Queensland is the holiday planners dream, with a seemingly endless array of stunning beaches, dramatic scenery, wildlife galore and lush rainforest.
Narrowing it down to a list of our top ten isn’t easy but this list should whet your appetite and start you off with some amazing Queensland destinations to discover. Whether you are looking for relaxation, adventure or fine dining your options are almost endless.
The Great Barrier Reef has to be one of Australia’s best loved destinations. Reaching over 2000 km in length, it’s the largest coral reef in the world. Made up of 3000 individual reefs and 900 islands and coral cays, the potential for exploring here is endless.
UNESCO recognised the Great Barrier Reef as a World Heritage System in 1981 and it was the first coral reef to make it onto the UNESCO list.
The abundant marine life on the reef includes the popular species like turtles, whales, manta rays and sharks but also the smaller, delicate creatures such as seahorses, nudibranchs, sea urchins and clownfish of ‘Finding Nemo’ fame that live in the colourful corals.
Snorkelling and scuba diving is the best way to immerse yourself in this spectacular underwater world but if you want to keep dry, try a glass bottom boat where you’ll be mesmerised by the fascinating marine life below.
The 51,000 acres of Lamington National Park are situated in the world’s most extensive subtropical rainforest. Part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, Lamington Park has ecological importance combined with awe inspiring natural beauty. The Queensland Park is famous for having over 500 stunning waterfalls and an array of rare and unusual flora and fauna. It offers over 160 km of walking tracks catering to all levels of fitness as well adventure sports ranging from abseiling to archery. You’ll need a few days to fit everything in but you can stay overnight in the park to make the most of your visit. Choose between the rainforest or mountain eco-lodges which have accommodation options starting with a simple tent pitch all the way up to a luxury cottage.
The largest sand island in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Fraser Island is an unmissable Queensland destination. This 76 mile island is the only place in the world where rainforests grow on the top of sand dunes and although you can’t swim in the sea, the island has over 100 lakes to help keep you cool.
There are no roads on the island and only 4x4s can be driven there. You can join a tour to get around the island but if you enjoy a challenge, hire your own 4×4 and test out your driving skills. If you drive down 75 mile beach (which is a legally registered highway) watch out for planes coming into land!
Fraser Island is one of the top adventures you can have in Queensland, you can immerse yourself in nature and try to spot humpback whales and dingos. relax on the beach with idyllic views, explore in your 4×4 or have a go at sand boarding down the dunes. And at the end of your days wind down with some unforgettable and epic stargazing.
As the capital city of Queensland, we couldn’t miss Brisbane off our list and we wouldn’t want to!
It’s a buzzing city with the laidback, friendly vibe that Queensland is famous for.
Brisbane loves its cafe culture so coffee connoisseurs will be in their element. Local produce, chilled vibes and delicious brunches are all on the agenda.
There’s plenty of green space in Brisbane, South Bank has an amazing 17 hectares of parklands running along the Brisbane River and it even has a fantastic man-made beach if you’re missing your beach time!
The outskirts of Brisbane cover a huge expanse of farmland so the city’s farmers’ markets are a foodie’s dream with an abundance of fresh produce and ready to eat delicacies.
If vintage or one of a kind clothing markets are your idea of shopping heaven check out the Suitcase Rummage or The Young Designers Market for some local retail therapy.
The Daintree Rainforest is another UNESCO World Heritage site that has made it onto our Queensland list. This dramatic rainforest was the inspiration for the ‘Avatar’ film and it’s easy to see why. Jam packed with lush, tropical vegetation, a visit to this ancient rainforest is like a visit to an untouched world, it’s no wonder that this unique eco-system is David Attenborough’s favourite place on Earth.
A series of aerial walkways and viewing platforms have been installed to take you from the forest floor up through the canopy and expert guided tours will give you an astonishing insight into the flora and fauna of one of the world’s oldest rainforests.
