Fly through the air, dive through the coral, or ride the wild river rapids - a Queensland Adventure holiday really gives you something to write home about!
With craggy mountain heights to scale, deep limestone caves to delve and vast treks of unchartered Outback to explore, Queensland is a land brimming with surprising discoveries and exciting adventures to enjoy.
In Queensland you can learn how to hang glide off a mountain or ride a camel along a golden beach. You can camp by a billabong or feel your adrenalin surge on a real life cattle muster during a farm stay on the Western Downs.
From an inflatable jet boat you can watch the whales waltz or take a jet ski eco-safari through the glorious Whitsundays archipelago. Then as the sun sets over the ocean, watch the Reef come alive under the stars, during your overnight stay on a purpose-built ocean pontoon.
Treat the whole family to an exhilarating day at a world-class theme park. Feel the rush of the rollercoaster, go behind the scenes of a movie set, and get up close and personal with exotic animals from around the world.
There’s so much to fill a day in action-packed Queensland!
Diving & Snorkeling
As you dive beneath the calm, clear waters of the Great Barrier Reef you instantly feel your worldly worries melt away. Whatever your pace or experience, Queensland has the right underwater adventure for you!
For some of the most spectacular coral diving in the world, you can’t beat the outer reefs, islands and surrounding waters of Tropical North Queensland, the Whitsundays and Central Queensland and Southern Great Barrier Reef. These waters are a riot of extravagantly colored reef fish and coral gardens.
Shipwrecks off the coast of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and Townsville and the coral gardens of Central Queensland offer a real treat for more experienced divers looking for adventure!
Snorkeling is one of the best ways to view this incredible underwater world. Most marine activity takes place in the top 4 meters of the ocean and as Queensland boasts some of the world's clearest water, visibility is always at a premium with some days offering more than 30 meters.
With minimal equipment and a few moments of instruction, the colors of the reef open up to a snorkeler. If you haven't snorkeled before, most marine tour operators will offer instruction before you enter the water and will have staff on hand to assist you. The only requirements are the ability to swim and fairly good fitness as snorkeling is a strenuous activity.
You don't need complicated equipment, just a well-fitting mask, a snorkel and fins - which will be supplied on your tour or available for hire onboard. You can also hire prescription lenses if you usually wear glasses.
On some islands and parts of the Queensland coast, you can snorkel right off the beach and see spectacular marine and coral life. Remember to take care with the sun though; snorkeling can occupy you for hours.
You don’t even need to get wet to appreciate the beauty and variety of this wondrous natural attraction. For a non-swimmer or for those who just like to stay dry, there are pontoons or floating platforms in the ocean with underwater viewing areas, glass bottom boats and semi-submersibles. Land-based underwater observatories offer a very solid place to put your feet and the amazing opportunity to look up into the fascinating underwater world.
Many day-cruise operators travel to permanent moorings in the form of a platform or pontoon. These can be quite elaborate with tables and chairs, shade and fresh water showers, just like visiting a floating island on the reef. They allow easy access into the water for diving, snorkeling, swimming and other reef activities. You can even sleep overnight on one in the Whitsundays!
There are underwater observatories on Green Island in Tropical North Queensland and on Hook Island in the Whitsundays. These let you watch and learn about marine life in the wild while staying dry! Some of the pontoons out at the reef also have purpose built observatories so you can follow the snorkelers and divers along with the fish.
Glass Bottom Boat / Semi-Submersible
If you want to see eye to eye with some of the marine life without getting wet, try a semi-submersible or a glass bottom boat tour. The semi-submersible sits deeper in the water with glass side panels while the glass bottom boat skims across the surface; great for shallow coral areas.
Land Based Reef Attractions
Whether you are short of time or have a preference for terra firma, you don't have to leave land to enjoy the natural wonders of Queensland's underwater world.
Fancy feeding a shark, swimming with dolphins or even shaking hands with a seal? Aquariums and marine theme parks in Townsville and on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast offer the chance to interact with marine life in an environment that is safe for us and for our salty friends. They also conduct vital research on marine creatures and offer visitor education programs and rare opportunities to interact with marine animals.
The world's largest coral reef aquarium in Townsville is an aquatic zoo providing an experience that's as close as you can get to the real thing. Exposed to the same diurnal and seasonal climatic changes as the Great Barrier Reef, this built habitat is home to more than 130 species of corals, 120 kinds of tropical fish, sea stars, urchins, cucumbers, snails, worms, sponges and more.
Many island resorts run interpretive marine education programs and also offer visits to research stations where guests learn about the reef first-hand from marine biologists.
Interpretive signage on display in coastal regions provides a great snapshot of the marine life than can be found locally as well as giving useful pointers on what visitors should do so that these plants and animals remain undisturbed for others to enjoy.
