What is it, exactly, that captures the essence of exemplary Queensland? Is it the 200-plus days of sunshine every year, the smorgasbord of tourism attractions, the laid-back lifestyle or friendly faces? We decided to put together a big list of places in Queensland.
The answers will vary — depending on individual preferences, of course. Without a doubt, no matter what the predilection, every visitor is sure to find a venue (or few) that sufficiently meets expectations. In some cases, it may even surpass it.
Don’t be sceptical: Queensland is the state of sunshine … ‘beautiful one day, perfect the next’! Who could ever forget that slogan?
For history buffs, sprinkled across the state – from Coolangatta to Cooktown, west to Longreach Winton and beyond – are countless fascinating buildings and some of them are the best regional museums, packed with specifics, statistics and allegories about Queensland’s vibrant history.
You are sure to discover some ‘beaut’ beaches with a coastline that stretches more than 7000 kilometres in length from the top of Cape York to the bottom of Coolangatta.
Well-known for its quirky place names, Queensland has many which originate from local Indigenous dialects. Wrap your tongue around some of these fabulous offerings in southern Queensland country: Goomeri, Toogoolawah, Kaimkillenbun, Nindigully Cambooya, The Booie Range, Goondiwindi … and there’s more.
What of those unknown islands? Of all the distinctive traits of delectable Queensland, the islands are arguably top of the list when it comes to luxury.
Sure, you’ve heard of Hayman, Hamilton and Heron but did you know there’s a host of other islands such as Quoin, Sweers, Keswick, Haggerstone , Facing, Coochiemudlo, Thursday, Russell, Frankland and North West?
Look further and you’ll find an amazing underwater world with marine species and wreck dives. Throughout the state there are plenty of short walks, fishing spots and scenic country drives. Also to go on your list are top beer stops, finest foodie outlets and the best of Brisbane’s nightlife.
Queensland’s 13 regions offer diverse experiences. Here’s our guide to things to do in Queensland.
Queensland’s capital, Brisbane is the third largest city in Australia and is home to nearly two million culturally-diverse people.
The city has everything you’d want of a vibrant, thriving metropolis including a myriad of restaurants run by award-winning chefs from all corners of the world, cafes, bars and retail outlets.
Brisbane has cultural precincts with theatres, museums, sporting venues, conference facilities, a cruise ship terminal and parklands. Home to national parks, it also has extensive river walks.
Just a short drive out of Brisbane, you’ll find coastal villages, historic towns, fertile farmland and rolling cattle plains.
Actually, Brisbane is much bigger than its central business district. The region stretches from Caboolture to Logan and Ipswich in the west to Moreton Island and North Stradbroke Island. The islands are a popular getaway for frazzled Brisbanites.
One of Australia’s leading locations to observe nesting sea turtles at Mon Repos Conservation Park, the region is home to the renowned Bundaberg Rum and Bundaberg Ginger Beer.
The Bundaberg North Burnett region is the gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef. It extends from the city of Bundaberg on the Burnett River, to Childers in the south, Mon Repos and Lady Elliot Island in the east, Gin Gin and the North Burnett region.
Fertile in horticultural and sugar production, also popular is the sale of fresh produce and pleasant stopovers at a number of hinterland wineries.
2-Capricorn region — Southern Great Barrier Reef
Rockhampton, a major regional centre, is also the ‘Beef Capital of Australia’ and is bordered by some wonderful vacation destinations like Great Keppel Island, the Capricorn Coast and Byfield National Park.
Seek out the historic gold mining town of Mount Morgan, then head to the state’s Central Highlands in the west to uncover the Blackdown Tableland National Parks, Lake Maraboon, the Sapphire Gemfields and Carnarvon Gorge.
World Heritage-listed Fraser is where you’ll have memorable experiences in the surrounds of ‘mother nature’.
Partake to your heart’s content in whale watching in Hervey Bay and bird-watching, fishing, historic discoveries and 4WD adventures.
The recreational surrounds are saturated with long sandy beaches, copious marine life, immaculate parks and tranquil island hideaways.
4-Gladstone Region — Southern Great Barrier Reef
This region is famous for fishing and crabbing. Popular spots include the Boyne and Calliope Rivers, Curtis and Facing Islands and Lake Awoonga and is the gateway to Heron, Wilson, Lady Musgrave and the Capricorn Bunker group of Islands.
