An insider’s guide to Australia’s Sunshine State, Queensland
Coming to Queensland? Here’s 7 must do’s from someone who’s lived in this beautiful state for 27 years.
Coming to Queensland? I’ve had the pleasure of calling Australia’s Sunshine State home for 27 years… Here are my 6 top things to see and do…
1. Explore the Great Barrier Reef (and surrounding area)
If you come all the way to Queensland and don’t experience the Great Barrier Reef, are you really even living? Devastatingly, the stunning coral reefs are dying and the reef’s eco-system is being damaged by pollution and rising sea temperature levels, so now is the time to see this natural wonder. Just remember to pack that ocean-friendly sun cream!
How do you get there? Head off from Airlie Beach or Cairns, where you can jump on a boat out to the reef. You can choose to snorkel, scuba dive or even take a helicopter ride to really appreciate its sheer scale. The best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is from June to November as the weather is nice and mild and visibility is great. A great secret spot is Kuranda – a beautiful village in the rainforest, just north of Cairns. There’s a scenic sky rail and lush tropical gardens – bliss.
2. Head to the Gold Coast for jaw-dropping beaches (and pancakes!)
Breathtaking beaches and chilled-out pubs, restaurants and clubs are all on your doorstep here and it’s definitely one of the biggest tourist destinations in QLD. So, I say serve the crowds at Pancakes on the Rocks – an amazing pancake and pizza spot and a must-try for foodies if you’re in Surfers Paradise. A short drive north will take you to the area’s three biggest theme parks: Dream World, Wet n Wild and Movie World. This is the place to just let go and have fun!
3. Go camping on Double Island
Camping on the beach is a massive luxury us Queenslanders often take for granted, and driving along the beach trying to find the perfect camping spot is all part of the fun. If you’re not into camping, there are also plenty of options to stay in houses/apartments at Rainbow Beach, while also being able to book 4wd (four wheel drive) tours for the day.
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4. Find nature and adventure in Cairns
Cairns is the place for amazing nature experiences. Daintree National Park is a must-see – the sky rail rainforest cableway is amazing (as long as you don’t suffer from a fear of heights…). Here, you can also visit Tjapukai Aboriginal Centre to learn about the indigenous culture and traditions, or try white water rafting on Barron River. Looking for a little more luxury? Palm Cove will have you covered, with an idyllic location right on the beach.
6. Escape to the idyllic Whitsunday Islands
Talk about having a tropical oasis in your own back yard, amiright?! Sailing the Whitsundays is a travel experience everyone should get to enjoy at least once in their life, as is seeing Whitehaven Beach, one of the top 10 best beaches in the world. Here, you can learn to sail or take a tour, plus you can try some of the freshest seafood in the world (I love Long Pavillion – a beachfront restaurant serving amazing fish). Even for Australians this place never gets old. Pure paradise.
7. Relax to the max on the Sunshine Coast
Beach, beach and more beach – that’s why it’s called the Sunshine State! And let me tell you, the Sunshine Coast lives up to its name. Just an hour’s drive from Brisbane you’ll find yourself surrounded by idyllic sandy beaches, prestigious restaurants and awesome bars. Head to Kings Beach or Mooloolaba Spit for crystal waters and powder-white sand.
Quieter and more laid back than the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast is is the perfect place to put your feet up and enjoy what this great state has to offer: ocean views as far as the eye can see.
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Do you have any locals tips on how to make the most of travelling in Queensland? Share the love and let us know in the comments below.