The essential Queensland photo bucket list

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Holidays used to be about making sure you got the perfect golden tan, meeting amazing people and creating memories that last a lifetime. Not anymore.

Today, the only way to determine if you’ve had an amazing holiday is based on how good your Instagram photos are. You need the stunning sunsets, perfectly-timed jumps and classic airplane shots to show your friends YOU are the best at taking a holiday. This list will guarantee their jealously will be off the charts and you can go home with a smile on your face… even without a perfect tan!

Here are our top 45 photos you HAVE to get when on holidays in Queensland.

1. Holding a surfboard

Whether you take a surf lesson or just end up on the beach at sunrise after a long night, get a friend to snap a pic of you with a surfboard.

Classic shot of you with your new board (or a strangers)  Photo by @jaderiellephotograpphy

Via IG @jaderiellephotography

2. Shipwreck

Luckily Queensland has a few shipwrecks for you to choose from: The Maheno Wreck on Fraser Island, Tangalooma Wrecks on Moreton Island and Wreck Diving on Magnetic Island.

Via IG @glendavidwilson

Via IG @glendavidwilson

3. Lake McKenzie

This may just be one of the most photographed lakes in the world. Located on Fraser Island, the lake has tourists coming in by buses and on 4×4 trips every day. Snap a pic with your new friends, arm in arm in the crystal clear water, or capture the famous tree on the water’s edge.

Via IG @debsmyles

Via @debsmyles

4. Silhouettes

These shots can be taken anywhere there is a sunset and always look incredible. We recommend also including beaches, palm trees and jumping where possible.

Via IG @mattraimondo

Via IG @mattraimondo

5. Ferris wheel

When you visit Brisbane’s South Bank, you have to get a snap of the iconic Wheel of Brisbane.

Via IG @lady_brisbane

Via IG @lady_brisbane

6. Facing Queensland

Face the ocean, face the sunset, just face Queensland.

Via IG @jewelszee

Via IG @jewelszee

7. Cuddling a koala

Queensland is only one of two states in Australia that let you get this close to these incredibly cute critters! For more info, click here.

Via IG @youngadventuress

Via IG @youngadventuress

8. Underwater

Bring an underwater camera when hitting the Great Barrier Reef for a snorkelling or scuba adventure. You can find sea turtles at several places including Lady Elliot Island and Green Island.

Via IG @youngadventress

Via IG @youngadventress

9. Jump shot

The best jump shots need to be taken from low down (you will get dirty/wet) and shoot upwards towards the jumper. This will make them look like they are high up in the sky.

Via IG @garry_norris

Via IG @garry_norris

10. Road trip

Queensland is made for road trips. Take your time, get out of your car and take in all the amazing scenery. And don’t forget to do a ‘road shot’ like this one:

Via IG @rikerama

Via IG @rikerama

11. Driving on the beach

Queensland is one of the best places in the world to take your road trip on the sand! Hire a 4-wheel-drive and pack your camping gear. There are drivable beaches to explore all along the coast, which make for unreal sunrises and sunsets.

Via IG @keiranlusk

Via IG @keiranlusk

12. Sand writing

These photos are great for using in photo books to label each beach you visit in Queensland. They’re also useful to send messages back home to jealous friends and family. #wishyouwerehere

Via IG @elisaparkranger

Via IG @elisaparkranger

13. Whale watching

For the best whale watching check out Hervey Bay, the whale watching capital of Australia.

Via IG @garry_norris

Via IG @garry_norris

14. Feet

Don’t forget to look down once in awhile. The sand, the water… this is a great way to capture it all. (Don’t forget the pedicure first!)

Via IG @melissafindley

Via IG @melissafindley

15. Ice-cream in paradise

Nothing will incite more jealousy than a delicious looking ice-cream cone with paradise for a backdrop. Trust me.

Via IG @corrine_t

Via IG @corrine_t

16. Sunrise

Rookie mistake: Sleeping in. Since Queensland is located on the east coast of Australia, most of the beaches make for epic sunrise viewing locations. Tip: Always try to include a silhouette in the view to add some depth to your sunrise photo. Palm trees, pandanaus trees and surfers work well.

Via IG @jasoncharleshill

Via IG @jasoncharleshill

17. South Bank

Even the cities not on the coast have a beach. How cool is that? If you’re a beach person stuck in the CBD on a sunny day, snap a pic at South Bank at the lagoon built right in the middle of the city, with views of the Brisbane River and skyline.

Via IG @kattte_

Via IG @kattte_

18. Airplane view

Whether you’re flying in from overseas or taking a small plane up the coast, ALWAYS ask for a window seat. These photos can be unbelievable when the angle and lighting is right.

Via IG - @jewelszee

Via IG – @jewelszee

19. Palm trees

Nothing says the tropics like a shot of palm trees. Sunrise and sunset really make these beauties shine.

Via IG @jewelszee

Via IG @jewelszee

20. Red dirt in the outback

Mix up those blue ocean/beach shots with some beautiful red dirt on a trip to the outback. Visit Winton or Birdsville to really get a feel for one of these great communities.

Via IG @laurenepbath

Via IG @laurenepbath

21. Mountain top

Head to one of these spots to get the best views of Queensland (also one of the best places to catch sunrise or sunset). Try Picnic Point in Toowoomba, Passage Peak on Hamilton Island or Mt. Cooroy on the Sunshine Coast.

