From stretches of sandy Gold Coast beach to tropical islands and unforgettable experiences in nature – Queensland has the holiday you need right now.
A true treasure trove of experiences, Queensland is one of the most diverse holiday destinations on Earth. One day you might be dining at a hatted beach-side restaurant, the next chasing rushing waterfalls in the hinterland or island hopping through the Whitsundays.
Whether you’re seeking romance or fun activities with family and friends; you’ll find what you’re looking for in this sun-soaked state. Here are nine ways to get that holiday feeling in Queensland.
1. Recharge your batteries at Australia’s favourite beach destination
Laidback, fashionable and brimming with natural wonders, Noosa is the quintessential Sunshine Coast holiday destination. Upmarket boutiques and restaurants lend the area an exclusive feel, perfect for recharging in style. Its diverse ecosystem is part of the UNESCO-recognised Noosa Biosphere Reserve, home to lush national parks and pristine secluded beaches. Get your nature fix at the sprawling Noosa National Park, where coastal trails lead to surf spots, native animal encounters and stunning lookouts. Noosa Heads Main Beach offers a patrolled haven for swimming – but it’s also worth seeking out more secluded spots such as Paradise Cove. Evenings are best spent enjoying fresh local produce at one of the many upscale bars and restaurants on Hastings Street.
Recommended duration: One week
Where to stay: Sunset Cove Noosa
What not to miss: Swimming and surfing at Main Beach, dining on Hastings Street and a day trip to the Glass House Mountains.
2. Take the family on an outdoor adventure in Fraser Island (K’Gari)
It may only be a 50-minute ferry ride from the mainland, but Fraser Island feels entirely otherworldly. Explorations here lead to abandoned shipwrecks, deserted beaches and vast freshwater lakes (with sightings of resident dingoes along the way!). Adventure-seeking families will love the raw, wild feel of this 120km stretch of island (officially the world’s largest sand island), where new discoveries lie around every corner. Wade through the crystal-clear waters of Lake McKenzie (Boorangoora), stop by the 1935 wreck of S.S. Maheno, swim in the Champagne Pools and go fishing off Orchid Beach. A lack of sealed roads means driving through the national park can be a challenge – hire a 4WD for the family or join a tour if you’re new to off-roading.
Recommended duration: 4-5 nights
Where to stay: Kingfisher Bay Resort
What not to miss: This is one of the best spots worldwide for whale watching (July to November). Alternatively, join a dolphin, dugong or turtle spotting tour.
3. Eat and drink your way through the Gold Coast’s newest restaurants and bars
One of the most exciting parts of any holiday in Queensland is trying new restaurants. Avid foodies will feel at home on the Gold Coast, where brand-new bars and eateries seem to pop up faster than you can finish that next cocktail.
One of the most exciting new openings is Cali Beach Hotel in Surfers Paradise, a Bali-worthy beach club and Australia’s largest entertainment precinct. Enter a world of indulgence with innovative cocktails (tip: book a poolside day bed or luxury VIP cabana) and gourmet dining across two restaurants and four bars. Making a splash in Currumbin is the brand-new Tommy’s Italian, a coastal gem replacing The Beach Shack – the wholesome, fresh menu, beachfront vistas and tiramisu are amore. Take a seaside sojourn in Broadbeach, where you can check out The Vault, a new tapas and whisky bar with a Great Gatsby vibe.
Recommended duration: Long weekend (2-3 nights)
Where to stay: Artique Surfers Paradise
What not to miss: Other new openings worth checking out are Cross Eyed Mary in Coolangatta, Gods of the Sea on Nobby Beach and Wildflower Gin Distillery, Varsity Lakes.
4. Connect with Aboriginal culture in Tropical North Queensland
Discovering new cultures is rewarding but reconnecting with your own country holds a particular kind of significance. The ancient wisdom of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples echoes through Tropical North Queensland’s vast reef and rainforest.
Make Cairns your launchpad to incredible Indigenous experiences, from Traditional Owner-guided Daintree walks to learning about bush tucker at Mossman Gorge and visiting the traditional fishing grounds of Port Douglas. On your next Holiday in Queensland, discover the distinct Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and listen to ancient stories of the land and sea as you learn of their ancestors’ traditional way of life. Immerse yourself via dinners, arts, dance and music and delve deep into 40,000 years of culture.
Recommended duration: 5-7 nights
Where to stay: Crystalbrook Flynn
What not to miss: Experience the Daintree with Walkabout Cultural Adventures where you can taste some bush tucker and try spear or boomerang throwing.
