In partnership with Queensland

Our brief introduction to the warmer weather has got us itching for a break abroad. We’re longing for sunset swims in the ocean, road trips with friends and a new culture to explore, and Queensland, Australia is the perfect long-haul destination to explore just that. 

Situated on the continent’s northeast, Queensland is the second largest Australian state and is home to some of the country’s richest nature experiences. From long sandy beaches and the Great Barrier Reef to mesmerising rainforests and wildlife you won’t find anywhere else in the world, it’s the ideal destination to kickstart your next adventure.

With Australia’s borders reopen, now’s the perfect time to start planning for your big winter getaway. Wondering where to start? Here’s where you should travel Down Under this year.

Experience the Great Barrier Reef in new ways

Renowned across the world for its incredible beauty and abundance of diverse marine life, the Great Barrier Reef which stretches 1,429 miles up Queensland’s coastline is the world’s largest coral reef system, and there are so many wonderful ways to explore it.

Head to the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) in Townsville, Far North Queensland to uncover two magnificent installations, created by underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, that span art, science, culture and conservation. Two new installations are joining the collection in 2022, and can be best experienced by snorkelling to get up close to the sculptures. It’ll help make the MOUA accessible to those who don’t dive.

Museum of Underwater Art, Townsville
Reefsuites, The Whitsundays

Hamilton Island, located in the iconic Whitsundays, allows guests to experience unprecedented access to the Heart Reef lagoon thanks to the launch of ‘Heart Island’ in 2019. Accessible via helicopter, it’s an exclusive experience that shouldn’t be missed. While Lady Musgrave HQ, which launched this year allows you to experience the Southern Great Barrier Reef on a three-level pontoon. Here you can sleep under the stars surrounded by the magnificent Reef and be lulled into slumber by the sound of the lapping waves from your queen-sized glamping bed.

Step the experience up a notch and book into Australia’s first underwater accommodation, Reefsuites, Whitsundays. You’ll have a front row seat to the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef, experiencing what the phrase ‘a room with a view’ intended.

The Daintree Rainforest, Tropical North Queensland

Switch off in nature

Being outdoors is part of Queensland’s DNA. The state is renowned for its open spaces, from the lush rainforests and vibrant reefs to the awe-inspiring national parks and rolling green hinterland.

A stay at Silky Oaks Lodge is ideal for adventurers looking to switch off in style. The luxury destination is located in the Daintree Rainforest – a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site in Tropical North Queensland. Baillie Lodges’ Silky Oaks Lodge which re-opened in December 2021 following a considerable refurb, works in collaboration with the local Indigenous owners, the Kuku Yalanji people, to welcome guests to their incredible Country and offers a beautiful space to relax in harmony with nature. The reimagined main lodge hub evokes the jungle feel, offering up six stunning treehouse-style suites and a Healing Water Spa – all nestled within the heart of the rainforest.

Venture an hour outside of Queensland’s capital city, Brisbane, and you’ll come across the stunning Scenic Rim Region, where you can lace up for a five-day walk through the sweeping scenery on the Spicers Scenic Rim Trail. Stop by a new world winery The Overflow 1895 and even stay in a self-contained cabin at Hazelwood Estate.

Scenic Rim Region
Driving through Queensland’s Outback

Journey through the Outback

From the main towns of Mount Isa in the north-west, Birdsville in the far west, Charleville in the south-west and Longreach at its heart, the Outback makes up more than 65% of Queensland’s footprint. 

Discover ancient paleontological history by day and cosmic science by night, exploring tiny towns, uncovering Indigenous history and learning more on Australia’s pioneering past. Stop for a few nights at Mount Mulligan Lodge, located three-hours west of Cairns in remote Far North Queensland, for luxury accommodation that’s set on a secluded heritage property and working cattle station or bask under a blanket of stars at Mitchell Grass Retreat in Longreach, home to luxury glamping with a view.

Mount Mulligan Lodge, Northern Outback Queensland

Soak up the best of the coastline

Home to 4,333 miles of coastline, Queensland isn’t short of beaches worth exploring. And there’s something for everyone, whether you’re looking to get your surf on, or simply bask in the azure blue waters that hug the soft, white, powdery beaches.

