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Seven Unmissable Outdoor Adventures to Have in and Around Brisbane

From inner city abseiling to swimming with sea turtles in crystal clear water, Brisbane and its surrounds are an adventurer's playground.
By Jasmine Crittenden
June 28, 2022
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By Jasmine Crittenden
June 28, 2022
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Buckets of sunshine, adrenaline-inducing thrills in the heart of the city, plus dreamy white-sand islands and lush rainforests on its doorstep... Brisbane and its surrounds are a wonderland for outdoor adventurers.

There's the iconic Brisbane River where you can captain your own eco-friendly boat or abseil down 230 million-year-old rock formations at sunset. Or, further afield you can find the epic sand islands of Bribie, Moreton and North Stradbroke/Minjerribah, hugged by crystal clear waters, covered in national park and packed with wildlife — from green sea turtles and dolphins to wallabies and koalas.

Then there's the Lamington National Park that provides nature lovers and enthusiastic hikers with magnificent waterfalls or the chance to kick back in a spa overlooking ancient rainforest. Read on for seven unmissable outdoor adventures in and around Brisbane for your next adventure.

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River to Bay Tour at Moreton Island. Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland.

TAKE A RIVER TO BAY TOUR

Just east of Brisbane you can find islands galore to explore. The easiest way to experience them? Book in a day trip with River to Bay. For snorkelling among tropical fish and green sea turtles at the picturesque Tangalooma Wrecks, spotting koalas among tall trees and wandering around the haunted ruins of Queensland's first penal colony, take the Moreton Island Bay Tour.

Alternatively, go for incredible swimming beaches, spectacular scenery and boutique cafes in a historical village on the Stradbroke Island Tour. Another tempting option is the Champagne and Oyster Tour, which involves sipping bubbly and sampling oysters fresh from the ocean while watching the sun set.

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GO ABSEILING WITH RIVERLIFE

For an adrenalin rush, go abseiling with Riverlife. On the Day Abseil, you'll complete a 90-minute ascent and descent of the 20-metre high Brisbane Kangaroo Point Cliffs. They're heritage-listed formations of 230 million-year-old volcanic rock which flank the Brisbane River, just a stone's throw from the CBD. Once you make it to the top, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of Brisbane City and its surrounding waterways. For an even more magical experience, book a Twilight Abseil Tour. And if you're a nervous abseiler, don't worry. Riverlife is all about helping you overcoming your fears.

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Go Boat Brisbane. Image by Lean Timms.

JUMP ON A GO BOAT

One of the newest additions to the adventure scene is Go Boat. Founded in Copenhagen in 2014, it was launched in Brisbane to make the most of the city's glorious weather and winding river. For up to three dreamy hours, you'll captain a blissfully silent electric boat made of recycled PET bottles transformed into fibreglass. Pack a cheeseboard, a bottle of bubbly and up to seven mates, and see Brisbane from a whole new perspective on the water. Pets are welcome. By the way, there's no need for a boating licence, as the Go Boat crew will show you what to do before waving you off on your adventure.

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Hot Air Ballooning Brisbane. Image by Sam Lindsay/Tourism and Events Queensland.

GO HOT AIR BALLOONING WITH FLOATING IMAGES

Once you've seen Brisbane from the water, the next logical step is to see it from the sky. You can do just that with Floating Images. Their sunrise flight takes you up where the air is clear for 60 glorious minutes. Prepare for incredible views of the Brisbane city skyline, backdropped by the Great Diving Range, the Scenic Rim and the countryside of Somerset. Afterwards, you'll be treated to a breakfast fit for royalty at a local restaurant. Chief pilot Graeme has flown air balloons for three decades on three continents, so you can relax knowing you're in safe hands.

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TAKE AN ADVENTURE TOUR WITH G'DAY

Another spot on the must-see list for visitors to Brisbane is Bribie Island, the fourth largest sand island in the world. It, in itself, is an outdoor adventurer's kingdom packed with national parks, wild surf beaches, idyllic coves for swimming and the Pumicestone Passage, a protected marine park home to dolphins, turtles and dugongs.

To get amongst it, take a tour with G'Day Adventure Tours. Their frolics range from the three-hour 4WD beach and bunker tour to the two-day, one-night Camping Adventure, which sees you kayaking through Norfolk lagoon, swimming in Mermaid lagoon, toasting marshmallows around a campfire and meeting wallabies.

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O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat. Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland.

RETREAT INTO THE RAINFOREST AT O'REILLY'S

Another of Brisbane's drawcards is its proximity to lush ancient rainforests. One way to immerse yourself is a visit to O'Reilly's, an eco-retreat overlooking the World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park. Visitors have been escaping here for nearly 100 years.

There's a bunch of activities to try, including an adventure trek to the Thunder and Lightning Falls, indulgent treatments in the Lost World Day Spa, a glow worm experience and e-bike tours. To fit them all in you'll want to stay overnight, either at the campground with your own tent or go a little more luxe with a variety of studios and villas.

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North Gorge Walk at North Stradbroke Island. Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland.

VISIT NORTH STRADBROKE ISLAND / MINJERRIBAH

If beaches are your thing, then you'll want to put North Stradbroke Island/Minjerribah on your itinerary. It's the world's second largest sand island, which means there are beaches for surfers, swimmers and sun-soakers of all kinds.

For stunning views (especially at sunset) hit Flinders Beach (Point Lookout). For a long seaside walk try a stretch of sand across the 33km-long Main Beach. For amazing surfing (not for beginners) get some epic swell off Frenchmans Beach or Cylinder Beach. For solitude make your way to Toompany Beach and for laidback swimming in gentle crystal-clear waters visit Amity Beach. And, since you can't pack all that paradise into one day, you should definitely stay for a night (or three).

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Ready to plan a trip to Brisbane and its surrounds? Learn more at the Visit Brisbane website

Published on June 28, 2022 by Jasmine Crittenden
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