Although Queensland is the most popular tourist destination in Australia after Sydney and Australia’s holiday state, you will easily find a corner of secluded paradise there. There are no tourist crowds, no risks of having your eyes pocked by selfie sticks, and no people running around because of their fear of missing out. That’s because Queensland is quite a big place that urges visitors to take things easy and enjoy the views.
Queensland covers over 2,000 km from top to bottom and measures 1,450 km at its widest point, which means it’s nearly seven times the size of Great Britain. So, there’s plenty of space for you to move around and keep your personal space intact. But always make sure you have plenty of petrol to go from one place to another. The distances between its destinations are always larger than they appear on the map!
Due to its impressive size, Queensland accommodates a variety of landscapes, from an impressive tropical forest and breathtaking beaches to rolling hills, fascinating cities, and the surreal Great Barrier Reef. There are so many things to do and see in Queensland. Where should you start?
The beaches of the Gold Coast
How about a trip to the Gold Coast? Blessed with gorgeous beaches that look like infinite strips of sand, the 32 km stretch of coast will take you from South Beach to Coolangatta. This area was once just bushland but now it’s become one of the most beautiful residential areas and tourist destinations in Australia.
Along the coast awaits the phenomenal Surfers Paradise, the most popular beach in Queensland, a real tourist magnet that might be a bit too much for those who are looking for long sessions of introspection on the seashore. However, if you love to surf and be seen, this is the place to be.
The Gold Coast looks a bit like a tropical Las Vegas, not as posh as Miami though, because of its abundance of skyscrapers and shopping malls that have miraculously appeared in the past decades. Also known as Australia’s “theme park capital”, the Gold Coast awaits with numerous family attractions, like the Movie World and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
The oldest living tropical forest on Earth
Daintree National Park, considered a Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, is an incredible corner of our planet. It is so beautiful that it was a muse for the movie Avatar. There are no words to describe the splendid chaos of plants you can see here, including a 600-million-year-old Zamia Fern. Home to one of the world’s highest concentration of threatened and endangered species, Daintree National Park is a true homage to Mother Nature.
Head to Far North Queensland and discover the mesmerizing Mossman Gorge with its lush forest and hypnotic waters, and the exotic Cape Tribulation, where the tropical forest touches the shores of the Coral Sea. The Daintree National Park has no less than 18,000 plant species and a variety of wildlife – yes, crocodiles, rainforest dragons and rat-kangaroos too!
The tropical city of Cairns
Situated two hours away from Daintree, between the mysterious hills of Atherton Tableland and the extraordinary Great Barrier Reef, Cairns dazzles visitors. A beautiful city in the clothes of an exotic paradise, Cairns is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Far North Queensland. It also is a great base to explore Queensland while enjoying its friendly ambiance, palm-fringed streets, and large parks. Along the coast, from Trinity Bay to Port Douglas, the Cairns Esplanade will guide you five kilometers along the bay. On your journey, you will discover splendid views, a saltwater swimming lagoon, and a beautiful water-themed playground for kids.
The really Great Barrier Reef
Cairns is the base for many day trips to the most fascinating destinations in Queensland, including the spectacular Great Barrier Reef. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe this amazing natural attraction. The largest living structure on the planet, so vast that you can actually see it from space, the Great Barrier Reef is indeed a wonder of nature. The reef can be found mostly in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, a park that it’s about half the size of Texas. There are 600 continental islands, 3,000 coral reefs, and 300 coral cays in the park, as well as a beautiful design of mangrove islands.
Snorkelers around the world come to the Great Barrier Reef to discover the magnificent underwater world that can be found here. The reef is home to more than 1,600 species of tropical fish, as well as dolphins, turtles, sharks, and dugongs. A diverse and colorful world ready to be discovered by snorkelers, scuba divers or from a glass bottom boat.
The luring Whitsunday Islands
Along the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll find 74 amazing islands, and all but five have been declared national parks. The Whitsunday islands are continental islands and eight of them are home to beautiful resorts. You can book a room at the luxurious Hayman Island, the sophisticated Palm Bay Resort, the tiny but chic Daydream Resort & Spa, or the vast Hamilton, the largest island resort of them all. However, the most beautiful island is the uninhabited Whitehaven Beach, a little corner of paradise where the powdery white sand contrasts beautifully with the turquoise water, creating the perfect setting to enjoy those moments of introspection you’ve been longing for.
And these are just a few of the natural and manmade wonders that await in Queensland. After all, it’s called Queen’s Land!