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Top 10 things to do in South East Queensland

The Best Activities in South East Queensland

South East Queensland (SEQ), a region renowned for its stunning landscapes, vibrant cities, and rich cultural heritage, offers an array of activities that cater to all interests and ages. From the bustling urban centres of Brisbane and the Gold Coast to the tranquil hinterlands and scenic coastal areas, SEQ is a paradise for adventurers, nature enthusiasts, and culture seekers alike. Here’s a detailed guide to some of the best activities you can enjoy in this captivating region.

1. Exploring Brisbane’s Cultural Scene

Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, is a hub of cultural and artistic activities. Start your journey at the South Bank Parklands, a vibrant area featuring lush gardens, a sandy beach, and numerous restaurants and cafes. The Queensland Cultural Centre located here houses the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), which showcases both local and international artworks. Why not check out the Taste of QAGOMA & Lunch Experience - a 2.5 hour tour uncovering the history of the gallery, concluding with a relaxing lunch by the river. For history enthusiasts, the Museum of Brisbane offers insights into the city’s past, while the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) is the place to catch a world-class performance, be it a musical, ballet, or opera. Brisbane lies along the aptly named Brisbane River, and there's no better way to check out Brisbane than a sight seeing cruise with River City Cruises! Enjoy a relaxing cruise along the Brisbane River as the skipper provides informative commentary on Brisbane and its surrounds. Afterwards, enjoy lunch at the historical hotel - Breakfast Creek Hotel - filled with history from 1889.

2. Beach Bliss on the Gold Coast

Gold Coast

The Gold Coast, famous for its stunning beaches and surf culture, is a must-visit destination in South East Queensland. Surfers Paradise is iconic and known for its high-rise skyline, vibrant nightlife, and golden sands. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a beginner, the consistent waves here cater to all skill levels. For a more relaxed beach experience, head to Burleigh Heads. This spot offers beautiful views, a relaxed vibe, and a stunning national park where you can hike through the rainforest and catch glimpses of whales during migration season. Speaking of whale watching, why not hop on a half-day cruise and experience an unforgettable experience with Whale Watching Gold Coast. If this sounds like your kind of adventure, check out our Gold Coast Highlights Tour!

3. Hinterland Adventures

Tamborine Mountain

The South East Queensland hinterland is a treasure trove of natural beauty and adventure. Tamborine Mountain is a popular destination, known for its scenic walks, lush rainforests, and charming village atmosphere. Explore the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, a unique way to experience the rainforest canopy, or visit the Glow Worm Caves for a magical underground experience. Further inland, the Scenic Rim offers breathtaking landscapes, perfect for hiking and camping. Lamington National Park, part of the Scenic Rim, is renowned for its extensive walking tracks, rich wildlife, and ancient forests. The O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat within the park provides a fantastic base for exploring the area, offering activities such as tree-top walks, guided tours, and bird watching.

4. Family Fun at Theme Parks


Home to some of Australia’s best theme parks, South East Queensland makes for a perfect destination for family fun. Dreamworld is a favourite, offering thrilling rides, animal encounters, and water slides at the adjacent WhiteWater World. For movie buffs, Warner Bros. Movie World provides an immersive experience with themed rides, live shows, and the chance to meet your favourite movie characters. Sea World, also located on the Gold Coast, combines marine life attractions with exhilarating rides, ensuring a day of fun and learning.

5. Island Escapes

Fraser Island

The islands off the coast of South East Queensland offer idyllic escapes with pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and abundant marine life. Moreton Island, accessible by ferry from Brisbane, is a haven for outdoor activities such as snorkelling, sandboarding, and dolphin feeding at Tangalooma Island Resort. Stradbroke Island, or “Straddie” as locals call it, is another gem. With its stunning beaches, rich Aboriginal culture, and diverse wildlife, it’s a perfect spot for a day trip or a longer stay. Don’t miss the North Gorge Walk at Point Lookout, which offers breathtaking views and the chance to spot whales, dolphins, and turtles. Also, if you're up for it, Straddie's eastern beaches offer some impressive surf for those seeking the best waves. We've created the perfect tour for exploring South East Queensland Islands in our Brisbane Highlights & Island Tour.

