Hike through rainforest, explore stark Outback landscapes and dive the Great Barrier Reef in Australia’s second-largest state.
The warm climate, long stretches of white-sand beach, tropical islands and rainforest hiking trails of Queensland are unmistakable. Visit the capital city, Brisbane, and surrounding coastal cities and towns to experience the state’s trendy bars and cafés, enjoy multicultural dining, explore wildlife parks and investigate world-class cultural precincts.
In Brisbane’s balmy climate, discover an eclectic mix of buzzing nightlife, live music, riverside parks and suburbs, each with a unique character. Shop for vintage fashion in Paddington, cool off with an artisanal ale in West End’s relaxed beer gardens and spot Queensland’s most iconic wildlife on an upriver trip to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
An hour’s drive south of Brisbane is the Gold Coast, known for shopping, theme parks and spectacular beaches. Take a surfing lesson in the clear blue waters of Surfer’s Paradise or race your friends on the towering water slides of Wet n’ Wild theme park. Get back to nature in the hinterland rainforests of Lamington National Park or Tamborine Mountain. Encounter Queensland’s creatures at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
North of Brisbane, find the seaside and rural communities of the Sunshine Coast. Enjoy a swim and gelato at Noosa Beach before a hike through Noosa National Park to see secluded beaches, blowholes and an occasional koala. Head inland for unusual craft, art and wine cellars in the forested mountain communities, Maleny and Mapleton.
Head farther north along the ocean to the beautiful tropical beaches of the Whitsunday Coast. Take a boat cruise to Hayman or Daydream islands to stay in five-star luxury comfort or family-friendly accommodations. Scuba dive the spectacularly colorful Great Barrier Reef just off the Whitsunday Coast.
For a taste of the Outback, head to Central Queensland to the meeting point of historic livestock routes in Longreach. See Australia’s important inland river eco-systems in the national parks or on a river cruise. Explore the Simpson Desert National Park from the dusty one-pub town of Birdsville. Pack a camera to capture Outback Queensland’s intense sunrises and sunsets.