Known as the ‘the Sunshine State,’ for its spectacular weather and sun-soaked, golden beaches, Queensland is a holiday paradise with a plethora of fun things to see and do. From fantastic surf breaks, secluded tropical islands, and meandering rivers to a magnificent coastline stretching nearly 4,500 miles and bordered by the world’s most extensive coral reef system, there is something for everyone in this idyllic utopia. The Great Barrier Reef and the spectacular Whitsunday Islands offer some of the best diving in the world, while Fraser Island is a fantastic place for four-wheel-driving adventures. Cities such as the picturesque Port Douglas, the tropical tourist-magnet of Cairns, and Queensland's capital, Brisbane, offers excellent restaurants, buzzing bars, art galleries, museums, and more.
1.The Great Barrier Reef
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Home to more than 3,000 coral reefs, 600 islands, and 300 coral cays, and a wealth of marine creatures ranging from thousands of species of tropical fish, turtles, dolphins, dugongs and sharks, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s most extensive coral reef system and the largest living structure on the planet. Extending off the northern coast of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park protects most of the reef, which offers a wealth of outdoor activities, including snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, kayaking, and canoeing and boating in glass-bottom boats. Airlie Beach, Cairns, and Port Douglas are the main launching points for tours.
Nestled between Brisbane and Bundaberg off Australia’s eastern Queensland coast, the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world, and one of the best island escapes in the country. Stretching over 75 miles, the island features spectacular natural landscapes ranging from cliffs sculpted from colored sand, white sandy beaches, and ancient rainforests to rocky outcrops, rock pools, and freshwater lakes. The island is a popular destination for camping, four-wheel-drive adventures, and eco-adventures, and other top attractions include the Cathedrals cliffs and The Pinnacles, 75 Mile Beach, Eli Creek, Champagne Pools, Lake Wabby, and Lake McKenzie.
Fraser Island, Australia
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Kuranda is a picturesque rainforest village on the Atherton Tablelands near Cairns that is home to several exhilarating attractions. The charming and folksy village features the Kuranda Scenic Railway, which was carved out by early settlers and winds it way along forested hillside tracks boasting spectacular views. Visitors can ride the vintage steam train through the rainforest and along the gorge and soak up the spectacular natural beauty. The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway glides through the air above the treetops of the rainforest, offering adventurers the chance to see the forest from a different perspective. The rugged Barron Gorge National Park features the impressive cascading Barron Falls that tumble over steep rocks into the Barron River. Other attractions in and around the little town include the Kuranda Koala Gardens, the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, Rainforestation Nature Park, and Birdworld.
4.Queensland Cultural Centre
© Queensland Cultural Centre
Located just across the river from the Brisbane CBD, the Queensland Cultural Centre is home to the state’s leading arts and cultural institutions, from classic and modern art collections to performance centers and a library. The center is based in a cluster of monolithic, architecturally-designed buildings on the banks of the river, which house the Queensland Museum, the Queensland Art Gallery, the Gallery of Modern Art, and the State Library of Queensland. The center offers an array of award-winning programs in the performing arts, educational programs, events, and exhibitions throughout the year.
Grey St, South Brisbane QLD 4101, Australia, Phone: +61-13-62-46
Located just off the shore of the protected sand island of Moreton Island, the Tangalooma Wrecks are comprised of a cluster of 15 sunken boats that were scuttled by the Queensland Government between 1963 and 1984. The ships were destroyed to provide a spot for the residents of Moreton Bay to anchor their boats and offer an outstanding snorkeling and scuba-diving experience. The shipwrecks can be reached by walking or riding a beach bike along the beach from the Tangalooma Island Resort and then a short swim from the shore. The wrecks now have coral growing on them and are home to a variety of marine life ranging from over 100 species of fish, dugongs, dolphins, and wobbegongs.
© Jackson Photography/stock.adobe.com
The Capricorn Caves is a privately owned limestone cave system located 14 miles north of Rockhampton. The cave system features a maze of natural limestone formations created over millions of years of water and wind erosion such as flowstones, cave coral, columns, speleotherms, shawls, and stalactites and stalagmites. Visitors can explore the subterranean complex on guided tours ranging from a few hours to a few days, and people can even get married in the cave.
30 Olsens Caves Rd, The Caves QLD 4702, Australia, Phone: +617-49-34-28-83
7.Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame & Outback Heritage Centre
© Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame & Outback Heritage Centre
Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame & Outback Heritage Centre is a museum in Longreach that is dedicated to the explorers and pioneers of the Australian outback, indigenous Australians, and the exceptional bravery and courage of Australian stockmen. The museum tells the story of Australia’s outback from the arrival of the Aborigines more than 40,000 years ago to settlement by the British and the establishment of agriculture, forestry, mining, and other industries. Displays also include the development of technologies and living in the outback and follow the lives of the stockmen who call the outback home.
