If you were told the world was coming to an end, what would be your top 20 things to do in Queensland? Would it be devouring a juicy Bowen Mango? Seeing the mighty Maroons defeat New South Wales at Suncorp Stadium? Or maybe it would be tasting your way around a festival or counting the stars in the night’s sky in outback Queensland? Here’s our list of 20 places to see and things to do in Queensland.
- 20 Classic things to do in Queensland
- 1- See the Great Barrier Reef
- 2- Ride Kuranda Scenic Railway
- 3- Walk on Whitehaven Beach
- 4- Explore Fraser Island
- 5- Stand at the tip of Australia
- 6- Watch the sunset over a sand dune in the Simpson Desert
- 7- Go bareboating in the Whitsundays
- 8- See turtles hatching at Mon Repos
- 9- Swim with the Minke Whales
- 10- See a Crocodile
- 11- Explore the Undara Lava Tubes
- 12- Barron Falls
- 13- Harry Redford Cattle Drive
- 14- Brisbane City at night
- 15- The Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation
- 16- Mossman Gorge and Port Douglas
- Things to do in Queensland for thrills
- Things to do in Queensland – The Outback
- Places to visit in Queensland with kids
- 1- Warner Bros Movie World, Gold Coast
- 2- Sea World, Gold Coast
- 3- Wet ‘n’ Wild, Gold Coast
- 4- Dreamworld, Gold Coast
- 5- Australian Outback Spectacular, Gold Coast
- 6- Australia Zoo, Sunshine Coast
- 7- Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Gold Coast
- 8- Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane
- 9- Australian Age of Dinosaurs, Winton
- 10- Mon Repos, Bundaberg
- 11- Capricorn Caves, Capricorn region
- Discover Queensland
20 Classic things to do in Queensland
1- See the Great Barrier Reef
You haven’t lived until you’ve seen the Great Barrier Reef.
The largest living organism on Earth, the Great Barrier Reef, is also the world’s largest reef system.
It stretches along Queensland’s coast from the top of the state to Fraser Island.
See the reef from a beach; snorkel, dive or take a scenic flight for an amazing view of this natural wonder.
2- Ride Kuranda Scenic Railway
One of the most unique rail journeys in Australia, Kuranda Scenic Railway winds its way from Cairns to Kuranda past rainforest and waterfalls.
There’s plenty to see and do in Kuranda, including souvenir shopping, Aboriginal displays, quaint shops and the butterfly sanctuary.
3- Walk on Whitehaven Beach
Voted as one of the best beaches in the world, Whitehaven is a picture-perfect postcard of aqua waters fringed by white silica sandy beach.
Voted as South Pacific’s Best Beach in the 2015 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards, Whitehaven stretches over seven kilometres on Whitsunday Island, the largest of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays.
Self-sufficient boaties can anchor off overnight and campsites are available for campers. Daily tours depart from Airlie Beach.
4- Explore Fraser Island
The largest sand island on planet Earth, Fraser Island deserves a day or two as there’s so much to explore.
On a must-do list is 75 Mile Beach, Maheno Shipwreck, Champagne rock pools, Indian Head and Eli Creek.
Inland don’t miss, Lake McKenzie, Pile Valley, Central Station and the walk along Wanggoolba Creek.
5- Stand at the tip of Australia
Standing at ‘The Tip’ of mainland Australia in Queensland, the most northern reaching state in Australia is an experience to remember.
It can be accomplished on a tour or you can drive yourself there.
Day tours offer insights into the history and culture of Horn and Thursday Islands.
Learn about the culture, pearl diving and the war base built as Australia’s first front.
6- Watch the sunset over a sand dune in the Simpson Desert
Munga-Thirri National Park, formally known as the Simpson Desert, offers a richly coloured landscape.
This is where you can see from horizon to horizon and a truly magical experience.
The orange sand dunes contrast to the blue sky and yellow flowing salt bushes.
As the sun goes down the sand dunes colour ignites.
The park is closed during summer. Best time to visit is April to October.
7- Go bareboating in the Whitsundays
The Whitsundays are 74 islands dotted across the Great Barrier Reef off-shore from Airlie Beach.
Only a few have resorts such as Hayman, Hamilton, Daydream and Long.
But all have sandy beaches, secluded coves and the opportunity to swim, snorkel or dive on the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef.
