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14 Queensland holiday destinations to inspire your next holiday

Queensland Holiday Destinations

Queensland is named the Sunshine State for a reason. Some spots in this expansive state get up to 320 days of pleasantly sunny weather all year round. As such, it makes the perfect place for holiday makers to vacation.

Much of Queensland sits in the tropics and so it is home to some of the world's most spectacular beaches and palm-tree lined islands. From the internationally famous Whitsundays to white sands of the untouched Cape Tribulation, Queensland has a beachy destination to please just about everyone.

But there's more too, think 190,000 year old lava caves, the world's oldest rainforest and the biggest dinosaur fossil centre in the entire Southern Hemisphere. Keep reading to see 14 Queensland holiday destinations you'll want on your bucket list.


You might also like:

13 NSW holiday destinations you’ll want to visit
A guide to Western Australian Holiday destinations
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Port Douglas, Daintree Rainforest and Mossman Gorge

One thing Queensland is not short of, spectacular beaches. In fact, most of the towns and cities up and down the Queensland coast are going to have some seriously enviable waterways. What makes Port Douglas stand out is its unique landscapes, luxury hotels and dining options.

Although it technically is, Port Douglas feels like anything but a small town. With fabulous waterside bars like Hemingways and resorts like the Sheraton Grand Mirage, this location has everything you need for a luxury vacation. A walk across four mile beach offers a stellar view of the sloping, mountainous hills slipping into the ocean. It's just a short drive into to Mossman Gorge and the Daintree Rainforest - the oldest rainforest in the world. As a town along the Great Barrier Reef, you'll have access to plenty of diving and snorkelling tours. And you're just an hour from Cairns and Kuranda's attractions like the bird sanctuary and the koala gardens.


The Whitsundays


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This international holiday destination is one of Australia's most famous. A series of tropical islands off the coast of mainland Queensland, the Whitsundays are one of the premiere holiday destinations in the country.

There are quite a number to choose from. Hamilton Island and Fraser Island are the most popular, with the most accomodation options. But there are islands like Hayman and Orpheus which are smaller, quieter and more tailored to the luxury traveller. For the ultimate in luxury stays though, you'll want Qualia on Hamilton Island.

As for things to do, think water sports: jet skiing, kayaking, snorkelling, diving and more. The Whitsundays are a spot from which to explore the Great Barrier Reef. As the Whitsundays are further South than places like Cairns, there is not as much coral bleaching in these regions.


The Gold Coast


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An hour South of Brisbane is The Gold Coast, the theme park capital of Australia. It's main attractions include Dreamworld, Sea World, Wet'n'Wild and Warner Bros. Movie World. But of course, there's plenty of other things to do if rides are fairy floss aren't your thing.

The Gold Coast is home to some seriously stunning beaches and world class nightlife. If dinner and drinks are your idea of a good time, this is the destination for you. Hikers be aware, it's also about 20km out from Lamington National Park a section of the ancient Gondwana Rainforests, which is home to the rare Albert's lyrebird. For luxury travellers, check out the QT hotel or the Palazzo Versace.


The Sunshine Coast, Caloundra and Noosa


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For a similar, but quieter alternative to The Gold Coast, look to The Sunshine Coast. A vacation in this area is really about exploring the natural sites. Relax on the stunning beaches, where the water is warm nearly all year round, take a bush walk, explore the rainforest, try kayaking or stand up paddleboarding. Of course, as a popular holiday spot there is still plenty of restaurants, farmers markets, theme parks and other attractions. In particular, make sure to check out the Noosa Heads and Rainbow Beach. And hikers, bring your boots because this area has lots of hidden waterfalls and swimming spots.




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The capital and largest city in Queensland, Brisbane is a metropolitan hub perfect for sightseers, foodies and culture seekers. Brisbane has all the fabulous weather and beaches you come to expect of Queensland but with some of the luxury touches the smaller towns don't have. It's home to some of Australia's most magnificent hotels like the 5-star W Hotel and the famed Calile Hotel, which is know for its striking mid-century design. There are cult food destinations like Three Blue Ducks and Otto and plenty of roof top bars overlooking the river.

And of course, there are all the other fun things to do that come with a big city; picnics in the park, markets, cinemas, cocktail bars, botanic gardens and more.


