Home to 7,000 kilometres of coastline, Queensland has some of the most diverse landscapes Australia has to offer, filled with rainforests, desert, reef and more than 1,000 different ecosystems. Known as the Sunshine State, Queensland is the warmest in Australia, and as you might have guessed already, it’s tropical climate makes it a nature lover’s paradise.
The most impressive experiences in the heart of Queensland are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites just moments from each other, the Great Barrier Reef; the largest in the world, and Daintree National Park, the oldest tropical rainforest in the world. While travelling in Queensland, visiting at least one of these spectacular natural experiences is a must, with numerous Cairns tours to the Great Barrier Reef happening every day and an equal amount of chances to visit Daintree National Park. However, this is not all a trip to Queensland has to offer, the state also encompasses wildlife experiences unlike any other place in the world with iconic locations such as Noosa’s Hinterland that showcase nature’s best within its rainforest and mountains.
Bringing it back to the coast –as in Queensland, it’s rude not to– beach lovers flock to Queensland to sun it up, among Queensland’s top-rated beach spots are Port Douglas, Whitsunday Islands, Noosa, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast. Whether you prefer to laze around and catch some rays or are constantly thinking about the next wave, Queensland has what you are looking for!
This Queensland travel guide aims to take you on a journey through this scenic state in search of your perfect sun-filled trip to Australia, providing you with all the materials so that all you are left to do is pack a bag, ready to explore the Great Barrier Reef and beyond!
When to Travel in Queensland
As Queensland is a huge state, we have to divide into two to give you the most accurate information;
The Tropical North
Enjoying a tropical climate means that you can visit at any time of year. The North of Queensland has two seasons, wet and dry. During the dry season, from May to November, the north enjoys little rainfall or humidity and comfortably high temperatures making it a top destination, particularly for Cairns vacation packages.
The wet season brings higher temperatures and the odd monsoon from November to April. However, the beauty of the north is that the rain never lasts for long – you’ll always be able to plan around it! The wet season is particularly good for a Cairns Great Barrier Reef trip as, at this time of year, the ocean is particularly clear.
The Cooler South
The temperatures of southern Queensland are particularly cooler than the north. While the seasons remain the same, the south is much less tropical. In the south of Queensland, you can expect heavy and long rainfall, and from May to August, particularly cold temperatures reaching the lows of 13 degrees.
Best Places to Go in Queensland
The gateway to Whitsunday Islands, Airlie Beach is a tropical resort town that showcases Queensland’s magic. You can use Airlie Beach as your hub when visiting the Whitsunday Islands, just like in this 15-day Sunshine Coast trip.
This resort town is home to dreamy accommodations and restaurants that are never too far away from the stunning Airlie Beach Lagoon it’s home to. Not to mention, while staying here, you’re just a short boat trip away from Whitehaven Beach, one of the most iconic in the world, set on the Great Barrier Reef with day trips available throughout the year.
A city with an ever-flourishing food scene, Brisbane is the tasty gateway to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
Brisbane is the up-and-coming cultural centre of Australia. Known for its buzzing bar and restaurant scene on the South Bank, its low lying beaches and al-fresco everything. This increasingly popular city should be top of your list when looking to travel to Queensland.
A day tour in Brisbane could focus on its art scene taking you to the top art galleries, studios and graffiti spots in the city, however, more recently segway tours in Brisbane have been on the top of the list on the things to do while in the city. You can also use the city as a base to take day tours from Brisbane with over 22 scenic driving routes accessible from the city.
Daintree National Park
Between vines swinging across the Daintree River and hidden deep within the canopy is a rainforest unlike any other.
The oldest and largest tropical rainforest in the world, Daintree National Park stretches between Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation. The national park encompasses rainforests, beaches, mountains falling into steep valleys and gorges. This makes a home for crocodiles, a unique range of bird species and sits on the cusp of the Great Barrier Reef. In the haze of Daintree, you’ll find the inspiration for the film ‘Avatar’ and a world that has fascinated experts including Sir David Attenborough.
A tour of Daintree National Park, like in this 7-day coastal Queensland rainforest, reefs and rivers trip takes you from one end to the other, following boardwalks, rivers and forest trails while on the lookout for wildlife finishing at Cape Tribulation with views of the Coral Sea.