8- See turtles hatching at Mon Repos
Be in awe as you watch turtles hatch at Mon Repos in the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
It’s simply marvellous watching them make their way to the beach, find a safe place to dig a nest and lay their eggs.
Within six-to-eight-weeks, you could come back and be lucky to see the tiny hatchlings come out from their sandy nests to dash down the beach towards the sea.
Mon Repos, on the coast of Bundaberg, has the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific.
See loggerhead turtles, one of the ancient mariners of the sea, hatch at this world-renowned site.
Close to Bundaberg, on the Fraser Coast, Mon Repos is the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland.
Tours are offered during the laying and hatching season from November to March.
9- Swim with the Minke Whales
From July to September, you can have a life-changing experience swimming with the Minke whales in far north Queensland.
They are the smallest baleen whale, identified by their 50 to 70 throat grooves, and are the most abundant.
The worldwide population is estimated to be around 800,000.
10- See a Crocodile
Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) are the largest of all living reptiles and the largest terrestrial and riparian predator in the world.
If permitted, part of their diet can include humans.
Some of the best places to see these prehistoric creatures is at Koorana Crocodile Farm near Rockhampton and Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast.
11- Explore the Undara Lava Tubes
The Gulf of Savannah in the north of Queensland is the place to walk in the path of an ancient volcanic flow at Undara.
This huge natural wonder is only accessible via a guided tour.
A range of accommodation is offered, from cabins to railway carriages, tents and swags plus there is a caravan and campground.
12- Barron Falls
Situated north of Cairns, Barron Falls are just one of the spectacular waterfalls to be found around Queensland.
Cascading down 250m, the falls lie within the Wet Tropics World National Heritage Area.
There is a viewing platform and camping is not allowed.
Keep your eye open for a tree kangaroo or the endangered southern cassowary which are often seen in this area.
13- Harry Redford Cattle Drive
Steer a mob of cattle in the path of Queensland’s most notorious cattle duffer: Harry Redford, alias Captain Starlight.
The drive itself takes 19 days and covers a distance of 200km.
It can be done in sections and you average 10-18kms per day.
This is your chance to guide the mob of cattle, sleep under the stars and see those amazing sunrises and sunsets – don’t forget the camera.
14- Brisbane City at night
The Story Bridge is one of Brisbane’s landmarks. The 1000m cantilever bridge joins the north and south sides of the city.
One of the best places to view the city lights and the bridge at night is from Wilson Outlook Reserve.
This small, grassy park perched on a river cliff edge offers million-dollar views of Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland.
Another good spot is Kangaroo Point Cliffs.
15- The Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation
Head along the Captain Cook Highway 140km north of Cairns and you’ll come to Cape Tribulation in the heart of the world heritage listed Daintree Rainforest.
This is the only destination in the world where two world heritage listed areas meet.
On one side you have the Great Barrier Reef and on the other the rainforest home to some of the oldest rainforest on Earth.
Tours also operate to the region.
16- Mossman Gorge and Port Douglas
Mossman Gorge and Port Douglas are also north of Cairns and deserve a day or two to explore.
The Mossman Gorge Centre is a new Indigenous eco-tourism development.
Port Douglas is a scenic little town which overlooks the Coral Sea.
From the marina, you can depart on tours out to the reef.
Things to do in Queensland for thrills
‘You’re not living, if you’re not on the edge’ is a quote many adrenaline junkies live life by. I guess it’s a case of how close is that edge? There’s plenty on offer in Queensland for those with an adventurous spirit. So why scare yourself to death? Maybe it’s to cure a phobia or maybe it’s an addiction that simply needs regular fulfilment. Here are our top 10 adrenaline rush experiences around Queensland.
Heli-rafting in Tropical North Queensland
Rated in the top 10 wilderness adventures in the world and as Australia’s most famous rafting adventure, heli-rafting is an adventure on steroids.
There’s only one way to reach the start and that’s by a helicopter ride through the pristine North Johnstone River Valley.
From the helicopter, you are transferred to your raft to negotiate gigantic grade five rapids on this adrenalin pumping four-day adventure through the breathtaking scenery of one of North Queensland’s best World Heritage-listed rainforests.
There are departures from Cairns, northern beaches and Mission Beach.
White Water Rafting on the Tully River
Hang on for a white-knuckle ride on the Tully River, one of the best rafting rivers in the Southern Hemisphere.
Set in spectacular surroundings, the rapids are graded 3-4 on the international ranking and are the longest trips on the Tully River.
