Feeling a bit overwhelmed and want to run away from the emails slash office slash life for awhile? We've got your escape plans sorted with these quick getaways and city escapes. Pick one and regain your chill.
1. Tai Chi has long been a staple early morning ritual during a wellness retreat at Gwinganna in the Gold Coast hinterland. View their package options.
2. Bypass the high rise of Surfers Paradise for a vintage-style break at La Costa Motel, 50 metres from the beach at Bilinga. Vintage bicycles are available for guests to take a ride along the boardwalk and the local surf club is 10 minutes walk away for lunch or dinner.
3. Watch a Birds of Prey show, visit a glow worm grotto, zipline through the tree canopy, or join a storyteller’s tour during a stay at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat in the Lamington National Park and picnic at the Canungra Valley Vineyards down the road, about two hours drive south from Brisbane.
4. Visit a brewery, take a bushwalk, do a cooking class, shop for cheeses, stay in The Castle at Mt Tamborine in the hinterland just over an hour’s drive from Brisbane.
5. Splurge at The Darling at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast. Suites start from $1,231 per room per night* with breakfast but it’s all glam, and watch the sun go down over drinks at Nineteen.
7. Go off the grid and camp at Boreen Point campground on the shore of Lake Cootharaba, north of Noosa. Paddle the Everglades in a kayak or on a board. Eat at The Apollonian Hotel.
8. Park yourself at Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat, at the start of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk, at Montville to explore walks, villages, lakes and waterfalls.
9. Skipper your own houseboat on the Noosa River and surrounding lakes.
10. Find enlightenment at the annual Woodford Folk Festival, one hour north of Brisbane, where the speakers and ideas program is as long as the music playlist. Camp onsite or stay nearby and trip in each day.
A little bit country
11. Take a road trip somewhere new – like Chinchilla, four hours west of Brisbane, and have a laugh at the annual Melon Festival (held biannual).
12. Enjoy some Southern Country Queensland hospitality in Warwick and surrounds about two hours drive from Brisbane. Stay in a former convent - Abbey of the Roses, ride a bike around town, eat out at Bluebird Kitchen, drive to historic Glengallan Homestead and see P. L. Travers’ (author of Mary Poppins) childhood home at Allora as you explore the region.
13. Join an artisan workshop (blacksmithing, leather plaiting, furniture making), stroll through one (or more) of 150 parks or take in a show at the heritage Empire Theatre in Toowoomba 90 minutes drive west of Brisbane.
14. Fly to Roma west of Brisbane in just over an hour and stay overnight to join an all-day tour in the Carnarvon Ranges with Boobook tours.
15. Rug up for a short stay at Queensland’s coldest place, Stanthorpe, a centre for wineries, craft brewers, fruit growers and home to Christmas in July festivities.
16. Walk the three-day Spicers Peak Scenic Rim Trail staying overnight at Spicers Canopy ‘glamping tents’.
17. Be part of the farm to fork process at Kay and Dave Tommerup’s Dairy Farm at Kerry, 75 minutes from Brisbane in the Scenic Rim.
19. Snorkel amid the wrecks, take a dip in the champagne pools, ride a beach bike or paddle a glass bottom kayak at Tangalooma on Moreton Island, 90 minutes from Brisbane by ferry.
20. Explore the Lockyer Valley from Branell Homestead, in Laidley, about one hour west of Brisbane city. Stay in the homestead suites and enjoy local markets (on every Friday) in Laidley.
21. The Calile Hotel, in the heart of fashionable James Street is an oasis in the hubbub of Fortitude Valley, with a super cool lobby bar and pool terrace restaurant. Stay here for shopping, dining and bar-hopping.
22. Book into the Emporium Hotel at South Bank, walking distance to the Cultural Precinct for shows, exhibitions, twilight walks on the river and three solid blocks of dining options.
23. The renovated Brisbane Marriott in the city is five minutes walk to the new Howard Smith Wharves dining precinct and the ferry to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
24. Sharpen your photography skills on a North Stradbroke Island Retreat with travel photojournalist Danielle Lancaster at one of her workshops.
25. Be a tourist in your own city. Book into a city hotel and take a Brisbane Greeters tour by day and an adventure segway tour at night. Take a foodie tour the next day and explore a new precinct – like King Street at the Brisbane Showgrounds.
26. Discover the Southern Moreton Bay Islands. Book a B&B, catch the ferry from Redland Bay, visit the local artists on Macleay Island, go for sail, and hop on the inter-island ferry.
Get out of town
27. Paper Daisy is an award-winning restaurant worth driving over the border for but why rush back when you can stay overnight at Halcyon House and enjoy some quality leisure at Cabarita Beach the next day, including a Nourishing Body Boost at the Halcyon Spa.
28. Ride the Spirit of Queensland from Brisbane to Cairns – a 24-hour rail journey that includes in-seat entertainment, on board showers and a club car to while away the hours.
29. Spend a long weekend in Tamworth around one of their famed festivals Tamworth Music Festival (17 - 26 January 2020) or Taste Tamworth (17 - 26 April 2020). Tamworth is only a 75 minutes flight time from Brisbane with Fly Corporate.
30. Visit the Margaret Olley Art Centre at the Tweed Regional Gallery during a stay at Murwillumbah. Time the getaway for May each year to be part of the annual Murwillumbah Art Trail festivities of pop-up galleries, street events, art, performance and film shows. Retreat to the cosy Mistere villas overnight at Urliup about 20 minutes from town.
32. You can get to the Great Barrier Reef (and back) in just one day on a scenic flight from Brisbane to Lady Elliot Island, departing from Redcliffe.
36. Browse Melbourne’s laneways for great bars, dining, shopping and art. Fly there in two hours 20 minutes from Brisbane. Find a guide to laneways here.
37. Sail away on a P&O short break cruise for three nights from Brisbane and back, enjoying a program of Food and Wine activities, country music and more. See the full program of short break cruises.
40. Adelaide Festival and Womadelaide in March are good times to explore the city’s bar and dining hot spots. Fly there in about two hours 30 minutes from Brisbane.
42. Hervey Bay is not only a prime whale watching spot on Queensland’s Fraser Coast it’s also a world-class marlin fishing ground so hop aboard the Kekoa for a fishing tour, and stay nearby at Mantra Hervey Bay.
45. Fly to Newcastle, 90 minutes flight time from Brisbane with Virgin Australia, and check out the local craft brews – beer and coffee – walk the Bathers Way and swim in the Bogey Hole.
46. Take the 50-minute ferry ride to Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) for swimming, fishing, ‘glamping’, walking the Gorge track and watching for whales (June to October), the Quandamooka Festival (June to August) and Island Vibe Festival (end October 2019).
48. Catch the Vivid Festival in Sydney in May, check out the dining options at Barangaroo and book a show that’s not coming to Brisbane. Fly there in 90 minutes from Brisbane.
49. Go totally Robinson Crusoe and camp on uninhabited Peel Island, or ‘Teerk Roo Ra’, in southern Moreton Bay. Access is only by boat and campers need to be completely self-sufficient. Permits required.
Escape a bit further
52. Check out the Best New Hotel in the World, Auckland’s Hotel Grand Windsor at 58 Queen Street, as a base for sightseeing in the city.