If you were told the world was coming to an end, there’s just one thing left to do. Pack up your things and head to Queensland. Not only is Australia’s Sunshine State home to the Great Barrier Reef there’s also a bunch of places to visit and cool things to do in Queensland to tick off your bucket list.
From surfing and sunbaking on a Queensland beach to devouring a juicy Bowen mango or watching the mighty Maroons play in Suncorp Stadium. It will take years to tick all these things off your Queensland bucket list.
How about tasting your way around a festival or counting the stars in the night’s sky in the outback? To get you started, here’s our big bucket list of things to do and places to visit in Queensland that will delight.
- Top 10 things to do in Queensland
- 1- See the Great Barrier Reef
- 2- Go humpback whale watching in Hervey Bay
- 3- Go bareboating in the Whitsundays
- 4- See the night lights in Brisbane
- 5- Explore the Daintree Rainforest
- 6- Explore Fraser Island
- 7- Stand at the tip of Cape York
- 8- Watch the sunset over a sand dune in the Simpson Desert
- 9- Harry Redford Cattle Drive
- 10- See turtles hatching at Mon Repos
- 7 Places To Visit in Queensland in the Tropical North
- 8 things to do in Queensland for thrills
- 5 Places To Visit in Queensland Outback
- 4 things to do in Queensland – the countryside
- 6 things to do in Queensland with kids
- Queensland Festivals
- 41- Noosa International Food and Wine Festival
- 42- Cairns Airport Adventure Festival
- 43- Townsville Triathlon Festival
- 44- Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival
- 45- Jumpers and Jazz in July Festival
- 46- Mackay Airport Beach Horse Racing Festival
- 47- Noosa Jazz Party
- 48- Brisbane Festival
- 49- Airlie Beach Festival of Music
- 50- Woodford Folk Festival
- 51- Brisbane International
- 52- Cairns Chinese New Year Festival
- 52- Bleach* Festival
- 54- Julia Creek Dirt ‘n’ Dust Festival
Top 10 things to do in Queensland
By Danielle Lancaster
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 and one of the most famous Australian landmarks created by nature.
It stretches along Queensland’s coast from the top of the state to Lady Elliot Island in the south.
The best places to go snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef are:
The reefs out of Cairns, such as Hastings, Saxon and Norman Reefs
See the reef from a beach while snorkelling, go diving or take a scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef for an amazing view of this natural wonder.
2- Go humpback whale watching in Hervey Bay
Humpback whale watching in Hervey Bay is a highly underestimated activity.
This Queensland seaside destination is the Humpback Capital of the World for good reason.
During the annual migration of the humpback whales from the north back to Antarctica, the whales stop to rest and play at Hervey Bay.
This means, there’s a much higher chance here than anywhere else in Australia of extended interactions with humpback whales.
During whale watching season (which runs from July to October), you’ll be unlucky if the cruise you’ve chosen doesn’t get mugged by a pod of curious juveniles.
Playful and friendly whales can hang around the boats for ages, showing off with tail slaps, fin slaps, spy hops and other fascinating whale behaviours.
3- 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.
Bareboating in the Whitsundays is a relaxing and fun way to explore the islands with a group of friends.
4- See the night lights in Brisbane
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.
5- Explore the Daintree Rainforest
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.
Spot Daintree rainforest animals like frogs, snakes and crocodiles, go on hikes or take a tour of the region.
6- Explore Fraser Island
The largest sand island on planet Earth and a UNESCO World Heritage site, 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.
7- Stand at the tip of Cape York
Standing at ‘The Tip’ of mainland Australia in Queensland, the most northern reaching state in Australia is an experience to remember.
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.
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.
8- 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.
It’s 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.
9- 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 to 18 km 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.
10- 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.
7 Places To Visit in Queensland in the Tropical North
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.
12- 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 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.
13- Port Douglas
Port Douglas is has a relaxed seaside vibe with cafes, restaurants and poolside accommodation.
The scenic town facing the Coral Sea is north of Cairns and deserves a day or two to explore.
Visit Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas for an up close and personal look at Australian wildlife.
From the marina, you can depart on tours out to the reef.
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.
14- 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.
15- 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.
16- See the bats at the Tolga Bat Hospital
Take a peek into the world of bats at Tolga Bat Hospital.
Visiting the hospital is an unusual thing to in Queensland and where you can learn about megabats and microbats.