All rafters taking the Xtreme challenge must be confident swimmers and have good English skills.
Group sizes are small and rafters are accompanied by experienced senior guides.
There are departures from Cairns and Mission Beach.
Diving with Sharks
Get acquainted, or for some re-acquainted, with the blockbuster movie, Jaws, when you sink into the tank at Mooloolaba’s UnderWater World Aquarium on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
Come face to face with sharks – yes there’s more than one! Stare in the eyes of grey nurse sharks, leopard sharks, white tip reef sharks, shovel-nosed and whale sharks.
You’ll also be joining black bull rays, coachwhip rays, giant groupers, spangled red emperors, wobbegongs and over 30 other species from the deep.
Drive a V8 Supercar
Strap in and experience the ride of your life during a blood pumping high-speed ride in a V8 race car driven by a professional racing car driver.
And if the ride isn’t enough, you can head to the V8 Super School and get behind the wheel yourself.
Located at Norwell near Dreamworld on the Gold Coast.
Climb Mt French – Frogs Buttress
Frogs Buttress, a side of Mt French is acclaimed to be one of the premier crack climbing crags in Australia.
Requiring a specialised technique known as ‘jamming’ to succeed to the summit, it draws climbers from around the world.
Situated within the Scenic Rim in south-east Queensland, around an hour’s drive south-west of Brisbane, Mt French is one of the many ancient volcanic peaks within the Moogerah Peaks National Park.
Allow 6 hours plus to complete the climb and prior experience is essential – this is not for the first time climber.
A Drive to ‘The Tip’
Cape York is recognised as one of the few last Australian 4WD frontiers. This is an area sparsely populated, wild and beautiful.
Dusty, rutted tracks lead to spectacular waterfalls, ancient Aboriginal sacred rock paintings, amazing wildlife and fantastic fishing.
This is also saltwater croc country, so please be croc wise.
It’s best to travel during the dry season from April to October.
Your vehicle should be mechanically sound and you need to be an experienced four-wheel driver.
Tour options are available.
Sand tobogganing on Moreton Island
For those with the younger adrenaline junkies in tow, one of the things to do on Moreton Island is a grand sand adventure down the 80m sandhills.
Speeds up to 50km per hour have been clocked on these golden sandy slopes – its free and a blast!
Moreton Island is 40km offshore from Brisbane.
Barges and ferries run for passengers and vehicles daily.
Swing on Minjin
Ever heard of a mean devil?
Meet the Minjin, a huge 45m swing that reaches speeds of 120kph and can take up to three people!
There’s little doubt this one will have your heart racing and thumping through your chest.
Situated in a World Heritage-listed rainforest outside Cairns in far north Queensland, the Minjin is on the same site as the world’s first purpose-built tower for bungy jumping and the only bungy operation on the planet.
It’s the world’s fastest jungle swing – perfect for adrenalin addicts and those that thrive a genuine thrill.
The only multi-person swing in Australia reaches speeds of over 120km/h.
With no minimum age restrictions, it’s worth marking for your bucket list of things to do.
Skydive To the Beach
Take the plunge jumping out of a perfectly good plane over two of Queensland’s best beaches: Mission Beach, approximately half way between Cairns and Townsville and Suttons Beach north of Brisbane.
Skydive To the Beach offers a variety of fall heights where you free fall for up to 60 seconds at speeds in excess of 200kph.
Each has spectacular views along sweeping sandy beaches and rainforest.
You need to be fit, weigh less than 100kgs and be at least 14 years old (persons under 18 require a parent/guardian’s authorisation).
24 hours must have elapsed since any deep water dive.
Soar on the thermals
Fly like an eagle experiencing the thrill of flight.
The best hang gliding in Queensland is from Tamborine Mountain and Rainbow Beach – each around an hour’s drive from Brisbane – and far north Queensland.
At above 500m from sea level Tamborine Mountain forms the northernmost point of the great Mount Warning shield volcano and the biggest erosion caldera in the southern hemisphere.
Rainbow Beach is located on the Fraser Coast north of Noosa Heads.
Things to do in Queensland – The Outback
The Adventure Way in Queensland, Australia, stretches almost directly west from Brisbane’s city light-filled streets to across the South Australian border into the heart of Australia’s outback.
Along the fully sealed route, you will retrace the tracks of the first people movers into the region: Cobb and Co and Swagman.
