Imagine a place where, in the same day you can delve into the emerald arms of a rainforest, and then laze on a white sand beach. Or a place where you can go to a themepark in the morning, and then camp in pristine hinterland at night. What about snorkelling along the Great Barrier Reef, and then flying over it? Perhaps you fancy surfing when the sun comes up, and dining in chef-hatted restaurants when it sinks below the horizon? Well, here’s the thing, you can do all of those things on a holiday in Queensland.
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So what can you experience on holiday in Queensland?
The best thing about Queensland is the variety it can offer. After a family beach holiday? Head to the Gold Coast. Fancy a luxury retreat? Fly to the Whitsundays. An adventure on the Great Barrier Reef? Cairns is the ticket. Keen for a city break? Spend a few days in our glittering capital of Brisbane.
Whatever holiday you’re after, Queensland can provide. Read on to find out about Queensland’s most beloved highlights.
From the capital to the coast
Brisbane is one of the fastest growing cities in Australia, and what was once a sleepy town is now one of the trendiest centres in the east. The capital of Queensland has managed to retain much of its historical charm, but the reinvigoration of CBD and the South Bank has meant that that Brisbane is now packed with live music venues, restaurants, shopping promenades, museums and galleries. Take in the city by hopping on a Brisbane River cruise, then make time for highlights like the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, or a trip over to Tangalooma Island Resort.
Of course, Brisbane has other not-quite-hidden charms, notably, its sub-tropical temperatures and proximity to two of Australia’s most sought after holiday destinations…
Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast
That’s right, Brisbane is super close to the Gold Coast in the south and the Sunshine Coast in the north – only an hour’s drive away. When you think of Queensland holidays, it’s likely the image you are conjuring are these beloved sections of coast.
The Sunshine Coast is north of Brisbane, where quaint towns pepper the shore, each with their own unique personality. If you’re after boutique hotels, celebrated restaurants, quiet beaches and bustling marketplaces, then the Sunny Coast is the place to be. There is also excellent access to the pristine hinterland. Here, you can discover the Glass House Mountains National Park, home to extinct volcanoes which have marked our landscape for millions of years, and are part of Australia’s Aboriginal heritage as cultural and navigational landmarks.
South of Brisbane is the beloved Gold Coast, and its reputation as a holiday hotspot was earned thanks to its stellar dining and shopping scene, its buzzing nightlife, scores of themeparks, and enormous list of entertainment activities. But its biggest draws, are natural ones. This glorious golden stretch of Queensland has been the haunt of surfers, swimmers, and families for decades, and no matter where you are staying on the Gold Coast you can find a slice of sand that was made for you.
Islands, islands, islands
A tropical island getaway is not only within reach when you fly to Queensland, but it’s practically a local pastime. The Whitsunday Islands is an archipelago made up of 74 picture-perfect isles that are scattered across our eastern seas, and set right in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. If you fancy island hopping, then you need to jump off the mainland from Airlie Beach.
Spend your days sailing the turquoise waters and exploring the beaches of the islands, such as the white silica sands of Whitehaven Beach. Or pop your snorkel on and explore technicolour coral landscape of the ocean floor. Watch the sun set the scenery to a burnished gold, and then at night, admire the star strewn sky from the deck of a boat, or from the islands’ soft sandy shores.
Rainforests, reefs and relaxation
So what about northern Queensland. Well, from Bundaberg, across the Whitsundays, right to the very tip of Queensland is one of the world’s most extraordinary natural wonders – the Great Barrier Reef. Spanning 2,300km, you can access this spectacular underwater landscape from lots of different points in Queensland, though flying into Cairns allows you to explore the northern section.
The Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region boasts warm weather year-round, and is home to an excellent range of tour operators. These operators offer trips out to the Great Barrier Reef where you can snorkel, dive, or head out further to sea for a spot of whale watching. Cairns also happens to be the gateway city for the UNESCO-listed Daintree Rainforest. In just over an hour’s drive, you can reach the serene Mossman Gorge, take a refreshing dip in the crystalline waters and go on a guided rainforest walk. Nearby, you’ll find Port Douglas, a chic coastal town, where you can shop, dine, or take advantage of Four Mile Beach, the town’s local beach.
Where to stay on a holiday in Queensland?
It really depends on what you’re looking for, as there are plenty of budget, mid-range and luxury accommodation options to choose from in Queensland.
Stay in the luxury Daintree Eco Lodge, where the banyans nestle amongst the trees in the oldest rainforest in the world. Or swap trees for skyscrapers and enjoy an urban retreat at W Brisbane, that offers fine dining and phenomonal views of the skyline.
You can also fling yourself onto a picturesque island, by booking a stay at Orpheus Island that lies off the coast of Townsville. Or go to Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays, where you can golf, sail, snorkel, and then sink back into luxury at qualia.
On the Gold Coast, you can enjoy lavish surroundings at pretty low prices – such as The Island boutique hotel, or Avani Broadbeach Residences. If you’re heading further north to the Sunshine Coast, check out The Sebel Noosa or Altitude on Montville in the hinterland.
Should I drive on a holiday in Queensland?
It’s totally up to you! There are lots of tours and guided experiences across Queensland that can take you deep into the hinterland or national parks, down coastlines, and out to sea, so if you don’t fancy getting behind a wheel, you don’t have to.
However, if you would like to drive, there are some truly wonderful routes worth exploring. For instance, from Cairns, you can drive the coastline up into the Daintree Rainforest, through the sleepy and lovely town of Port Douglas. From there, you can take in the sugar cane fields, and the forested hills all the way up to the spectacular Cape Tribulation – where the rainforest meets the reef.
There are few places in the world that live up to expectation, but Queensland is one of them. With a landscape made up of ancient rainforests and reefs, an Outback that boasts mountains, gorges and 2000 year-old indigenous engravings, and a vibrant coastline that would please any beach goer, Queensland is a wonder. We can help you plan your dream holiday here, whether you’re after a weekend in the city, an outdoor adventure, or an island retreat.