Whether visiting Brisbane for a day or a month, day tours from Brisbane are a great way of exploring the city and surrounding attractions.
As budget travellers we like to organise our own trips.
Day Tours are something we value and allow for in our travel budget.
The right tour creates happy holiday memories, is informative and fun. Use the below comparison guide to match your interests and abilities, or read about them one by one.
If you are thinking of taking a Brisbane Day Tour you are in the right place. I have researched all the available day tours in Brisbane and selected the best. Best for families, best for animal lovers and best for child free fun. I look at what is included in each tour, who it is suitable for, price, duration, departure point.
The best day tour from Brisbane is the one that suits your interests, abilities and budget.
What You Will Find in This Post
- Where is Brisbane?
- If you can’t wait to see our picks!
- Best Day Tours from Brisbane Description
- Comparison Guide Day Tours from Brisbane
- What is a day tour and why do I recommend them?
- Best Time of year to take a Brisbane Day Tour?
- Why take a Day Tour from Brisbane?
- How to book the Best Day Trips from Brisbane.
- How Book a Tour with GYG
Where is Brisbane?
Brisbane is the Capital of Queensland Australia and as such is the starting point for many tours.
It is a coastal city in South-East Queensland located on the Brisbane River. Brisbane Central Business District (CBD) is 77 km north of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast and 98.5 km south of Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast.
If you can’t wait to see our picks!
This post goes into the tours in detail, but we understand if you are time challenged and want to cut to the chase. Here are our recommendations –
Best Day Tours from Brisbane Description
In this section we go into more detail about the day tours from Brisbane.
Australia Zoo – 6 HRS AT ZOO – SUITABLE FOR FAMILIES departing Albert Street Roma Parklands. On this exclusively Australia Zoo trip visit the Crocoseum, tigers, otters, koalas, snakes, crocodiles, cassowary, Tasmanian devil, feed kangaroos and elephants. The Crocoseum holds 5,000 people in it’s daily show. Keepers walk around the Sanctuary with animals so you can meet them. Transfer Brisbane to Australia Zoo by Q Tour. 9 hour day.
Australia Zoo – 5 HOURS AT ZOO – PLUS GLASSHOUSE MTNS – SUITABLE FOR FAMILIES Transfer from Brisbane hotel via Glasshouse Mountains to Australia Zoo by Croc Tour’s air-conditioned 7-10 person vehicle. Glass House Mountains stop en-route followed by 5 hours at Australia Zoo.
This recommended tour is good for those who haven’t been to the Glass House Mountains viewpoint before and want to visit Australia Zoo. While time at the Zoo is reduced by one hour, it is still possible to see most if not all of the zoo in the allotted 5 hours. One suggestion is to begin your day at the zoo with a trolley ride directly to Africa, walking back to the Crocoseum in time for the 20 minute mid-day show and lunch. 9 hour day.
Photo by Brisbane Local Marketing
The shortest of our Brisbane day tours, this 3.5 hour Brisbane tour leaves from South Bank Brisbane, a wonderful destination in itself. On-board enjoy morning tea and commentary on sights like South Bank Parklands, Kangaroo Point Cliffs, Story Bridge, New Farm Park and Brisbane’s riverside homes. After Forty-five minutes disembark for a short walk to iconic Breakfast Creek Hotel. The Brekkie Creek Hotel is known for it’s steaks, but have many other popular dishes – like Panko crumbed Calamari and Caesar Salad. After lunch relax on your trip back to South Bank Parklands. 3.5 hours.
Photo by Vita Vilcina
This tour is a double treat, with a boat trip on the Brisbane River and then Australian wildlife at the famous Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. The sanctuary is the largest and oldest koala sanctuary in the world and the lovely Mirimar. These timber boats have been taking people to Lone Pine for more than 60 years. Not only are there 130 koalas to see, but kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, platypus and birds of prey show. Join the Mirimar, at the cultural centre pontoon at Southbank and enjoy the Captain’s commentary and cafe purchases en-route. A total of 5.5 hours with 140 minutes return trip on-board the Mirimar.
Photo by Guillaume Marques
Choose one of these full day Moreton Island day tours from Brisbane, Australia.