We can only imagine what life must have been like back then! For our modern day traveller, there’s nature, history, industry and more to explore along this now comfortable route themed the Adventure Way.
Here are five of our top things to see along the Adventure Way.
1- Dalby Sale Yards
Leaving Brisbane there is little doubt when you reach Dalby you are in one of the agricultural hubs of Queensland.
Fields of cotton, wheat and sorghum line the road forming an ever-changing kaleidoscope to the horizon.
For something a little different, time your drive for sale day.
The Dalby sale yards hosts the largest same-day prime and store cattle sale in the country.
It’s also the second largest cattle sales centre in Australia, with more than 200,000 cattle sold through the yard each year.
Meet the men and women that bring the beef to our plates at a grassroots level.
Top Dalby Sale Yard Tips
- Try a meal at the local canteen; they have fabulous steak sandwiches.
- Pioneer Park Museum is a good place to stop and stretch with plenty of room for van parking.
2- Smallest town on the Adventure Way – Bollon
Most people skip through Bollon. Blink and you could miss this small country town situated 634km west of Brisbane between St George and Cunnamulla along the Adventure Way.
Giant River Red Gums fringe one side of the town along Wallum Creek.
These mighty old trees are home to a large population of koalas and birds.
The koalas are so populous that visitors see them in the trees that grace the main street, within the state school playground and often crossing the road.
Top Bollon Tips:
- Deb’s Cafe is awesome and we can recommend the burgers. All the locals and truckies stop here.
- There’s a free caravan and camping area along the creek with showers and toilets. It’s linked to the small town by a 1.2km creek-side walkway. You may even see an echidna along the walk.
- Thrushton National Park is only 60kms north of Bollon via a dirt road.
3- Lake Bindegolly National Park
You’ll find Lake Bindegolly between Cunnamulla and Thargomindah along the Adventure Way, approximately 150km west of Cunnamulla.
Lake Bindegolly is a series of salt and freshwater lakes.
They form the shape of a ribbon and are home to more than 195 species of birds and other outback critters.
More than 300 species of plants can be viewed and the most impressive is the Acacia ammophila, now threatened with extinction.
No camping is allowed in the national park but there is a sheltered area adjacent to the road with picnic tables and an information board.
Top Bindegolly Tips:
- Lake levels depend on local rain and rains north diverting the water down to lakes. During dry times the water’s edge may be a long walk in. Be prepared for remote travel as there is no mobile phone coverage.
- Visit nearby Currawinya National Park. There are fresh and saltwater lakes, ruins, woolshed and the Paroo River for starters to see.
- Along the Adventure Way, a set of binoculars is an added bonus for viewing the wildlife, especially at Lake Bindegolly.
4- Thargomindah Hydro Bore
Did you know Thargomindah was the first town in Australia and third in the world to produce hydro-electric power?
It was done by using the power of artesian water and you can view the water from the same bore pumping from around 808 metres underground. But don’t touch it!
At an average temperature of 84°C it is hot enough, to boil an egg or fry your skin if you dip you hand into it.
Top Thargomindah Tips:
- Each day during April to October there is a Hydro Power Plant demonstration commencing at 4.30pm. It’s well worth the visit.
- See some of the old buildings around town like the original hospital and Leahy’s house, all well preserved.
- Spend time along the Bulloo River the life blood of the district. It’s brilliant for wildlife spotting, fishing and cray bobbing.
5- The Dig Tree
Camp along the mighty Cooper Creek – the only creek in Australia formed by two rivers – within cooee of the Dig Tree.
The Dig Tree on Nappie Merrie Station, on the Queensland/South Australian border forms an important part of the early exploration attempts of Australia.
Burke and Wills and their team of 19 men were the first to cross Australia south to north, so they thought.
A unit of the initial exploring party was left at the Dig Tree to form a base camp and await the return of the advance party traversing north.
They waited five weeks after the anticipated arrival date back at the camp before leaving provisions were buried and the directions to find them carved in a tree.
For some reason this was never found and only one of the party survived.
Carved in gigantic Coolabah tree dated to be over 150 years old and almost now unrecognisable, are the directions to find the buried supplies:
B LXV Trunk, creek side
Dig 3FT NW Trunk, land side
Dec 6 60 April 21 61 Limb upstream
Today the Dig Tree is a remote camping location along this famous creek. There are no amenities except for toilets at the information hut.