17- Mossman Gorge
The Mossman Gorge Centre is a new Indigenous eco-tourism development.
8 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.
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. Whatever it is, you’ll find plenty of thrills in Queensland.
Here are our top 10 things to do in Queensland for the ultimate adrenaline rush.
18- 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.
19- 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, with departures from Cairns and Mission Beach.
20- 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.
21- Climb Frogs Buttress on Mt French
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 six hours plus to complete the climb and prior experience is essential – this is not for the first time climber.
22- 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.
23- 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, Minjin is on the same site as the world’s first purpose-built tower for bungy jumping.
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 family bucket list of things to do.
24- 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.
25- 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.
5 Places To Visit in Queensland 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.
It’s a true Australian road trip with plenty of authentic Aussie Outback experiences.
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.
26- 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 and enjoy the fabulous steak sandwiches.
- Pioneer Park Museum is a good place to stop and stretch with plenty of room for van parking.
Most people skip through Bollon, the smallest town on The Adventure Way.
Blink and you could miss this small country town situated 634km west of Brisbane between St George and Cunnamulla.
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.
28- 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.
29- 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 your 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 lifeblood of the district. It’s brilliant for wildlife spotting, fishing and cray bobbing.
30- 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, Creekside
Dig 3FT NW Trunk, landside
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.
4 things to do in Queensland – the countryside
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 some fun things to do in the Queensland countryside.
31- Relive the gold rush in Charters Tower
Are quirky tales about ghostly characters your cup of tea?
Reliving the heyday of the gold rush, 137km inland from Townsville is one of the fun things to do in Charters Towers.
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 into Henry’s Café and Restaurant in Mosman Street.
Where to stay in Charters Towers?
Aussie Outback Oasis, Charters Towers is a value-for-money holiday park in historic Charters Towers offering a range of accommodation choices for the budget conscious, from grassed powered and unpowered sites for caravans or camping to modern cabins and villas.
32- Wine tasting in South Burnett
South Burnett is a Queensland wine-growing region with quality boutique wineries that are producing award-winning wines.
have exotic fruity bouquets of passionfruit, mango, pawpaw and lime to suit the tropical climate.
The region’s terroir is best suited to the Semillon, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Verdelho grapes; 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 in South Burnett?
Bethany Cottages, Kingaroy is nestled in scrubland on Bethany Farm.
With panoramic views of the Bunya Mountains, cottages come in one- and two-bedroom varieties and offer peaceful country views.
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 2 pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
33- Visit the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame
There’s so much to do in the heart of the Outback.
Bush poetry, campfire 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 in Longreach?
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.
34- Explore Toowoomba
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 in Toowoomba?
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.
6 things to do 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 holidays with the family.
35- Visit the theme parks on the Gold Coast
Queensland’s Gold Coast is the theme park capital of Australia.
Warner Brothers Movie World has first-class movie-themed rides, action-packed shows and celebrity characters make this Gold Coast theme park a fun-filled environment.
See the dolphin show at Sea World and experience other amazing wildlife encounters.
Kids love cooling down at Wet’n’Wild, which has pools and slides that offer hours of fun.
All the pools and slides in the park, which opened in September 1984, are heated during winter.
Walk with tigers at Dreamworld.
Australia’s biggest theme park is jam-packed with family fun, live entertainment and rides across its themed lands.
And don’t forget the Australian Outback Spectacular, fun live music and dinner show that will have you captivated from start to finish.
Note: Parents might like to check out these Gold Coast markets.
36- Watch a crocodile show at Australia Zoo
Get up-close-and-personal within natural bushland with more than 1000 animals on this 40ha zoo.
Seeing the crocodile show at Australia Zoo is one of the things to do on the Sunshine Coast, near Beerwah and the Glass House Mountains.
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!
Besides crocodiles, this famous home of the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, also 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.
37- Get close to wildlife at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
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.
38- Cuddle a koala at 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.
39- Dig up a fossil in 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.
40- Explore the Capricorn Caves
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.
By Rama Gaind
Community celebrations promulgate the national heritage of nations. Festivals in Queensland — including food, music, religious, sports — are held to celebrate culture, the arts and so much more.
The depth and diverse range of activities on offer demonstrate that carnivals are a time to have pleasure, amusement, it’s an opportunity for the public to rejoice in their own identity and then there’s the chance of getting educated in the process of having fun.