The Boyne Valley, a short drive from Gladstone, is home to a rural community that includes the towns of Builyan, Nagoorin, Many Peaks and Ubobo.
Even the rustic environs do not detract from the historical significance of the agricultural and mining region of the Banana Shire, further west. Then there’s the significance of the seaside communities that incorporate Turkey Beach, Town of 1770, Baffle Creek and Agnes Water.
One of Australia’s foremost holiday destinations, the Gold Coast is renowned for its theme parks, beaches, surf, the hinterland, nightlife and shopping.
Just one-hour south of Brisbane, it’s positioned in south-east Queensland and incorporates Surfers Paradise on the coast, and stretches out from South Stradbroke Island in the east, Coolangatta in the south and Oxenford in the north
With 70km of coastline, the region is a lifestyle destination edged by rainforest hinterland, including world heritage-listed national parks.
Bask in this verdant tropical region, where natural attractions include the Great Barrier Reef, national parks and gorges, tropical islands and unblemished beaches.
Mackay is also a magnet for adventurous travellers. Think gold fossicking, camping and wildlife spotting. The region stretches from Cape Hillsborough to Clermont and the Cumberland Islands.
Splendid is a heritage that enriches. A ground-breaking attitude in the outback that encompasses an ancient country laden with a prosperous history, traditions and vibrant people.
Pastoral experiences abound in areas that reach out from Hughenden, Barcaldine and Charleville in the east, in the west at Birdsville, Cunnamulla in the south and Camooweal and the Overlander’s Way in the north.
Balancing numerous highlights is a cinch in the Outback as National Parks proliferate and lend stability to the plentiful Indigenous, heritage, cultural and natural attractions.
8-Southern Queensland Country
The region, soaked in regional heritage and profuse natural beauty, is bounded by the Granite Belt to the south, South Burnett to the north, Darling Downs to the east and country to the west. Included are Toowoomba, Warwick, Stanthorpe and Kingaroy.
Bed and breakfast outlets exude warm country hospitality in this area celebrated for spectacular scenic backdrops, boutique wineries, fertile land and the imposing views of the sensational panorama of mountainous vista.
Soak up the warmth during your holidays here and you’ll leave feeling revitalised and relaxed. Within easy reach of Brisbane, this beachside nirvana is rich with nature’s bounty, national parks, spotless beaches, waterways and a thriving green hinterland. Noosa is a magnet but there are plenty of other pristine beachside towns like Mooloolaba, Caloundra and Coolum.
The region extends from the Cooloola region north of Noosa Heads west to Kenilworth and south to the curiously named Glass House Mountains. The Sunshine Coast hinterland offers peaceful country drives through the Mary Valley and Blackall Range.
10-Townsville North Queensland
The region is home to a myriad of experiences including the Great Barrier Reef, tropical islands, World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics, Australian outback and Indigenous encounters.
A 20-minute ferry ride from Townsville, Magnetic Island is home to stunning beaches and bays, 25 kilometres of walking trails, northern Australia’s largest population of koalas and a large range of accommodation options.
There’s Hinchinbrook to the north, Paluma National Park in the north-west and the historic town of Charters Towers in the west.
11-Tropical North Queensland
Of course if you’re visiting Queensland you can’t not visit the Great Barrier Reef. Tropical North Queensland is home to this World Heritage wonder, which offers experiences that combine adventure and nature.
From Mission Beach to Cape York, Tropical North Queensland offers quintessential Queensland holidays. The biggest city is Cairns, which is a laid-back regional centre and the gateway to the World Heritage Daintree Rainforest and the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef.
The nucleus of the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays is home to luxury island resorts such as Hamilton Island and ‘One and Only’ Hayman Island. The region between Townsville and Mackay is home to world-famous Whitehaven Beach, which has appeared in countless commercials. This was the region that shot to world fame through its ‘Best Job in the World’ campaign, which saw 34-year-old Ben Southall beat more than 35,000 applicants from 200 countries to win a coveted job as the island’s “caretaker”.
Read about the Tolga Bat Hospital in Atherton.
Find out about Queensland’s amazing cave system here.