The best places to visit in spring
It’s spring break, baby!
Time to defrost and rejuvenate with the coming of warmer weather, longer days, and exciting new beginnings – from the blooming of flowers to the latest travel experiences happening throughout the state. And it’s these 7 destinations that will have you feeling the change of step the most.
But don’t just take our word for it. We got the 411 from Flight Centre Product Distribution Assistant Team Leader, Alison Riordan, who shared the best places to visit. Each year, they continue to see the “most popular destinations for Queensland in spring being Hamilton Island, Daydream Island, Cairns, Port Douglas and the Gold Coast.”
You’re probably wondering why that’s so? Well, we reveal all (and a few new surprises) below.
Spring and Toowoomba go hand-in-hand like cheese and wine; they’re the perfect complement to each other, and it’s this time of the year where the garden city truly shines (or should I say blooms).
There’s no greater experience of the change in season than that of the annual Carnival of Flowers, an 10-day festival celebrating all things spring, from the anticipated burst of colour that’s sprung from gardens and parks around the city, to the seasonal local produce waiting to be devoured (check out this guide of our top tips for what to see and do while you’re there).
Speaking of things to be noshed on, have you heard of the amazing foodie scene going down in the CBD? This year has seen a boom in the city’s palette, with hot new restaurants and bars popping up seemingly every few weeks: fine-dining at Zev’s Bistro, Brazilian BBQ at Muller Bros, a never-ending train of Japanese goodness at Sushi Asakusa, The Office and Tom Collins Bar quenching your weekend (or mid-week) thirst… the list could literally go on and on…. and on some more.
And with direct flights now coming in from Cairns, Sydney and Melbourne to the recently opened Brisbane West Wellcamp Airpot (don’t let the name fool you, the location is definitely Toowoomba), getting your Queensland country fix is easier than ever.
2. Port Douglas
While you wouldn’t say no to a cheeky rendezvous in Port Douglas at any given time of year, now, and I mean RIGHT NOW, is when you really want to be here, with spring combining the perfect balance of blissfully warm days and water temps before the full force of summer (and wet season) kicks in.
This means movies under the stars at QT Port Douglas’s Moonlight Cinema and thirst-quenching craft beers out in the sunshine of the Reef Marina boardwalk at the newly opened Hemingway Brewery.
Serving as the cherry on top to a perfect stay would have to be booking your own lagoon edge suit at the recently revitalised Sheraton Mirage Resort. The iconic resort has established quite a rep of extravagance during its time, playing host to the likes of A-listers such as Leo DiCaprio (#bae), Mick Jagger, Kate Hudson, and Bill Clinton.
But it’s the fresh $40 million refurbishment that now outshines all, with the addition of an 18-hole golf course, private pool cabanas, and sprawling swimming lagoons accessed directly from your own balcony.
Being the capital city of the state, it’s pretty much a given that year-round you’ll find Brisbane buzzing. But come the start of spring, the city explodes with colour and nek-level excitement thanks to the annual Brisbane Festival. The three-week cultural arts extravaganza is jam-packed with a range of events from theatre and music to dance and circus performances, ending with a bang (literally) when they light up the night sky with a mesmerising display of fireworks at Sunsuper Riverfire (capture the magic with this guide to firework photography).
On a natural note, while the city might not get the changing leaves of autumn or frosty whites of snow in winter, spring they’ve well and truly got down-pat. Your Instagram is going to have a field day as you stroll the streets in and around the CBD lined with towering Jacaranda trees in full bloom, painting the town brilliant shades of purple.
4. Hervey Bay
Our beloved whale watching capital is still in its prime during spring, with migratory humpbacks resting and playing in the calm, protected waters of Hervey Bay.
But this is more than just vacay time for these gentle giants, with mumma whales taking full advantage of the perfect conditions here to teach their newborn calves the necessary survival skills before heading south to the Antartic around November.