Forget dusty museums and tired exhibits — Queensland’s art scene is prolific. With accomplished artists and internationally recognized galleries, Queensland is quickly establishing itself as a leading destination for the arts.
In Brisbane, Australian and international art in exclusive exhibitions can be found at the Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art, otherwise known as GoMA.
The annual Cairns Indigenous Art Fair is Australia's only art fair dedicated to showcasing the best contemporary and traditional art work by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists born or based in Queensland.
All of Queensland’s hundreds of beaches are not only world class, they each offer a distinctive experience. The following is a selection of just a few of Queensland’s famous beaches.
With 535 miles of sandy golden shoreline, it’s no wonder thousands of tourists flock to the Gold Coast, year round. Surfers Paradise boasts great dining, shopping and nightlife; Broadbeach and Burleigh are popular for their fantastic surfing, while Coolangatta, Tugun and Currumbin are great family beaches.
Whitehaven Beach on the largest of the Whitsunday Islands is has been voted the most beautiful beach on the globe. Stretching over 6km and boasting brilliant silica sand, among the purest in the world, you'll soon realize why.
The picturesque Four Mile Beach, with its swaying coconut palm trees is one of Queensland’s most famous beaches. The seemingly endless Port Douglas beach, in Tropical North Queensland, unfolds in a gentle curve that continues as far as the eye can see.
Heron Island is a pristine coral cay right on the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. Here you can swim straight off the beach into an endless garden of coral where the waters are teeming with a kaleidoscope of marine life just below the surface.
With great surf, stretches of fine beach, vibrant coastal towns and scenic hinterland, the Sunshine Coast is the ideal spot for a family holiday or romantic getaway. Experience the unspoiled natural beauty of this region or enjoy the shopping, dining, entertainment and village-like atmosphere of busier Sunshine Coast towns.
Seventy-five Mile Beach runs along most of the east coast of Fraser Island and is Australia’s premier four-wheel driving location. The beautiful beach boasts miles upon miles of pristine sand and sea, as well as a vast array of wildlife.
The beaches along the southern coast of Queensland are among the best in the world.
Be sure to visit the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coasts, each offering complementary yet unique beach experiences. Head to the Sunshine Coast for a laid-back, low-key experience, and the Gold Coast for an action-packed holiday experience.
Surfing conditions in these regions are excellent, which is why several international surf tournaments are held there every year.
The beaches of Stradbroke and Moreton Islands offer a different type of beach experience, with dolphin feeding and camping just to name a few.
So browse through the list below, while it’s not extensive, it’ll give you just a taste of what you can look forward to.
Places To Visit
Double Island Point
North Stradbroke Island
South Stradbroke Island
Enjoy an afternoon drive on coastal highway and choose a beach that catches your eye.
From Fraser Island to the Whitsundays, Queensland's central beaches have much to offer. Grassy esplanades invite picnics while swimming enclosures and rock pools keep children amused for hours.
And if you have the urge…don flippers and a mask and snorkel off small reefs close to shore. Of course, there's tons of places for you to visit...the list below is just a sample.
Places To Visit
75 Mile Beach
The Serenity Coast
Great Keppel Island
Find your own piece of paradise that is un-crowded and secluded.
Chase romance in the tropics where leaning palm trees frame a view that’s postcard perfect. And enjoy lookouts that offer vistas to the Pacific Ocean and the chance to spot dolphins or migrating whales.
From Townsville to Cairns, Palm Cove to Cooktown, the northern beaches of Queensland are simply stunning. Of course, there are tons of places for you to visit...the list below is just a sample.
Places To Visit
Visitors to Queensland, Australia’s Sunshine State, can enjoy learning about the State’s Indigenous heritage and culture in a variety of interesting and fun ways.
Be entertained at the many festivals, theatres and galleries. Be excited by the fascinating tours and excellent shopping for authentic souvenirs. Be relaxed in the most comfortable accommodation and beautiful camping sites in the world.
Learn about ‘Bush Tucker’ and the natural medicines that have supported Indigenous cultures for centuries. Take a trek into an ancient rainforest. Take a canoe ride through a tranquil lagoon or learn to craft spears and catch fish in the traditional way.
Discover the colors of the earth in the traditional rock arts sites around Queensland. Preserved for thousands of years, the sites record the stories of the Dreamtime and give visitors a unique insight into this ancient way of life.
This information on Queensland’s Indigenous culture will help you plan your ideal getaway.