In this cross-section of Queensland festivals, we’ve put in some extra effort and added a few more options:
41- Noosa International Food and Wine Festival
Noosa Heads, Noosa area, Sunshine Coast (May)
Everyone loves a party and when you combine food and wine into the mix of activities then you’re onto a sure winner.
The Noosa International Food and Wine Festival is no exception as Australia’s premier food, wine and lifestyle event.
This festival is a cut above the others as it integrates national and international emphasis on these very significant lifestyle aspects.
Organisers endeavour to make this festival a cut above the rest.
Celebrities from all walks of life — chefs, wine connoisseurs, presenters, entertainers and product experts — come together (from near and far) to learn and impart the latest on new techniques, trends, produce and wine.
They do all this along with having lots of fun.
What’s more, they do this every year!
42- Cairns Airport Adventure Festival
Tropical North Queensland (June)
If competing in the great outdoors is your choice, then you should not look past the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival.
You have to be fit to participate in all the activities, but we all can swim, ride and run as a matter of course.
If not, then you still have time to get into shape.
The festival features an events schedule that’s jam-packed for people of all ages and abilities.
What is your preference? Enter the ironman, triathlon events? Get ready to join in the fun. Registrations are now open.
43- Townsville Triathlon Festival
Get ready for a weekend of sport and fun at the Townsville Triathlon Festival that will be a sure-fire winner after the success of last year’s event.
The annual festival is guaranteed to be an action-packed weekend.
Featured again will be the Olympic Distance Triathlon Age Group World Championship Qualifier!
If that doesn’t take your fancy, then race your chosen distance — sprint, enticer, elite mile, team challenge. Or pick one of these other things to do in Townsville.
There’s also something for the children with the kids TRY along Townville’s beautiful Strand with views across to Magnetic Island.
With six events over two days, you’ll be hard-pressed not to be inspired and to get involved!
44- Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival
Winton, Queensland (June/July)
This is certainly a film festival like no other that you’ve ever seen before.
Just imagine sitting under the stars in outback Queensland watching an unmatched program of classic and contemporary Australian films!
There will be a lot of entertainment, over nine days, seeing ‘ 30 films ‘ with some ‘1,000 scenes’.
Celebrate Australian film and culture in the wide expanse of Winton at the historic, open air Royal Theatre in the main street.
Not only that, you’ll also be able to participate in master classes, film making competitions, have conversations, listen to yarns, participate in tag-a-long tours and other social activities.
You really should walk the ‘red’ carpet on opening night!
45- Jumpers and Jazz in July Festival
Southern Queensland Country, Warwick, Southern Downs Area (July)
Now, this is a warm combination — jumpers with jazz — and they are ideally suited to celebrate winter in Warwick, on Queensland’s Southern Downs.
Jumpers and Jazz in July combines an amazing range of activities: toe-tapping jazz, earnest country hospitality and a combination of remarkable outdoor art.
Now you’re set to face even the frostiest of winter days as you go about participating in lively street celebrations, extraordinary art and craft exhibitions, ‘yarn bombing’ and innumerable other events that has the region bursting at the knitted stratums.
The program features two weekends chock-full with things to do.
46- Mackay Airport Beach Horse Racing Festival
Mackay Harbour, Mackay (August)
Now this is a unique celebration that involves horses and the beach!
The Mackay Airport Beach Horse Racing Festival is a unique combination of events surrounding the festival highlight, the Mackay Airport Beach Race Day.
Thousands of people congregate on Mackay Harbour Beach to witness the annual running of this thrilling spectacle.
In the lead-up, you have to be there to partake of some stimulating hospitality that includes a fun charity golf day, a cocktail party and sportsman dinner.
Other things to do in Mackay include shopping and cafe hopping.
If shopping is more to your liking, then you’ll have plenty of opportunities to check out some classy couture shops and to satisfy your palate with the help of some booming restaurant-café culture of Mackay.
This district could even end up rewarding you by pursuing some activities that are on your bucket list.
47- Noosa Jazz Party
Multiple locations, Sunshine Coast (September)
Merriment over the four days includes much more than the musical vivacity of jazz in Noosa.
Annually held along over the first weekend in spring, there’s a wide array of musical genres from blues, folk and jazz.
The diverse program could answer your prayers if you win the talent search. Included also are master classes, legends lunch series, jazz river cruises and ‘Tastings on Hastings’ … an annual event that’s always a sell-out.
