Looking for Outdoor Activities?
A brief overview of popular outdoor activities available within each region in Queensland.
Discover more about the various regions of Queensland by clicking on the links below. These links provide a brief overview of popular outdoor activities that are available within each region in Queensland.
As Queensland’s capital, Brisbane’s active yet relaxed way of life fits perfectly with the plethora of things to see and do in and around the city. From one side of the city’s limits to the other, the opportunities abound.
Image Credit: Tourism Queensland
Try scuba diving, quad biking, skydiving or ballooning. Head out to sea on a fishing charter, or set sail on a sailing tour or cruise of Moreton Bay. And exploring nearby North Stradbroke and Moreton Island’s beaches by 4WD is a must.
The Brisbane River is the inner city’s home of adventure. Climb the heights of the Story Bridge for spectacular 360 degree views of the city, rollerblade along the river’s edge, padlle or ski down the winding river bends, or climb the popular cliffs at Kangaroo Point. Coastal Villages Enjoyed by locals and the many people who visit on the weekends, Brisbane’s coastal villages offer a warm and friendly environment, great for relaxing and let’s not forget the food! Fresh seafood is synonymous with this area with many visitors making the trek to enjoy a gourmet feast or a more casual outdoor meal of fish and chips. Cleveland features an elegant marina with a cosmopolitan feel or for a more relaxed approach families will love the beautiful foreshore areas for picnics or barbecues and its many playgrounds to keep children happy. Also try Scarborough and Redcliffe. There is no shortage of activities to keep you occupied in this area. Redcliffe Jetty is a top spot when it comes to fishing or for those a little more adventurous, Redcliffe also offers beach sky-diving, and joy flights providing views from Brisbane to the Glass House Mountains. Wellington Point has also become a hot spot for water pursuits such as jetskiing, windsurfing, and more recently, the popular activity of kitesurfing. Many of the coastal villages including Caboolture, Redcliffe, Sandgate, Wynnum-Manly and Cleveland have a rich cultural history with heritage trails, art galleries and events to commemorate their significance. There are all kinds of accommodation options, from beachside resorts through to boutique Bed & Breakfasts and campgrounds. Many tours and activities to the islands depart from the coastal villages and cater for all types, including adventure and ecotours.
Greater Brisbane Country
Take a drive through the Greater Brisbane countryside and you’ll discover mountains, valleys, lakes and historic hinterland towns all within easy reach of downtown. Hike through the vast tracts of wilderness of Brisbane’s national parks. Filled with wildlife, they are a nature lover’s dream. Extend your stay at a local B&B, take in the local colour at a country market or stroll along historic streets. Another interesting activity is learning about Aboriginal history and culture in the several heritage precincts around the city. There is much more to country life these days than the enjoyment of untainted environments. Nowhere else, it seems, is there a greater example of community brought together by shared loves … of patchwork fields, the smell of eucalyptus, the sound of whip birds, crackling wood fires, and the refreshment of clean, cool, crisp country air.
Moreton Bay and Islands
A stunning wide expanse of sheltered blue waters, Moreton Bay is Brisbane’s own aquatic playground and marine sanctuary. Dotted with unspoilt islands – including one of the world’s largest sand islands – you’ll discover it’s also one of Brisbane’s favourite getaway spots. Brimming with natural wonders, Moreton Bay is ideal for spotting dolphins, dugongs, whales, turtles and manta rays, as well a vast array of birdlife. Tours and activities cater for all types, including adventure and ecotours. Here you can experience a wide variety of outdoor activities such as sailing, snorkelling, surfing, quad biking and sand tobogganing. Or you can take things a little easier, with a wide range of more relaxing activities, like fishing, feeding the dolphins or lazing by a blue lagoon admiring the birdlife and wildflowers. There are all kinds of accommodation options, from beachside resorts through to boutique Bed & Breakfasts and campgrounds.
Stunning beaches, sun-kissed locals, an attractive hinterland, the Gold Coast offers something for everyone. Enjoy expanses of pristine beaches and watch surfers tame the waves or take the plunge yourself. And just a short drive inland to the Gold Coast hinterland, you’ll feel as though you’re miles away from everything. Explore quaint mountain villages and natural escapes in the World Heritage listed Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves. Experience the contagious excitement, glorious weather and natural beauty of the Gold Coast.
Gold Coast Hinterland
The Gold Coast is a place of wonderful contrast and complement. Journey through a patchwork of rural plantations, vineyards, farmland and livestock estates on the way to more than 100,000 hectares of National Parks and reserves, networked with miles of enchanting bushwalking trails. Quiet country roads, just 30 minutes from the beaches, lead into canyons and valleys with their hidden secrets of natural wonders.
Main Beach, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach
Just across the river from Southport lies Main Beach, one of the Gold Coast’s most popular districts. A multitude of café lined boulevards and boutique shopping are within a short walk of the celebrated sands of the beach. Main Beach offers a vista of multi-million dollar elegance as the calm water area hosts an array of extraordinary vessels and unrivalled residences. And a just a short stroll south is Surfers Paradise, the playground of the Gold Coast, featuring an abundance of memorable experiences set amid a spectacular skyline and brilliant stretch of coast. Then there’s Broadbeach, one of Queensland’s most plentiful shopping districts. Many of the Gold Coast’s most modern dining establishments and premier nightlife venues are based in the Broadbeach precinct, giving the area a contemporary feel and an absolutel distinctive style.
