The ultimate top 14 Queensland experiences
Let’s face it, Queensland is a big place. Commanding a respectable 1.7 million square kilometres of the Australian continent, the state is big enough to fit the United Kingdom into it seven times or twice the size of Pakistan. If you add to this a world heritage listed rainforest, a trove of world class beaches and the largest coral reef in the world, where do you start?
Instead of listing hundreds of Queensland experiences that should be on your bucket list, we’ve hand-picked the top 14 you should try on your next visit.
1. Discover the largest natural wonder of the world
The World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef should be experienced by everyone at least once. Dive with turtles and manta rays off Lady Elliot Island, snorkel the spectacular Low Isles coral cay off Port Douglas, take a romantic scenic flight over the iconic Heart Reef, or make it your mission to find the Great 8.
2. GET SOME ISLAND-TIME
Pack the car and go on a 4WD adventure on the three largest sand islands in the world. Swim in the pristine waters of Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island, surf down the sand dunes on Moreton Island and spot whales along the Gorge Walk on North Stradbroke Island.
3. CUDDLE A KOALA
Queensland is one of the few Australian states where you’re allowed to cuddle a Koala. So, while you’re here, don’t miss your opportunity to get up close and personal to our local animal celebrities. Even Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Russel Brand couldn’t resist a Koala-bear hug.
Psst! Here’s a list of all the places where you can cuddle one of these cuties across Queensland.
4. DIVE WITH MINKE WHALES
For six weeks of the year Queensland offers one of the most life-changing experiences in the country. During June and July, minke whales come to play in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef in Tropical North Queensland. Live-aboard vessels head out for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dive and snorkel with these curious and amazing sea creatures.
5. DIG FOR DINOS IN THE OUTBACK
Fossick for dinosaur fossils at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs or follow the dinosaur trail between Winton, Richmond and Hughenden. And if you really love dinosaurs, head out to channel country and check out one of Queensland’s largest dinosaurs at the Eromanga National History Museum. Or, visit the Boulia Stonehouse Museum to meet Percy the plesiosaur fossil; it’s believed to be one of the most complete plesiosaur skeletons in the world.
While you’re in Outback Queensland, retrace the steps of Cobb & Co. by travelling on the original mail route between Longreach and Windorah on a fully-laden stagecoach with Outback Pioneers; or climb the Big Red Sand Dune in Birdsville and watch the sunset in this picturesque part of Queensland.
6. VISIT AUSTRALIA’S BEST BEACH
With squeaky white sand and piercing blue water, this beach has celebrity status and has been featured in blockbuster movies such as Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Psst! Here’s how you can visit this famous beach.
7. CLIMB TO RECORD-BREAKING HEIGHTS
Brisbane’s Story Bridge not only features in hundreds of images of the beautiful city but it also boasts the achievement of being the only bridge in the world to offer both a climb and an abseil experience. And just down the road you can get even higher with Australia’s tallest external building climb at SkyPoint on the Gold Coast.
While you’re in Brisbane, head to Suncorp Stadium on game day and experience the electrifying rush of adrenalin as you watch and cheer on amazing athletes. Or if you’d rather admire art and pop culture, head to South Bank and explore the museums and galleries.
8. EXPERIENCE INDIGENOUS CULTURE
From rock art to traditional hunting and gathering methods, engulf yourself in Indigenous Culture and the learn about Australia’s rich Indigenous history. Hunt for mud crabs on Cooya Beach in Tropical North Queensland, trek to Laura to participate in the largest Aboriginal Dance Festival in Queensland or take a leisurely stroll through the Daintree Rainforest with an Aboriginal guide.
Psst! Here’s the top 12 ways to connect with Indigenous Culture in Queensland.
9. DIVE THE WRECKS
Queensland is home to a number of incredible dive sites and wrecks. From the SS Yongala in Townsville to the Tangalooma Wrecks on Moreton Island, experienced and novice divers can snorkel and scuba dive around these sites. You’ll see the inhabitants of these sites come to life; from schools of fish, and reef sharks to underwater ecosystems.
10. EXPLORE NATIONAL PARKS
Chase waterfalls, follow a walking trail or camp under the stars surrounded by nature in a National Park. Springbrook National Park is a popular attraction and just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. Located in the Gold Coast Hinterland, you can explore rainforest circuits and see the picture-perfect Natural Bridge. At night, it lights up with incredible glow worms.
11. THRILL-SEEKING ON THE GOLD COAST
A family trip to visit the Gold Coast theme parks is a rite of passage for every Aussie teenager. A mad few days swapping between the sickening rides at Dreamworld, getting to your saturation limit at Wet’n’Wild, or hanging with the polar bears at Sea World combined with too much fairy floss and too many Dagwood Dogs makes for a perfect weekend!
12. WATCH THE SUNRISE WITH WALLABIES
Causarina Beach a.k.a “Cape Hillsborough” in the Mackay region is a must-do for Kangaroo and Wallaby lovers. On dusk and dawn mobs of roos and wallabies venture onto the salty sand to feed, play (and sometimes box). And, you can join them to watch the sun rise or set over the water.
13. KAYAK THE NOOSA EVERGLADES
With pristine waterways, lush vegetation and flocks of birds and wildlife, this beautiful freak of nature is open for exploration. And you can experience the Noosa Everglades by Kayak with Kanu Kapers.
14. SEE TURTLE HATCHLINGS
Visit the Mon Repos Turtle Centre in Bundaberg and join the wildlife rangers on a guided tour to watch the life cycle of majestic sea turtles. If you visit from November to January, you’ll watch mummy turtles nesting and if you return from January to March, you’ll be able to watch the little hatchlings emerge from the sand and scurry down to the sea.