Sitting on the outskirts of Brisbane and the Gold Coast, the Scenic Rim region sits on the border of Queensland and New South Wales, outlining the Great Dividing Range, which is one of the longest land-based mountain ranges in the world. Whether you want to walk, drive, fly or cycle around the region, one thing is for certain, you’ll never be at a loss for things to do.
With such fertile land, comes amazing tasting experiences at every stop: in between the six national parks of the Scenic Rim are vineyards and cellar doors waiting to be opened. Trips like this 6-day Brisbane Valley and Scenic Rim trails balance out cycling and hiking adventures that make the most of this abundant landscape while having time to taste its fruits.
Whale Watching on the Gold Coast
With sightings happening most frequently during the migrations before and after breeding, whale watching on the Gold Coast is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that occurs between June and July and September to October.
Whales that migrate past the Gold Coast tend to be humpback whales and southern right whales, although sightings of orcas and ‘false killer whales’, which are Oceanic dolphins, have been registered. There are a variety of tours available from different beaches on the Gold Coast, including from Surfers Paradise, Runaway Bay and Main Beach which can be included in any customisable Gold Coast vacation package.
Cairns Great Barrier Reef Trip
The epitome of Queensland tours, a Cairns to the Great Barrier excursion is another once-in-a-lifetime experience that is exclusive to Queensland and Australia as a whole, putting the state on the map worldwide.
Your Cairns tour to the Great Barrier Reef can range from a one-day tour to a multi-day tour like this 7-day Reef and Rainforest in style trip where you’ll explore the largest coral reef in the world on a cruise and then get up-close to the reef as you jet off to Lizard Island. This Cairns package tour shows you the Great Barrier Reef at its most vibrant
Part of the Sunshine Coast, Noosa ticks all the boxes on the list of Queensland highlights with paradise beaches, national parks and luxurious accommodation all within reach of its riverside location.
Whether you are seeking outdoor adventures, some time out with a wellness retreat or looking for the next best surfing location, Noosa has something for you. Throw in boutique shopping experiences and restaurants focusing on fresh, local produce and you have yourself the perfect weekend getaway on the Sunshine Coast.
Adventurous couples will love trips like this Gold Coast vacation package to Noosa that takes you out to the Hinterlands and shopping in the Eumundi Markets for artisan fare without forgetting to take a wellness break at a day spa – heavenly!
How to Get Around Queensland
Self-Drive in Queensland
Whether you are looking for a tour of the Great Barrier Reef or day tour from Brisbane, one thing is abundantly clear about travelling in Queensland; having your own car will make things much easier!
If you are already living in Australia, you may want to bring your own car to Queensland on a longer trip. If you are travelling to Australia, you could buy your own car, which often comes in cheaper than renting one for a long trip.
Going on a self-drive tour like this 7-day cosmopolitan and coastal self-drive escape allows you the freedom to explore off the tourist trail to experience the wonders of Queensland’s natural landscape and seascape.
Private Car or Bus around Queensland
Intimidated by all that driving? Hiring a private driver for your trip takes the stress out of long journeys, allowing you to sit back and enjoy the ride. While travelling in Queensland, the roads are long and sometimes unforgiving when it comes to mistakes, which could result in hours being added onto your journey. For an additional budget-friendly option, it is possible to take a bus to the top locations as part of organised tours
For a smooth-sailing care-free adventure like this trip to Queensland, you have both private transport and buses to get you from A-to-B seamlessly.
Flying to Queensland
With over 7,000 kilometres of coastline, a quick trip to Queensland means very little time to take in all it has to offer.
On multi-state trips like this Cairns Great Barrier Reef excursion that also includes Uluru and Sydney, the only way to successfully complete this tour is to fly. Hopping on a plane makes it easier to cover the absolute essentials like these iconic sights.
Boating around Queensland’s Coast
Sitting on the Great Barrier Reef, taking an Airlie Beach glass bottom boat from the mainland to Whitsunday Islands is definitely the best way to see the magnitude of this oceanic wonder.