Northern Gold Coast
Only minutes off the coast, and a seemingly world away, is South Stradbroke Island. This natural island environment is a true retreat that is complemented by acclaimed resorts. Once back on the mainland, make sure you visit Southport with its flourishing parks and beachfront playgrounds. Regarded as the Gold Coasts’s established business and commercial district, but the rows of tree-lined streets and well-loved gardens give it a relaxed, casual feeling.
Southern Gold Coast
Known for its laid-back lifestyle, excellent swimming and surfing conditions, the Southern Gold Coast boasts many of the areas best-kept secrets. This more tranquil environment has attracted Australian families for many years and now its charms attract an increasing number of international visitors. These beaches offer the perfect place to enjoy some of life’s great, but simple pleasures. Relax on a blanket with fresh cooked fish and chips from one of the many local shops and enjoy the lights from Surfers Paradise in the distance as the sun sets slowly over the mountains of the hinterland.
Just north of Brisbane, Queensland’s Sunshine Coast offers a relaxed, yet sophisticated lifestyle. Encompassing the coastline from Caloundra to Rainbow Beach and the lush countryside of the hinterland, the beauty of this region will captivate you. The beaches of the Sunshine Coast are varied from gentle waves to serious surf, while idyllic coastal towns are perfect for both romantic getaways and family holidays. If you prefer a cosy holiday nestled amongst the hills and beautiful Glasshouse Mountains, then wander through the hinterland where you can browse among local delicacies at markets and fresh food stalls.
The coastal towns of the Sunshine Coast fringe stretches of pristine beaches and sparkling water. Experience the unspoilt natural beauty of this region from the secluded coves of Noosa Heads to the coloured cliffs of Rainbow Beach. You’ll find the coastal beaches appealing and varied with unlimited options for fun and relaxation.
The Bruce Highway sweeps north from Brisbane past the rearing crags of the Glass House Mountains and through the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast. This rich, subtropical country is embroidered with detail. West of the Bruce Highway, the Blackall Range beckons. Montville, Maleny and the other villages that perch on or behind the escarpment have restaurants, wineries, alternative-style eateries and produce stores, art galleries, boutiques and curiosity shops catering for tastes refined or earthy. Follow the Mary River north from its headwaters towards Gympie and you’ll find a series of magnificent state forests and townships of nostalgic rural charm.
Whether it’s an indulgent break or a life changing adventure, this stunning region offers you a magical and unforgettable experience. Far North Queensland is where the rainforest meets the reef. Few places on earth can boast such unique natural attractions with the Great Barrier Reef offering an underwater treasure trove of dazzling coral and sea life, and superb World Heritage listed tropical rainforests within easy reach. Beyond the beauty of Tropical North Queensland’s most iconic attractions awaits a rich diversity of destinations and experiences for you to explore. Discover uncrowded national parks, extinct volcanoes, lakes, waterfalls, charming small villages and some of Australia’s richest agricultural lands in the Cairns Highlands, all within an hour west of Cairns. Take time out in the Gulf Savannah, an expansive region filled with dry grasslands, lava tubes, cascading hot springs, hidden gorges, sensational fishing spots and mining relics. Or head south to explore the scenic beauty of the Great Green Way and Bellenden Ker ranges extending south of Cairns to Mission Beach. If a unique journey of discovery is more your style, head north of the Daintree and Cape Tribulation to explore Cape York Peninsula, known as Australia’s last frontier.
Be refreshed in this region which is set on rolling plateaux around 700m above sea level, and within just an hour’s drive west of Cairns. Diverse and breathtaking, the Highlands offer an abundance of experiences and attractions to captivate you.
Cooktown and Cape York Peninsula
Beginning at historic Cooktown, Cape York Peninsula, one of the world’s last accessible wilderness areas, remains a land of few people and prolific wildlife. The fishing is amazing, the scenery magnificent and the culture a fusion of many. Visit ancient Aboriginal cultural sites, head to premier sports fishing grounds or go on a 4WD adventure you won’t forget past towering termite nests, fast-flowing rivers and remote camping and wilderness lodges.
Daintree and Cape Tribulation
Welcome to lush tropical rainforests, sparkling rivers, secluded white beaches and breathtaking beauty, the only place in the world where two World Heritage listed areas meet… the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest.
Great Green Way
The spectacular Great Green Way scenic drive extends from Cairns to Townsville. Here you can immerse yourself in the peace and tranquillity of the pristine Wet Tropics rainforests, sweeping sugar cane fields, cute country towns and divine views over the Coral Sea, or pump up the action and experience an unforgettable natural high in this tropical playground.
Reef and Islands
The hundreds of islands that make up the Great Barrier Reef are what dreams are made of…whether it’s emerald rainforest jewels, large natural islands made for exploration, sophisticated romantic retreats or secluded coral atolls where the only footsteps you will see are your own. Whether its an unforgettable flight over it, observing from an underwater walkway, diving through the waters or sailing through on a yacht, the reef’s spectacular beauty will take your breath away.