Landsborough Hwy, Longreach QLD 4730, Australia, Phone: +617-46-58-21-66
The Mossman Gorge is a beautiful boulder-strewn valley in the World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park, which is bisected by the breathtakingly beautiful crystal-clear Mossman River. One of the hidden gems of Cairns, the gorge is surrounded by lush, tropical rainforests and colossal granite boulders dating back 135 million years and gin-clear freshwater swimming pools. The Daintree Forest is the oldest rainforest on earth and has been a place of significant cultural importance to the Kuku Yalanji for thousands of years. Visitors can learn more about the ancient forest, the strong spiritual connection of the woods to local Aboriginal people, and soak up the spectacular natural beauty of the area.
212r Mossman Gorge Rd, Mossman Gorge QLD 4873, Australia, Phone: +617-40-99-70-00
Australia Zoo is a 1,000-acre zoo near Beerwah and the Glass House Mountains. Founded by the late Steve Irwin, the 110-acre animal sanctuary is home to a variety of more than 1,200 endemic creatures such as crocodiles, koala bears, dingoes, wombats, and snakes. The zoo houses different habitats ranging from the jungles of South-East Asia to the savannahs of Africa, and visitors can feed kangaroos, cuddle koala bears, walk wombats, climb a three-story treehouse and take a trip to Bindi’s Island which is home to giant Aldabra tortoises, ring-tailed lemurs, and brightly colored parrots.
1638 Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah QLD 4519, Australia
, Michigan beaches
10.Historic Village Herberton
The Historic Village Herberton is a historical open-air museum that delves into the early Australian life through fascinating exhibitions and over 50 lovingly restored heritage buildings. The landmark township was opened by Joh Bjelke Petersen in 1977 and take visitors on a journey back in time to the bygone era of early Australia. The outdoor pioneer museum collects, preserves, and displays fascinating historical artifacts and items, such as priceless antiques, and buildings in the village include a school, a grocery store, a chemist, a toy shop, and jail. The Bakerville Tearooms offers refreshments such as coffee, tea, and homemade pies, scones, and sandwiches, as well as an array of gifts and souvenirs.
6 Broadway, Herberton QLD 4887, Australia, Phone: +617-40-96-20-02
11.Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History
© Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History
The Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History is home to the world’s largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils. Located on 1,800 hectares of spectacular mesa plateau and surrounded by spectacular natural landscapes, walking trails, and a plethora of wildlife, the working dinosaur museum features the most productive fossil preparation laboratory in the Southern Hemisphere. The museum houses the Dinosaur Canyon, which features five outdoor galleries displaying life-sized bronze dinosaurs and which visitors can explore on the Noble Express shuttle or hourly tours.
LOT 1 Dinosaur Dr, Corfield QLD 4735, Australia, Phone: +617-46-57-00-78
12.Mount Hypipamee National Park
Located high on the southern Evelyn Tableland in the Hugh Nelson Range, the Mount Hypipamee National Park is centered around the Mount Hypipamee Crater, a volcanic pipe known as a diatreme, which is thought to have been created by a massive gas explosion. The 230-foot-wide and 452-foot-deep crater is surrounded by lush tropical rainforest and covered by a blanket of native green waterweed that is in stark contrast to the stark grey granite walls of the cavity. The park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, ranging from several different species of possums to high-altitude birds.
Kennedy Hwy, Malanda QLD 4883, Australia, Phone: +617-40-91-42-22
13.SkyPoint Observation Deck
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The SkyPoint Observation Deck is a tourist attraction on Level 77 of the Q1 Building in the heart of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast that offers breathtaking views. Located 754 feet above sea level in the world's tallest residential building, the observation deck is reached by one of the world’s fastest elevators taking only 42.7 seconds from ground floor to level 77. The attraction features a casual bistro bar offering light meals and drinks against a backdrop of unsurpassed 360-degree views of the Gold Coast and beyond.
Level 77, q1 building/9 Hamilton Ave, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217, Australia
© Boireann Wines
Boireann Wines is a beautiful wine estate nestled in a small valley in the Granite Belt that produces highly acclaimed French and Italian-style wines, including Barbara, Nebbiolo, Mourvèdre, Sangiovese, and Tannat. Drawing inspiration from the huge granite boulders that surround the property, the estate is named after the Gaelic word for ‘rocky place’ and rests at an altitude of 2,870 feet above sea level where the cool climes give the wines their distinctive characters and intense flavors. The winery is only open to Boireann Bunch Members.
26 Donnellys Castle Rd, The Summit QLD 4376, Australia, Phone: +617-46-83-21-94
15.Min Min Encounter and Boulia Visitor Information Centre
© adiruch na chiangmai/stock.adobe.com
Located on Herbert Street in Boulia, the Boulia Visitor Information Centre is a one-stop-shop for tourists offering a wealth of travel information including maps, itineraries, brochures, and professional advice on the best things to see and do in the region. The Min Min Encounter is a unique theatrical experience based around the famed legend of the Min Min Light phenomenon. The 45-minute show introduces the story of the Min Min Light, unexplained balls of glowing light that appear to travels, and features animatronics, fiber optics, spine-tingling effects, and high-tech wizardry.