Leaves from Holt Street Wharf so factor in transport to departure point. 3 Hour snorkel, 3 hour kayak or SUP plus access to all Tangalooma Island resort facilities. No lunch provided. Price reflects this. Not Guided. Make own way to the wrecks. Recommended for independent travellers. 9 hours.
The Moreton Island Shipwreck, Sand Dune and Kayak trip BEST ACTION PACKED TOUR leaves from Brisbane Coach Terminal and takes a 40 minute ferry trip to Moreton Island. Pack your towel, sunscreen, hat and swimwear, drinking water and the tour will provide snorkelling gear, kayaks, body boards, life jackets and lunch. Have fun on a guided snorkel tour around the Tangalooma wreck, looking for turtles and marine creatures or paddling a see-through kayak. The guided snorkel is great if you have kids or aren’t that confident yourself. Then it’s off on a 4WD Desert tour including tobogganing down sand dunes. You won’t beat this tour for action. National Park Fees are not included. (Add $50 Adult/$35 Child).
Moreton Island Dolphin and Snorkel Cruise Adventure BEST GUIDED ALL INCLUSIVE SNORKEL TOUR is most highly rated tour with very happy reviews. With pick-up from a Roma Street Bus Stop or direct boarding at Rivergate Marina (allow $10 for parking), this See Moreton cruise is a solid choice.
It includes National Park Fees ($50). The vessel has wide stable decks with guaranteed rail position for whale and dolphin viewing. Moreton Bay Marine Park has year round dolphins, loggerhead turtles and dugong with humpback whales appearing from June to October. The boat’s naturalist guide provides commentary.
Everything is provided on the day except soft drink and alcohol which can be purchased on board. Yes – Morning tea, lunch, guided wreck snorkelling and good condition snorkelling equipment, marine park fees, plus beach time sporting equipment – it’s is all included.
Rainforest and Glow Worms
This Springbrook National Park and Mount Tamborine National Park Glow Worm tour BEST NATURE TOUR WITH WINERY LUNCH visits magical rainforests in the Gold Coast Hinterland. Natural Bridge will blow your mind with it’s plunging cave waterfall. Shhh… walking through the rainforest you might find a shy pademelon, a prehistoric goanna, bush turkey or water dragon. Tamborine is a gorgeous mountain village and while there spend some time on the Gallery Walk, visit a winery and lunch overlooking the vineyard. Top the day off with a guided tour of the glow worm caves and Cedar Creek falls. What an awesome day.
Photo by BeKonstructive Marketing on Unsplash
This Stradbroke Island Day Tour BEST ALL INCLUSIVE INTRO TO STRADBROKE provided by Queensland Day Tours has a handy Central Brisbane pickup followed by a 40 minute cruise across Moreton Bay to Stradbroke Island. Kids over five are welcome. Swim year round in the clear waters at Stradbroke’s Cylinder Beach. Do the easy to follow Gorge Walk. The walk takes about 30 minutes and from Point Lookout, look down to find Dolphins, Rays and Turtles in the water below. The views are awesome and in Winter you should see migrating humpback whales. Lunch at Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel is included, as are National Park fees. What a great way to see Stradbroke for the first time. 9 Hours.
Tour Sunshine Coast
This Sunshine Coast Day Tour BEST FOR THOSE WHO LOVE A BIT OF EVERYTHING by Queensland Day Tours picks up in central Brisbane before spending a busy day seeing the Sunshine Coast sights, including Glasshouse Mountains, Montville in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, Noosa Hastings Street (bring swimmers and dry clothes), Eumundi Markets and Ginger Factory Yandina. There is so much to see, the only complaint about this small group (13) tour is a lack of time to see everything. 9 hours.
Tamborine Wine and Distillery Tour with 2 Course Lunch
Pure Gold Vineyard
This full day Wine Tour from Brisbane FOR FUN AND WINE LOVERS picks you up from your door (within 10km of city centre). The small air-conditioned Vino Bus has free WiFi, water and snacks and drives through picturesque landscapes on it’s way to tour Tambourine Mountain and it’s four award winning wineries and the Tamborine Mountain’s Distillery. Enjoy a two course lunch and a stop at a cheese factory (let them know you want to) and or a Brewery. Full day tour including lunch and tasting fees. Tastings are guided and include 6 or more tastes at each place).