Top Dig Tree Tips
- See the Face Tree, carved by John Dick in 1898 it’s the face of joint expedition leader Robert O’Hara Burke. It is still clearly visible today. The tree is located 30m downstream of the Dig Tree.
- Throw a line in and you are almost guaranteed a catch. The best time to set a line is late afternoon. Yellowbelly (perch) and Catfish are the two biggest catches.
- Call into the Innamincka Hotel and have a drink to those that have passed before you with a glass of Burke and Wills Port.
- Wildlife watching – Due to its limited number of visitor’s, wildlife is abundant along this part of the creek. Birds, kangaroos, wallabies, emus and the list goes on. Best times for viewing are early morning and late afternoon.
Things to do in Queensland – Country
Queensland’s countryside has a character of its own, a mosaic of wonderful scenery, friendly locals and fascinating history.
Think of big blue skies with low-hanging cotton candy clouds and convivial encounters in country pubs with interesting locals.
From historic towns packed with antique shops to wineries, an escape to the country is just what the doctor ordered.
Here are four things to do in the Queensland countryside.
1- Gold rush fever
Are quirky tales about ghostly characters your cup of tea? Relive the heyday of the gold rush at Charters Tower, 137km inland from Townsville.
The Queensland Heritage Trails Network project team has done a wonderful job of presenting the town’s history in an interactive and engaging way.
Technology is used to bring the gold rush into the 21st century with plasma TVs, laser holograms, films and audio presentations.
Gold rush fever begins in the Visitor Information Centre where a friendly hologram ghost kicks off the Ghosts of Gold Heritage Trail with fascinating tales.
The trail leads you on a walk through the beautifully preserved buildings in the heart of town. There’s a ghost film at Towers Hill Lookout and Venus Battery gold milling site is worth a visit. But if you fancy tea in fine China cups and scones with your ghost stories then pop in to Henry’s Café and Restaurant in Mosman Street.
Where to stay? Aussie Outback Oasis, Charters Towers is a value-for-money holiday park in historic Charters Towers. It’s part of the Big 4 Holiday Park family and offers a range of accommodation choices for the budget conscious, from grassed powered and unpowered sites for caravans or camping to modern cabins and villas.
Cabins have kitchens equipped with all the implements necessary to prepare your own meals. There are microwaves, fridges, freezers, toasters, TVs and DVD players; Austar pay TV channels and wifi are free; tea and coffee are complimentary; and all linen is included in price.
The holiday park’s salt water pool is landscaped with a rocky waterfall and set in shaded leafy gardens. In the winter months, entertainers sing and read bush poetry around the campfire or over a pancake morning tea.
Best for: History lovers, families, and groups of friends travelling together
2- Wine and peanuts
South Burnett is a Queensland wine-growing region with quality boutique wineries that are producing award-winning wines.
Wines have exotic fruity bouquets of passionfruit, mango, paw paw and lime to suit the tropical climate.
The region’s terroir is best suited to the semillon, chardonnay, shiraz and verdelho grape varieties; the latter is the region’s signature wine.
As a wine region, South Burnett has an ambience that is poles apart from wine areas in the southern states. Cellar doors and restaurants are housed in traditional timber Queenslander-style houses with wide verandas. And most of the wineries are run by small and friendly family businesses.
Visit the icon of Queensland’s peanut capital, the Kingaroy Peanut Van. Peanuts from the region are sold in scrumptious flavours such as hickory smoked and butterscotch caramel varieties.
Where to stay? Bethany Cottages, Kingaroy are nestled in scrubland on Bethany Farm. Snuggle up by the fire in a cosy cottage and watch the wallabies hop by.
With panoramic views of the Bunya Mountains, cottages come in one- and two-bedroom varieties and offer peaceful country views.
Cottages have fully equipped kitchens, entertainment systems and reverse-cycle air conditioning and heating. Most have timber verandas where you can sit back in a comfy chair and gaze at the view.
Take the 90-minute tour of the working cattle farm, which has been the home of the Bjelke-Petersen family for over 80 years.
It includes a visit to the family home where there’s a display of memorabilia, for those interested in the life of former Queensland Premier Sir Joh, and home-made pumpkin scones for those that aren’t. Farm tours run at 2pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Best for: Wine lovers, families. Download a map of the South Burnett wine region.
3- Bush poetry and campfires
There’s so much to do in the heart of the Outback. Bush poetry, camp fire dinners, river cruises and sheep stations are some of the things on offer in Longreach. Take a scenic helicopter flight or gaze at the stars.