6. Exploring the Sunshine Coast


North of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast is renowned for its laid-back atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and vibrant hinterland. Noosa is a highlight, with its chic cafes, boutique shops, and the stunning Noosa National Park. The park’s coastal walk is a must-do, offering spectacular views and the chance to see koalas in the wild.

For a more secluded beach experience, head to Coolum or Mooloolaba, where you can relax on the sand, enjoy fresh seafood, or take a boat tour to explore the nearby coral reefs. Experience the Sunshine Coast with our Explore the Sunshine Coast Tour, where you'll enjoy all the best destinations in the sunny coast, as well as K'gari (previously Fraser Island), and the iconic Glasshouse Mountains!

7. Wine and Dine in the Mountains

Sirromet Winery

Tamborine Mountain is more than just a great outdoors adventure, it's also home to some of South East Queensland best wineries and eateries! Join a Tamborine Mountain Wine Tour and jump on board a mini-bus that provides a tour of 3 award-winning wineries at Tamborine Mountain Distillery. If you go during the day, you'll also enjoy a delicious 2-course lunch to keep you going! 

Closer to Brisbane, in the heart of Mt Cotton, lies Sirromet Winery - one of Brisbane's premiere wineries. We highly recommend you check out a Wine and Tasting Tour, where you'll enjoy a 'behind the scenes' tour of the state-of-the-art winery facility at Sirromet Winery. At the end of your tour, make sure you check out the Tuscan Terrace restaurant for delicious meals that can be paired with their wines for the ultimate dining experience.

8. Explore Scenic Trails and Adventure Sports

Glasshouse Mountains

South East Queensland's diverse landscapes provide endless opportunities for outdoor activities and adventure sports. The nearby Glass House Mountains offer challenging climbs and spectacular views, ideal for rock climbers and hikers. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, the Gold Coast’s SkyPoint Climb offers a heart-pounding experience atop the Q1 building, the tallest residential tower in the Southern Hemisphere. The region also boasts numerous mountain biking trails, hot air ballooning over the Scenic Rim, and paragliding opportunities. Of course, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast offer some of the world's top surfing beaches with Burleigh Heads, Coolangatta, and Noosa Headland. Check out our Gold Coast Highlights Tour to experience Gold Coast's SkyPoint Climb and surf beaches!

9. Discovering Aboriginal Culture

Queensland has a rich Aboriginal heritage that is celebrated and preserved through various cultural experiences. The Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Burleigh Heads provides insights into the traditional custodians of the land, the Yugambeh people. Participate in guided tours to learn about the Dreamtime stories, bush tucker, and the cultural significance of the area. In Brisbane, the Meeanjin Markets showcase Indigenous arts, crafts, and performances, offering a deeper understanding of the region’s cultural heritage.

10. Relaxing in Luxury

The Calile Hotel

For those seeking relaxation and luxury, there are numerous offerings for high-end resorts and spas in South East Queensland. The Calile Hotel in Brisbane is a boutique urban resort in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley. Situated in the heart of James Street - a lush lifestyle mecca of shopping, dining and design - The Calile offers high end luxury with various dining options, bars, shops and a day spa to experience. If you're staying in Brisbane and want luxury in the heart of the city, the Calile is the perfect place for you. 

What if Glamping under the stars is more your style? Then, experience glamping at its finest at Habitat Noosa Everglades Ecocamp. Awarded Australia's Best New Tourism Business, this glamping experience ticks all the boxes for the perfect summer getaway location. Perched on the edge of the upper Noosa River on the Sunshine Coast, the properties 65 acres of National Park boast a friendly Eastern Grey Kangaroo population. With plenty of onsite activities including frisbee golf, water sports, bushwalks and tours, there's so much to experience in this unforgettable accommodation. Make sure you check out the on-site brewery while you're there! 

South East Queensland is a region that truly has it all – from the vibrant cultural scene of Brisbane and the stunning beaches of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast to the serene surrounding hinterlands. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, family fun, or a cultural experience, South East Queensland offers a wealth of activities that promise to create unforgettable memories. If exploring this exciting part of Australia sounds like your dream holiday, talk to our Aussie Travel Specialists today to see how we can get you started on your journey to Queensland. Alternatively, browse our tours in Queensland to start planning your next holiday.


- Cultural Experiences
- Family Holidays
- Things to Do

Published on: 30 Sep 2024, Written by: Jake Rudd