The Aussie guide to exploring Queensland

Are you planning a trip to Queensland, Australia? This state is home to many of the country’s most famous destinations and top attractions, from the lively Gold Coast to the spectacular Whitsunday Islands. It’s here that you can snorkel in the colourful Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef in the world and explore Daintree, the world’s oldest rainforest.

Whether you’re looking for laid-back vibes, amazing food or outstanding World Heritage sites, you’ll find it all right here. While Queensland has plenty to offer travellers, it can feel overwhelming at first. So, we’re here to break it down and make sure you don’t miss the best bits…

Head to Brisbane 

No longer overshadowed by Sydney and Melbourne, Brisbane is having a serious moment. This buzzing capital city is a hub for arts and culture, but also close enough to nature in case you feel the need to escape to one of the beautiful national parks and seek some clarity. The city is bursting with cool cafes and rooftop bars, you can even take a drive out west to explore the Gondwana Rainforests. Just don’t forget to organise your car hire at Brisbane airport. Soak up culture on the South Bank, here you’ll find world-class museums, creative spaces, events and theatres. 

Stop by Cairns 

Cairns is where the rainforest meets the sea and is an absolute must-visit on your trip to Queensland. Is it a lifelong dream to visit the Great Barrier Reef? Now is your chance! Whether you want to dive or snorkel, this is a bucket list travel experience to tick off while here in Cairns. Don’t miss The Daintree, a World Heritage site and the oldest tropical rainforest in the world. Thanks to the rugged landscape, hiking is very popular in Cairns but just be sure to map out your route and tell someone where you’re heading as it’s easy to get lost out here. 

Venture out to The Whitsunday Islands  

The Whitsunday Islands are one of Australia’s playgrounds, an area of outstanding beauty that’s quite frankly hard to beat. Just off the Queensland Coast, you can swim with sea turtles, spy some amazing rainbow-coloured marine life and sink your toes into the white sandy beaches. Make sure you spend a few hours at Whitehaven beach, hailed as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Looking for a real adrenaline rush? One way to see the breathtaking Whitsunday Islands is via a skydive, which will quite literally take your breath away. Not for the faint-hearted – but well worth it for the epic views! 

Explore Port Douglas 

A one-hour drive north from Cairns is the beach town of Port Douglas. Unwind in some of the areas 5-star hotels and spas such as the Niramaya Day Spa which is set in the rainforest and offers a range of relaxing treatments including massage and healing therapy. Port Douglas is a great spot for foodies, indulge in fresh seafood and grab a cocktail in one of the town’s many bars. Are you looking for amazing views? Take a hike to the Trinity Bay Lookout – but we warned, this is quite a steep trek. 

Kick back on Fraser Island 

Fraser Island is the largest of the Queensland Islands and also one of the most interesting. Wildflower meadows and freshwater lakes make this island both unique and magical. Did you know, it’s also the only place on Earth where tall rainforests grow on sand dunes? Take a dip in the crystal clear blue waters and if you’re into surfing, then enjoy a complete surfers paradise. Whale watching tours are also popular with visitors with teams of whales migrating to these warmer waters to give birth.

Experience the Gold Coast  

The Gold Coast is known for its stretches of golden sandy beaches, the most famous of which is Surfers Paradise. This seaside resort is instantly recognisable from the high-rise buildings that back it and is the ideal spot for newbie surfers as well as those who are experienced at riding the waves. This is also the place for those looking for an adrenaline rush. Here you’ll find some of Australia’s best theme parks including Wet ‘n’ Wild, Warner Bros Movie World and Dreamworld. Step away from the 35 miles of coastline and inland you’ll find beautiful national parks including Lamington where you can walk through a rainforest canopy high above the ground.   

Now you know these insider Aussie tips, you can ensure you’ll make the most of your time in Queensland.