Catch a guaranteed glimpse of the tail-slappin’ action with this handy guide to the whale watching boats in town, and keep this 48-hour itinerary up your sleeve if you plan on making it a long weekend of sun, sand, and seafood.
5. Palm Cove
Seriously, can we all just take a moment to thank Tropical North Queensland for its never-ending source of balmy escapes?
And we aren’t the only ones with a soft spot for the region, with stats showing an increase of 43.2% by domestic holiday-goers heading north in the year ending March 2016 (and 12.9% of international visitors, too, mind you, including Clueless star Cher, aka Alicia Silverton, just last month).
So why is spring go-time for this beaut patch of coast north of Cairns? Combine idyllic weather and warm waters (before the temperatures hit summer-sticky) and the lure of Palm Cove’s unique cuisine – including the annual three-day Reef Feast Festival and award-winning beachfront restaurant Nu Nu, which alone is reason enough after taking the crown for Regional Restaurant of the Year in the 2017 Queensland Good Food Guide awards – and you’ve got a got the ultimate recipe for some springtime lazin’ and grazin’.
(Especially now that Peppers Beach Club and Spa offers poolside catering – you can keep the cocktails coming without ever having to leave your deck chair.)
Ain’t spring in Palm Cove grand?
*While the start of spring might be just outside the stinger season (which runs from November to June each year), keep in mind this can vary, so if you see stinger nets out earlier, make sure you only swim within their confines. If you’re feeling unsure, check in with the local Surf Life Saving Club.
6. The Whitsundays
Soft white silica sands, crystal-clear blues, Great Barrier Reef adventures… yep, The Whitsundays can do no wrong in the realm of holiday dreams.
But aside from the beautiful aesthetics that pull visitors from around the world to this region each year (I think it has something to do with those stunner Whitsunday Islands and the best beach in Australia), the region is springing into action even more so this season – pun intended – with events and new experiences.
The ultimate test of stamina takes the form of the Hamilton Island Endurance Series, with the Fujifilm Hamilton Island Triathlon on November 11, followed by the Whitehaven Beach Ocean Swim the next day.
If that sounds like a little more cardio than you bargained for, hit up the Airlie Beach Festival of Music and this year’s headliners are possibly Sneaky Sound System, Shannon Noll and Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols).
But for holidays that err towards the mantra of eat, beach, sleep, repeat, this spring delivers an unexpected treat thanks to the upcoming launch of Cruise Whitsundays‘ brand-new Whitehaven Beach vessel ‘Sea Quest’.
Bringing a new level of convenience to day-tours of iconic Whitehaven Beach, Sea Quest raises the bar when it comes to cruise-comfort, with the addition of floor-to-ceiling windows and central seats on an elevated plinth so all guests get a clear view of the spectacular Whitsundays (oh, and there’ll be a fully licensed bar #hellyeah). The custom-designed boarding gangway will allow the vessel to pull up directly onto the sand bar so guests can walk straight off the boat onto the sand whilst barely getting their feet wet.
7. Gold Coast
With school holidays ’round the corner, Alison highlights the Gold Coast as the top choice for families in need of a spring break. “It’s always quite popular with school holidays, and good flights from around the country are fairly regular for this time.”
So with that in mind, right this second would be the time to start planning some family-fun:
- On a budget? Check out these cheap and free things to do
- Surf the menu from Southport to Broadbeach with the best Gold Coast restaurants by precinct
- Grab your selfie sticks and follow these tips to make the most out of a day at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
- Tire the youngins out by ticking off as many activities as you can from our epic list of 100 things to do on the Gold Coast
For grown-ups in search of some fun in the sun, this season sees a party in paradise thanks to the Supercars Gold Coast 600 – a massive weekend fuelled by fast cars and long nights of good tunes with Peking Duk, The Rubens and Birds of Tokyo.
If sand and salty seas are more your thing, break out of winter hibernation with the Swell Sculpture Festival at Currumbin Beach, where over 50 large and small scale sand works take over the shores in an epic display of coastal creativity.