This 5 hour Whale Watching Cruise from Brisbane FOR GUARANTEED WHALE SIGHTINGS is well organised and delivers what it says – guaranteed whale sightings. A picnic box lunch is included and the boat is wheelchair friendly. There is a licensed bar and souvenir counter on board. Redcliffe Jetty where the Eye Spy boat departs from is 30 minutes north of Central Brisbane. The Whale season runs June to November.
Comparison Guide Day Tours from Brisbane
This table shows tours and their key points for comparison purposes.
Click on the link to the Tour for an up to date Price.
Tour prices as not shown here as they are dynamic and change spontaneously. Indeed some were on special at our date of publication.
|Click on Tour for Price||Stars 1 to 5||Duration||Depart||Inclusions|
|Australia Zoo Full Day Family Friendly QTour|
Australia Zoo Glasshouse Mountains Family Friendly Croc Tours
|4.6 from 15|
4.8 from 26
|6 hrs at Zoo-9 hrs total|
6 hrs Zoo-1 hr Glasshouse Mountains-9 hrs total
|Albert St. Roma Parklands Brisbane|
Pick up from Hotel
|Return Transport Brisbane + Zoo tickets|
Return Transport Brisbane + Zoo tickets + Glasshouse Mountains
|Brisbane River Cruise with Lunch|
Brisbane River + Koala Sanctuary Family Friendly
|4.9 from 11|
4.7 from 326
|River Cruise, Morning Tea, Iconic Hotel Lunch & Map|
140 min return Cruise, 3.5 hrs Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. 28 stairs to access Lone Pine.
|Moreton Island Return Ferry and Adventure Pass 8 years plus||4.2 from 133||8-9 hours||Tangalooma Wharf Pinkenba||Return Ferry/3hr Kayak/3hr snorkel/land activities & resort facilities|
|Moreton Island Dolphin and Snorkel Tour||4.8 from 110||1 day||Rivergate Marina Brisbane||GUIDE/Morn.tea/Lunch/beach time/snorkel/activity fees/Marine Park Fees.|
NOT INCLUDED - $10 Car Parking Fee near Marina
|Moreton Island Shipwreck Sand Dune and Kayak 4 years plus||4.4 from 214||1 day||Brisbane Coach Terminal 7 am||Snorkel Tangalooma Wreck/transparent kayak/guided tour/toboggan sand dune/4WD beach & bush/sandwich lunch|
NOT INCLUDED National Park Fees paid on day $50/adult $35/child. $10 Surcharge Easter/Xmas
|Rainforest and Glow Worm Cave from BrisbaRainforest and Glow Worm Cave from Brisbane 5 years plus 5 years plus||4.5 from 98||9 hours||Outside Skytower Apartments between Albert and Edward Sts.||Transport/Nat.Park Fees/Cave Entrance Fee/ Guided Tour/Lunch|
|North Strabroke Island Day Tour from Brisbane. 5 years plus||4.7 from 74||9 hours||Outside Skytower Apartments||Transport/Guide/Nat.Park Fees/Ferry Fare/Hotel Lunch/Small Group/Central Brisbane Pick Up|
|Sunshine Coast Hinterland and Noosa 5 years plus||4.3 from 23||9 hours||Outside Skytower Apartments||Guide/Transport/Small Group/free time Montville, Eumundi Markets, Noosa and Ginger Factory. Glasshouse Mountain Views|
|Tamborine Wine and Distillery Tour 2 Course Lunch 18 years plus||4.7 from 42||8 hours||Front Door Pick Up||5 Guided tastings/Pick Up/2 Course Lunch/Snacks & Bottled Water/Optional Cheese Factory visit|
|Whale Watching Tour from Brisbane and Gourmet Lunch||4.6 from 17||5 hours||Eye Spy Vessel at Redcliffe Jetty. 30 mins drive from Brisbane CBD. Board Boat at 9.30 am for 10 am Departure.||5 hour whale watching cruise/guaranteed whale sightings/picnic lunch box|
What is a day tour and why do I recommend them?
- Day Tours take up a fair proportion of the day/night usually 5 to 9 hours
- Day Tours are great for travellers who organise their own travel
- The best Day Tours Brisbane are provided by experts in their field
- Day Tours range in price from cheap to expensive
- Day Tours can be large group, small group/private
- Day Tours can be taken by locals as a way to have fun and explore
- Many Day Tours include meals and entrance fees
Best Time of year to take a Brisbane Day Tour?