Cairns, Palm Cove and Fitzroy Island


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If you're looking to explore Northern Queensland, Cairns makes your perfect base. This town has an airport, which makes it more accessible that places like Port Douglas, but you can still see all the sights. Take a tour of. the Great Barrier Reef, explore the rainforests at Kuranda, visit the tablelands, go for a hike and check out the local food and bar spots. Also, take a 30-minute trip to visit Palm Cove, a community in between Cairns and Port Douglas that has a tonne of family-friendly attractions. Or if you prefer a quieter luxury island retreat, Fitzroy island is just 45 minutes off the coast of Cairns.

Just remember, when visiting Cairns, take your hiking boots and swim suits, the rainforests in the area conceal some of the country's best rainforests and freshwater swimming spots!


Townsville and Magnetic Island


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Townsville is the largest town in the dry tropics region of Queensland. The allure of this place is undeniable, the stretches on sandy beaches donned with palm trees look more like a tropical island in the pacific than a region of Australia. Particularly, The Strand, a two and half kilometre stretch of stunning beach with a promenade and plenty of places to eat and drink. There's also plenty of family attractions like animal parks, playgrounds and historical sights. And it's an easy base from which to explore the Great Barrier Reef. In fact it has some of the best diving opportunities in the whole country with the first underwater museum.

What makes Townsville's different to the other spots around is that you can actually swim in the beaches . Most of the North Queensland beaches are not swimmer-friendly owing to the stingers that lurk in the water. But in Townsville, The Strand beach is protected by nets.

Then of course there's Magnetic Island off the coast of Townsville. A little, tropical island filled with hiking trails, wildlife, some seriously luxe hotels and of course picturesque beaches. It makes for the perfect island escape without actually having to leave the country.


The Great Barrier Reef


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One of the great wonders of the world and one of Australia's most famous natural attractions, it's The Great Barrier Reef. An expansive reef that covers the length of mid all the way to North Queensland, this destination is accessible from a few different places.

The Whitsundays, Cairns and Port Douglas are some of the most popular places from which to visit the Reef. Just remember that global warming has caused significant coral bleaching and the Northern end of the reef is sadly not what it used to be. If you wish to snorkel, dive and experience the wondrous vibrancy of The Great Barrier Reef, it's best to access the Southern parts from Cairns downward.




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You'll recognise the name of this town as it's the home to the Bundaberg brewery. A location on the Southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, this place offers plenty of things to do and see, even if you're not into rum, like the reptile park and the hall of aviation. Although a tour of the iconic distillery it one of the top sights to see.

Since, tiny Bundaberg is only 18 minutes from the the beach, you can even use this spot as a base to explore the Southern and more vibrant end of the Great Barrier Reef.


Undara Volcanic Park


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Undara is more of a sight to see than a destination where you can stay, but it makes the list because it's one the most spectacular sights in all of Queensland. This expansive volcanic park is filled with natural wonders like flow patterns and 190,000 year old lava tubes. It's best accessible from Cairns and definitely worth the time to visit.


Bunya Mountains


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Due to Queensland's warm weather, there aren't many opportunities for cold, cosy moments in this state. But if you're looking for one, try the Bunya Mountains, a section of the Great Dividing Range. It won't snow, but it's definitely cool enough here to justify a log fire and blankets.

The Bunya Mountains are a destination for rest and relaxation mixed with bush walking, yoga and cycling. You'll find early morning markets and cute cafes to keep you occupied during and big starry skies to entertain you at night.


Cape Tribulation

This remote headland is a coastal destination within the Daintree Rainforest. It's a relatively untouched haven that shows us a slice of what Australia looked like before people settled in. A spot for eco-tourism, Cape Tribulation really is about soaking in the raw, natural beauty of the crystalline blue waters against the thick tropical rainforest. For the ultimate experience, take a guided tour to hear the histories of how this place evolved and continues to thrive today.


Cape York

The most Northern point of Australia, Cape York is a national landmark. But there's plenty of other cool things to do, in addition to visiting the rocky outcrop that marks the tip of Australia. It's a popular spot for camping and reconnecting with nature. Of course there are beaches, and plenty of rainforest too. But there's also quintessentially Australian red dirt roads, the Chillagoe Caves and the Great Barrier Reef to explore with this town as your base. It's also the main port from which to reach the Torres Straight Islands, some of the most visually stunning islands in all of Australia.




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In the midst of outback Queensland you'll find Winton, a little country town of just 900 people. Although it's small, Winton draws tourists from all over owing to its biggest and famous attraction - the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History. This impressive museum is home to the world’s largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils. But not just that, this is a working dinosaur museum with the most productive Fossil Preparation Laboratory in the Southern Hemisphere. It's wildly impressive and absolutely worth the trek if you're someone fascinated by natural history.


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