With so many breathtaking sand bars and world-renowned beaches to explore, taking a boat in Queensland is essential. One of the most spectacular examples of why taking a boat in Queensland could be both a memorable activity and a useful mode of transportation is this 4-day Whitsundays heaven trip.
Where to Stay in Queensland
Sitting on the sand-fringed coast south of Brisbane, the Gold Coast has accommodation to suit every budget. Whether you are looking for a cosy cabin in the rainforest, a motel in a theme park or a hostel minutes from Surfers Paradise, the Gold Coast is for everyone and the accommodation options reflect that.
The beauty of the Gold Coast is that it does not stop at beachside locations, you’ll also find countryside cottages, apartments in vineyards and many camping spots that will ignite a little adventure in you for your travels in Queensland.
Don’t write off Cairns as a luxury destination, those pearly white sands and gates to the Barrier Reef can be accessible to everyone willing to go beyond the beachfront.
While luxurious hotels and resorts offer amazing facilities such as swim out rooms that offer immediate access to the pool and beach, more affordable options will take you into the city, where 3-star accommodation and city apartments are affordable without restricting your movement – you just have to be willing to travel that little bit further.
Whitsundays and Airlie Beach
Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsunday islands, and as its mainland lookout point, the resort town serves as a budget-friendly solution for visiting this internationally renowned paradise.
For those with a larger budget, the Whitsunday Islands’ Hamilton Island is your top choice. With a small range of luxurious resorts, your stay in Whitsundays has a choice of surroundings that you had never dreamed of with the option to wake up by the beach, or even directly in front of the Great Barrier Reef.
As the capital of the Sunshine State, all travellers to Queensland will find a type of accommodation to suit them in Brisbane.
Whether you are looking for a boutique hotel, backpackers hostel, homestay in the countryside or private city view apartment, the creative hub of Brisbane has something in store for you. Couples will enjoy Brisbane’s self-contained apartments and country retreats, while families will revel in the range of campsites that sit on the outskirts of the city, not to mention, the proximity to iconic locations like the Scenic Rim and the Gold Coast.
Places to Eat & Drink
With the coast and the rainforest hugging Noosa tightly, this scenic region enjoys fresh produce throughout the year, allowing restaurants to embrace a plentiful variety of dishes that will leave you wanting more.
Although often forgotten for the Sunshine Coast, Noosa is still a hotspot for foodies with restaurants mixing up Asia and Mediterranean classics on every corner you turn.
Rapidly rising to take the title of foodie capital of Australia, the Gold Coast is rammed with top restaurants, equally good food trucks and bustling precincts. The Gold Coast makes the question of what to eat a tantalising challenge that will take you on an eating tour around the world without leaving the city.
With cafes in the city rising to the challenge and growing at a rapid rate, the Gold Coast is a haven for coffee lovers looking for the perfect brew, completing your culinary journey while in the city.
You may have started to get the picture; Queensland is a food-lovers paradise, and Port Douglas is no exception. This little tropical outpost is filled to the brim with fresh, crisp and clean restaurants that make the most of their positioning on the Coral Sea with vibrant dishes that complement this paradisiacal location.
From fine dining under a forest canopy to fresh pies in the morning, everything that is done in Port Douglas is done well – naturally, that means you have to try it all!
With nature’s bounty at your doorstep, the Scenic Rim’s up-and-coming food scene is not surprising. From preserves, cheese and wine to seasonal fruits and vegetables, the region has everything to create amazing local dining experiences and now it’s showing what it’s got just like in this 6-day Scenic Rim walk in Queensland.
From cosy cottage cafes to five-star fine dining, the local produce of the Scenic Rim has stretched far, creating a great variety of dining choices suited to all travellers, even the little ones.
The Cost of a Trip to Queensland
There are a good number of variables which come into the cost of travelling to Queensland, Australia:
- Length of your trip
- Season or month you choose to travel in
- Accommodation class and type
- How many areas of Queensland you visit during your trip
- Number of activities or tours you take part in
- How you wish to travel
When factoring all of these different variables, making sure your Queensland trip is within budget can become a bit of jigsaw puzzle. However, at Tripfuser, this negotiation doesn’t have to be yours.
