2015 Queensland travel bucket list | Photo by @maximecoquard

Are these the hottest Queensland destinations for 2015?

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If the latest stats are anything to go off, it seems 2015 will be the year of luxury, escapism and getting back to nature. Add these hot destinations to your travel bucket list now.

Palm Cove

Flight Centre has rated the seaside village of Palm Cove as one of the Top 10 holiday hotspots in the world for 2015, citing cheap flights to Cairns and the balmy year-round climate as the main attractions.

We’re rating it for it’s proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, top-notch dining scene and laid-back vibe, which means your days can be as easy as hammock swinging by morning, strolling along the palm tree-flanked beach by afternoon and gelato eating by evening as you want the moon rise up from the Coral Sea.

Head here if… you want a tropical island escape without the boat trip.

Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast

Increasingly, travellers will be making the pilgrimage to the Sunshine Coast for a hefty dollop of rest and relaxation. Beachside apartments and hinterland hideaways will be equally popular as more and more people seek out a way to switch off from the craziness of everyday life and get some zen in their lives.

The stretch between Caloundra and the Cooloola Coast recorded double digit growth for international and domestic visitors to the year ending September 2014 spurred on by an ever-growing roll call of cafes and restaurants, world-class events and of course, that enviable local lifestyle.

Head here if… you’re seeking to get some balance back with activities like running tours through Noosa National Park or a one-day retreat at a Balinese-style day spa, want to stuff yourself silly at food festivals and award-winning restaurants or just chill out with the family at the beach.

Lizard Island

Lizard Island

Tropical North Queensland’s luxury postcode of Lizard Island – off the coast of Cairns – will reopen on March 1, 2015 after an extensive refurbishment following damage caused by Cyclone Ita. A new standalone villa with its own private butler will be the creme de la creme of the new offerings, which will include the addition of private plunge pools to some of the Sunset Point Villas and a larger day spa with French La Biosthetique products.

Head here if… you’re looking for a complete escape or a romantic rendezvous.

The Whitsundays

Sailing The Whitsundays

This archipelago of islands has always been a popular holiday choice but with the renovations compete and the doors re-opened over on One&Only Hayman Island, and Whitehaven Beach picking up the “Best beach in Australia” gong from TripAdvisor’s 2014 Traveller’s Choice Awards, it’s no wonder there was an 8% increase in international visitors to the year ending September 2014.

Lonely Planet also named sailing in the Whitsundays amongst their Top 10 Unforgettable Travel Experiences for 2015 and Airlie Beach was rated number 7 in the Top 10 Australian Destinations on TripAdvisor, so it’d almost be a disservice to tourism if you didn’t make it to the Whitsundays in the New Year, really.

Head here if… you want to make a few great big ticks off the travel bucket list.

Southern Great Barrier Reef

Great Keppel Island | Photo by @markclinton

Queensland’s answer to the Galapagos, the islands of the Southern Great Barrier Reef beckon with some of the world’s top dive spots, smaller resorts and an eco-friendly footprint on the environment. The year to September 2014 saw an 11.55% increase in domestic visitors to 1.776 million, yet these figures are still a blip in the ocean in the grand scheme of things, meaning you won’t have to share your space with too many others.

Expect to witness the circle of life of turtles at Heron Island, swim with resident manta rays at Lady Elliot Island, camp in complete Castaway-style on Lady Musgrave Island and discover the ruggedness of Great Keppel Island before a planned development gets underway.

Head here if… you’re more Tom Hanks than Kim Kardashian.

What destinations are on your travel bucket list for 2015?