Outback and Gulf Savannah
Just a few hours drive west of Cairns, lush tropical rainforests give way to an ever-changing landscape of open woodlands and savannah grasslands, dramatic volcanic landforms, rugged escarpments and cool, fresh-water gorges. Try your hand at fossicking, enjoy legendary fishing, view the incredible diversity of bird life or enjoy the preserved history of these ‘frontier towns’, experiences all enriched by interaction with local characters as colourful as an Outback sunset.
Reef and Rainforest
The Daintree rainforest is a haven of cool lush greenery, wafting with sweet floral aromas and echoing with trickling streams and exotic wildlife calls. Take a dip in the cool waters of Mossman Gorge as you watch fish darting below and flashes of blue from kingfishers and Ulysses butterflies flitting around a canyon of towering rainforest.
Torres Strait Islands
The Torres Strait Islands lie just north of Cape York, Australia’s most northern point, and south of Papua New Guinea. This unique location creates a fusion of Melanesian and Australian Aboriginal cultures. The Torres Strait Islands are comprised of 274 islands, of which 17 are inhabited with approximately 20 communities. The islands and the surrounding reefs provide diverse habitats for marine life including dugongs and sea turtles. With beautiful, untouched beaches and crystal clear waters, a visit to the Torres Strait Islands will make you think that you’ve left Australia for another Pacific island paradise, but that’s simply what makes the Torres Strait that more enticing, it’s proudly one of Australia’s hidden gems.
In the heart of Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef, lie the Whitsundays, 74 islands floating like jewels in the tropical warm waters of the Coral Sea. Explore this incredible diversity from the bow of a sailboat…cruise through the islands and drop anchor for a quick snorkel and fall asleep at night to the gentle rocking of the waves under a canopy of stars.
Discovering the Great Barrier Reef is one of life’s must-dos and it’s easily accessible from Queensland’s mainland coast at Airlie Beach or directly from the islands.
Spend the day exploring the pure white silica sands of Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet from one of the world’s most exquisite lookouts, or enjoy the views of the reef from the cockpit of a seaplane. Paddle a sea kayak gracefully through the water, or follow bushwalking trails overlooking the Coral Sea.
Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsundays, Queensland’s pristine 74 islands. It is a cosmopolitan and vibrant town filled with palm-fringed beaches, waterfront parks and alfresco dining restaurants.
Airlie Beach is the epitome of a beach town; you’ll instantly feel the carefree and relaxed attitude emanating from every space. You’ll find it in the Airlie Beach Lagoon, a manmade saltwater swimming area surrounded by sand and grassy knolls, where backpackers and travellers lounge away the day in the sun. You’ll find it in the beachside parks where afternoon barbeques proliferate and continue into the evening hours. And you’ll find it in the alfresco dining restaurants where fresh seafood overflows from every dish.
Airlie Beach is surrounded by several small communities: Bowen to the north, Shute Harbour to the west and Abel Point Marina to the east. Bowen is renowned for its impeccable beaches, while Shute Harbour is the departure point for the island ferries and Abel Point Marina is home to many of the cruising yachts. The drive between the beachfront communities winds along a jagged coastline with breathtaking views to the distant Whitsunday islands.
Airlie Beach is easily accessible and only a thirty-minute drive from Proserpine Airport, the closest airport in the region.
You’ll be amazed at the beauty of this idyllic region at every turn. Visit one of the several luxurious island resorts where you can sip cocktails by the pool, bask in the sun or relax under the experienced hands of a masseuse. Sail between the islands and make sure to visit the lookout overlooking Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach where the colours of pure silica sands and crystal clear water blend and swirl with the movement of the tide…it’s truly stunning.
Just west is Proserpine, the heart of local sugar and cattle industries, where you can enjoy a picnic lunch in one of the parks or a drink at a local pub. Bowen to the north is a picturesque seaside town with several pristine beaches while charming Midge Point to the south boasts an acclaimed resort golf course.
Queensland’s Outback, Australia’s final frontier, invites you to experience its spectacular wonders. Follow in the footsteps of early pioneers and marvel at the rugged terrain and beautiful Coolabah-lined rivers. It’s a region of stark contrasts…desert sand dunes, World Heritage listed areas filled with dinosaur fossils and lush fishing holes. Combine this rich natural diversity with the genuinely friendly locals you’ll meet, and you’ve got a place quite unlike any other. It’s truly a region awaiting your discovery.
South West – Channel Country
With its picturesque bushwalking trails and unspoiled wilderness, the South West is the epitome of the ‘natural’ Outback. Try your hand at fishing in the many billabongs, rivers and lakes, while admiring the countless species of birdlife. Take the plunge in a natural mud bath, renowned for its skin-healing properties, or soak in the hot artesian springs for which the area is famous. Go camping and see stars which stretch forever, or take a four-wheel driving adventure over rugged plains. Experience life on a working livestock station while staying in the comfort of a homestead…complete with warm Outback hospitality.
Central West – Matilda Country
Explore the majestic landscape that inspired the lyrics to Banjo Paterson’s iconic ballad which resonates with all Australians. Learn about the pioneering years through innovative museums, attractions and exhibitions. Discover the essence of the Outback and its people, woven into the rich tapestry that is ‘Matilda country’. The Central West is also the perfect place to enjoy some traditional bush tucker around the campfire and be entertained with yarns of glory days. Come and see where the legend of the stockman started, where Qantas carved its name in the history annals and where our pastoral industry began.
