Amazing experiences you can only have in Queensland, Australia
There is no getting around it, from Uluru in the red centre to the sail-like ceramics of Sydney’s Opera House, Australia is vast! You could spend a lifetime discovering all the treasures from this incredible island situated in the far corner of most maps and it would be as rich and varied as you could wish.
However, as most of us don’t have our entire lives to explore the corners of Australia sometimes its best to focus on exploring one region. My favourite region of Australia is the tropical North Easterly state of Queensland – home to some of Australia’s most amazing and iconic experiences and so much more.
I spent more than 6 months of my working holiday year working, living and traveling in Australia in tropical North Queensland and really fell in love with this area and still didn’t see it all. I worked in an outback pub, saved up lots of money and bought a camper van to travel around Queensland and then road tripped all the way down the East Coast of Australia from from Cape Tribulation to Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road. I wrote a post about the best iconic expereinces you can have in Australia but if you are short on time and can only visit one region of Australia then I recommend Queensland!
Here’s why I loved Queensland so much …
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The Great Barrier Reef
It seems only fitting to start with the most iconic experiences on offer in Queensland, the first being the world’s largest reef system stretching for over 2,600 kilometres and home to 1,500 fish species, thirty species of whales and dolphins and six species of sea turtles. This is on the top of most people’s bucket lists when visiting Australia and for good reason! Visit between May and November to avoid stingers.
Surfing spots on the Gold Coast
Second only to Bondi Beach in the mind of visitors is the Gold Coast. The waters around Australia’s Gold Coast are blessed with beautiful waves rolling in from the pacific which are perfect for both beginners and experienced riders. Visit Burleigh heads for the best waves.
Ingrained in Australian culture and heritage no visit to Australia would be complete without a visit to ‘the bush’. In Queensland you can find some of the best examples of the Australian outback, take the iconic train to Longreach or explore from Winton (home of the famous Waltzing Matilda Pub).
White Sand Beaches
Queensland is home to some of Australia’s best beaches. In fact, it is home to arguably the most famous beach in the entire world – Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays. The sand here is the purest silica sand in the world, making it the whitest of all white sand beaches.
The Daintree Rainforest
Located at the top of Queensland the Daintree Rainforest is the oldest continuously surviving tropical rainforest in the world (estimated to be 165 million years old). Cape Tribulation is a place where 2 UNESCO sites meet – the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. It is home to many indigenous aboriginal communities and an array of wildlife including the eccentric-looking Cassowary. And, on the subject of wildlife …
Australia’s Best Wildlife
Some of Queensland’s (and indeed Australia’s) best experiences are interacting with the stunning wildlife that calls this part of the world home.
Turtle nesting and hatching
In November Loggerhead, Green and Flatback turtles will come ashore to lay their eggs on the beaches of the Queensland coast. The best spots to see this are Heron Island, Lady Elliot Island and Mon Repos Conservation Centre near Bundaberg.
Humpback whale watching
Visit Hervey Bay in August to watch Humpback Whales migrate from Antartica to Queensland to Breed. The Whales visit the sheltered bay every year before moving further up the coast. Watch these breathtakingly large mammals breach out of the water. The best time to visit is July to October.
Manta Rays can be seen off to coast of Queensland and are amongst some of the largest in the world with a wing span of up to 7 metres. Hotspots are Lady Elliot Island, Heron Island and Lady Musgrave Island.
Known also as sea cows the Dugong is a close relative of the Manatee. These creatures have long-fuelled mermaid myths across many cultures and are beautiful, rare and found off the coast of Queensland.
Perhaps no living mammal is as curious as the Platypus, this Australian icon can be found in Queensland. Although naturally very shy they can be spotted from Eungella National Park in the Mackay Region. I was lucky enough to be working in a pub and living just down the road from here so I saw platypus many times! You can also see platypus at Carnavon Gorge National Park.
Bennett’s Tree kangaroo
Although Kangaroos can be found throughout Australia a small corner of Northern Queensland is home to a quite remarkable species – Bennett’s tree Kangaroo As a result, they are much smaller than their plains counterparts. Despite not being as entertaining a prospect as a full size Kangaroo in a tree Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo’s are great fun to watch.
Food and Wine
Australian has a growing culinary scene which spans from delicately prepared, world-class seafood to the humble latte, enjoyed al fresco outside a relaxed café. In Queensland you can sample some of Australia’s best gastronomic goods. Here are two events not to miss as a foodie visiting Queensland:
Noosa Food and Wine festival
This festival showcases unique new flavours and great Australian wines alongside the finest of Australia’s produce all in the trendy gastro-town of Noosa. This town is a foodie paradise all year round and comes alive in May as everyone celebrates some of the best ingredients on the planet including world class seafood.
Brisbane Times Good Food Month
In July of each year Brisbane comes alive with pop-up restaurants, late night markets and visits from famous Australian chefs. It is a must visit for any foodie who is visiting Australia.
What to visit and when
This guide of when to visit Queensland is a great resource for planning your trip and experiencing the most you can when visiting Queensland.
I think my favourite place in Queensland is the Whitsunday Islands and Whitehaven Beach – it is truely one of the most stunning and beautiful places I have ever been (and I’ve been to many amazing beaches in 5 years of full time traveling! ;: )