One thing we might not have right on our doorsteps here in Brisbane is beaches (unless you count the artificial Streets Beach in South Bank). Fortunately though, we’re only a short drive to some of the Sunshine State’s most stunning white-sand beaches, from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast and beyond. Some of the more popular beaches can get quite crowded, though, so we’ve rounded up our favourite hidden beaches near Brisbane, most of which you can escape the crowds at.
1. Coochiemudlo Island
Get away from the Straddie crowds by hopping over to Coochiemudlo Island instead. This hidden gem is located a mere 35km from Brisbane and you can take a seven-minute ferry ride over from Victoria Point on the northside.
The island itself is just five kilometres squared, which means you can explore all of it in a day. And even though it’s so close to Brisbane, Coochie (as the locals call it) still has that secluded island feel to it.
The waters are also calm and shallow, in case you’re someone who doesn’t like waves smashing against you while you’re going for a swim. There’s a range of accommodation options on the island if you’d like to make a weekend out of it – from holiday homes to Airbnbs, even a beach resort.
To see the ferry timetable, click here.
Distance from Brisbane: 50 mins
2. Third Bay
The Sunshine Coast offers beachgoers plenty of options when it comes to finding a spot to hang out by the saltwater. But the Sunny Coast can also get crowded, especially on a summer weekend or public holiday.
Third Bay in Coolum offers spectacular beach views right from the moment you reach the top of the stairs. After the 85-metre trail walk it takes to get there, that is.
Visitors and locals are known to swim and sunbake in the nude here, so if this is something that interests you, then we recommend a hidden beach trip to Third Bay.
For more info, head here.
Distance from Brisbane: 1hr 40 mins
3. Anchorage Island
Coolangatta, Tallebudgera Creek, Burleigh Heads – they’re all epic spots to swim on the Southern Gold Coast. But if you drive a little further down south to Tweed Heads, you’ll find a secret strip of saltwater swimming spots from Keith Compton Drive down to Anchorage Island, where Terranora Creek meets the Tweed River.
While this one might not be a “beach”, per se, it’s still got saltwater and sand and it turns into a crystal-clear blue lagoon at high tide, so we’re absolutely still adding it as one of our favourite hidden beaches near Brisbane.
Though, if you want more waves and space to hang out, head over to Fingal Head Beach or up to Bilinga. These are both less-crowded beaches.
Distance from Brisbane: 1hr 15 mins
4. Raby Bay Foreshore
Definitely one of the more popular beaches on this list, considering it’s a very short drive from Brisbane, and you don’t have to hit the highway to get there.
Raby Bay Foreshore is nestled close to Cleveland and is a great family-friendly beach for both children and doggos. Yes, you’ll probably encounter quite a few puppers here on a hot day. And for your furry friend, it’ll most likely be the best day of their lives (so far).
If you’re keen to make a full day out of it, we recommend waiting for low tide and heading to Wellington Point so you can walk over to the island connected to the mainland.
Distance from Brisbane: 45 mins
5. Broken Head
Byron Bay certainly isn’t the sleepy beachside hippy town it was years ago. It’s now bustling with tourism, high-end boho shopping, and parking in town can sometimes seem impossible.
This can make it hard to make a hassle-free trip to Byron’s beaches, unless you head out of town a little. Broken Head is a perfect option for those wanting a bit more peace and quiet.
Hidden in the Broken Head Nature Reserve, this slice of paradise is home to white-sand beaches and refreshing waters. You can even take a walk over the headland to Kings Beach, which is a clothing optional area.
Distance from Brisbane: 2hrs
6. Rainbow Beach
About an hour and a half north of Noosa Heads, you’ll find an incredible beach worth a road trip to. Rainbow Beach is the gateway to K’Gari (Fraser Island), but if you don’t have a four-wheel drive, you might want to stay on the mainland and explore the sweeping coastline, which is just as beautiful.
Aside from the ocean, there’s plenty to do around Rainbow Beach, including a trip up to the famous Cistern Chapel, which has been dubbed as Australia’s most beautiful public toilet.
There’s also the Noosa Everglades further down south, which has a gorgeous eco camp you can stay at.
For more info, click here.
Distance from Brisbane: 3 hrs
Please note: when exploring new places, especially natural environments like these ones, it’s important to be respectful to the land and leave it the way you found it.