Queensland is Australia’s largest state by land occupancy and covers nearly one-fourth of the continent. Being more than twice the size of Texas, it offers travellers a diverse range of activities and places to explore and discover. This makes it one of Australia’s top tourist destinations.
Queensland is best known for its world-famous Gold Coast beaches, theme parks, and the majestic Great Barrier Reef. Its capital, Brisbane, is ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the world, while its inland regions are home to national parks and rainforests teeming with diverse flora and fauna. Due to its hot tropical climate, the best time to visit Queensland would be in the cooler months which last from April to September.
There is so much to do and experience in Queensland that it can be hard to plan an itinerary. This is why I have prepared a guide that dives into some of Queensland’s unmissable attractions while also providing important tips, fun facts, and local insights that will help you immensely during your travels.
For How Many Days Should I Plan My Queensland Vacation?
This is often the first question that comes up when planning a trip. How many days are enough to fully experience a place? Well, sadly, there is no definitive answer to this question as each individual’s travel plans vary depending on circumstances and other external factors.
However, set aside at least 14 days, if you can, to truly experience everything that Queensland has to offer. Spend your first week pampering yourself on the sunny beaches of the Gold Coast – enjoying its surfing lifestyle, theme parks, and vibrant nightlife. Your second week can be spent exploring the inland regions of Queensland that contain numerous national parks, scenic views, and plenty of outdoor recreational activities for you to partake in.
If you don’t have two weeks but can perhaps take out a long weekend, or a week at best, for a Queensland vacation, don’t worry, I have you covered there as well. In this case, spend most of your time enjoying the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast regions of Queensland and their utopian tropical islands.
What Are Some Of Queensland’s Top Attractions?
Queensland is Australia’s ultimate adventure and tourism hotspot and has been nicknamed the Sunshine State. It has Australia’s best surfing beaches, the world’s largest coral reef, tropical rainforests, and vast wilderness regions for those who enjoy camping and outdoor exploration.
However, along with its countless natural wonders, Queensland is also home to the modern and thriving capital city of Brisbane, which offers amazing food and culture, as well as luxurious, comfortable, and affordable accommodation options.
Queensland truly is a place that has something for all who visit but there are some attractions that you simply can’t miss.
The Great Barrier Reef
Pretty much the entire northeast coastline of Queensland is made up of the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, collectively known as ‘The Great Barrier Reef.’ Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and dubbed the seventh wonder of the world, the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is undoubtedly Australia’s greatest natural wonder.
This massive reef system, spanning almost 380,000 kilometres, has a mind-boggling variety of marine life and many picturesque tropical islands to explore.
Visitors can explore GBR’s breathtaking underwater beauty by snorkelling and scuba diving with professionals, boating, or booking an aircraft/helicopter tour to get an aerial view of this incredible natural wonder. The GBR is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations, not just in Australia, but in the world.
The Gold Coast & The Sunshine Coast
Welcome to the surf capital of the world! While Australia has plenty of beaches, none come close to the beautiful golden sand beaches and warm turquoise blue waters of Queensland’s coastline.
However, sand and surf aren’t the only things the Gold Coast has to offer. Nature lovers can explore its hinterland regions which are known for their astounding natural beauty and hiking trails.
Areas of the Gold Coast such as Surfer’s Paradise and Coolangatta also offer an incredible nightlife scene with many bars, clubs, and pubs to choose from. World-famous theme parks including Dreamworld and White Water World also pull in many tourists that travel to the Gold Coast with family.
The Sunshine Coast lies further north of the Gold Coast and is the perfect spot for whale watching and exploring the GBR. Like the Gold Coast, this area has plenty of luxury accommodations and resorts but is less touristy and not as crowded.
The City Of Brisbane
Brisbane is the third most populous city in Australia. Known for its laid-back urban vibes and amazing outdoor adventures. Sandwiched in between the sunshine coast to the north and the Gold Coast to the south, the city lies along the banks of the River Brisbane.
Lined with modern skyscrapers, quaint riverside restaurants, rooftop bars, iconic landmarks, and plenty of art and history museums, Brisbane has plenty to offer to tourists.
Other attractions in the city include climbing Story Bridge, where you can capture panoramic views of the entire city and its skyline. Those seeking a bit of adventure can also visit Brisbane’s islands to swim with dolphins, go on boat rides, and learn more about these islands’ rich aboriginal culture and history.
The Whitsunday Islands
The Whitsunday Islands is a collection of 74 islands situated a few miles off-shore from Airlie Beach. While there are many islands you can choose to explore along Queensland’s expansive coastline, the Whitsunday Islands offer a tropical island paradise experience that is hard to beat.
These islands are renowned for their white sandy beaches, dense forests, and pristine blue waters that hide within them a coral reef that is teeming with marine life that include many rare and endangered species. Apart from its breathtaking natural beauty, the islands have some of Australia’s best island resorts that offer vacationers plenty of recreational activities to keep them active, entertained, and longing for more!
FUN FACT: There are over 100 islands along Queensland’s coastline, one of which is Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world!
