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Queensland Travel Guide

From its famed coastline of year-round sunshine to the lush forest-covered landscapes of its tropical north, Queensland is an Australian paradise of outdoor beauty and unparalleled adventures.

Queensland is very coastal

Begin your journey at the trendy upscale neighbourhoods found along the Sunshine and Gold Coasts before escaping to the untouched tropical beaches and islands of the state’s northern reaches. Venturing even further will lead to daring excursions into some of the planet’s oldest forests and cultures and even to the prehistoric landscapes of the Australian Outback.

With so much diversity, planning a trip to Australia’s Sunshine State can seem an impossible task. Luckily, you will find everything you need to know to plan the perfect holiday within this Queensland travel guide, including when to visit, where to stay, and the top sites you have to check out while you are here.

Facts & Info

  • Size – 1.85 km2
  • Population – 5.18 million
  • Country – Australia
  • Official Language – None (English is the predominant language.)
  • Major Airports – Brisbane Airport (BNE), Gold Coast Airport (OOL)
  • Time Zone – Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST)
  • Nickname – Sunshine State
  • Currency – Australian Dollar (AUD)

Queensland Holiday Destinations

  • Brisbane – Visit Queensland’s capital for a world-class culinary scene in a picturesque open-air city.
  • The Gold Coast – Experience the trendy charm of the Gold Coast’s famed white sand beaches, boutique shopping centres, and world-famous theme parks.
  • Cairns – Escape to a tropical paradise complete with ancient rainforests, white sand beaches, and access to the Great Barrier Reef just off the coast.
  • Whitsundays – Sail to an archipelago of tropical islands covered in dense, untouched rainforests and surrounded by the clear waters of the Great Barrier Reef.
  • The Sunshine Coast – Embrace 100 km of sunny coastline at beautiful white sand beaches and world class surfing hot spots.

Things To Do in Queensland

  • Road Trip The Coast – Take a drive along the shoreline and experience some of the most picturesque coastal roads in Australia.
  • Go Island Hopping – Explore over 900 islands off the Queensland coast, including Fitzroy Island, Lady Elliot Island, and the Whitsunday Island group.
  • Swim with exotic marine life – Snorkel with whales, sharks, and sea turtles within the vibrant aquatic ecosystems of the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Hike to breathtaking vistas – Trek through forest-covered landscapes to striking lookouts of coastal cliffs and inland mountains.
  • Explore local wildlife – Engage with Australia’s native animal species, including kangaroos, koalas, and the popular platypus.

Queensland Attractions

  • The Great Barrier Reef – Experience a vibrant underwater world within the planet’s largest coral reef system.
  • Kuranda Scenic Railway – Embark on a historic rail ride through Barron Gorge National Park to the charming mountain village of Kuranda.
  • Australia Zoo – Interact with Australian wildlife along the Sunshine Coast at a zoo made famous by Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter.
  • K’Gari (Fraser Island) – Four-wheel drive along the windswept beaches of the world’s largest sand island.
  • Story Bridge – Climb to the top of Brisbane’s most iconic landmark and marvel at the picturesque city views.

Best Beaches in Queensland

  • Whitehaven Beach – Lounge along the pure white silica sands of one of the world’s most famous beaches as they careen into the turquoise waters of the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Nudey Beach – Enjoy your own corner of paradise along a small, secluded white sand beach on the western shores of Fitzroy Island.
  • Rainbow Bay Beach – Learn to surf at one of the most inviting beach towns and surf hotspots along the Gold Coast.
  • Burleigh Heads – Unwind in the protected waters of the main beach, surf the waves along the headlands, or head into town to shop the charming boutiques.
  • Noosa Main Beach – Go whale watching or wade into the calm waters of this north-facing white-sand beach.
Queensland boosts an incredible coastline

National Parks in Queensland

  • Daintree National Park – Discover the enchantment of the world’s oldest surviving tropical rainforest, dating back over 165 million years.
  • Whitsunday Islands National Park – Find your own isolated island paradise within this untouched tropical archipelago.
  • Undara Volcanic National Park – Explore over 70 mysterious caves formed along Australia’s longest lava tube.
  • Springbrook National Park – Trek through the Gondwana Rainforests to majestic waterfalls and isolated mountain streams.
  • Carnarvon National Park – Uncover ancient Indigenous rock art along the towering sandstone cliffs of Carnarvon Gorge.

Best Time to Visit

  • Dry Season (May to October) – When the rest of Australia is experiencing their winter, Queensland and the Northern Territories are experiencing their dry season. This is the best time to visit and promises warm temperatures and limited rainfalls for exploring the state’s coastal destinations, islands, and wildernesses.
  • Wet Season (November to April) – Frequent rainfalls and high humidity can take away from the enchanting charms of Queensland’s outdoor attractions, particularly within its tropical northern areas. However, southern Queensland promises year round sunshine, making the wet season a great time to visit Brisbane, the Gold Coast, or the Sunshine Coast.
Queensland has a wet season and a dry season

Getting Here & Around

  • Airports – Most international visitors arrive in Queensland through the international airports in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Cairns, and the Sunshine Coast. However, there are also 14 regional airports to help you get where you need to go once in the state.
  • Ferries – Several cruise lines feature stops within popular destinations such as Brisbane Cairns and the Whitsundays. Meanwhile, private charters or ferries are the only way to get to some of Queensland’s islands.
  • Trains –.Queensland is well-connected by train routes. The Spirit of Queensland connects Brisbane in the south to Cairns in the north while several railway operators reach out along the coast and to the outback.
  • Driving – Renting a car is the most effective way of getting off the beaten-path and allows the most flexibility for visiting the less-frequented corners of the state.
  • Taxis – Taxi services can be found in all major tourist areas and can be a quick and effective way of getting around the city.
  • Bus – Regional buses and long-distance coaches are available and are among one of the most affordable ways of getting around Queensland.
  • Biking – With beautiful open roads and biking trails, cycling can be an exciting and affordable way to get around.
  • Walking – Many of Queensland’s cities and tourist destinations can be explored on foot.
Lady Elliot Island is a popular tourist destinations in Queensland

Queensland Travel Tips

  • Apply for your visa in advance – All international visitors require a tourist visa. Play it safe and apply at least a month before your arrival.
  • Tipping is optional – While welcome, you should not feel uncomfortable when not leaving a tip.
  • Opt for 4WD – While 2WD is sufficient for coastal roads, you will want the added traction of 4WD when visiting Queensland’s national parks.
  • Buy a Queensland Coastal Pass – This multi-stop rail pass along the coast is a great way to experience many of Queensland’s top highlights.
  • Take your time – There is a lot to see in Queensland. Take your time to experience each of its varied regions.

What to Pack

  • Water Bottle – Queensland can be hot and humid. It is important to stay hydrated.
  • Bug spray – A drawback of the warm weather is the bugs. Pack lots of insect repellent.
  • Comfortable shoes – Be sure to include both hiking boots and sandals.
  • Sunscreen – Protect yourself from harsh UV rays with sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
  • Camera – Queensland is full of picturesque landscapes just waiting to be photographed.

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