Great Barrier Reef
It is difficult to overstate the beauty and ecological importance of this World Heritage-listed natural wonder. This is the planet's largest living structure, so big that you can see it from space. The Great Barrier Reef contains some of the most stunning marine scenery you’ll find anywhere on Earth, home to unique fish species and brilliant coral. There’s a host of momentous ways to explore the reef, from grabbing a snorkel and mask or learning to scuba dive; touring in a boat, semi-submarine, a glass bottomed vessel or kayak; to taking a scenic helicopter ride over it for a bird’s eye view of the underwater wonder.
Given the fact that it spans nearly 1400 miles, The Whitsundays, Cairns and Port Douglas all make great bases for reef explorations.
Diving or snorkeling the reef is one of Australia's must-do outdoor adventures and we highly recommend including it in your Australia travel plans! Looking for some inspiration? Check out our 6 Day Rainforest & Reef Adventure Holiday.
Safari through Daintree National Park and Cape Tribulation
One of Australia’s most precious natural wonders, the Daintree Rainforest, at 180 million years old, is the oldest continuously living rainforest in the world. When you visit this UNESCO World Heritage site, on the land of the Yalanji people, you’ll be inspired by the diversity of the flora and fauna and marvel at the distinct landscapes you encounter.
As well as hiking and birdwatching, you can do Daintree River cruise to spot crocodiles, walk with an indigenous guide who will tell you the stories behind the forest, and stay the night in a treehouse-style eco-lodge.
Then head further north to Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the sea on beautiful Cape Tribulation Beach.
This area is one of the best places to visit in Queensland in winter, during the dry season. If you only have a few days, consider our 7 Day Sydney, Daintree & Great Barrier Reef package that shows you the best of all three!
The Whitsundays is an archipelago of 74 islands off the Queensland Coast. A haven for wildlife lovers, water-sports enthusiasts and keen sailors, whether you’re joining a crewed yacht, chartering your own or just taking a pleasure cruise.
All but five of the Islands have been declared national parks, and eight are home to popular resorts.
You can sail to an island and moor up and go days without seeing another boat or person. The wildlife you can see both in the ocean and on land is astonishingly diverse and exciting. Imagine being able to watch whales breaching and cuddle koalas all in one day - it is certainly possible and this is one of the only places in the world where you can do this!
Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays is another show-stopper of a stretch. A cruise or scenic plane is the best way to see its world-famous impossibly white sands.
The Whitsundays are another of Queensland’s must-visits and that is why we've created a 5-day Whitsundays Break that you can tack on to any of your Australia travel packages!
Located 100km north of Brisbane, Noosa is one of the most popular resort areas. The pristine beach, coastal boardwalk, upmarket boutique stores, Noosa Everglades and bush walking tracks make it the perfect place to relax.
If you are keen on learning to surf, Noosa is home to a number of different surf schools. For both seasoned veterans and newbies, the beaches here are great for surfing.
By day or night, indulge in gourmet award-winning restaurants, cafes, tapas bars and be sure to catch the magical sunsets.
The Australian Zoo sits on the aptly-named Steve Irwin Way on QLD's Sunshine Coast and is as much a diverse haven of animal conservation and entertainment as it is a zoo. Along with the vast variety of both native and international animals, there are a host of displays, in-park attractions and an array of shows highlighted by its famous crocodile-feeding displays.
Not far south of Brisbane is the Gold Coast, an idyllic tropical paradise. It’s one of the most unique places to visit in Queensland, where the beach and forest make an unexpected pair!
Staying in the city centre will make you feel as though you're transported to a tropical Las Vegas. Here you can visit its wide array of seaside clubs, bars, and restaurants where you can enjoy fine plates of seafood and wine. Meanwhile, a drive to Gondwana Rainforest brings you to a different side of the Gold Coast with its majestic rock formations and mesmerising waterfalls.
For the art lovers in the group, consider visiting HOTA (Home of the Arts) Gold Coast, located in Surfers Paradise. This 7.5-hectare precinct of parklands, theatres, outdoor stage, green space and cross bridge has recently opened a new gallery, with a number of exhibitions, including a new handpicked one that reflects the Surfer’s Paradise backdrop.
Continuing southbound from here, kids love Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, and Movie World, where old film sets have been recreated by Warner Bros. To the north, in Southport, you can see your favorite marine creatures at Sea World. Excellent networks of roads lead to scenic lookouts in the hinterland, where many wilderness areas are within easy reach, including the popular Lamington National Park.
Located about 40 kilometres inland from Gold Coast is Springbrook National Park, in the green and gorgeous Gold Coast hinterland. It is a little less travelled than its famous neighbour, Lamington National Park, and home to natural wonders including Goomoolahra and Rainbow Falls and Purling Brook Falls Circuit. Grab a no-fuss homestyle lunch or afternoon tea at nearby Dancing Waters Café or take a cooking class at Greenwood Farm & Co – they’ll send you home with the know-how to make everything from handmade sausages to Italian desserts.
K’gari, also known as Fraser Island, is the largest sand island on the planet. Getting its name from the traditional Butchulla owners, K’gari is pronounced ‘gurry’ and translates to ‘paradise.’ Here, tall rainforests tower high above the beach and you can also find more than half the world’s perched lakes, a phenomenon where depressions are formed in the sand dunes and are filled permanently with rainwater.
Located 300 kilometres north of Brisbane, Fraser Island can be reached either by flight from Sydney or Brisbane, or by ferry from Hervey Bay.
This unique environment has a plethora of activities on offer. The Fraser Island Great Walk meanders through shimmering sands, freshwater lakes, lush rainforests and beautiful lookouts. To walk the entire track takes approximately 8 days, but there are a number of shorter trails, like the Lake Wabby Walk, if you’re only planning on staying for a short break.
Another great way to take in the environment is to float down Eli Creek in an inner tube. This stunning channel pours 4 million litres of clear, freshwater into the ocean every hour. Drifting down the swiftly moving creek to Seventy-Five Mile Beach gives you a unique perspective, not to mention a cooling escape from the hot sun!
Champagne pools are another fantastic highlight of K’gari. These secluded saltwater rock pools, framed by volcanic walls, provide shelter from the ocean waves, and gets its name from the tiny bubbles that form when ocean waves crash over the volcanic stones into the pools.
Consider joining a guided wildlife tour in the evening to see some of the nocturnal creatures on Fraser island. Rare frogs, sugar gliders, dingos, echidnas, goannas and flying foxes are just a few of the creatures that call this island home.
As you can see, Queensland is an enormously diverse state with something exciting around every corner. Speak to your travel specialist about what the best way to see the region is for you, based on the experiences you are interested in for your Australia holiday. Alternatively, check out our 6 Day K'gari & Glass House Mountains package for some ideas!
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- Adventure Travel
- Walking, Hiking & Biking
- Things To Do
- National Parks & Wildlife
Written by: Janice Davies