The Daintree Rainforest
While Queensland has over 200 spectacular rainforests and national parks, I had to include the Daintree Rainforest on this list. It is the oldest rainforest on our planet with unique flora and fauna that date back millions of years and are found nowhere else.
A day trip to the Daintree Rainforest is a must if you plan on visiting the picturesque city of Cairns, in Queensland’s tropical north.
Top Tip: The further north you go along Queensland’s northeastern coastline the more rugged, adventurous, and stunning the natural beauty becomes. Northern Queensland doesn’t get as many tourists as its southern parts, making vacationing here a lot more affordable. It is the ideal destination for budget and solo travellers, couples, and thrill-seekers alike.
What Budget Should I Set Aside For My Queensland Travels?
Before planning a vacation it is always a good idea to get an estimate of the cost of food, accommodation, travel, and activities in the region you are looking to travel. Even though travel budgets vary from person to person, at least having a ballpark idea does help a lot with your travel plans and decision-making.
Queensland, in general, is more expensive than many other parts of Australia. However, by travelling smart and curtailing unnecessary expenses, it can also be an excellent backpacking destination.
The table below shows the average daily expenses for solo travellers based on their travel style.
|Accommodation||Food & Drink||Travel||Activities & Attractions||Avg. Daily Cost|
For the budget category, the cost of accommodation includes staying at hostels, shared dorms, and camping. The cost of food is reflective of you cooking your meals and buying alcohol from liquor stores rather than bars and pubs. The cost of travel includes the use of only public transport and the cost of activities is limited to mostly free activities such as relaxing by the beach, swimming, and hiking.
The mid-range category accounts for decent accommodation options, such as a nice Airbnb room or a standard room at a 2-3 star hotel. The cost of food is reflective of you eating out most of the time but at fast food restaurants and local diners. The cost of travel includes a mix of public and private transport. The cost of activities includes at least a couple of paid activities every day which can include surfing, visiting a museum, watching a movie, booking a guided walking tour, etc.
In the luxury category, the costs are reflective of you living large. You can stay at a nice five-star hotel, eat out and buy drinks at fine dining restaurants and upscale clubs, travel in a rented car, and partake in more expensive activities such as whale watching, scuba diving, and helicopter/boat tours. Of course, when it comes to living large the sky’s the limit so keep that in mind if you plan on sticking to a budget.
What Is the Best Time To Visit Queensland And Why?
Queensland is such a huge state that it can be visited all year round depending on what part of the state you are wanting to explore.
If you plan on vacationing in Queensland’s southern parts such as the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, and Brisbane the best time to visit would be from March to May. This is due to a couple of reasons. The first is the weather, which is sunny, dry, and cool during the winter months. The second reason is travel costs which can be far less than in busier months such as June, July, and December; when school’s out and it’s the peak holiday season.
If you plan on visiting Queensland’s northern hemisphere and places like Cairns, and the Whitsunday Islands, you are better off travelling here during the winter months as well. The best months would be from May to August as the weather is cool with little wind, humidity, and rain. This makes it perfect weather for swimming, sailing, and other outdoor activities.
Fun Fact: Queensland receives on average 261 days of sunshine, making it one of the sunniest places in the world!
Why Is Queensland Such A Popular Tourist Destination?
How can it not be? The state of Queensland contains some of the finest beaches on earth and is home to the Great Barrier Reef – Australia’s most treasured natural wonder. However, that’s not all. The state also contains ancient forests, rugged landscapes, and remote islands that are inhabited by many types of indigenous cultures.
Being heavily dependent on tourism, Queensland boasts some of Australia’s best 5-star luxury accommodations, that offer unparalleled hospitality, delicious food, and top-notch amenities. There are also plenty of boutique hotels, beachside resorts, hostels, motels, and campgrounds dotted all over this vast state which allow you to explore all of Queensland’s natural and man-made beauty in comfort and style.
However, what makes Queensland truly popular amongst tourists is the diversity of activities, adventures, and experiences it offers and its ability to accommodate all types of travel budgets and preferences.
Frequently Asked Questions?
- What Is Queensland’s Most Popular Food?
As most of the populated region of Queensland lies on its northeastern coastline, the state is big on seafood delicacies, such as Moreton Bay Prawns and Barramundi. In bigger cities, such as Brisbane and Cairns, tourists can enjoy a limitless variety of cuisines from all over the world.
- Does Queensland Have The Oldest Dinosaur Prints In The World?
Yes, it does! They can be found near the outback town of Winton at a property known as Karoola. Considered the dinosaur capital of Australia, the town houses the largest dinosaur fossil collection in Australia and the property has fossilized dinosaur tracks that date back 95 million years.
- Is Traveling To Queensland Worth It?
Yes, it is. In so many ways. Aside from its natural wonders and iconic landmarks, it is the people and culture of Queensland that make this place so special.
Queensland is one of the most beautiful places on our planet and contains five of the eleven World Natural Heritage areas in Australia. Its vastness, diversity of ecosystems, and temperate tropical climate make it paradise on Earth.
Queensland promises an adventure no one should miss out on and is an incredible travel destination, with plenty to explore and discover. We hope this guide was helpful and wish you the best on your travels!
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