You can take a night tour to discover a different world within the forest, when the larger animals come out to hunt or cruise along the Daintree River spotting crocodiles and cassowaries as you go.
With over 7000km of stunning coast line, Queensland does not disappoint when it comes to its beaches. After some deliberation, we’ve chosen Burleigh Heads Beach as one of our favourites. Burleigh Heads Beach sits between busy Surfer’s Paradise and Coolangatta on the Gold Coast.
The headland offers great surfing whilst swimmers can enjoy calm waters protected by the cape. For those who don’t fancy getting wet, the cliffs have the best view points for spectators and the weekends are often full of live music performances or arts and crafts stalls.
The beach has some funky local cafes and shops to explore and there’s a park for the kids in case they need to burn off any extra energy.
White gold sand, turquoise waters, a variety of coastal walking trails and iconic views of the Gold Coast skyline make this beautiful beach worth a visit for the whole family.
Tamborine Mountain is a perfect destination for wine lovers. Its wineries are famous and are complemented by delicious local cheeses and gourmet restaurants. Joining a Tambourine Mountain wine tour is one of the best ways to discover and sample the Queensland wineries, distilleries and breweries without worrying about how you’ll get back to your accommodation.
Once you’ve discovered your favourite wines, you can explore eclectic vintage stores, local craft shops and vibrant art galleries or venture onto the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk for some breath-taking views of the ‘green behind the gold’.
Finally, don’t forget to visit the Tamborine Mountain glow worm sanctuary while you are there. It’s the only place that you can safely see and learn about these rare creatures at any time of the day and is a once in a lifetime chance to see thousands of radiant glow worms.
The Whitsunday Islands have some of the most photographed scenery in Queensland and until you see it for yourself it’s hard to believe that it hasn’t been edited. The majority of the 74 islands are national park islands with just five islands offering accommodation for tourists.
The Whitsundays are a dream destination for sailors. You can join a cruise or charter your own boat, hopping between picture perfect beaches and coves and snorkelling in the clearest, turquoise waters.
Whitehaven beach is often named as the best beach in the world and once you’ve seen the sparkling white sands, you’ll understand the attraction. The Whitsundays are often thought of as a playground for the rich and famous, catered to by exclusive resorts such as Qualia on Hamilton Island. Luckily, there is an option for every budget. Book in advance and you can even secure a pitch for your tent right next to one of the Whitsundays fabulous beaches.
Who doesn’t love a waterfall? The Atherton Tablelands Waterfall Circuit sits on a plateau of volcanic crater lakes surrounded by lush, tropical greenery. The waters cascading down towards the Queensland coast create an absolute smorgasbord of spectacular waterfalls.
You can take a waterfall tour which will visit the favourites such as the natural water slides at Josephine Falls and Millaa Millaa Falls, which are instantly recognisable from a well-known shampoo advert!
If you have the time, hire a car and discover some of the more hidden waterfalls which are off the beaten track. Some of the falls do involve a bit of a trek to but the reward of having a magnificent plunge pool all to yourself is definitely worth the walk.
Whilst you are exploring the Atherton Tablelands waterfalls you can take the opportunity to follow some of the sign posts to other spots along the way and you won’t be disappointed. There are never ending volcanic lakes to swim in and imposing, ancient fig trees to be awed by.
In the central highlands, Carnarvon Gorge is one of Queensland’s best kept secrets. The gorge covers a vast 16,000 hectare expanse and is teeming with diverse flora and fauna.
Over the years Carnarvon Creek has worn through the rocks creating natural sculptures, pools, caverns and caves – some decorated with ancient Indigenous art.
The treks range from a shorter 5km hike around the visitors centre to the challenging six day, 87 km Carnarvon Great Walk for experienced hikers.
If you want to experience real Queensland wilderness, this is the destination for you. Knowledgeable local tour guides are on hand to reveal the gorges indigenous heritage and help you to spot and identify the teeming wildlife.