Queensland is both urban and nature in full. This vast area of Australia meets all your travelling desires. Modern cities, fascinating wilderness, shifting landscapes and a diversity of wildlife like no other place on the planet. The Great Barrier Reef will draw you in and everything else will have you pleading for extra days, weeks and months here exploring every corner.
Brisbane, Queensland’s capital, is huge sprawling metropolis with a thriving culture that’s constantly in rapid advance. Whilst Brisbane’s size offers all the advantages of a large city, its laid-back Aussie vibes still manages to persist and this is part of its alluring character. Much of the action centres on the winding Brisbane River, which is particularly pretty in the evening as the bridges are illuminated. The West End is thriving, with many quirky eateries and lively bars opening up to cater for the trendy. Similarly, the South Bank has a variety of chilled bars and restaurants, many line the man-made beach situated on the river. Some of Queensland’s finest museums, he Queensland Gallery of Modern art and the Queensland Museum and Science Centre are all located conveniently close to one another on the South Bank. Brisbane offers everything for the young. Lush parks are dotted around the city and free BBQ’s and open air cinemas can be caught regularly.
Surrounding Brisbane, and easily accessible by public transport are many tranquil spots. Mount Coot-Tha is matchless for watching the city over the city or for the adventurous abseiling Story Bridge. On weekends the street eats market comes to life and offers some tasty and varied delicacies. North Stadbrooke Island has calm beaches and is perfect for eating ice cream and enjoying the 1.2km North Gorge Walk where you can spot some exciting wildlife like dolphins and turtles. More wildlife can be spotted from Moreton Island, if you’re lucky enough whales can be see here. Sandboard in the gleaming sun, swim out to the wreck in the turquoise waters and as the sun sets grab some fish and chips and camp on the soft sand.
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Fraser Island must not be missed on a trip to Queensland or arguably even one to Australia. A World-Heritage listed site, Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island and as well as being the only place on Earth where tall rainforests grow on sand dunes, rising to more than 200 metres. Its’s also unique in being home to half the world’s perched lakes- lakes formed when depressions in dunes fill permanently with rainwater. Rent a 4WD and travel the island on the soft sand roads for a thrilling and unforgettable experience visiting and swimming in the beautiful lakes, like Lake McKenzie or Wabby. Fraser Island is home to the purest strain of dingoes remaining in eastern Australia as well as being one of the prime places to see baby humpback whales. If you’re feeling fit, the Fraser Island Great Walk is a 90 kilometre track that winds between Dilli Village and Happy Valley passing the fabulous sights and is a tiring but serene way of getting around. Finally, camping on Fraser Island is the way to go enjoying the wildlife as it comes to life. To spot some of the shyer animals, join a night tour and see if you can spy sugar gliders or rare frogs in the undergrowth.
Travelling north up the gold coast you’ll arrive at the wild Eungella National park. Although much of the park is inaccessible, there are some spread out walking tracks and its wildness is part of its attraction. In the Aboriginal language, Eungella, pronounce ‘Doongella’ is known as ‘Land where cloud lies over mountains.’ The park is actually 2,400ft abover sea level and the misty air and intense rainfall helps the spectacular rainforest to thrive. Some of the wildlife found here can only be found here. Look out for the Eungella Gastric Brooding Frog, the Eungella Honeyeater and the orang-sided skink. A look out from the Broken River viewing platform at dusk may even offer the chance for you to spot a platypus. The Platypus Bush Camp accommodation is fantastic, offering campfires, outdoor showers and a chilled out vibe and a swimming-hole only a 2 minute walk away. Mystical waterfalls are dotted around the park just waiting to be swam in.
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Whitsundays is often the best-loved spot on the gold coast. Made up of 74 islands, the area lies between the northeast coast and the Great Barrier Reef. The majority of islands are inhabited and dense with rainforests, nature trails and spectacular white sand beaches. Arlie is the jumping off point to reach Whitsundays and offers a variety of different tours. If you’ve seen even a glimpse of the white sails cruising through Whitsundays on Instagram or snapchat, you’ll be certain not to miss it. Sailing tours can be arranged easily and there is nothing quite like watching the sun go down from the smooth waves. Whitehaven beach never ceases to amaze visitors. It is pristine, pure and stretches for seven glorious kilometres ending in a hill inlet where the colours of land and water merge in a mesmerising fusion.
Working up the coast further you’ll hit the Girringun National Park, home to the largest permanent single drop waterfall in Australia- Wallaman Falls. Nestled amongst the forest clad ridge tops and gullies and creeks, Wallaman falls stands at an outstanding 268 metres. Standing, and swimming, beneath the crashing water is incredible. Deservedly World Heritage listed, the rainforest around offers views like no other, lush gorges and vibrant wildlife. Transport yourself from admiring nature from below to taking in sky high views. Mission Beach is Australia’s prime place for skydiving. Although the prices are steeper here, the rewards are greater. Fly through the air above the islands, rainforests and mountains and land on the gleaming sand by the shores.
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Finally, Cairns another exciting city in Australia will welcome you. Tourism breathes life into Cairns and the city acts as a base for exploring the wilderness in the north of Queensland. Scuba diving, parasailing, rainforest treks, scenic flights and sailing. Cairns has an inviting culinary scene, with chilled cafes dotted along Graton and Spence streets. Both a bustling present culture and a deep history can be explored in the city. In particular, the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park explores the rich history of the Aboriginal culture dating back more than 40,000 years. Theatre, bush walks and didgeridoo shows can all be enjoyed here. Two hours north of Cairns is the Daintree Rainforest, world-heritage listed and home to an astonishingly diverse range of plans and animals. Tucked away in the trees is the mountain village of Kuranda, a vibrant community with arts, galleries and boutiques. To reach it, zoom above the canopy on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, a 90 minute journey that lets you admire the wild views.
Often, visitors to Cairns use it as base for their chief ambition to see the Great Barrier Reef. A world famous 2000km long reef, the Great Barrier Reef can be reached from Cairns and many other points on the Gold Coast. Dive or snorkel and admire one of the most amazing underwater landscapers our earth offers. Vibrant, vast and varied this underwater world is at the top of all diver’s, well actually travellers’, bucket lists. To get a feel for the size of the reef, it is the only living thing visible from space. It is larger than the Great Wall of China, has over 400 different kinds of coral, more than 1500 species of tropical fish, 20 types of reptiles and molluscs, dolphins, rays and giant clams over 120 years old. Dives here are unforgettable.
Queensland is vast and varied. Why do you love it? Let us know in the comments below.
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