North West – Dinosaur, Fossil and Mining Country
The North West really is the ‘sunburnt country’, a rugged ‘Mars-like’ landscape that stretches as far as the eye can see. Here you will discover where ancient beasts once roamed and experience spectacular Outback sunsets. Delve underground on a working mine tour, trek to breathtaking gorges or try your hand at fossicking. Be amazed by stunning hidden lakes and dams and drop your line in for a spot of superb freshwater fishing. The days are warm and dreamy, with cool, crisp nights. Enjoy camping by the river, surrounded only by the sound of tranquillity.
Bringing together the regions of Capricorn and Gladstone, Central Queensland offers you a lovely blend of laidback country charm amidst diverse natural beauty. With a combination of coastal cities, islands, rainforest and gemfields, you couldn’t ask for anything more.
Visit Rockhampton for a sizzling steak and enjoy a conversation with a friendly local at a country-style pub. Embrace Australia’s heritage on a self-drive tour of the quaint country towns and uncover rainforest studded gorges, stunning lakes, and long unbroken sandy white beaches stretching out to the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Bask in the sun at beaches along the Capricorn Coast and experience a true unspoiled paradise full of relaxation, adventure and discovery at Great Keppel Island.
Pack your swimsuit, walking gear and come discover the Capricorn region. Taking its name from the Tropic of Capricorn, this region is home to many remarkable towns and natural wonders. Explore the Capricorn region and you’ll forge fond memories, not only of the beautiful places but of the friendly locals, who together make this region a lovely cultural mosaic.
Rockhampton is the region’s largest city and fondly known as “Australia’s Beef Capital”. Enjoy the history of Rockhampton as you walk down Quay Street, the longest National Trust Heritage Street in Australia.
As you venture north of Rockhampton, you’ll come to the Capricorn Coast, which boasts 13 beaches along the scenic coastline from Yeppoon to Emu Park. Head inland and you’ll come to several amazing natural wonders. There’s Carnarvon National Park with Aboriginal rock art paintings and delicate ferns amidst towering sandstone cliffs…it will leave you breathless.
Then there’s Blackdown Tableland National Park with its 600 metre sandstone plateau with lookouts and picturesque Rainbow Falls. And don’t forget the Capricorn Caves, where tours of Bat Cleft are available at Mt Etna in summer. There’s also Kroombit Tops National Park and Mt Scoria, the mountain that rings like a bell and Byfield National Park where you can see beautiful rainforest, visit local artisans or hire a canoe on the Byfield River. And be sure to leave a little time for fossicking in the Sapphire Gemfields, the largest in the southern hemisphere.
Rockhampton, the Beef Capital of Australia, lies on the banks of the broad Fitzroy River. A historic city, built on the wealth of gold rushes and cattle empires, its heritage precincts preserve Rocky’s grandest architecture while its collection of grand old pubs keeps the character of the city alive.
Gladstone lies on the shores of Port Curtis, Queensland’s busiest harbour. It is the site of major industries and home to the world’s largest alumina plant. From the parklands to the marina, the gallery to the botanic gardens and the nearby beach communities, there is no shortage of places to enjoy your favourite pastimes.
Coast and Islands
Coastal towns are surrounded by beautiful stretches of coastline where warm waters lap the white sands of secluded beaches. Just offshore, the vibrant underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef nestles up against tropical islands. For dramatically coloured reef, Queensland’s most northerly surf beaches, and an affordable, rejuvenating coastal holiday, you just can’t miss Central Queensland.
Centre of the Southern Reef – the Gladstone region is a unique area of Queensland – a region where opportunity awaits. This dynamic area basks in a sub-tropical climate with islands, waterways and beaches on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef. So many landscapes, variety and sunshine provide endless opportunities for enjoyment.
At the heart of the region, the city of Gladstone overlooks its natural deep water harbour. To the south lie the shires of Calliope and Miriam Vale with idyllic, secluded beaches and scenic national parks. The Town of 1770 is the first place in Queensland that Captain James Cook stepped ashore. Boyne Island is renowned for its beautiful foreshore parks, while its sister city of Tannum Sands offers long sandy beaches for safe coastal recreation.
The reef islands within the Gladstone region are true coral cays, and day trips are on offer to Lady Musgrave Island and Fitzroy Lagoon where visitors can enjoy diving, snorkelling, fishing, reef walking or exploring the flora and fauna
The region has several impressive national parks which add camping and 4WD to the adventures you can experience in the area. The spectacular cliffs of the Kroombit Tops are cloaked in diverse flora and fauna. Mount Castletower National Park lies at the base of Lake Awoonga with its impressive, yet rugged terrain. Deepwater and Eurimbula National Parks provide the contrast of open eucalypt and paperback forests with lush rainforests and quiet beaches.
Hinterland and Gemfields
Visit the thriving regional centres of Biloela and Emerald, hubs to the surrounding agricultural districts. Then head further west to the Sapphire Gemfields where you can enjoy the experience of fossicking for sapphires. This area is famed for cattle-rearing and home to some of the state’s largest cattle stations. It’s also mining country, from the former gold workings of Mt Morgan to the mighty open cut coal fields near Moura.
