With Queensland’s areas that enjoy an average of 300 sunny hours per year, its title of the Sunshine state is well deserved. Queensland truly meets every visitor’s needs: from the culture-driven traveler curious about indigenous Australians and their history to the eco-conscious independent traveler seeking for a more meaningful journey to reconnect with nature. Those who want to experience intact nature and wildlife, enjoy off the beaten paths, relax on dreamy beaches, or raise their adrenaline levels with various activities – will not be disappointed. With its surface of over 1.8 million km², it may seem like a mission impossible to experience Queensland spirit in one trip. Here’s what you should keep your eye on.
Visit Queensland’s eco-jewel: Lamington National Park
Did you know that the most extensive rainforest in the world lies in Queensland? Rainforest named Gondwana is a World Heritage Site and one part of it is the highly visited Lamington National Park. Here you can enjoy the short and long distance bush walking tracks and enjoy some of the beautiful sights of the park, such as the Valley of Echoes, Toolona Creek, Elabana Falls, etc. If you’re an experienced hiker, there is a great three-day trip walk (54 km) in the Gold Coast Hinterland, connecting the Green Mountains area to the Springbrook Plateau. You can download the walking track map and find something interesting for yourself. Tree top trails are a popular way to experience the rainforest from the 180 m high. The park is extremely important when it comes to biodiversity: it is home to endangered species (about 58 plants and 22 animals are marked as vulnerable or rare). Ancient birds that date back 55 million years ago – can still be seen in these areas. Popular tourist activity includes feeding wild parrots at the O’Reilly’s: tickets per tray cost $4.
Explore the amazing Wet Tropics: Daintree National Park
Queensland’s Wet Tropics are also listed as an important World Heritage Site. Within it, Daintree National Park in the far north makes the most popular destination and you can experience it for absolutely free. Pick up a brochure and explore the forest on your own while learning about Daintree’s history. Explore deserted beaches or take a swim in many peaceful pools: just keep your eyes open for the crocodile signs! Cruising down the Daintree river is a great chance to meet the rainforest from a different angle and catch some great photographs. There are even themed boat tours such as the crocodile tour and the bird-watching tour. Take a trip to the Daintree Discovery Center to learn more about the rainforest: helpful staff and the very informative booklet and an audio guide will make your visit worthwhile.
Get your heart pumping: Surfers Paradise
Besides the obvious perfect surfer waves, Surfers Paradise has dozens of fun attractions that satisfy both those searching for a bit fun and real adrenaline junkies. The most popular attraction is certainly the SkyPoint Climb – Australia’s highest external building that reaches the altitude of 270m. Depending on the climbing package you choose (some have dinner at the SkyPoint restaurant included), prices vary between $54 and $125. For those less brave, there is an observation deck from which you can soak in the city scenery. There are also theme parks, such as the “6th Theme Park” or “Dracula’s haunted house”, as well as other attractions such as the Aquaduck tours, Jet boat extreme rides, hot air balloon tours, indoor skydiving, etc.
The most exciting urban jungle of Queensland: Brisbane
In 2014, Brisbane was named Australia’s hippest town by the Lonely Planet. It truly is a city of urban subcultures (e.g. skateboarders), which makes it a lively place to visit. Popular locations include the Sunshine Beach (south of Noosa Heads) that has a really nice chill vibe; vivid Davies Park Markets, and the Cultural Center where you can visit the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland Museum, and Queensland Theatre Company, as well as the State Library and Queensland Performing Art Centre. Have a picnic in the Kangaroo point, or visit the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens with over 2000 plant species and water dragons by your side. Because of the bustling bars and vivid nightlife, campuses that are listed as important heritages, various student clubs and associations – Brisbane makes a favorite destination for international students. There are many options of student accommodation in Brisbane where newcomers can enjoy this city for lower paying rates and share them with roommates. Brisbane’s optimal position makes weekend getaways easily accessible, which is another reason why it’s so popular among youth.
Breathtaking marine life: Great Barrier Reef
Did you know that Queensland is a home to the biggest coral reef system number over 400 different coral species? This fact, along with it having the rich marine biodiversity, makes Great Barrier Reef one of the globally most desirable scuba diving areas. The water visibility is simply amazing as you get to see some of the over 1500 fish species, turtles, even manatees, dolphins, sharks, and whales. Port Douglas and Cairns have many different offers of boat tours that will get you to the best diving and snorkeling spots. If you’re eager to find out more about the sea’s biosphere, consider attending the Reef Teach: experienced biologists and conservationists are thrilled to share their knowledge through a two-hour presentation in Cairns. Great Barrier Reef also has helicopter air tours, so you can enjoy the view from above, too. Don’t miss out on exploring the Whitsunday islands with the most amazing beaches, bordered by the reef.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sights worth visiting in Queensland. Pack your bags and load on the sunscreen, and off you go – to an adventure!