Brisbane’s climate to be great all year round. If swimming in cool water doesn’t appeal, avoid snorkelling tours in winter or wear a wet suit.
Generally speaking the ideal time is Autumn and Spring.
AUTUMN – March to May – 15 to 25 degrees C. The heat, humidity and summer rain is gone. Public School Holidays 5th April to 23rd April depending on Easter.
SUMMER – December to February – 21 to 29.8 degrees C. Hot and humid but the swimming is good. Public School Holidays mid December to the end of January.
WINTER – June to August – 11 to 21 degrees C. Overnight rarely gets below 9 degrees C.
SPRING – September to November – 15 to 25 degrees C. The same as Autumn. September has the lease rain of all the months of the year but also contains School Holidays.
Queensland School Holidays 2021
Either you need to visit during school holiday times or you wish to avoid doing so. Australian Public Schools and Private Schools have slightly different holiday times. Sometimes Private Schools have an extra week added to the Public School Holidays.
Listed below are the Queensland public school holidays for 2021.
Take into consideration that northern New South Wales is very close to Brisbane so NSW school holidays can also influence the amount of visitors in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
AUTUMN 2/04/21 to 18/04/21
WINTER 26/06/21 to 11/07/21
SPRING 18/09/21 to 4/10/21
SUMMER 11/12/21 to 25/01/22
Why take a Day Tour from Brisbane?
Brisbane is perfectly positioned in South East Queensland, with a moderate climate, connecting highways north, south and west from the City and boat trips to the East.
As far as capital cities go, Brisbane is friendly, welcoming and small. Within an hour of the city centre, there are mountains, wineries and gourmet food. There are caves to explore, wildlife to meet and wrecks to be snorkelled.
Did I mention the sub-tropical rainforest near Brisbane and the Eucalypt Forests?
There are islands and beaches near Brisbane, and so much more.
Some Brisbane day tours begin on the gloriously winding Brisbane River, becoming a Brisbane boat tour en-route to their destination (Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary).
How to book the Best Day Trips from Brisbane.
Many people pre-book their tours ensuring they don’t miss out on the day.
We book through and recommend Get Your Guide (GYG) booking agent.
The quality of tours available on the GYG site is excellent.
GYG is one of the few booking agents who disclose the name of the tour operator before purchase.
Free Cancellation up to 24 hours before the tour starts.
If you book through the links in this post we will receive a small commission but it won’t cost you anymore.
How to get to Whitehaven Beach is all about booking a day tour experience. It is one of our most popular posts.
How Book a Tour with GYG
Click on the Tour but before booking it, read the information carefully. Everything is covered, but here are my tips for things to look out for.
GYG Star Ratings
GYG give a star rating out of 5 compiled from Verified GYG Customers Reviews.
A rating of 5 from one review is not comparable to a rating of 4.9 from 100 reviews. That 4.9 shows consistency whereas 5 from one review is basically about one person’s opinion.
Some very popular tours which consistently sell out, still get negative reviews.
- Check the Star Rating.
- Take note of how many reviews the Rating came from.
- Read the Reviews.
This heading lists the highlights of the tour.
Gets down to the nitty gritty.
Things like Food/Drink/Entrance Fees/National Park Fees
- A tick is given for what is included
- A cross is given for what is not included
Not Suitable For
Here you will find age requirement, fitness requirements and wheelchair/pram requirements.
- Travel Information Form
- Temperature Check
Prepare for the Activity
- Check how far the Meeting Point is from your location.
- Check how you will get to the Meeting Point.
- Check if you can arrive in time for the tour, especially if it is early morning.
Important Tour Information
What to Bring
What you should bring. This is very important to ensure enjoyment of your day tour.
I’ve seen people join a snorkel tour without taking notice of this section. They arrived without a towel to dry themselves or warm clothing for the boat trip home. It did spoil their day.
Know what you are not allowed to bring to save any confusion.
Know before you Go
This section is important. It tells of fees or charges or deposits that may apply in certain situations.
Organised by – Tour Company
At the very bottom of the Tour page the Tour Company is disclosed. Their star rating is shown. Clicking on the stars reveals how many reviews their rating comes from. The Company is described.