Modern Masters of Ancient Crafts
Queensland has many Art Galleries and shops supplying a wide range of locally made Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander works of art and souvenirs. Most of the products in the shops are hand made by local communities - guaranteeing that traditional crafts are kept alive and handed down, and that you take home an authentic piece of Queensland’s Indigenous culture. The Galleries are full of an interesting mix of traditional and contemporary Indigenous artworks - created using a variety of mediums.
Celebrations and Festivals
The spirit of Queensland’s Indigenous cultures comes alive through the celebrations and festivals of its people. Special events such as the National Aboriginal and Islander Week, the Laura Aboriginal Dance and Cultural Festival and the Torres Strait Cultural Festival aim to promote cultural awareness, maintain traditional values and celebrate Indigenous culture.
Experience the Torres Strait
The Torres Straits have a colorful history stretching back to the 1600’s. In the 19th century the area was infamous for its fierce inhabitants and the rich pearl beds hidden deep beneath its dangerous waters.
The first major European settlers were fugitives, fortune hunters and missionaries. A major influx of settlers came in 1868 with the discovery of valuable pearl shell. Men from all over southern Japan, Asia and the Pacific region flocked to the Straits, seeking their fortunes, until the 1950’s when the advent of plastics bought the industry to an end.
In 1942, World War II saw the evacuation of European civilians from the Islands, and the Horn Island airbus was bombed. After the war the Islanders returned to rebuild their community and the airstrip on Horn Island, but reminders of the strategic role that the Torres Straits played in World War II are still obvious on the islands, particularly Thursday Island.
Today the Torres Straits is much more peaceful place; crayfishing is now the main primary industry along with other smaller fisheries. The Torres Straits are made up of over 100 islands, the most populated island and center of trading and business in the Straits is Thursday Island. With 3,500 residents the culture is an interesting mix of Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Malay, South Sea Islander, Papuan, Aboriginal and European peoples.
Mostly descended from the early pearlers and tribe’s people off the Prince of Wales Island, the culture is quite distinct from mainland Aboriginal culture. This is most obvious in their music, dance, language and lifestyles. Thursday Island has all the facilities of a well-established community transport networks, banks, satellite television, radio services, general stores, restaurants, churches, etc. It has a variety of traveller’s accommodations and tours.
The rich history of Thursday Island has many a landmark and interesting story. Some of the points of interest on the island are: the Cathedral of All Souls, Green Hill Fort and the Torres Strait Museum, Rosies Shop and Mona’s Bazaar, the cultured pearl operations and the crayfishing industry.
Whether your pace is a world-class golf tournament on the Sunshine Coast or a wild bucking rodeo in the Outback, Queensland has the ideal sporting experience for you.
Maxi-yachts racing through the pristine Whitsundays passage. Thoroughbred racehorses kicking up the Outback dust. Powerboats thundering down a Bundaberg river. Surfing legends going head to head in the pumping Gold Coast swell. A sporting day in Queensland is no ordinary event!
Event-seeking culture vultures are well catered for in Brisbane, Townsville and Tropical North Queensland with the finest dance, theatre, music and film from around the world. Enjoy a little razzle dazzle at a festival of sapphires in Central Queensland or an opera in the vineyards of South East Queensland Country.
Take your spoonful of sugar at a Mary Poppins festival on the Fraser Coast, or get your just desserts at a strawberry, fruit, wine or cheese festival in beautiful South East Queensland Country.
Fresh juicy mangos, seafood straight off the trawler, roasted macadamia nuts, and home-made goodies fresh from the oven - just some of the mouth-watering temptations waiting for you in tasty Queensland!
You’ll also discover a few unexpected surprises like traditional goat’s cheese, organic wine and coffee and in the Outback and Tropical North Queensland you can sample bush tucker and traditional indigenous foods.
Those on a budget can indulge in the gourmet goodies found at local farmers markets, on the Sunshine Coast, Tropical North Queensland and South East Queensland Country. Fish and chips on the beach at the Fraser Coast and Whitsundays might be more your style. Others may choose to tantalise their tastebuds at award-winning fine dining restaurants in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
Nestled in scenic locations, Queensland’s boutique vineyards are fast developing a reputation as the ones to watch. Whether you prefer a sharp crisp chardonnay or warm oaky red, Queensland wineries have something to please.
From the fruit wines of Tropical North Queensland to the award-winning drops of the Western Downs, South East Queensland Country, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane Queensland wines will surprise and delight with their taste, range and delicious diversity.
How fresh can it get? Straight from the farmer to you is the latest trend and foodies throughout Queensland are loving the range and quality of local seasonal produce.
It pays to get up early with the sun, pack plenty of extra bags and don't forget a cold pack in case some divine seafood or meat takes your fancy. Stroll around the stalls and chat to the farmers, once you get past the weather you'll discover a wealth of information about how to select, store and cook your purchases.