A noteworthy feature of the festival’s ‘social fabric’ is the Youth in Jazz program that provides schools from the local region, Cooloola Coast, the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane an opportunity to perform on centre stage.
Not bad when you realise that this event entices people to Queensland’s Noosa Heads from around the world.
48- Brisbane Festival
A grand celebration covering music, theatre, dance, circus, comedy, opera, cabaret, visual art, talks, family, live art, photograph competitions and food and beverages.
This year is the 18th anniversary of the Goa Project and if you dabble in photography, then this is your opportunity to participate in this rewarding experience.
The Brisbane Festival program is jam-packed with activities at numerous locations.
Vantage points include South Bank, Victoria Bridge, City Riverwalk, Kangaroo Point Cliffs, Captain Burke Park and Wilson’s Lookout.
The finale is explosive when Riverfire erupts across the city skyline for a stunning fireworks display.
This is one pyrotechnic extravaganza that’s set to a rocking soundtrack of the year’s biggest songs that are mingled together with some classic favourites.
49- Airlie Beach Festival of Music
What more could you want?
A tropical seaside town that forms an ideal backdrop for a perfect weekend in paradise surrounded by the sound of music!
Now in its third year, Airlie Beach Festival of Music is a drawcard for inspirational musicians and dedicated music lovers.
Customised for an audience that’s over 35 years, the wonderful keen jamboree relishes the opportunity to listen to more than 70 bands and 240 musicians from Australia and New Zealand.
The musical genre is assorted from country, folk and hip hop to reggae, rock and blues.
Performance locations take you from bars and restaurants to under the high-top.
The main stage sits on the magic shores of the Coral Sea and the Whitsunday Sailing Club.
Headline acts include many Aussie rock legends and up-and-coming stars.
50- Woodford Folk Festival
This Woodford Folk Festival is one of the major international music festivals in Queensland.
National and international guests are featured in a schedule that has more than 2,000 performers across 1,536 shows.
No mean feat!
The festival program incorporates many activities including street theatre, dances, concerts, writers’ panels, comedy sessions, social dialogue and debate.
Look for acoustic jams, environmental debates, talks, art and craft workshops, circus performances and workshops and film festivals with an emphasis on children’s activities.
Other highlights include parades, late-night cabarets and special events.
As well, the streets are lined with cafes, stalls, bars and restaurants and in the village, there are 35 performance venues, including 18 all-weather sites.
51- Brisbane International
Queensland Tennis Centre, Brisbane (January)
The Brisbane International is held annually just before the first Grand Slam tournament of the season, the Australian Open.
It is part of the ATP World Tour 250 series of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Tour and the WTA Premier tournaments of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour.
52- Cairns Chinese New Year Festival
Tropical North Queensland (February)
The lengthiest and most important festivity in the Chinese lunar calendar is the Chinese New Year.
The Cairns Chinese community hosts lively and effervescent annual celebrations for the occasion, and next year will be no exception.
Supported by the Cairns Regional Council, the city’s rich Chinese heritage is showcased with dance, music and cultural performances.
With visitor numbers swelling for the carnival, there will be many other attractions including market stalls, food and a parade featuring the traditional Chinese dragon, lions and the 12 zodiac animals.
52- Bleach* Festival
Gold Coast (March)
The briskly-growing Bleach* Festival about music, arts and beach culture will be bigger and better when it returns in March 2016.
As you rejoice in listening to the best contemporary musicians and artists from the Gold Coast and around the nation, make the most of the three mega weekends as you relish some fun in the sun and sand between your toes.
Just get set to be surprised, anticipate the unpredicted and get your eyes to consciously seek out the streets parties and picnics in atypical and fanciful settings.
Head to the beach or the street to become a part of the Gold Coast’s largest arts and cultural festival and partake of an artistic celebration that is the essence of a coastal lifestyle.
54- Julia Creek Dirt ‘n’ Dust Festival
Julia Creek, McKinlay Shire, North Queensland (April)
The population of the tiny north-west Queensland town swells from 400 to 3,000 for one weekend during the Julia Creek Dirt ‘n’ Dust Festival.
For three days, this is one outback adventure you have to place on your must-do calendar.
For fun and entertainment back a winner at the outback horse races, watch the plucky Dirt ‘n’ Dust Triathlon, jiggle your assets in Australia’s Best Butt competition, view the remarkable Dirt ‘n’ Dust Bull Ride, experience getting muddy and compete in the Bog Snorkelling Championships!