The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame gives you a real sense of life in the Outback from the five themed galleries displaying the history of Australia’s greatest explorers, stock workers, pastoralist, and aborigines.
Don’t miss the Outback Stockman’s Show (May to October) when horse breaker, drover, bush poet and bullocky Lachie Cossor dazzles the crowd with his skills.
Down the road, the Qantas Founders Museum is the only place in the world where you can tour two fully-equipped passenger jet aircraft.
The 747,707 and Wing Walk Tour allows you to walk on the wing of the 747,707, climb down into the computer and cargo bays and sit in the pilot seat.
Where to stay? Jumbuck Motel, Longreach is not the ritziest accommodation around. But if you want your fill of Outback fun, pack your Akubra and head to Longreach. Built by local graziers, the Jumbuck Motel was the only place to stay in Longreach for many years.
It’s where ideas were conceived and historical decisions made. Hugh Sawrey and R. M. Williams plotted and planned the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame in the motel’s Stockman’s Bar.
The motel has everything you’d expect from country digs. 36 ground level units have reverse-cycle air-conditioning, queen-sized beds and Austar services.
There are interconnecting rooms and family rooms, a salt water pool (seasonal) and kids playground. The Jolly Jumbuck Restaurants serves decent steaks along with barramundi, kangaroo and emu.
Best for: Adventurous travellers.
4- Flowers and antiques
Do you like the sound of a weekend in a grand home with romantic old-world charm? Pack your bags and head for Toowoomba.
The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is worth putting in the diary and there’s plenty for history lovers all year round. From Royal Doulton to 19th-century brass beds, Toowoomba is an antique treasure hunter’s delight.
Pick up an Antiques Trail brochure from the visitor information centre in James Street. Catch a show at the Art Deco Empire Theatre, which opened in 1911 as a silent movie house.
The Lionel Lindsay Art Gallery and Library in Ruthven Street has rare books, manuscripts, maps and an art collection with over 400 works by members of the Lindsay family and other significant Australian painters such as Frederick McCubbin, Arthur Streeton and Tom Roberts.
Where to stay? Vacy Hall, Toowoomba is a 1880s mansion has 12 heritage-style rooms with private bathrooms and some have their own fireplaces.
Think bay windows with upholstered seats, open fireplaces, polished floorboards and leather grandfather chairs.
The Ann Taylor Emperor Suite is a picture of brass and lace with its king-size antique brass four-poster bed, ensuite bathroom with antique cast-iron claw foot bathtub and armchairs in front of an open fireplace.
Built as a wedding gift for the daughter of a wealthy pastoralist in the 19th century, Vacy Hall is heritage listed by the National Trust of Australia and The Queensland Heritage Council.
Best for: Couples, history lovers.
Places to visit in Queensland with kids
By Rama Gaind
Build sand castles, explore the largest coral reef on the planet or scream your lungs out on an amusement park ride. Queensland has 84 patrolled beaches, seven free water pools and plenty of national parks. From educational experiences to theme parks, Queensland comes out on top when it comes to holidaying with the family. Here is a list of fun things to do in Queensland for families.
1- Warner Bros Movie World, Gold Coast
First-class rides, action-packed shows and celebrity characters make this Gold Coast theme park a fun-filled environment.
There are movie-themed rides and attractions ranging from slow river rides to roller coasters and motion simulators.
Learn all the road safety aspects — a kid’s version — at the Junior Drive School.
Get a photo with one of the many costumed characters who patrol the park: Scooby Doo, Batman, Marilyn Monroe, The Mystery Inc. Gang, Austin Powers. Enjoy the street shows and all-star parades on move-themed floats.
Many films and television series were produced in the adjoining Warner Roadshow Studios, so when you visit, resurrect memories of the first Scooby-Doo film, House of Wax, the 2003 Peter Pan film, Ghost Ship, The Condemned and Fortress, to name but a few.
2- Sea World, Gold Coast
Wildlife encounters are the drawcard to this premier marine animal park in Australia.
Even though it has animal exhibits and other attractions, Sea World endorses preservation not only through education, but also with the rescue and rehabilitation of sick, injured or orphaned wildlife.
The oceanarium and theme park was founded by entrepreneur Keith Williams in 1958.
