This tropical North-Eastern region of Australia is where you’ll find two of the world’s greatest natural wonders; the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest. This state brings you coast life in abundance; from the sun-drenched beaches of the Sunshine Coast, to the idyllic island life of the Whitsunday Coast, Daintree Forest and Cape Tribulation’s lush hinterland and rugged national parks.
So whether you’re a thrill-seeking party goer or looking for eco-tourism on the reef – Queensland offers it all. Check out our top 5 reasons to visit Queensland…
The most famous attraction in Queensland is definitely The Great Barrier Reef - the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms. The reef eco-system stretches 200km along the eastern coast consisting of over 2900 reefs and unimaginable marine life waiting to be explored.
Because of its sheer expanse, you get to choose which east coast town to explore the reef from. Head to Cairns and you’ll find a wide selection of tour operators with day trips to suit every budget. If you want to sail the reef - head to Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays, or if you’re after overnight diving safaris, your best bet is Townsville.
Want to get as close as possible to the fish you normally only see in your tropical fish tank? If so, there’s no better way than to snorkel or Scuba diving the reef where you can see over 400 different kinds of coral, 1,500 species of tropical fish and dolphins, rays, sea turtles and 120-year old clams!
Whale-watching season runs from May to September when you can see the migration of over 2000 Antarctic whales as they swim to the warmer waters of Cairns to deliver and nurse their calves! Book a whale watching tour and it’s likely you’ll get to watch Humpback and Dwarf Minke whales, plus bottle-nosed dolphins. If you’re lucky, you might spot one of the two white whales - the Migaloo and Bahloo.
Daintree Rainforest reaches some 12,000km into tropical North Queensland. It encompasses so many natural wonders from dense rainforest to waterfalls, dramatic gorges to stretches of sandy beach and beautiful reef – in fact it’s the only place in the world where two World Heritage sites join on the coast.
The best way to introduce you to this kind of biodiversity would be to take a tour. Expect to hike, sail or 4WD through this natural wonderland amongst ancient trees, mangroves and swamp lands and native birds and lose yourself in the wilder side of life, a million miles away far from your usual routine!
Cape Tribulation is the go-to destination if you’re looking for day tours. Whether you want to be in the water (try sea kayaking and ocean safaris), or on dry land (try 4WD or jungle adventuring) – there’s a host of different ways you can get back into nature. If you’re after native Aussie favourites like kangaroos, koalas, crocodiles and cassowary’s – try a guided walk or small group tour where you have the chance to feed the animals too! If horse-riding is your thing, head to the Atherton Tablelands for a range of riding on offer.
Lady Elliot Island is a coral cay at the Southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. It’s easily accessed from Bundaberg by sea-plane and is the closest of the Great Barrier Islands to Brisbane. The whole island is a small 42 hectares eco –resort and you can walk around its entirety in around 45 minutes.
Rest safe in the knowledge that here, your enjoyment of the reef will have a limited negative impact as fishing and diving are carefully monitored. A stay on this island is quite out of the ordinary – the resort is committed to conservation and sustainable management. Don’t expect to find any telephones, TV or radios here. Nature takes the centre stage in terms of entertainment, leaving you to fully escape and unwind off-grid!
The island has exceptionally clear waters with incredible visibility in excess of 20 metres – and this is one spot you’ll be guaranteed uncrowded views of the reef as visitor numbers to the island are restricted each day – fewer tourists!
Why not get PADI qualified in these beautiful waters with one of the courses on offer here? It’s a great place to learn to dive with more than 20 superb dive sites around just this one small island. You’ll be treated to appearances from the entire cast of ‘Finding Nemo’ in an underwater cabaret show including tropical fish and colourful coral, manta rays, turtles, whales, dolphins and sharks.
The largest sand island in the world – a visit to Fraser Island is up there with Uluru, Kakadu and the Great Barrier Reef as a must-see whilst you’re in Australia.
Jump on a sea plane or vehicle ferry from Hervey Bay or Rainbow Beach and you’ll soon find yourself amongst an unusually beautiful landscape waiting. Over 250km of pristine white sand beaches and strikingly coloured sand cliffs juxtapose with rainforest to shelter half of all the world’s perched freshwater dune lakes!
Lakes known as ‘perched’ are formed when organic matter, such as bark, leaves and dead plants build up and are hardened by the wind. Here, the massive sand deposits known as The Pinnacles date back 700,000 years and extend to heights of 260m above sea level.
Shutterbugs can get trigger happy with the photogenic shipwreck of the Maheno passenger liner, grounded by a cyclone in 1935. In WWII the Australian Air force used the ship for target practice, adding to the texture and composition of the deteriorating exterior.
Enjoy every second of your super-sandy Fraser Island adventure with a swim in salty rock pools at Champagne Pools or a quick dip in the freshwaters of Eli Creek. For walkers, there are plenty of tracks through beautiful bush at Wanggoolba Creek or Central Station. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the Eurong Beach Resort for a delicious feast of gourmet goodness or just wander the miles and miles of white sand beaches to your heart’s content, drinking in the island’s expansive ocean views! For a chance to see freshwater turtles and a spot of the island’s adrenaline sport (sand boarding down the dunes!) make sure you check out Lake McKenzie and Lake Wabby.
The Gold Coast is one of Australia most popular holiday destinations. It has a reputation for fun and for hosts a wealth of theme parks and attractions that draw thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies in search of their ultimate ride. It’s loved for its bronzed ‘Ken and Barbie’ style bikini-clad surf beaches, high rise apartments and the shopping malls of Surfers Paradise.
Dreamworld is a one-stop-shop for family fun with rides, Wiggles World, animals and koala cuddling. The infamous Big 8 Thrill rides are certain to get your heart pumping and your adrenal glands glowing. Think white knuckle, face distorting, stomach-flipping terror and you’re close to describing the calibre of these rides!
White Water World is where you can try the latest in waterslides wonder including ‘The Wedgie’, a power slide that will leave you clenching your cheeks as you plummet five stories through translucent piping in Australia’s only human half coil!
Wet'n'Wild World is home to four extreme H2O rides. With names like Blackhole, Kamikaze, Mach 5 and Tornado, you better be confident your swimmers will stay on! There’s no shortage of heart-thumping, control-losing, massive water slides all designed to hurtle you through the eye of the storm into calm waters below.
If you’d like to visit Australia or include any of these Queensland highlights in your trip, many Australia multi-stop tickets include Brisbane or Cairns. I can help recommend accommodation, tours, car hire or cool campervans to help you make the most of the coast – whatever suits your style and budget best - just contact Chris.