5 Must-Visit Beaches by Brisbane

From family BBQs to weekend road trips, this Brisbane native has spent a lot of time at the beaches that are the heart of south-east Queensland, Australia. With the Sunshine Coast to the north and the Gold Coast to the south, Brisbane is very well-positioned for day trips to the beach, as you will soon see. If I had to write about all the options available, you would be scrolling down a LOT, so here are five of my favourite beaches by Brisbane.

Little Cove, Noosa

Little Cove Noosa Brisbane beaches
Little Cove, Noosa – Image by col

Noosa is undoubtedly one of the most popular beach destinations for travellers to Queensland and is a 90-minute drive from Brisbane. Make a point of heading to Little Cove Beach, one of those gems that lucky travellers stumble upon (or in your case, read about). Situated just off the boardwalk between Noosa National Park and Noosa Main Beach (where the crowds tend to flock), this little beach offers a more tranquil and private beach experience. Do be aware that this beach does not have lifeguards, so if you’re not a confident swimmer, stick to the shallows or just enjoy basking in the sun.

Watego’s Beach, Byron Bay

Watego's Beach Byron Bay Brisbane beaches
Watego’s Beach, Byron Bay – Image by Andrea Schaffer

Yes, yes, Byron Bay is in New South Wales, not Queensland.  That doesn’t mean that it isn’t within reaching distance of Brisbane (about two and a half hours’ drive) and believe me, it’s worth the effort. Avoid the crowds on the Main Beach and make your way along the road towards Cape Byron Lighthouse, before turning off for Watego’s Beach.

The surf is usually very calm, making Watego’s Beach a great choice for swimmers who are looking to have a more relaxing dip in the ocean. With a large stretch of clean, soft sand made for sunbathing and plenty of rock pools to explore towards the west end of the beach, take a trip to Watego’s for the quintessential beach experience.

Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast

Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast – Image by Janelle Lugge

Not far from Noosa, Mooloolaba is a Sunshine Coast suburb approximately 75 minutes away from Brisbane by car. The eponymous beach is a hugely popular destination for both tourists and locals and the entire area is full of shops, cafes and restaurants. The swell can get quite large, so surfers flock to this stretch of beach but with its golden sands, nearby rock pools and classic ‘surfy’ feel, Mooloolaba is always a hit with all types of beach goers.

Broadbeach, Gold Coast

Broadbeach Gold Coast Brisbane beaches
Broadbeach, Gold Coast – Image by Pawel Papis

This list has been a little biased towards the Sunshine Coast, so let’s now make our way down south to the Gold Coast (a little over an hour’s drive from Brisbane). Right between Surfers Paradise and Mermaid Beach, Broadbeach, with its golden-white sand and inviting surf, is yet another classic example of why Australia is renowned for its beaches.

Special mention: Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island

Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island – Image by Nic Neish

Okay so this isn’t technically a beach, it’s a lake, but with its sandy shores and crystal clear water, Lake McKenzie is simply a must-see (the photo speaks for itself). Also, depending on your grasp of the concept of ‘near’, Lake McKenzie might be well, a little far from Brisbane (three and a half hours’ drive plus a ferry ride). Be sure to watch out for dingoes, they might nick your stuff while you swim!

If you, like me, are more and more becoming a likely candidate for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), why not investigate taking a trip to sunny Oz? Check out cheap flights to Brisbane and cheap holidays here and start writing your beach itinerary!