If you’re thinking about heading down under in search of an adventure filled with sunshine, sand, surf and breathtaking scenery, Queensland is the ideal destination.
The northern-most state on Australia’s east coast, Queensland spans an incredible 1.7 million square kilometres and is home to a diverse range of landscapes including lush tropical rainforests, sandy islands, dry deserts and lofty plateaus—which means there’s plenty to explore.
As such a vast location with so many possibilities, it can be hard to know what to include on your itinerary as a first-time traveller. To make it a little easier, here are 10 of the most highly-recommended places that are well worth paying a visit to while in Queensland.
As Queensland’s capital city, expect to find a bustling cosmopolitan city with an endless number of sights, shops, bars, restaurants and attractions to explore.
2. Tambourine Mountain
Only a short 1-hour drive from Brisbane in its picturesque scenic rim location, you’ll love soaking in the spectacular waterfalls, lush rainforest, quaint villages and sweeping vistas of Tambourine Mountain.
3. The Gold Coast
With its Miami-like vibe, the Gold Coast (which takes in towns like Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach and Burleigh Heads) is jam-packed with shops, clubs, restaurants and eateries which back straight onto the famous golden sands and surf beaches the region is known for.
4. Glass House Mountains
Around 1 hour from Brisbane, the Glass House Mountains is not only home to the world-famous Australia Zoo, but is also known as a gourmet food destination with spectacular hiking opportunities and breathtaking views to savour.
5. Sunshine Coast
Taking in towns including Caloundra, Mooloolaba, Maroochydore, Eumundi, Coolum and Noosa, the sunshine coast is any surfers’ paradise with a chilled-out vibe and plenty of opportunities to catch a few waves.
While many visitors prefer to stick to Queensland’s beautiful coastline, if you want to get a taste of the true Australian ‘outback’, make the trip inland to Charleville to sample something a little different.
7. Airlie Beach
Airlie Beach provides an ideal launching point to explore the Whitsunday Islands, in the heart of the amazing natural wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef. If the idea of cruising, snorkeling and scuba diving appeals to you, this is the place to do it.
8. Hervey Bay
The coastal city of Hervey Bay with its charming waterfront esplanade is the ideal spot for humpback whale watching between July and November. Nearby Fraser Island is also a much-loved destination.
Sun-drenched for more than 300 days of the year, make the most of the glorious weather in Townsville while exploring everything from rainforests and wetlands to reefs and tropical islands.
In Far North Queensland with its seaside location in the foothills of the incredible Daintree Rainforest, Cairns allows you to make the most of both the reef and rainforest with a long list of nearby towns and destinations including Palm Cove, Kuranda, Port Douglas, Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation.
The easiest way to tour around Queensland
Unless time is no constraint, the expansive size of the state of Queensland means exploring it all is simply impossible for most visitors—especially first-timers.
The easiest way to take in as much of what the state has to offer while keeping costs down is to travel by road. While camping or staying in hotels is an option, looking for campervan hire Australia tends to be the smarter option as you’ll have complete flexibility to travel wherever you want with your accommodation and everything you need in tow.
This campervan hire company has branches in both Brisbane and Cairns which is ideal if you want to make the trip up (or down) the Queensland coastline to take in each of the destinations we’ve suggested.
However you decide to do it, one thing’s for sure—your first trip to Queensland will be one that you’ll remember forever!