Do you know where to find the best wild Brisbane escapes? WAE Explorer Yasmin Maher is here to share her top four stop-offs on a road trip south of Brisbane.

Shooting out of the city on a Friday afternoon with a car full of gear and your favourite travel buddies by your side gives you the most intoxicating sense of freedom and escape. As you leave the cares of work, responsibility and commitments in the citified dust, a reckless sense of abandonment takes hold. The road ahead is open, the sneaky driver bevvie between your legs is cold and the stereo is cranked. You’re ready for the perfect Brisbane escape.

So where are you going?

The following list of places came about from our recent sojourn to explore the best national parks and camping spots that straddle the border between NSW and QLD. They’re listed in the order that we drove them in our epic sea to summit road trip extravaganza.

Bundjalung National Park

Located just south of Evans Head, there are two options. Camp at Black Rocks campground with the muppets or be more adventurous and do a walk in camp at Jerusalem Creek.

We were short on time and camped in the main campground where we got to vicariously enjoy the Kardashians via our camp neighbours iPad and camp speakers. (Who are these people? And why do they leave the house?) The best sites to avoid Kardashianisms are at the southern end of Blackrocks (Sites 28-33) so book those for a more traditional camping experience.

To kick it up a notch, ditch the tent and sleep under the stars, they are phenomenal out there.

The walk in camp at Jerusalem Creek is a 4km easy walk from the northern end of the campground. There are only a couple of spots so its nice and quiet. Alternatively, you could paddle along the creek to the camping spots to up the adventure level.

This is a great little trip for beginners in overnight camping as it’s a shortish walk back to the car if you forgot something like your iPad or sense of adventure.

There are NO bins in the park. Pack out what you pack in.

Best Brisbane Escapes South of the City Yasmin Maher, bundjalung sunset, beach, clouds, sillhouette Best Brisbane Escapes South of the City Yasmin Maher, bundjalung sunset, beach, clouds, sillhouette, stars n cars

Springbrook National Park

Even though you’ve probably done Springbrook to death, it’s a really awesome Brisbane escape and there are a few alternative ways to experience this popular place. The most intriguing adventure is the Springbrook Pinnacle. This walk yields fantastic views, however is not for the faint-hearted. The best information on how to do it is at Aussie Bushwalking.

The options for camping at Springbrook are limited and always seem to be booked out. If you’re inclined to sleeping with the holy spirit, you can try The Log Cabin camp. We decided we’d rather dance with the Devil and hightailed it to Murwillumbah for the night to glamp it up in a cheap hotel room with boxed wine and Cards Against Humanity.

Best Brisbane Escapes South of the City Yasmin Maher, waterfall, rocks, ferns, creek, Springbrook

Whian Whian State Conservation Area

This was probably our favourite spot to camp all weekend as it was quiet, empty of people/iPads and full of wildlife. It was the perfect spot to camp as it felt like we were somewhere remote yet it was close enough to drive to Bangalow and sneak into a Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings Machine concert at the hall. There are multiple walking tracks including a great one to Minyon Falls and an option to do an overnighter along the Historic Nightcap Walking Track.

Best Brisbane Escapes South of the City Yasmin Maher, campground, grass, trees, picnic table, friends, Whian Whian state Conservation area

Border Ranges National Park

The Border Ranges National Park is a place where time is different. It was my retreat during my university days in Lismore and a place my heart belongs to. This place is incredibly special with towering Antarctic Beech forests, epic views and an astounding array of bird and plant species. The drive in is rough which deters a lot of undesirables (think activewearers and yoga posers) however its a totally doable Brisbane escape in a regular car.

Our little Camry loved this road and came away with a satisfying amount of mud and a few new dings. Top things to see are the Pinnacle Lookout and the Antarctic Beech forests. Camping is at Forest Tops campground. This park is considered remote and requires a bit of planning. Fill up on fuel and pack warm clothes. Its always misty and you’ll usually have the park to yourself.

Best Brisbane Escapes South of the City Yasmin Maher, lookout, mountains, horizon, clouds, grass tree, Pinnacle views

View from the Pinnacle Lookout

Best Brisbane Escapes South of the City Yasmin Maher, bush, Xanthoreas


Hopefully this list has inspired you to plan you’re own Brisbane escape and made you realise that it’s not that hard to find some pretty epic places just South of the city.