Like most states in Australia, Queensland has its stunning natural landscapes to thank for its rich tourism industry. The state is home to several World Heritage sites, including the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, and the largest sand island in the world, Fraser Island. Even the lesser-known attractions like the Atherton Tablelands are breathtaking.
Great Barrier Reef National Park
Arguably the world’s most impressive natural attraction and on a number of traveler’s bucket lists, the Great Barrier Reef is a stunning conglomeration of coral cays and coral reefs interconnected along Queensland’s coast. It begins in the area known as Capricornia in the south and travels up the shoreline to Cape York Peninsula. There are many things to do in the park, including glass bottom boat tours, scuba diving, snorkeling, reef walks, and island hopping. The area is accessible from many coastal towns and cities, including Cairns (which is the main gateway to the reef), Townsville, Airlie Beach, Port Douglas and Mackay. Address: Great Barrier Reef, 100 Abbott Street, Cairns Phone: +61-7-4051-5777 Website: www.greatbarrierreef.org
Daintree Rainforest National Park
Located in Far North Queensland, just two hours from Port Douglas and three hours north of Cairns, the Daintree Rainforest is a major feature of the Queensland Wet Tropics World Heritage site. It is home to a plethora of fascinating flora and fauna species, and contains many interesting sites. Mossman Gorge is a must-visit attraction within the park, as it hosts a range of rare and stunning bird species. It is also home to the beautiful Mossman River, which includes cascades and clear rapids that can be seen on a two-mile rainforest walk. Address: Cape Tribulation Road, Cape Tribulation, Queensland Phone: +61-7-4098-9126 Website: http://daintree.localtourismnetwork.com/
Resting in the city of Townsville, the largest coral reef aquarium in the world is a must-see attraction when visiting Queensland. Home to some of the most astounding reef creatures on the planet, more than 250 different fish and coral species are found within Reef HQ. What makes this aquarium so special is its open-air design, providing the exhibits the regular sunlight required to survive. Of course, this means visiting here is dependent on the weather, as rainy days can affect how much a patron gets to see. Address: 68 Flinders Street, Townsville Phone: +61-7-4750-0700 Website: www.reefhq.com.au
This spectacular island is touted as the world’s largest sand island. Best reached by ferry from the Queensland shore, boats leave from Hervey Bay or Rainbow Beach, which is just to the north of the Sunshine Coast. The island is a little more than 70 miles long and 20 miles at its widest point and holds Lake Mackenzie, shipwrecks, champagne pools and stunning dense vegetation. This famous landmark is also home to the world’s only rainforest grown on sand, but be wary of the dingo population as they’re not the friendliest of creatures. Address: Queensland, Australia Phone: +61-7-4191-2600 Website: http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/parks/fraser/index.html
Carnarvon National Park
Located more than 400 miles from Brisbane, Carnarvon National Park is one of Queensland’s most popular attractions. The national park is found in the beautiful Capricornia region and boasts an excellent array of fauna and flora. However, the main sites are its fascinating gorge, Balloon Cave and Wards Canyon. There are beautiful swimming holes, breathtaking cliffs, miles of bushwalking trails, and ancient indigenous rock art. Address: Upper Warrego, Queensland Phone: n/a Website: http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/parks/carnarvon-gorge/i...
Fun for the whole family, Dreamworld is the largest and amusement park in Australia and one of the oldest in Queensland. Continually being updated and renovated, the rides rival the roller coasters and thrills of North American parks. Even though tickets can be somewhat expensive, a day pass to Dreamworld will leave a lasting memory. Address: Dreamworld Parkway, Coomera, Queensland Phone: +61-7-5588-1111 Website: www.dreamworld.com.au
Getaway from the hustle and bustle of Queensland’s mainland and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Whitsundays. This chain of islands on the Great Barrier Reef is renowned for their luxury and seclusion. Visit Dunk Island, Hamilton Island, Whitsunday Island (the most popular) and Hayman Island for the vacation of a lifetime. Whitehaven The easiest way to get there is by air, with connections from the Gold Coast, Sydney and Brisbane on Virgin Airlines Australia and Qantas. Address: Whitsundays, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland Phone: +61-7-4948-2201 Website: http://www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au/
Moreton Island National Park
This beautiful sand island is found off the coast of Brisbane. Visitors can jump on a ferry barge from Redland Bay or Redcliffe to land at Tangalooma and Bulwer respectively. The island is famous for its sand-bushwalking paths and natural landmarks. The most interesting site on the island is the Blue Lagoon, a beautiful swimming hole. Four-wheeling is another popular activity, as is fishing and sand tobogganing. Address: Moreton Island, Moreton Bay Marine Park, Queensland Phone: n/a Website: http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/parks/moreton-island/in...