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The best day trips for a mini break from uni

Life on the Gold Coast is pretty idyllic, but every now and then, it’s nice to take in some new scenery. Thankfully, there’s an abundance of beautiful towns nearby, and even a bustling city – all within driving distance of Bond University.

If you’re feeling restless over semester break, or simply want to get away for the weekend, why not plan a day trip? Venture out, see the sights, enjoy a little road trip and make it back to the Gold Coast before night falls – we couldn’t think of a better way to spend a day off from studying.

Here are 4 of our favourite day trips to take from Bond University.


If you’re seeking a metropolitan getaway with lots to eat, see and do, Brisbane is your best bet. The capital city of Queensland, Brisbane is packed with cultural activities like museums and theatres, houses some great food and even has some scenic spots to visit. Just like the Gold Coast, it’s a big place, but getting around is simple – trains and buses should get you where you want to go most of the time, and driving and parking in the city is also an option. 

What to do:

To inject a bit of culture into your trip to Brisbane, consider visiting the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) or taking in a show at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC).

What to eat:

The Howard Smith Wharves is a popular food precinct with a multitude of restaurants to choose from and beautiful views of the Story Bridge and Brisbane River. Beyond this, there’s so many great food spots in Brisbane, from Chinatown to Southbank to West End’s coffee culture.

What to explore:

If you’re prepared to venture out, take a trek up to Mount Coot-tha for a hike, bike ride or to relax with a picnic at the lookout.

Distance from Bond: 1 hour 20 minutes (86.4km)

South Stradbroke

For anyone who loves being in nature, South Stradbroke Island is a must-visit. Beautiful beaches with some of the best swells around are framed by rainforest cover and lush greenery. Located just over an hour from the Gold Coast, this island can be accessed by taking a ferry from a few main marinas at Sanctuary Cove, Hope Island, Runaway Bay or Marina Mirage. 

What to do:

South Stradbroke Island is the spot if you want to partake in adventurous activities like kayaking, jet skiing, boating and windsurfing. Go for a hike on a nearby trail or even rent out a buggy to cruise along the dunes.

What to eat:

Come prepared if you’re travelling to South Stradbroke Island – there’s not a huge amount of amenities like restaurants and cafes around. However, what’s there is quality! Tipplers CafĂ© is a renowned spot on the island for a good feed after you’ve worked up an appetite. 

What to explore:

Want to extend your trip in Straddie and experience everything this gorgeous piece of the world has to offer? Consider staying a night and camping – you can pitch your tent right on the beach for an absolutely unparalleled view of the ocean.

Distance from Bond: Approximately30 minutes’ drive (14.8km) and a 20-40 minute ferry trip

People are walking through a rainforest.
Mount Tamborine adventure tourism.

Mount Tamborine

Cosy, relaxed vibes, great food and drinks, and the cutest main street you ever did see – Mount Tamborine sounds pretty perfect, right? This sweet town is less than an hour’s drive from the Gold Coast, but boasts a completely different atmosphere. The rolling hills and quaint buildings (think Tudor style) are an ideal backdrop for a worry-free day trip or weekend away.

What to do:

There’s way more to do in Mount Tamborine than meets the eye, including the Rainforest Skywalk, where you’re suspended above the trees on a bridge with a view that spans many miles.

What to eat:

The food up here is incredible, with lots of local vendors setting up shop, as well as a weekly market. There are multiple cheese factories (Witches Chase, Pure Artisan Cheese and Tamborine Cheese) as well as a famed fudge shop, Fudge Heaven. 

What to explore:

If you’re an adrenaline lover, head to Thunderbird Park for a day of unbridled fun. With an array of high ropes courses, a visit here blends the gorgeous natural landscape with some athletic activity as you swing from the trees.

Distance from Bond: 45 minutes (37.7km)

Byron Bay

Most Gold Coasters would put Byron Bay at the top of their list for day trips, and for good reason – blue skies, a laid-back feel and lots of quirky things to see and do, Byron encapsulates the full coastal experience. Grab a book and your swimmers, ready for a very chilled-out weekend away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

What to do:

First and foremost, you’ve got to head to the beach when in Byron Bay. Wategos Beach is world-renowned, with great waves and long expanses of sand perfect for setting up a picnic or your beach chairs and umbrella.

What to eat:

The magic of Byron Bay is that it feels small, but in reality, there’s actually quite a lot to do – and that extends to places to eat. As long as you know where to look, and have a car to get you from A to B, there are so many yummy spots to try. Harvest, Rae’s on Wategos, Light Years, The Farm and Chupacabra are all popular eateries.

What to explore:

When you’re done soaking up the sun, slap on some sunscreen and head up to the Cape Byron Lighthouse for a great view and a short stroll. Byron folks are also early adopters when it comes to wellness, so if you’re in need of a treat, book yourself into one of their abundant spas for massage, facial or something newfangled that’s bound to leave you glowing.

Distance from Bond: 1 hour, 20 minutes (86.2km)

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