The northern bayside suburbs of Scarborough, Redcliffe, Brighton, Margate, Sandgate and Shorncliffe were popular holiday places for Brisbanites prior to World War II, and this legacy lives on in the form of beautiful old boarding houses, mature gardens, the Redcliffe Jetty (although now rebuilt) and Shorncliffe Pier. Together they form a pleasant coastal drive (between 25 minutes and 45 minutes from Brisbane), with plenty of worthwhile places to stop.
Eating fish and chips at Morgans Seafood, a renowned local institution in Scarborough, while watching pelicans glide and seagulls wheel over the bobbing trawlers against a background of the Glass House Mountains, is a must-do. Travel south to Redcliffe, the site of Queensland’s first European settlement in 1824, and follow one of the heritage trails (ask at the information centre for brochures). Redcliffe has good beaches and a landscaped foreshore lined with little cafes – great for coffee with a view over to the Moreton Island sandhills. Its jetty is a popular fishing spot and the little cafe here is decorated with historical photos. There’s also a memorial to John Oxley, who landed in 1823, and a plaque dedicated to Mathew Flinders, who came ashore here in 1799. Margate beach has a string of shaded picnic spots with lovely bay views. At Woody Point, you will find the historic Belvedere Hotel, built in the 1890s.
Alma Park Zoo
Set in award-winning rainforest gardens, the zoo is 30 minutes north of the city, inland from Redcliffe. It displays both Australian and exotic animals, and offers the chance to get up close to many species. You can touch koalas, and feed kangaroos and deer in the walk-through enclosures – all great for kids. Please note: the zoo is currently in the process of relocating to Logan City in Brisbane's south. Alma Rd, Dakabin; open Mon–Sun.