The Fraser Coast region is a rare destination, filled with natural wonders and some of the world’s most unique attractions. It boasts World Heritage listed Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world, with spectacular coloured sands, freshwater lakes and towering rainforests. And then there’s Hervey Bay, the whale watching capital of Australia and popular access point to the Great Barrier Reef.
With so much to do around the Fraser Coast, it’s worth spending a few days relaxing, seeing the whales and exploring this beautiful region.
In Hervey Bay, from July to November you can watch humpbacks frolic in the calm blue waters up close and personal. And there’s also the 40 kilometres of pristine beaches for you to explore too. The clear tranquil waters of the Great Sandy Strait provide a perfect backdrop to hire a houseboat or sail a yacht and uncover the host of amazing bird and marine life. Escape the hustle and bustle of life and experience the Fraser Coast – because nothing compares to nature.
Come explore this diverse range of coastal communities and rural towns that capture the true pioneering spirit and laidback lifestyle of the Fraser Coast region.
Fraser Island is nature at its awe-inspiring best, gathering together a remarkable collection of environments. Drive along the highway of sand on the ocean beaches or explore the sandy tracks that lead through thick forest to secret lakes, hidden in subtropical rainforest, their glassy surfaces reflecting the vegetation and deep blue sky. Under the shade of majestic satinay and brushbox trees, crystal clear freshwater flows silently over sandy creek beds.
Bordered by 40 kilometres of pristine beaches, Hervey Bay is one of Queensland’s best natural holiday destinations offering convenient access to World Heritage listed Fraser Island and Lady Elliot Island – the first coral cay on the Great Barrier Reef. Hervey Bay is also Australia’s whale watching capital. Between July and November whales can be sighted breaching and playfully chasing each other in the warm waters off shore.
At one time a rival to Brisbane as the site of the state capital, Maryborough has some of Queensland’s finest heritage architecture. The city lies along the banks of the Mary River, overlooked by the heritage precincts around Wharf Street. Today, Maryborough is widely recognised for the abundant examples of colonial and Queenslander architecture, majestic public buildings and beautiful gardens. Much of the city’s character has been preserved in these classic buildings, mostly built of local timber in a range of sizes and designs.
Great Sandy Strait
The Great Sandy Strait is a haven for fishing and boating with its calm protected waters and abundant marine life. The area is a naturalists wonderland – dugongs, turtles and dolphins inhabit the tranquil waterways, while mangroves, seagrass pastures and wildflowers are among the region’s unique flora.
Take an invigorating bushwalk to discover the natural delights of this area, especially the plentiful birdlife. The Ramsar site in the Great Sandy Strait is a declared wetland of international importance, with shorebirds from as far away as Siberia and Japan arriving in summer to rest and feed. The Poona National Park is also ideal for observing flora and fauna.
The seaside townships that lines the western shores of the Great Sandy Strait are perfect for a few days rest and relaxation.
The Mackay region is an inviting blend of secluded beaches, elusive wildlife and rural communities. At the heart of the region is Mackay city, a vibrant city with lovely Art Deco buildings and streets lined with palm trees. The surrounding areas are perfect for holidaying far from crowds; relaxing at secluded beaches, exploring an ancient rainforest, snorkelling the reef or strolling through a laid-back city centre, you’ll love the tropical ambience of the Mackay region.
Mackay is full of interesting shopping, dining and entertainment options, colourful markets and a lively arts scene. Artspace Mackay is the city’s award winning regional art gallery and museum. Its diversity offers the chance to experience the works of local artists and learn about the region’s heritage past.
Discover the newly established Mackay Region Botanical Gardens, observe the fascinating and rare flora of the Central Queensland Coast bio-region, wander through its cultural precincts and learn about local history and exciting projects on the horizon for the gardens. Locals and visitors alike love the impressive Mackay Marina Village. Within five minutes drive north of the city centre, a meal or drinks at one of a growing number of restaurants lining the marina esplanade is a must for anyone visiting the city. Dine alfresco to soak up the sunshine, whilst enjoying superb views across the marina and nearby islands.
Popular Harbour Beach is patrolled year-round, and a stinger resistant enclosure can be found at Bucasia Beach. Town, Eimeo and Blacks Beaches are all great for swimming, fishing and afternoon walks. Don’t miss the old Eimeo Pub, perched high on the headland at Eimeo. They have good lunch specials and the back deck offers unbeatable views of the Coral Sea and nearby islands.
Beyond the city limits stretch the glorious coastlines of the Hibiscus Coast and Laguna to the north, and the Serenity Coast to the south – don’t miss sunset on the beach with the kangaroos at Cape Hillsborough! Enjoy swimming and boating in the warm tropical waters or sink a line in the superb fishing creeks and bays.
Fossick for gold, tour the gem fields, visit a real working coal mine at Blair Athol and Peak Downs or experience life on the land at a farm stay. Be sure to also stop by the historic cattle and mining towns of Nebo, Clermont and Moranbah.
Make the short boat trip to the beautiful, secluded islands of Keswick, St Bees, Carlisle or Scawfell where you can enjoy tranquil beachcombing, fishing, swimming and bushwalking.