3- Wet ‘n’ Wild, Gold Coast
Splish-splash your way into an aquatic wonder world with some of the biggest and most extreme water slides in Australia.
An area dedicated for children under 10 years old called Wet ‘n’ Wild Junior was opened in late 2014 and features pint-sized water slides, a sandcastle-themed lagoon area and kid-friendly water slides.
There’s also a multi-level interactive play structure, with eight slides and a giant tipping bucket. All the pools and slides in the park, which opened in September 1984, are heated during winter.
4- Dreamworld, Gold Coast
Australia’s biggest theme park is jam-packed with family fun and live entertainment, with more than 40 heart-stopping rides and attractions including five rollercoasters.
Each of the several themed lands (Wiggles World, DreamWorks Experience, Goldrush Country, Tiger Island, Rocky Hollow, Ocean Parade and Dreamworld Corroboree) have a selection of rides, animal exhibits, shows and food outlets and merchandise shops.
A new thrill ride called Tail Spin opened late last year where nerve-shattering flights get underway in one of the 12 mini airplanes.
5- Australian Outback Spectacular, Gold Coast
Here’s a novel way to experience the courage, splendour and fearlessness of some of the inspiring Australian stories from the outback.
You have to saddle up to be captivated by the passage that takes you to the snow-peaked mountains of the high country where enthralled murmurs and fabled stories thrive with the most stirring narratives of Australian characters.
6- Australia Zoo, Sunshine Coast
Get up-close-and-personal within natural bushland with more than 1000 animals on this 40ha zoo. Australia Zoo is on the Sunshine Coast, near Beerwah and the Glass House Mountains.
This famous home of the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, offers a myriad of opportunities for hands-on wildlife adventures.
Meet koalas, wombats, possums, kangaroos, tigers, cheetahs, red pandas, tortoises, dingoes, crocodiles, alligators, blue-tongue lizards, shingleback skinks, macaws, cockatoo and elephants.
A new attraction (named after Steve’s 16-year-old daughter) is called Bindi’s Island that opened in December 2014.
7- Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Gold Coast
This heritage-listed zoological garden was built in 1947 and put on the Queensland Heritage Register in September 2009.
Home of one of the busiest wildlife hospitals in the world (it’s estimated that more than 45,000 native animals have been rescued and released and there will be many more), the sanctuary is world-renowned for feeding huge flocks of free-flying wild rainbow lorikeets.
Currumbin has the largest walk-through aviary in the southern hemisphere, a reptile house and exhibits include Tasmanian Devils. An adventure park course opened in 2009 and the sanctuary also has a miniature railway that has been operating since 1964.
8- Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane
The 4.6ha sanctuary in the Brisbane suburb of Fig Tree Pocket (founded in 1927) was the world’s first koala sanctuary.
With more than 130 koalas, this is a place where you can cuddle a koala, hand-feed kangaroos and encounter a large variety of Australian wildlife in beautiful, natural surrounds.
9- Australian Age of Dinosaurs, Winton
Did you know Outback Queensland is one of the richest places on the planet for dinosaur discoveries?
In prehistoric times much of the outback was the great inland sea.
Today, along the dry, dusty and gibber ridden plains you are almost assured of finding a fossil or two.
The best places in outback Queensland for dinosaur hunting are Lark Quarry, The Age of Dinosaurs, Winton, Hughenden and Richmond.
You can assist in bringing Australia’s pre-historic giants back to life as this is one of the only places in the world you can help prep the fossil of a real dinosaur.
It’s the biggest fossil preparation laboratory in the southern hemisphere and where you will be taught by professionals.
10- Mon Repos, Bundaberg
11- Capricorn Caves, Capricorn region
Start the tour at the cave entrance where fig tree roots grip the limestone walls, rock wallabies take cover in crevices and cool air surfaces from the darkness.
Go on the Bats and Bones (Poo & Spew) tour for a hands-on experience where you’ll get the chance to examine extinct small mammal bones under a microscope.
Kids will love the narrow Zig Zag passage, which emerges into daylight on the swinging bridge in the dry rainforest.
For more ideas on what to see and do in Queensland go to Best of Queensland.
Here’s a peek into the world of bats at Tolga Bat Hospital.
Heading up north? Visit Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas for up close and personal look at Australian wildlife.
Are you after more things to do in Northern Queensland? How bout visiting Paronella Park? The park is a romantic spot.
For a fabulous mountain getaway in the tropics, head to Kuranda.