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5. Treat yourself to a brand-new country escape in the Gold Coast Hinterland
Take a moment to disconnect from the real world with a luxurious stay at Hazelwood Estate – a newly opened, boutique Gold Coast hinterland retreat, where the beauty of Lamington National Park meets uniquely Australian farmland. Just 40 minutes from the Gold Coast’s beach strip, or 1.5 hours’ drive from the bustling streets of Brisbane, this gorgeous property allows you to lose yourself in the ultimate countryside escape.
Wake to views of Beechmont plateau’s undulating hills and step onto the private deck of your luxe cabin to enjoy a hot cup of coffee amid the rural serenity. When it’s time to leave your idyllic hideaway, you can learn about the fascinating world of bees from the resident beekeeper, experience a private horseback tour of Lamington National Park or put on your hiking boots to enjoy some of Australia’s best bushwalking trails.
Recommended duration: 2-5 nights
Where to stay: Hazelwood Estate
What not to miss: Watch visiting players and teams practise on the polo field, treat yourself at the onsite spa or unearth a wealth of knowledge from the Head Chef at the wagyu tasting room.
6. Wildlife adventures for the whole family
Home to two distinctly different UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef – Tropical North Queensland offers a wealth of family-friendly wildlife adventures.
Discover the reef from above or below with a variety of activities. Make a splash by diving or snorkelling with turtles, giant maori wrasse and clown fish. Those who prefer to stay dry can take a semisubmersible cruise or hop in a helicopter and witness the reef’s beauty from the sky. Back on dry land, the rainforest teems with life. Take in the vast natural beauty on a platform walk or visit gorges and waterfalls on foot, keeping an eye out for birdlife, tree kangaroos and platypus.
Recommended duration: 7+ nights
Where to stay: Jack & Newell Holiday Apartments
What not to miss: Visit Cape Tribulation, where reef and rainforest meet, and the only place in the world to connect two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Read more: How to Get Your Nature Fix in Queensland
7. Discover new beaches in Southern Gold Coast
If there’s one thing the Gold Coast is famous for, it’s beautiful beaches. Leave the crowds behind and find your own slice of paradise by hunting down some of the Southern Gold Coast’s quieter spots. It’s the perfect way to soak in the natural coastal beauty while still being close to top restaurants, rooftop bars and Pacific Fair shopping.
Kirra Beach is a crowd pleaser without the crowds, offering safe swimming spots protected by sand bars. The breaks here are great for surfers, and the sunrises and sunsets are beautiful. Coolangatta is renowned for its casual beachside culture. Join the locals here for surfing and stand-up paddleboarding or follow pretty coastal trails that connect to Greenmount Beach and Rainbow Bay. The latter adjoins Snapper Rocks Beach and is a particularly popular spot for swimming thanks to its generally calm waters.
Recommended duration: 5-7 nights
Where to stay: Kirra Beach
What not to miss: Follow the Kirra Beach Boardwalk to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (approx. 60 minutes’ walk) and say hi to native animals including koalas, wombats and crocodiles.
8. Be the captain of your own adventure in the Whitsundays
Charter your own vessel and discover the majestic beauty of the Whitsundays at your own pace. With Portland Roads private sailing charter, you can choose to go bareboat or upgrade to holiday like royalty with a private skipper onboard.
Glide through crystal-clear waters in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, stroll barefoot across the velvety white sands of untouched islands and delve into the snorkellers’ paradise shimmering beneath the Whitsundays’ waves. With self-guided exploration, you can spend as long as you like on each island, sailing your private catamaran to the rock-walled mooring grounds of Caves Cove on Hook Island or plunging into the bluer-than-blue waters – perfect for discovering the menagerie of rich marine life.
Recommended duration: 6 nights
Where to stay: Portland Roads
What not to miss: Sunset on Whitehaven Beach is a spectacular moment you’ll want to capture on camera.
9. Embrace Brisbane’s outdoor lifestyle on a long weekend with friends
Brisbane is a city where all the best things are found outdoors. From al fresco dining to South Bank’s manmade beach and open-air markets – the capital of Queensland knows how to take advantage of the state’s balmy weather.
For your next Holiday in Queensland, gather a group of friends and discover this subtropical city in style. Stroll along South Bank Parklands with an ice cream in hand and City Cat across the Brisbane River to enjoy the colourful beauty of Brisbane City Botanic Gardens and New Farm Park. Time your visit around a multitude of outdoor events, from starlight cinema to festivals and open-air theatre. When night falls, rooftop bars are the place to be, with local favourites including Eagles Nest, Iris and Sixteen Antlers.
Recommended duration: 2-3 nights
Where to stay: Brisbane
What not to miss: Scale Brisbane’s most iconic structure on a Story Bridge Adventure Climb – one of the most exciting outdoors activities in the city.
Destination images courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland
Planning a trip? Discover our collection of Queensland escapes