Australia, the land down under, is a treasure trove of natural wonders and thrilling adventures, and when it comes to experiencing the best of the best, Queensland stands tall as the second largest and one of the most diverse states. From road trips that unveil the picturesque landscapes to encounters with marine life in the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland is a haven for travelers seeking unforgettable experiences. Here’s your guide to the 30 best things to do in this vibrant state.
1. Brisbane to Cape Tribulation Road Trip:
Embark on a road trip from Brisbane to Cape Tribulation, traversing the iconic Pacific Highway. This journey takes you through quaint country towns, golden beaches, and serves as the gateway to two World Heritage Sites.
2. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island:
Sink your toes into the world’s best stretch of sand at Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island. For a breathtaking view, head to Hill Inlet, offering panoramic vistas that surpass any postcard.
3. Sunset at Howard Smith Wharves, Brisbane:
Experience the charm of Brisbane as the sun sets at Howard Smith Wharves. Sip on a cold beverage while enjoying the vibrant atmosphere, and explore the precinct’s diverse restaurants for an unforgettable evening.
4. Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island:
Dive into the otherworldly beauty of Lake McKenzie on K’gari (Fraser Island). The combination of white silica sand and aquamarine waters creates a surreal experience amidst the island’s natural wonders.
5. Hastings Street, Noosa:
Indulge in the glamour of Noosa’s Hastings Street, where you can shop, dine, and explore the vibrant local produce. The street runs parallel to Noosa Main Beach, offering a perfect blend of luxury and natural beauty.
6. Mon Repos, Bundaberg:
Witness the awe-inspiring sight of baby turtles making their way to the ocean under the moonlight at Mon Repos, just outside Bundaberg. This magical event happens between November and March.
7. Whale Watching in Hervey Bay:
Experience the world’s first official Whale Heritage Site in Hervey Bay. From June to November, these majestic creatures cruise along Queensland’s east coast, providing an opportunity for an up-close encounter.
8. Kangaroos on Cape Hillsborough Beach:
Visit Cape Hillsborough National Park for a quintessential Queensland experience – kangaroos and wallabies on the beach. Explore award-winning walking trails and unique camping spots in this picturesque setting.
9. Swim with Minke Whales, Cairns & Great Barrier Reef:
Embark on a liveaboard adventure off the coast of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef to swim with rare minke whales. These elusive creatures frequent the Coral Sea’s warm waters for a few weeks each mid-winter.
10. Australian Dinosaur Trail, Outback Queensland:
Unearth ancient dinosaur fossils as you walk the Australian Dinosaur Trail, connecting the towns of Winton, Richmond, and Hughenden. This region is renowned for its concentration of 98-million-year-old fossils.
11. Open Air Theatre, Winton:
Immerse yourself in nostalgia at Winton’s Royal Open Air Theatre, one of Australia’s few remaining open-air cinemas. Enjoy classic movies under the Outback sky for a truly unique experience.
12. Dive at Lady Elliot Island:
Explore the southernmost island of the Great Barrier Reef – Lady Elliot Island. Dive alongside turtles and manta rays, encountering some of Australia’s most unique ocean creatures, including the Great 8.
13. SS Yongala Wreck Dive, Townsville:
Dive the 104-year-old wreck of the S.S. Yongala off the coast of Townsville. This unique reef formation promises encounters with eagle rays, turtles, and barracudas.
14. Scenic Flight over Whitsunday Islands and Heart Reef:
Take to the skies with a seaplane or helicopter for a scenic flight over the Whitsunday Islands and the iconic Heart Reef. Marvel at a landscape that will leave you breathless.
15. Cape Tribulation:
Walk the beach where the rainforest meets the reef at Cape Tribulation. This is the only place where two UNESCO World Heritage Sites collide – the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.
16. Undara Lava Tubes, Undara Volcanic National Park:
Step back in time at Undara Lava Tubes in Undara Volcanic National Park. Walk through caves carved out of volcanic lava over 190,000 years ago, making for a jaw-dropping adventure.
17. Indigenous Culture Exploration, Daintree Region:
Learn about the rich Indigenous culture of Australia in the Daintree region. Explore Kuku Yalanji country with local Aboriginal guides and experience mud crab hunting through the mangroves.
18. Paronella Park, Cairns:
Tour the unique Spanish-style castle ruins at Paronella Park, south of Cairns. Built in 1935, this property surrounded by waterfalls and gardens offers a one-of-a-kind experience.
19. Sunset in Munga-Thirri National Park, Birdsville:
Witness a red sunset from the dunes in Birdsville’s Munga-Thirri National Park. The red-hued Simpson Desert sand dunes are a must-see, providing a mesmerizing spectacle.
20. Birdsville Races:
Join the fun at the Birdsville Races, a two-day annual event dubbed ‘the Melbourne Cup of the outback.’ Held in the middle of the desert, it promises a colorful and unforgettable experience.
21. Rainbow Beach:
Marvel at the colourful sands of Rainbow Beach, where a Dreamtime legend tells of a rainbow shattering in the sky, changing the sand colors. This beach serves as a gateway to K’gari (Fraser Island) and Cooloola National Park.
22. Koala Spotting on Magnetic Island:
Spot koalas sleeping in the treetops along the Forts Walk at Magnetic Island. Enjoy breathtaking views of Arthur Bay and the Great Barrier Reef while interacting with Australia’s iconic marsupial.
23. Stand Up Paddle Boarding at Tallebudgera Creek, Gold Coast:
Escape to Tallebudgera Creek on the Gold Coast for a morning of stand-up paddleboarding. The gentle currents and stunning scenery provide the perfect setting to disconnect from the real world.
24. Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Brisbane:
Immerse yourself in the world of modern Indigenous art at the Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) in Brisbane. Located in the city’s cultural precinct, it features leading exhibitions and an impressive collection.
25. Carnarvon Gorge Walk:
Embark on a 21-kilometer walk through Carnarvon Gorge, where ancient Indigenous art is still visible. For those seeking a challenge, tackle the 87-kilometer Carnarvon Great Walk for a truly extraordinary experience.
26. Yacht Charter in the Whitsundays:
Charter a yacht and sail the Whitsundays, discovering the beauty of 74 islands. This is your chance for a real-life Robinson Crusoe moment in one of the most stunning archipelagos in the world.
27. Sleep on the Great Barrier Reef:
Experience the Great Barrier Reef like never before by staying overnight. Whether it’s a liveaboard experience, an exclusive island stay, or a pontoon in the middle of the sea, it’s a night you’ll remember forever.
28. Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island:
Trek and camp along the entire Thorsborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island, voted one of the 10 best hiking trails in the world. This 32-kilometer hiking trail offers impressive ocean and bush views within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
29. Sunrise or Sunset at Glass House Mountains:
Watch the sunrise or sunset atop the Glass House Mountains in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. With 11 peaks and numerous walking tracks, this wild national park is a local favorite for breathtaking views.
30. Private Stay on Pumpkin Island:
Book a private stay on Pumpkin Island, nestled among the Keppel Islands off the coast of Yeppoon. This eco-friendly private island offers a deserted island dream, with the Southern Great Barrier Reef right on your doorstep.
Queensland beckons with these 30 epic experiences, promising a journey filled with natural wonders, adventure, and memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you’re exploring the vibrant cities, relaxing on pristine beaches, or delving into the heart of the Outback, Queensland has something extraordinary for every traveler. Plan your trip, pack your bags, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in this captivating corner of Australia.