Via IG @matty_8

Via IG @matty_8

22. Big things

Nothing says “I’m a tourist” like taking a photo in front of a big thing. You can find where they are in Queensland on our Pinterest board.

Via IG @fawn1013

Via IG @fawn1013

23. Whitsundays – Hill Inlet

Whitehaven Beach has been voted one of the best beaches in the world more than a few times. Hike up to Hill Inlet and see the most stunning view of this tropical paradise.

Via IG @simonsol

Via IG @simonsol

24. Country windmill

There is more to Queensland than just beaches and sunsets… a short drive into the country will open you up to a world of rolling hills, farmland and gorgeous scenery. Don’t miss an opportunity to snap a windmill at sunset!

Via IG @laurenepbath

Via IG @laurenepbath

25. Seafood

When you holiday by the ocean, you can beat fresh seafood. Take a photo with the beach in the backdrop to show off how awesome your lunch really is.

Via Elisa the Park Ranger

Via Elisa the Park Ranger

26. Surfers Paradise sign

You don’t have to be a surfer to hang out in Surfers Paradise but you DO have to get a cliché photo under the sign. What other country actually has a city with surfing in its name?!

Via IG @mariaustralia

Via IG @mariaustralia

27. Dingo

Head over to Fraser Island and get a pic of one of these beauties.

Via IG @jewelszee

Via IG @jewelszee

28. Curtain Fig tree

This incredible tree is located in the Atherton Tablelands and is just a short drive from the small town of Yungaburra. It’s massive. Make sure to get into the pic to show your friends how big the tree really is!

Via IG @beijingemily

Via IG @beijingemily

29. Chilling in a hammock

At some point during your tropical holiday, you need to be in a hammock. Bonus points if you can hang it between palm trees and stay to watch the sunset. Check out Palm Cove in Tropical North Queensland for the best spot.

Via IG @jewelszee

Via IG @jewelszee

30. Waterfalls

Don’t go chasing waterfalls… but if you do, check out this blog post first: Top 10 Waterfalls in Queensland.

Via IG @wjhenshaw

Via IG @wjhenshaw

31. Reflection

The best time for reflections are sunrise or sunset. So get that grumpy other half out of bed at 5:30am or stay up all night at a crazy backpacker bar and catch a stunning reflection on the water’s edge.

Via IG @kattte_

Via IG @kattte_

32. I’m on a boat!

If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen this video, check it out now. Otherwise, you get the idea.

Add credit

Photo via Allan Dixon

33. Kangaroo

Get a selfie with a roo! Best spots for this are: Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Australia Zoo, Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary and Maleny Botanic Gardens.

Via IG @Houseofhudak

Via IG @Houseofhudak

34. Cloudporn

Clounds can be the worst when trying to enjoy a sunny vacation… but when it comes to photography magic, pray for a few and capture them when you can.

Via IG @keiranlusk

Via IG @keiranlusk

35. Sand dunes

Check out some of the amazing sand islands in Queensland when you can: Moreton Island, Fraser Island and North Stradbroke Island. Sand ripples for days!

Via IG @keiranlusk

Via IG @keiranlusk

36. Rainbow lorikeet

The Rainbow Brite of the bird kingdom. These colourful guys can be found all along the coast, so have the camera ready!

Via IG -  @lauralifephotography

Via IG – @lauralifephotography

37. Arms up!

It’s like you’re hugging Queensland. This works well as a silhouette at sunset or sunrise too.

Via IG @jasoncharleshill

Via IG @jasoncharleshill

38. Pelican

These beautiful birds can be seen hanging out on the coast and posing for pictures whenever possible.

Via IG @kattte_

Via IG @kattte_

39. Cairns Lagoon

The perfect spot to cool off in the heat of Tropical North Queensland. A must-do when in Cairns.

Via IG @kar1981

Via IG @kar1981

40. Jetty

The lines of a jetty or pier work really well in the Instagram feed. Check out these beauties: Redcliffe Jetty in Brisbane, Urangan Pier in Hervey Bay and The Spit on the Gold Coast.

Via IG @laurenepbath

Via IG @laurenepbath

41. Handstand

Not only can you show off to your friends about how amazing your holiday is, but you can also show off how fit you are. Bonus!

Via IG @deegregoree

Via IG @deegregoree

42. Aussie street signs

Find as many quintessentially Aussie street signs as you can while on your holiday in Queensland. Fun game.

Via IG @ryanhughesca

Via IG @ryanhughesca

43. Kangaroo on the beach

Head to Cape Hillsborough, less than an hour from Mackay, to see the kangaroos come to the beach every morning for sunrise. It’s an early wake-up call but worth every second.

Via IG @laurenepbath

Via IG @laurenepbath

44. The Lone Tree

This lonely tree has been making the rounds lately on Instagram as #mackayslonetree. You can find it at Shoal Point in Mackay.

Via IG @cherrieflea

Via IG @cherrieflea

45. Sunset

There is nothing an Instagram user double taps more than a stunning sunset. Make sure you stay until the end (preferably with a glass of wine) and hope for that pretty pink and purple finale.

 Via FB Karen Whalan

Via FB Karen Whalan

So… How many can you tick off the list?

Let us know in the comments below your score out of 45 OR for extra brownie points, compile your photos in a Facebook album, blog post or whatever and leave a link to it in the blog comments!




  • Kaylah Buckman

    Argh! I’ve only done 14 out of the 45. Better get insta-snapping!