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Queensland: Endless Holiday Options
From sand islands to coral reefs and dinosaur fossils to beaches lined by skyscrapers, Queensland is diverse, colourful state. It’s almost impossible to visit everything in a single trip, unless you have months ahead of you.
In Northern Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef beckons and the Daintree Rainforest entices. The coast, nearly 7000 kilometres long, is dotted by beachside towns as diverse as the travellers who visit them.
Offshore, the largest sand islands on the planet make for exquisite camping and eco friendly getaways. Beyond the coast, the Outback’s desert stretches on for hundreds of thousands of square kilometres.Then there’s Brisbane, the capital and cultural hub of the state.
Self-contained rentals abound in Queensland, including apartments at the heart of holiday towns, exclusive villas overlooking the coast and secluded cottages far removed from civilization.
Brisbane is Queensland’s capital, offering a host of activities and attractions. The city’s extensive network of bike paths and comprehensive public transport system makes it easy to get around without a car. Bike to the CBD along the Brisbane River and take in the skyline as you pedal.
Once in the city centre, go shopping along Queen Street Mall or take your pick of international and Australian cuisine at Southbank’s riverside restaurants. While you’re here, soak up some culture at the Queensland Art Gallery or Brisbane Modern Art Gallery.
The Gold and Sunshine Coasts
The famous Gold Coast and its neighbour, the Sunshine Coast, are easily accessible from Brisbane. At the heart of the Gold Coast is Surfers Paradise, with its (unsurprisingly) great surfing, family-friendly attractions, such as Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and outdoor shopping promenades.
The Gold Coast is also a hub for nightlife and a top destination for school leavers and backpackers. Luxurious highrise buildings line the waterfront. Suffice it to say, Surfers offers high energy activities appealing to an eclectic crowd. Not far from Surfers are quieter communities with pristine beaches and lush reserves.
The Sunshine Coast presents a distinctly different atmosphere, home to numerous upscale towns, including Noosa and Noosa Heads. Beyond the immediate waterfront, the Sunshine Coast is rife with winding rivers and glistening lakes.
Queensland’s Island Getaways
Not far off the coast of Queensland, are several famous islands. The Whitsundays, a group of 74 islands, are primarily uninhabited. Explore untouched white sand beaches or trek along rugged trails. One of the best ways to go island hopping is to hire a sailboat and create your own itinerary.
Fraser Island is the largest sand island on the planet. This is a popular destination for eco holidays and camping trips. Bathe in freshwater lakes, ride across sand dunes and climb to lookouts for breathtaking panoramic views.
Closest to Brisbane is Moreton Island, which is almost entirely covered by the lush vegetation of a national park. The island has plenty of spots for camping, bushwalking, whale watching and swimming.
Northern Queensland has several World Heritage Sites as claims to fame. Notably, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral formation on the planet. Join a tour departing the tropical cities of Cairns or Port Douglas to do some snorkelling or diving.
The Daintree Rainforest is home to towering waterfalls, clear water swimming holes and trails underneath age-old canopies. Many tour operators leave from Cairns and will take you to some of the protected forest’s highlights.
The towns of Cairns and Port Douglas are vibrant communities. In Cairns, go for a swim in the waterfront lagoon or browse the stalls at the night market. If you’re staying in Port Douglas, make sure you sample fresh seafood and stroll along Four Mile Beach.
Outback Queensland offers a completely different holiday experience to that of the coastal breaks mentioned above.
Venture along the Australian Dinosaur Trail to try your luck at digging up bones and fossils and find out more about the gigantic, mysterious creatures that once roamed this part of Australia.
Watch cattle and sheep farmers at work at one of the ranches hundreds of miles from the next town. Or simply look up at the sky.
Take in blazing sunsets over the Simpson Desert sand dunes or view the stars above through the lense of a telescope at a Charleville observatory. If you’re more free-spirited, bring your camping gear and spend a night under the stars along one of the Outback’s rivers.
Getting around Queensland
Queensland’s extensive public transport network makes it relatively easy to travel around the state. Of course, given the long distances between towns and cities, it is more efficient to take a regional flight or drive. Several highways cross the state, connecting the coastal towns and the communities further inland.