Townsville is a vibrant region that encompasses beautiful coastal towns, rainforests, rugged Outback and country terrain. But the appeal of this lovely region expands further from the city of Townsville…head in any direction and you’ll be rewarded. The Great Barrier Reef sprawls to the east, the Outback beckons to the west, islands and rainforest entice to the north while sugar cane and mango farming communities tempt in the south. The opportunities for exploration invite you.
Experience Magnetic Island
Lose yourself for a day, a week, or forever on Magnetic Island. You will notice that it’s like no other island getaway. The contrasting landscape of this World Heritage listed island makes this natural destination truly distinctive. The rocky granite headlands fuse with the 23 bays and beaches studded with magnificent Hoop pine trees, creating a dramatic coastline. Visible from the sea, Mount Cook hovers above the eucalypt woods and green vine forests. The island provides the perfect setting for a unique escape.
Wake up each morning in the pristine ambience of Magnetic Island. Over two-thirds of the island is protected National Park providing a haven for the native wildlife, like rock wallabies, possums, and over 100 species of birdlife. Magnetic Island is home to Northern Australia’s largest colony of koalas living in the wild. Tropical fish and marine life live in the surrounding coral reefs and tranquil waters. Explore the land or the waters and discover the island’s unique surrounds.
Escaping to Magnetic Island is easy. Fly, drive or enjoy a rail experience to the Tropics. Then it’s just a leisurely 25-minute cruise across the bay from Townsville to the island.
When Captain Cook discovered the island in 1770 he believed that the island had a magnetic force that caused interference with his compass. Tests later on proved Captain Cook wrong, but the name Magnetic Island remains with visitors still abandoning their compass and losing themselves to this captivating island.
Great Green Way
This scenic area is filled with spectacular beaches and rainforests. Take a drive along this route and see some of the best this region has to offer: rainforest-clad mountains, lush sugar cane fields and divine views over the Coral Sea.
Visit Charters Towers and Ravenswood for evidence of the 1880’s Gold Rush era and explore the towns of Ayr and Home Hill in Australia’s largest sugar cane producing region, the Burdekin, for genuine country hospitality.
Islands and Reef
From hiking the Thornsborne Track on the national park Hinchinbrook Island to exclusive luxury resorts on Orpheus, Bedarra and Dunk islands to Magnetic Island that is a lovely blend of both experiences…you’ll definitely find an island to suit your tastes.
A couple of notable must-do’s include viewing the city and Magnetic Island from Castle Hill and taking a sunset stroll along The Strand, Townsville’s beachfront promenade.
Only a short drive from Brisbane and the coast, and you’re in South East Queensland Country. Welcome to four clearly defined seasons, clean air, a burgeoning wine industry, galleries and museums, and the freshest and tastiest produce. All this wrapped up in warm hospitality makes South East Queensland Country an ideal holiday destination.
Greater Brisbane Country
The wild expanses of national parks and the cheery hubbub of country markets, glorious vistas and folk music festivals, wineries, fine dining and freshwater fishing are all waiting for you just a short drive from Brisbane.
Head west and you’ll soon be in the cool of the mountains, winding through the Brisbane Forest Park to Mt Nebo. Beyond is Mt Glorious, clad with rainforest, and further north lie the lush hilltop pastures and state forests of Mt Mee. Drive north through Woodford and Kilcoy and you’re at the head of the “Valley of Lakes, here forests and crags inspire tales of yowies and other dark legends. But legends fade in the sunshine, and the shores of Lake Somerset and Wivenhoe offer perfect camping and picnic sites.
And just an hour south of Brisbane, climb to Mt Tamborine, Green Mountains, Binna Burra or Springbrook, and enter the Scenic Rim. Everywhere in these high places are towering rainforests, rainbow-lit waterfalls and dramatic views.
From Beaudesert to Boonah in the west and Rathdowney in the south, the townships cradled by the Scenic Rim have their own charm. Go rock-climbing, do a spot of freshwater fishing or get a bird’s-eye view of the landscape from a hot-air balloon.
Must See’s & Do’s
Visit Laidley Pioneer Village for a trip back to the region’s pioneering past. The village has maintained many of the original buildings including an authentic slab cottage, the blacksmiths and police cells, alongside a flora and fauna sanctuary.
Take a balloon flight over the Lockyer Valley and be wowed by the lush natural landscape. Like a bit more adrenalin with your aerial scenery? Skydiving is another alternative…
For a more sedate and grounded take on the Lockyer Valley’s stunning panorama take a tour of the lookouts and differing perspectives on the valley. Do the rounds of Cunningham Crest, Balaam, and Schultz’s Lookouts.
Take a drive down Tourist Drive 29 and be lulled into holiday mode by the undulating green hills, and long views through to the bay.
You’re spoilt for choice with great camping spots. Try Mt Mee, kitted out with walking tracks, picnic area, lookout, swimming holes, camping, and horse and bike trails.
Assemble a picnic with your pick of fresh produce, to be enjoyed wherever the fancy (or view) takes you.
Past the forestry towns of Blackbutt and Yarraman, where scenic drives and walking trails lead off through state forests, you enter the historic town of Nanango. Then the country opens out to lush farmland around Kingaroy, the paddocks forming a chequerboard of green crops and deep red soil.