Experienced or budding surfers can look to The Sunshine Coast and Noosa for waves worth catching, while foodies can explore the best of the dining scene along the Gold Coast – both an hours’ drive from Queensland’s capital Brisbane. Or why not get a flavour for a few different destinations by discovering the 900 islands that lie just off the coast. The Whitsundays is the perfect place to switch off, and for those keen on conservation, the islands of the Southern Great Barrier Reef region are not to be missed.

Get to know Australia’s unique wildlife

Australia is renowned for its weird and wonderful wildlife and Queensland is the perfect place to discover just that. Venture into the Daintree Rainforest where you can share the floor with Australia’s largest flightless bird, the Cassowary, or catch a tour along the Daintree River to spot some saltwater crocodiles. 

Along the Southern Great Barrier Reef, you’ll be able to see baby turtles hatching. The idyllic islands of Wilson, Heron, Lady Musgrave and Lady Elliot are swarmed each year by thousands of baby turtles marching their way to the sea from their sandy nests. You’ll want to head to Mon Repos Turtle Centre to soak up the experience in its entirety.

Or brush shoulders with the Aussie icon, the koala, during joey season which is best experienced from March onwards when it’s breeding season. The best place to see them is on Magnetic Island just off the coast of Townsville which boasts Australia’s largest population of wild koalas. Or for a guaranteed viewing, head to Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the Gold Coast’s Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary or the Sunshine Coast’s Australia Zoo where you’ll also be supporting the local wildlife through your ticket purchase.

To catch an unforgettable nature display of humpback whales, look no further than the Fraser Coast – a three-hour drive, or an hour’s flight north of Brisbane. During migration season which takes place every year between July and October, around a third of the herd take a right hand turn at Fraser Island for a rest-stop in Hervey Bay.

Discover the world’s oldest Indigenous culture

Holidaying is all about immersing yourself in the local culture, and Australia’s Indigenous culture is the oldest living cultural history in the world, surviving over 50,000 years. 

In Queensland you can experience Indigenous culture first-hand. Cruise the Whitsundays and hear stories from a Ngaro Sea Country Elder with Whitsunday Paradise Explorer. You’ll have the chance to explore two islands, see Aboriginal rock paintings and learn about the history of the Sea People. 

Cairns’ Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel allows you to experience and visit two reef sites – Flynn Reef and Milln Reef – and journey through history as you’re told stories told by a dozen or so Indigenous crew employed by Dreamtime Dive.

Snorkelling off Lady Elliot Island, Southern Great Barrier Reef
Mossman Gorge Indigenous walk, Daintree Rainforest

Get a taste of the local cuisine

Queensland is rich with delicious local produce, from fresh fruits and seafood to innovative chefs working their culinary magic to bring the area’s history to life through food. 

If you’re along the Gold Coast, stop by Rick Shores for views of the beach and pan-Asian flavours made using locally-sourced, fresh produce or try al-fresco dining at The Tropic, which sits above Rick Shores at Burleigh Pavilion, for a taste of the sea. Further north, along the Scenic Rim Region, stop by Homage Restaurant for fresh delights inspired by the local area. 

Or, for something different, book in for a  Kuku Yalanji Cultural Tours where you can learn how to fish traditionally, from mud-crabbing to spear fishing.

How to plan…

Keen to get planning a trip Down Under? There are a few ways to explore this diverse state.

Road Trips: Make it a trip to remember with the ultimate Queensland road-trip along the Pacific Coast Way which spans from Queensland’s capital Brisbane, right up to Cairns in Tropical North Queensland. Take two weeks to discover the best of what the State has to offer. Looking for something more succinct? Australia’s Nature Coast Drive takes in the Sunshine Coast and Fraser Coast and is a nature-lovers dream. Discover the Noosa Everglades, the Glass House Mountains, and spot humpback whales as you cruise down the 75-mile beach highway.

Twin Locations: Can’t settle on one location?  Pair two of your must-visit destinations together. Give The Whitsundays and Tropical North Queensland a visit for beachside bliss with a healthy side of nature, discover the Outback and the Southern Great Barrier Reef for an off-the-beaten-track adventure, or Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast for a cosmopolitan fix with a side of nature.

Working Holiday Maker Visa: You can get a taste of Queensland on a short holiday but if you want to live like a local and see it all why not consider a Working Holiday Maker Visa? For those aged between 18 and 30, there’s the option to apply for a 12-month visa which enables you to work in Australia and you can also extend it for two or even three years. For more information, visit the Department of Home Affairs.

To get planning your Queensland getaway visit www.queensland.com


Want to receive more great articles like this every day? Join our daily email now