Queensland Destination Guide
Australians love to do battle debating about which state is the country's best. While there can be no winner, Queenslanders still love boasting about their World Heritage-listed sites, stunning beaches, cosmopolitan living, outback adventures and warm year-round weather.
A popular destination for travellers, families, adrenalin junkies and honeymooners alike, a Queensland holiday offers many list-topping memories.
If it's a beach vacation you are seeking then look no further than the world-famous Gold Coast on the southern border of Queensland.
Choose your favourite Gold Coast beach
A haven for surfers, swimmers and sunbathers, Surfers Paradise is the most popular and developed destination on the 70 kilometres of golden sandy shores.
For somewhere more laidback, hop on one of the new Gold Coast trams and head south to Broadbeach, or hire a car to explore surfer favourites such as Currumbin and Rainbow Bay, located closer to the New South Wales border.
The Gold Coast is known for its glamorous lifestyle, but the area also has a surprising side with the nearby Gold Coast hinterland boasting stunning natural scenery, wineries and hiking trails.
Thrill-seekers and families alike won't want to miss the iconic Gold Coast theme parks, which offer everything from daring rides to close encounters with local mammals at Sea World and Dreamworld.
See how great the Great Barrier Reef is
Have you ever wondered how the Great Barrier Reef got its name? The world's largest living organism is home to countless marine life species and is, for good reason, a World Heritage-listed site. One of Australia's major drawcards, you can spend days spotting colourful fish and coral diving or snorkelling the reef off the North Queensland coast.
North Queensland is also where you'll find another World Heritage-listed region – the Daintree Rainforest. The world's oldest surviving rainforest is teeming with wildlife and home to plant species that existed millions of years ago. Find yourself a comfortable hotel in a tropical city such as Port Douglas or Cairns and live it up while discovering this natural paradise.
For more wildlife encounters, the Fraser Coast Region is where you'll find the sand-made Fraser Island. Unique for a sand island, Fraser Island is home to an abundance of wildlife, most famously dingoes. If you join a cruise through nearby waters, you won't have to cross your fingers too tightly to spot whales, dolphins and dugongs.
To take it easy in pristine white sands and turquoise waters, Queensland's Whitsunday Islands is your tropical island dream come true. All the clichés are here – swaying palm fronds, soft powdery sand and unspoilt beauty.
The Whitsundays is a destination where you can do as little or as much as you please with 74 islands to explore and a plethora of water activities on offer. If you're short on time, Hamilton Island is the biggest island in the Whitsundays and has direct flights from many of Australia's major capitals.
From the Outback to cosmopolitan cities
Though Queensland is most famous for its coastline, head inland from Townsville to get a taste of the ‘real outback', where red ochre earth meets savannah grasslands. An outback adventure in Queensland offers rugged terrain with water gorges, Aboriginal cultural sites, pioneer towns and wide open spaces to explore.
Back down south, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast offer all the amenities of a cosmopolitan lifestyle with a typically Queensland atttitude.
Queensland's capital Brisbane boasts world-class shopping in the CBD and Fortitude Valley, hip bars and restaurants in West End and Woolloongabba, and opportunities year-round to get outdoors and enjoy the sunny climate by the river.
North of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and, in particular, Noosa are popular beach destinations where you can enjoy cafes, boutiques and family-friendly beaches. Less frantic than the Gold Coast, the nearby surrounds also offer plenty of worthy attractions including the Glasshouse Mountains and the Australia Zoo wildlife park.
With such a vast area to explore and a variety of destinations to visit, you can really spend months exploring the state, so take your time, or split things up – Queensland is a place that demands a return visit.