By specifying your budget, trip duration, activity preferences and how you like to travel, Tripfuser will connect you with an in-destination Local Expert who will make planning your trip to Queensland, or anywhere else in Australia, simple!
Design your own travels to Queensland with Tripfuser and relax in the knowledge that every detail has been taken care of. Your trip will be full of unique local and nature-bound experiences on the Sunshine Coast.
By specifying your budget, travelling to Queensland can be tailor-made to what is do-able for you. As an example of a luxury Cairns vacation package, this 7-day reef and rainforest in style and costs around US$5,817 per person and features:
- 5-star accommodation
- Two guided activities plus free activities in the resort
- Airport transfers, transport by private car
- Domestic flights
- Travel insurance
- Six breakfasts, four lunches and six dinner
However, changing the class of hotel and choosing to travel on the mainland can considerably reduce the cost of your Queensland trip. As an example of a middle-range Cairns package tour, this 7-day rainforest, reefs and rivers trip costs around US$1,814 per person and features:
- 4-star accommodation
- Five guided activities and tours
- Six breakfasts, two lunches and one dinner
- Transport by private car and bus
By adjusting certain parts of a trip, you create a more budget-friendly trip. Where you choose to stay, how often you decide to move and how you choose to travel will all affect the price of your trip.
With Tripfuser, you can browse our range of fully-customisable trips in Australia and tailor any one of them to your preferences with an expert Local Expert. Or better yet, select what you want out of a trip using the ‘Design your Own Trip’ function and let a Local Expert design your perfect trip.
Festivals in Queensland
There are so many festivals in Queensland to choose from, we narrowed down the favourites to offer diversity and showcase all that Queensland has.
Bringing the best of France to Brisbane, Le Festival brings all things French to the table to create an authentic cultural experience that goes way beyond cheese and wine – don’t worry, there will still be cheese and wine.
Set in the twinkling Gold Coast, Bleach Festival is every art-lovers dream and is one of the leading annual festivals in the country. Celebrating music, performance art, video, and sound, Bleach sets out to challenge your perception of the world and art itself.
Winton’s Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival
Known as the “Hollywood of the Outback”, Winton’s Vision brings major feature films to the outdoors to create a giant cinema. Inspired by Salt Lake City’s Sundance Film Festival, Winton’s Vision has become a leader in the projection of location major features, giving a new platform for the contemporary film in Australia.
Noosa Festival of Surfing
Drawing in people from Queensland and beyond, the Noosa Festival of Surfing creates a buzz unlike any other; it’s the biggest surfing competition, by numbers, in the world. Hoards of people take to the beach, set up their sun breaks and watch surfers do their thing. To add to the fun, there are some interesting rounds on the waves that you might not expect.
Yarrabah Band Festival
Another stunning location, another festival! Yarrabah celebrates the creativity of Australia by showcasing music, art, cultural performances and food from around the country. This is a small-scale, completely free festival that welcomes and encourages a family-friendly atmosphere.
With so many adventures on your doorstep in Queensland’s giant playground, a family fun trip in Queensland is out of the question. With spacious accommodation options, enthralling activities and child-friendly restaurants, your children will thrive and grow while travelling in Queensland.
A state filled with diverse experiences, you could choose anywhere in Queensland for a romantic getaway and find yourself in quiet seclusion for some quality time together. Trips like this 3-day Spicers Peak perfection trip offers you the chance to get away from it all and embrace nature on an adventurous trip with good food and wine in this stunning part of the state.
For Solo Travellers
Live the dream flying solo by taking the once in a lifetime experience on this Great Barrier Reef excursion. Perfect for the solo traveller, it’s open for you to take time to do your own thing while still seeing all that Cairns has to offer.
Feeling Ready to Travel in Queensland?
Now is your chance. At Tripfuser, we have a host of experienced Local Experts for Australia and beyond, ready and waiting to make your dreams a reality.
With an ever-growing list of trips, all fully-customisable, you can work with our Local Experts to turn it into your perfect trip. What’s more, if you don’t like what you see, you can design your own trip to Australia too!
Start taking with one of our Local Experts today to see where your adventure will take you!