In the south-west lies the brooding bulk of the Bunya Mountains. A steep climb takes you the ridge top and through the dense rainforest of the national park, with lofty bunya pines breaking the canopy. To the north, the tidy farmland widens into grazing country and the towns of Wondai, Murgon, Goomeri and Kilkivan. Here the creek beds lure gemstone, fossickers, and the lakes attract anglers, campers, water-skiers and boating enthusiasts.
Sunshine Coast Hinterland
This rich, subtropical country is embroidered with detail. West of the Bruce Highway, the Blackall Range beckons. Montville, Maleny and the other villages that perch on or behind the escarpment have wineries, art galleries and lovely boutiques. Further west, taste hand-crafted cheeses at Kenilworth before taking a leisurely trip along the Kenilworth Forest Drive or trekking into the rugged Conondales. Follow the Mary River north from its headwaters towards Gympie and you’ll find a series of magnificent state forests and townships of nostalgic rural charm.
Turn into Gympie town centre and you’re in the narrow, twisting streets of an old goldfield. Impressive public buildings reveal its wealthy past.
Must See’s & Do’s
Explore the Sunshine Coast Hinterland’s parks, forests and falls – Mary Cairncross Park alone boasts 50 hectares of pristine rainforest.
Explore the Mary Valley on horseback, foot, or by the historic Mary Valley Heritage Railway.
Montville showcases the best of the region in a one great spot, the top of the Blackall Range. The progressive township offers galleries, boutique shops, wineries, great food and above all warm hospitality.
Escape to Buderim Forest Park, a sub-tropical rainforest haven complete with lush vegetations, streams and waterfalls. Bordered by the award wining Buderim Whitehouse B&B at one end, and Harry’s Restaurant at the other, this is one Park where you don’t have to rough it.
Southern Downs and Granite Belt
Two hours’ drive and you’ll be through Cunningham’s Gap and out under the wide skies of the Southern Downs, the high country, where people know that the good things of life should not be rushed.
Whether it’s wilderness you’re seeking, exhilarating bushwalking in a dramatic landscape, or a little pampering in a cosy B&B while a rare snow whitens the hills, you’ll find it somewhere in the Southern Downs.
Must See’s & Do’s
Visit the National Parks of The Southern Downs. Marvel at landscapes ranging from Girraween’s granite monoliths to Main Range’s lush Queen Mary Falls and Cunningham’s Gap, where rainforest meets grassy plains.
If you ache for a horizon more inspiring than concrete and glass, follow the scenic driving routes through the Southern Downs. Sweeping panoramic views, heritage trails, gorgeous deciduous trees, and tempting pit stops lay in wait…
Wine is a local passion and accomplishment. Be sure to visit the wineries and if you don’t fancy driving yourself, there are plenty of tour operators who’ll take the responsibility away from you.
Packing a picnic is a great way to take advantage of the stunning surroundings. From the ordered gardens in the townships, to the natural environs of National Parks and creeks and rivers, finding a great spot won’t be challenging.
Toowoomba and the Darling Downs
Just 90 minutes from Brisbane, the lofty city of Toowoomba, overlooks the coastal lowlands laid out below. Over the Range, you ease into a place of flowers, sparkling mountain air, dignified buildings and breathtaking vistas. Toowoomba is Queensland’s Garden City, and in spring, when the Carnival of Flowers is held, it’s a riot of perfume and colour.
Drive west to the rolling plains and there little rural townships, some with B&Bs where you can yarn with a local or retreat fireside with a bottle of wine. Cruise north to Crows Nest through the hamlets strung along the eastern escarpment and check out the nurseries, cafes, museums and galleries. Go south into the country that was the setting for Steele Rudd’s stories, and enjoy the atmosphere in the popular historic pubs.
Head north-west and you’ll see the Bunya Mountains rising dramatically against the sky. This unique offshoot of the Great Dividing Range has dense rainforest, waterfalls, walking tracks and the largest remaining stand of bunya pines anywhere. Whatever your mood or fancy, there’s something here for you.
Must See’s & Do’s
Take in the magnificence of the deciduous trees in Toowoomba’s manicured parks, or head onto the rolling green plains of the Darling Downs, framed with lovely borders.
Preston Peak Jazz in the Vineyard and the Hampton High Country Food and Arts Festival. The event crescendos into the Signature Dish competition, pitching chef against chef in the preparation of beautiful local produce.
The spirit of South East Queensland Country’s pioneering rural heritage lives on at Jondaryan Woolshed.
Bundaberg, Coral Coast & Country is a charming region of pristine beaches and coral islands, in an easy four-hour drive north of Brisbane. Known as the southern gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, the region boasts an unspoiled 140km sandy coastline, several national parks and coral cays, all which are awaiting your discovery.
There is an abundance of wildlife in this region, you can witness the annual turtle nesting and hatching at Mon Repos, the largest mainland concentration of turtles in the South Pacific Ocean region. Then venture inland and experience rugged wilderness that tests bushwalkers and four-wheel drivers alike. But make sure you save some time for a sip or two of the favourite Australian drink, Bundaberg Rum, commonly known as Bundy. Created here over 100 years ago, a visit to Bundaberg is not complete without a taste.