Head to The Powerhouse at New Farm in Brisbane by at least 7am on a Saturday morning and you'll discover locals armed with trolley bags snapping up high quality produce and seasonal bargains on a regular basis. On the last Sunday of each month the stallholders move to suburban Mitchelton.
If organic is your style the Green Flea Community Markets at Davies Park in West End or the Northey Street Organic Market at Windsor will keep you busy.
Foodies are well catered for with the farmers markets at Banora Point, Bundall, The Spit, Miami, Mudgeeraba and Tamborine offering fresh produce.
South East Queensland Country
Enjoy fresh food right where it is grown on the Southern Downs at the Glengallan Seasonal Farmers Markets, 15km north of Warwick on the first Sunday of each season. Don't forget to look for fresh seasonal produce across the region on road side stalls.
The Noosa Farmers Market on Weyba Road at Noosaville showcases some of the Sunshine Coast's best produce every Sunday from 7am to midday. All products are grown, reared, caught, baked or prepared by the stall holder. You'll find farm fresh fruit and vegetables, breads, cheeses, preserves, seafood, red claw, poultry, beef, lamb, coffee and the chance to swap ideas with local producers. The Eumundi Markets are another food lover's delight with everything from fresh produce to taste sensations you'll find hard to resist.
Keep your eyes open for roadside stalls just off the farm. This area is the fruit bowl of the Coral Coast and supplies chillies, tomatoes and the sweetest of peas to southern states.
In Mackay head for the local showgrounds located in the centre of town for the Mackay Farmer's Market every Saturday morning from 6am at the Showgrounds. This is the best spot to gather all local fresh produce and freshly cut flowers.
Tropical North Queensland
Rusty's Markets in Cairns are an experience that should not be missed by market lovers. This is an Asian-type market experience with stalls overflowing with exotic local produce and flowers.
Queensland has over 200 national parks and many world-class walking tracks.
Magnificent waterfalls pepper Springbrook National Park, quietly nestled between Lamington National Park and the Gold Coast’s Broadbeach.
Walk the wild coastline of Noosa National Park or swim the freshwater lakes perched amongst the dunes on Fraser Island.
Further north, experience the lush rainforests of the Daintree or the striking landscapes of Magnetic Island.
Take on kilometers of natural treks that can be attempted as a serious challenge over several days or enjoy small samples in a day walk.
Some of Queensland’s most popular national parks are highlighted below. Alternatively, as you browse through each of Queensland's destinations, you'll find even more national parks listed there too. Be sure to visit the Walks section for more information on bushwalking in the national parks.
Places To Visit
Barron Gorge National Park
Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park
Cania Gorge National Park
Cape Hillsborough National Park
Carnarvon Gorge, Carnarvon National Park
Eungella National Park
Fraser Island, Great Sandy National Park
Girraween National Park
Hinchinbrook Island National Park
Jardine River National Park and Heathlands Resources Reserve
Lakefield National Park
Lamington National Park, Binna Burra Section
Magnetic Island National Park
Moreton Island National Park
Noosa National Park
Palmerston, Wooroonooran National Park
Simpson Desert National Park
Springbrook Plateau, Springbrook National Park
Whitsunday Islands National Park
As most women will agree, a holiday is not complete without making time for shopping.
But men, no need to worry, as there are plenty of specialty shops to keep you satisfied too. So with that in mind, it’s time to embark on a little retail therapy.
Luxurious centers and some of Australia’s largest shopping precincts will keep you absorbed all day. Buy from some of the world’s top designers in elegant surroundings. And don’t forget a visit to Queensland's ocean side and evening markets…the experiences are memorable.
There are a wide variety of quality products on offer in Australia at very competitive prices.
When shopping, sightseeing or visiting theme parks on tours, remember you have a choice of where and when to shop. Shop around and compare prices and quality before you buy.
As in other countries, some Australian business pay commissions to tour operators and tour guides to bring tour groups to their stores. In some instances the cost of these commissions may be passed on to you, the customer. While this does not necessarily mean prices will be higher than at other stores, you should have an opportunity to visit and buy from other outlets, so check your itinerary for free shopping time and ask for free time if none has been allocated.
While you are in Australia you are covered by Australia's consumer protection laws, which require businesses to treat you fairly. All stores must obey these laws. Australia also has specific consumer protection measures for the tourism industry; most of Australia's States and Territories have legislation that requires travel agents, and can provide compensation to travellers should, for example, their travel agent go out of business.
Your country also has similar laws that protect your consumer rights and govern the professional standards of travel wholesalers and retailers in your home country. If you are not satisfied with what you have purchased from them, you may wish to contact the relevant government authority for travel and tourism in your home country.