22 Herbert Street, Boulia, Phone: +617-47-46-33-86
16.Chillagoe-Mungana Caves National Park
The Chillagoe-Mungana Caves National Park features a plethora of 400-million-year-old limestone, eerie outcrops, indigenous rock art, and the looming ruins of Chillagoe's old smelters. Spread across the Chillagoe area, the park features several self-guided limestone caves, including Bauhinia Cave, Pompeii Cave, and the Archways, and three of the caves can be explored on ranger-guided tours, namely Royal Arch, Donna, and Trezkinn. The walls of the Mungana and Wullumba caves are adorned with fascinating ancient Aboriginal rock art, and the historic Chillagoe smelters feature old mining relics from the 1890s.
Frew St, Chillagoe QLD 4871, Australia, Phone: +617-40-94-71-11
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17.Hou Wang Miau Temple and Museum
© Hou Wang Miau Temple and Museum
Located on the edge of the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland, the Hou Wang Miao Temple and Museum is the last timber and iron Chinese temple in Australia. Built in 1903, the historic temple is one of the most ornate in the world and features corrugated-iron cladding and a spectacular interior of timber and tin, as well as an impressive collection of beautifully preserved cultural artifacts that explore the history of the temple and the social and religious significance of the temple for the region’s Chinese community.
86 Herberton Road, Atherton, Queensland, 4883, Phone: +617-32-01-74-38
18.Carnarvon Gorge National Park
© Uwe Bergwitz/stock.adobe.com
Located in the Southern Brigalow Belt bioregion in Central Queensland’s Maranoa Region, the Carnarvon Gorge National Park is centered around the magnificent Carnarvon Gorge, which runs for 19 miles through the rugged mountain ranges of Queensland’s central highlands. The gorge has been sculpted by the Carnarvon Creek over thousands of years and boasts a warren of 650-foot tall sandstone cliffs, caves filled with ancient indigenous art, tranquil pools, and remnant rainforest. Top attractions in the park include the Mickey Creek Gorge, Baloon Cave, and Rock Pool, which can be reached by short hiking trails.
Nandowrie QLD 4722, Australia
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Big Red is a 130-foot dune of red sand that is one of over 1,000 parallel dunes that stretch for as far as the eye can see across the Simpson Desert. Situated 20 miles from Birdsville in the Diamantina Area, the massive dune attracts four-wheel drivers looking for exhilarating adventures and photographers wanting to catch the spectacular beauty of the natural dune and unrivaled sunsets. Annual events such as the 'Big Red Bash' and the 'Birdsville Races' draw hundreds of locals and tourists alike to join in the fun.
Birdsville QLD, Australia, Phone: +612-99-13-13-95
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20.Charleville Bilby Experience
The Charleville Bilby Experience is a sanctuary dedicated to the care and conservation of the rare bilby. The center offers visitors a chance to see this tiny animal, which is usually very hard to spot in the wild, as well as learn more about them from professional naturalists and nature guides. The center runs the Save the Bilby Fund, which raises funds for conservation projects for the little animal and the environments in which they live.
King St, Charleville QLD 4470, Australia, Phone: +617-46-54-36-81
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20 Best Things to Do in Queensland, Australia
- The Great Barrier Reef, Photo: Marco Brivio/stock.adobe.com
- Fraser Island, Photo: Dennis/stock.adobe.com
- Kuranda, Photo: Evgeny Vostrikov/stock.adobe.com
- Queensland Cultural Centre, Photo: Queensland Cultural Centre
- Tangalooma Wrecks, Photo: Coral_Brunner/stock.adobe.com
- Capricorn Caves, Photo: Jackson Photography/stock.adobe.com
- Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame & Outback Heritage Centre, Photo: Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame & Outback Heritage Centre
- Mossman Gorge, Photo: Sophie/stock.adobe.com
- Australia Zoo, Photo: katacarix/stock.adobe.com
- Historic Village Herberton, Photo: AustralianCamera/stock.adobe.com
- Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History, Photo: Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History
- Mount Hypipamee National Park, Photo: pixssell/stock.adobe.com
- SkyPoint Observation Deck, Photo: Rafael Ben-Ari/stock.adobe.com
- Boireann Wines, Photo: Boireann Wines
- Min Min Encounter and Boulia Visitor Information Centre, Photo: adiruch na chiangmai/stock.adobe.com
- Chillagoe-Mungana Caves National Park, Photo: mtnmichelle/stock.adobe.com
- Hou Wang Miau Temple and Museum, Photo: Hou Wang Miau Temple and Museum
- Carnarvon Gorge National Park, Photo: Uwe Bergwitz/stock.adobe.com
- Big Red, Photo: ck10_9/stock.adobe.com
- Charleville Bilby Experience, Photo: Bradley/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Zstock/stock.adobe.com