Coasts and Islands
Be sure to visit the Town of 1770, the first place Captain Cook landed in Queensland, that lies on the estuary of Round Hill Creek. Then there’s Lady Elliot and Lady Musgrave Islands, two coral cays, that offer true eco-experiences. Swim with manta rays or go coral walking, the options for natural enjoyment are immense.
Here’s a destination imbued with heritage ambience, and offering access to stunning beaches, the Great Barrier Reef in the east, and west to the wineries and serene countryside. The thriving city of Bundaberg is dotted with lovingly restored heritage buildings amongst the modern architecture. With a long history of welcoming visitors to enjoy the region’s wealth, Bundaberg offers attractions, accommodation and dining options galore. The majestic Burnett River runs through the middle of Bundaberg, and locals have harnessed its beauty by flanking the river with parks, playgrounds, and even a zoo.
Historic towns and beautiful vistas overlooking the rolling countryside…the hinterland offers this and much more. Visit townships set amidst cane fields and take time to visit various lookouts and ridges for scenic panoramas. Be sure to stop by Gayndah, Queensland’s oldest town, and Mundabbera, the State’s citrus capital. And as you drive between towns, enjoy sunflower fields and take in the beautiful history of the region.
If it’s classic Aussie pubs, stunning National Parks or colourful country experiences you’re chasing, then a trip to Queensland’s Western Downs is a must on your holiday itinerary. Just three hours drive west of Brisbane, the Western Downs can be explored while touring some of Queensland’s major arterial highways: the Great Inland Way, Warrego, Leichhardt and Gore. Discover wide open spaces and the rich pioneering history of real Queensland country. Enjoy great inland fishing, experience life on a host farm, go wine tasting western style and discover the peaceful lifestyle of rural communities.
Blaze a trail in the steps of Ludwig Leichhardt and travel the Leichhardt Highway a 678 km highway, from the vibrant border town of Goondiwindi in Queensland’s Western Downs to the heart of the Capricorn Coast, Yeppoon. The Leichhardt Highway stretches north through quaint country towns, over rivers brimming with freshwater fish, by tranquil lagoons, through mining towns where opulence was once flaunted in grand architecture left for us to admire today. Magnificent wildflowers blooming in forests, historical villages, understanding our Aboriginal culture, entering the once “world’s greatest gold mine” or just sitting at a bar and meeting the locals who are always up for a chat. So why not start your motor and get ready for a fantastic journey northbound following the steps of one of Australia’s most energetic and devoted explorers.
Great Inland Way
Here you can experience inland fishing at its best, see unique emu egg carvings, visit a winery and even have a beer in the famous Nindigully Pub. As you travel further along the highway, make sure to stop at Wallam Creek in Bollon to spot a koala or two and then visit Hebel, the location where the infamous Kelly gang bushrangers resided. Then there’s Surat’s Cobb and Co Changing Station Complex where you can learn about days gone by. And on your way to Canarvon National Park, make sure to stay in Roma, a friendly country town with bottle tree-lined streets, the first site where oil and gas were discovered in Australia.
From the home of Gunsynd and Queensland’s Cotton Capital to Queensland’s Garden City, the Gore Highway is 210 km of the best country driving. Travelling the Gore highway will take you through the world famous Darling Downs from Goondiwindi to Toowoomba. Explore the patchwork farming landscape that makes the Darling Downs famous. Here the rich black soils see yearly plantings of grain and cotton crops. On the other hand, you can enjoy the great inland fishing opportunities for which the Western Downs is loved.
The Warrego Highway, a 744 km fully sealed stretch of highway leads you from the Queensland’s capital, Brisbane, through the fertile Lockyer Valley, up and over the Great Dividing Range, across the Darling Downs and onto the Outback metropolis of Charleville. Along the way, you can see ancient trees from the dinosaur age, endangered mammals, unwind in the soothing waters from the sub artesian basin, delight in tales told over country bars, or just relax and enjoy the brilliant sunsets and starry nights, and this is to name just a few.
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You’ve arrived, we’re so glad you’re here!
Queensland is a wonderland of adventures – and trust us – you really must see it for yourself. While you’re visiting the Sunshine State you can…
- Get lost in a rainforest land before time.
- Unwind on a beach in a tropical paradise.
- Go under the sea on the one and only Great Barrier Reef.
- Lose yourself in the starry skies of the outback.
- Sail through the breeze on a yacht in The Whitsundays.
- Soak up the sun while you surf a legendary break on the Gold Coast.
One day we hope you’ll join us in this land of dreams. But until then, be inspired and remember that some of the best memories are made in flip flops.
The Best of what Queensland has to offer – lists and lists!
(from Queensland ‘where Australia shines’)
When holidaying in Queensland, keep an eye out for the blue and yellow information sign. The teams at accredited visitor information centres have a wealth of local knowledge and can give you friendly advice on where to stay, what to do and help book you accommodation and activities. Drop in for maps, brochures and easy information access on the go
Tourism and Events Queensland is a statutory body of the Queensland Government and its lead marketing, destination and experience development and major events agency.
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Queensland covers approximately 1.6 million sq kms, over 270 towns, villages, hamlets and destinations, and features over 800 events of interest.