of fascinating stories. You’ll find yourself getting lost in the past of Somerset’s early settlers.
Only 30 minutes north of Brisbane you can escape to the Moreton Bay region. Where the countryside meets the bayside, the area offers outstanding views of the bay, beautiful mountain scenery and lush farmland.
Beginning at the Redcliffe Aerodrome, this relaxing drive takes you to the Redcliffe Botanic Gardens, City Art Gallery and museum. Soak up some local history with a stop at the Sandgate and District Historical Society and Museum before heading to the Shorncliffe Pier.
18. Mount Mee – D’Aguilar National Park
The striking D’Aguilar National Park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The Mount Mee section takes in the northern part of the park and extends to Woodford. Mount Mee is a 90-minute drive north-west of Brisbane.
Scenic lookouts are scattered throughout South D’Aguilar National Park, including the famous Mt Coot-tha. Head along Mount Nebo Rd towards Mount Nebo and Mount Glorious, then loop around and visit charming Samford village on your way back to Brisbane.
The Redlands’ beautiful bayside villages and picturesque islands of Moreton Bay each have their own adventures to offer. An easy 30-minute drive south-east from Brisbane’s CBD will have you in the centre of the region, ready to explore the history and strong foodie culture.
The first port of call is the Port of Brisbane. Don’t miss the historical St Helena Island (if you have time for the journey), Fort Lytton National Park in Wynnum and the Redlands Indigiscapes Centre in Capalaba. Follow the brown signs with the Dugong symbol.
Drive onto the vehicle ferry, and take the car over to North Stradbroke Island for stunning beach views. With four wheels you can wind between three villages on the island, and stop by Brown Lake. Keep an eye out between May and November for whales that are often seen off shore.
Ipswich, one of Queensland’s oldest cities, has a rich history as well as a vibrant cultural scene, a combination that makes it an ideal destination for a weekend drive. Only 40 minutes from Brisbane, it is also a gateway to neighbouring Scenic Rim, Lockyer Valley and Somerset regions.
22. Rosewood, Marburg and Ipswich
Brisbane St, in the heart of Ipswich, has one of the longest stretches of heritage facade in Australia. The nearby towns of Rosewood and Marburg offer an insight into the region’s rail history.
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