Queensland is known as the sunshine coast and is on the east coast of Australia. It is the same size as Mexico, Indonesia and Mongolia.
There’s plenty to do in Queensland whether you’re looking for adventure, family holidays, romantic getaways or food and wine escapes.
Close to 3,000 individual reefs are in the Great Barrier Reef and it stretches for over 2,300 kilometres. It was named a World Heritage Site in 1981 and is the biggest reef system in the world.
The Great Barrier Reef
You can get to the Great Barrier Reef via train, car or boat. If you travel by boat then make sure you stop at Magnetic Island for a self-guided snorkel tour.
Great Barrier Reef is close to Green Island, which is home to a number of native plants and animals. It is also the only coral cay that has a rainforest on it.
Another way to see the Great Barrier Reef is by helicopter. Seeing it from another angle is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Whitehaven Beach, in Hamilton Island is often considered to be Australia’s best beach and with its pure white sand and crystal clear waters it is majestic. The only way to the beach is by boat or helicopter.
Airlie Beach is also in the Whitsundays and is a small coastal town that provides excellent access to the nearby marine parks.
Conway National Park is a lowland tropical rainforest. After you’ve spent your time discovering all the native wildlife and hiked enough, you can spend the night int he national park. There are no designated camping spots though. The walking tracks are quite easy and suitable for any fitness level.
It’s easy to travel to Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays from various capital cities, with many of them offering flights.
If you’re staying at the Reef View Hotel you’ll get complimentary use of the catamarans, kayaks, windsurfers and paddleboards. Aside from being a lot of fun, you’ll also discover some new talents.
Kids can make use of the quad bikes or spin in a White Walker, which is a bubble that flights on water. Families can also play mini golf, bowling or watch an outdoor movie.
Fishing enthusiasts can charter a vessel from Topnotch Game Fishing for a few hours or a whole day. They also have the option of an overnight or two night stay.
After you’ve finished sightseeing in Hamilton Island and decided it’s time to head back to the mainland, your first stop should be Cairns, which is a five hour and 45 minute flight away.
Mountain Views at Cairns
Cairns is set in mountainous terrain offering amazing views. If you like to get out and about you can walk between Queensland’s highest peaks, Bartle Frere and Bellenden Ker. The Goldfield trail is another option if you love hikes but don’t want to deal with a steep incline.
The trail starts at Babinda Boulders, an hour south of Cairns and sees you hike 19 kilometres in the Wet Tropics rainforest in Wooroonooran National Park.
Take the time to trek the six kilometres it will take you to find the pyramid. Be aware that it’s a steep trek so you’ll need to be sure you’ve got the right level of fitness to take it on.
If you want to do the full return trek be prepared to spend the night backpacking, otherwise if you’re only keen for a day trip, just travel to the large creek and then turn back. Best of all, the hike won’t cost you anymore than the cost of the snacks for the trip.
In Cairns you can swim in a volcanic crater. Lake Eacham was formed when magma and groundwater met around 10,000 years ago. The deep blue maar will provide some much needed relief from the tropical heat and will also give you a nice scenic drive through Cairns.
Another great place to cool off is at one of the many waterfalls in Cairns. Stoney Creek Falls is a 20 minute drive to the north of Cairns and yet you’ll feel as if you’re in the middle of nowhere. It boasts green canopies, which filter the light and a crystal clear rockpool.
Josephine Falls is formed by rains flowing down Bartle Frere and is carpeted by granite boulders, a world heritage-listed rainforest and plenty of viewing decks to admire the natural beauty.
For a small fee of $20, the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in Cairns, mountain village of Kuranda is home to 1,500 free flying butterflies and moths set amongst lush rainforest gardens.
Take advantage of the free guided aviary tour where you’ll learn all about the lifecycle and behaviour of butterflies. You can also check out the 4,000 caterpillars that are housed in the breeding laboratory.
Explorers will love the Crystal Caves, which are built in the main street of Atherton. You’ll have the chance to explore a man-made museum that was created by crystal hunter Rene ZBoissevain. It is home to more than 6,000 individual crystals including gemstones, fossils and the largest Amesthyst geode in the world and you can see it all for just $25.
If you just want to relax then take a river boat tour on the Barron River. Your captain will teach you everything there is to know about the ancient rainforest while you just enjoy the serenity of the river.