Best spots to catch a sunrise in Brisbane

Sunrise at Mt Coot-tha

The sun rises each day (obviously) so a missed alarm is no excuse to miss the sun at its finest.  Thanks to our east coast location, Brisbane can expect some pretty epic sunrises. Check out the best spots around Brisbane to see the sky light up various shades of pink, orange, yellow and red as we welcome the new day.

But first things first, set that alarm, for a summer sunrise the first light shows as early as 4.44am, meaning winter is the best time to rise early as it pops up as late as 6.38am in June and July. 

Inner City

Mt Coot-tha

Easily the most popular spot to see the sun rise, Mt Coot-tha offers a panoramic view of the city and Brisbane surrounds. Head here to see the city radiate in a golden glow as day breaks and the bright globe rises behind the city skyline – there’s sure to be a few people with the same idea. 

Kangaroo Point Cliffs


The Picnic Co

No need to bring the UV shades because you won’t be looking directly into the sun. Instead you’ll have an epic view of the CBD while the rising sun reflects off each glass skyscraper. Sunrise means breakfast, so bring a picnic and sit by the water or have someone like The Picnic Co or The Vintage Picnic Company organise it for you. 

Brisbane’s Bayside

Basically anywhere along the bay will offer up spectacular views over the water as the sun rises. From Sandgate and Shorncliffe on the northside to Wynnum and Manly on the southside, you can’t go wrong with these waterfront suburbs, but here are our favourite locations to head to at the crack of dawn. 

Shorncliffe Pier

Stretching 350m out into Bramble Bay, the iconic Shorncliffe Pier is Brisbane’s largest (and most picturesque) timber pier. The further you wander, the closer you get to the sunrise, or stop mid-way and watch the sun rise from the edge – both make for a great shot. The pier is popular with photographers capturing the morning sun.

Wynnum waterfront

Between Waterloo Esplanade and Manly Yacht Club lies approximately 2km of waterfront views perfect for a sunrise viewing point. Gaze out over the bay and marvel at the water as it shows a mirror image of the sun rising.

Nudgee Beach

Nudgee Beach faces out onto Moreton Bay so no matter what season, you’ll always see a great sunrise over the rippled sand. Hope for low tide as this means you can wander along the beach and see the sunrise’s reflection in the water. This spot is also popular for northside residents, so keep your eyes peeled for the odd dog enjoying a morning beach walk.  

Hot tip: free barbecue facilities line the bay, so a barbecued breakfast will never go astray. 

Just a little further… 

Eastern side of Moreton Island

If you happen to be camping along the eastern side of Moreton Island, you’ll be able to view the sunrise over the Coral Sea anywhere along the beach. Heighten your morning experience and head to Cape Moreton at the northern tip of the island. Here you’ll see sunrise next to the Moreton Island lighthouse, which certainly makes for an incredible photo.

Home Beach, Point Lookout or Main Beach, North Stradbroke Island

Straddie always provides the goods with hot sunrises on the eastern beaches and colourful sunsets on the west. However, the area between Home Beach, Point Lookout and Main beach is a favourite for early mornings. Walk from the beach to the headland and back down to the beach as the day breaks for an amazing view of the horizon. It’s a nature paradise so keep an eye out for early-rising friends. 

Mt Cordeaux, Scenic Rim

Be prepared, you’ll have to work for this sunrise view, but we promise it’s worth it. Hike the 6.8km return track to the Mt Cordeaux cliffside lookout for sweeping views of the Scenic Rim and have breakfast at approximately 1100m above sea level as the sun breaks on the horizon. 

White Rock, Spring Mountain Conservation Estate, Ipswich

Taking approximately two hours, round trip, embark on the 6.5km hike from the Paperbark Flats Picnic Area. When you reach the culturally significant White Rock (no climbing allowed), climb the stairs at Spring Mountain for stunning views over the Lockyer Valley at sunrise.

Flinders Peak, Ipswich

Climbing a mountain may sound simple, but rock scrambling skills and strong boots are essential for a Flinders Peak climb. This hike includes rough surfaces, cliff edges and steep inclines, so if you're walking before dawn, have your wits about you – but be warned, the views from the Peak may be stunning and totally worth it.

Mount Greville, Scenic Rim 

Allow five hours return to reach the summit of Mt Greville. The 12km hike can be a little intimidating to some but we promise the view is worth it, especially since you also get to walk through palm-dominated rainforest. We recommend bringing a friend for extra company but also to grab that epic sunrise shot at the end. 

Jolly’s Lookout, Mt Nebo, Moreton Bay Region

Jolly's Lookout

Head west to look east at Jollys Lookout on Mt Nebo. Witness an array of colours light up the Moreton Bay Region as day breaks from the comfort of a BYO picnic blanket – and it’s only 40 minutes outside the CBD. 

Mount Maroon, Scenic Rim 

One for the more serious hikers, experience 360-degree views over Lamington National Park through Mt Barney, Main Range and Moogerah Peaks from the top of Mt Maroon, which also means unprecedented views of dawn break – just look east.

Governors Chair Lookout, Scenic Rim 

If this spot was good enough for early Queensland governors, then it's certainly good enough for us. Only 300m return, this short walk is suitable for anyone wanting to see a gorgeous sunrise over the Fassifern Valley. 

By Camilla Coaldrake

Brisbane born and bred, Camilla is a passionate westsider who spends her days finding dogs to pat and dishes up hot Brisbane tips via social media. By night find her running around a field, slurping dumplings or ranking Brisbane’s best cocktail bars. Her favourite cheese is triple cream truffle brie, FYI.

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