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Queensland, Australia: 50 things to do

By Andrew Marshall 29 October 2020

Header image courtesy of Andrew Marshall

Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, scenic walks, picturesque views, aquatic adventures, or historically significant sites, we’ve got you covered. Here is your ultimate bucket list for your trip to the northeastern Australian state.

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Ten Adventures Off the Beaten Path

1) Go white water rafting on the Tully or North Johnstone Rivers.

2) Get the adrenaline flowing on one of the fastest and tallest rides in the world: The Tower of Terror at Dreamworld.

3) Take to the skies and enjoy a scenic flight from Cairns to Cooktown, Lizard Island, or Cape York with Daintree Air Services.

4) Go bungee jumping in a rainforest North of Cairns.

5) Shark feed at Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea.

6) Hire a 4WD and drive up to Cape York—the largest and untainted wilderness in Northern Australia.

7) For advanced divers, dive the Yongala (off Townsville), one of Queensland's best wreck dive site.

8) Try sky diving on the Capricorn Coast.

9) Ride camels on the beach at Yeppoon.

10) Go parasailing for a closeup aerial view of coral reefs. The activity is available at several resorts, from Whitsundays, Airlie Beach, Townsville, Cairns to Port Douglas.

Ten Best Walks

1) Scale the 15-kilometre summit of Mount Bartle Frere, a challenging hike up Queensland's highest mountain (1622 metres).

2) Take a stroll on the beach at Cape Tribulation.

3) Thread gingerly through the rainforest canopy walk in Lamington National Park.

4) Walk to beautiful Araluen Falls in the Finch Hatton gorge section of Eungella National Park.

5) Wander around the Esplanade in Cairns.

Keep scrolling for the rest of the list 👇

6) Choose any of the 22 kilometres of walking tracks on Magnetic Island to experience an abundance of wildlife and the diverse habitats.

7) Sign up for an Aboriginal guided rainforest walk to Mossman Gorge with Kuku Yalanji Dreamtime Tours, which features bush tucker—also known as ‘bushfood’ which comprises of food native to Australia, eaten by the Aboriginals, making bush soaps, ochre painting, and a traditional bush tea and damper—a traditional Australian soda bread.

8) Explore the rainforests of Hinchinbrook Island.

9) Follow in the footsteps of the famous navigator Captain James Cook by hiking to Cook's Look (359 metres) the highest point on Lizard Island.

10) Eat ice cream while walking barefoot along the beach at Palm Cove.

Ten of the Best Views

1) Hire a vehicle and drive the scenic Bruce Highway that hugs the coast between Cairns and Port Douglas.

2) Visit the Isla Gorge lookout in South-East central Queensland where the expansive views over the deep forest-clad gorge and surrounding sandstone peaks will take your breath away.

3) Enjoy a hot air balloon trip over the Atherton Tablelands.

4) Book a helicopter or light aircraft flight (available from most major centres) and enjoy unrivalled views of the Great Barrier Reef.

5) Take a trip on the Kuranda Scenic Train that meanders through breathtaking scenery, travelling through 15 tunnels and 37 towering bridges.

6) Climb to the summit of Fitzroy Island (near Cairns) for a panoramic vista.

7) Visit the Mount Coot-tha Lookout for spectacular views over Brisbane.

8) Go horse riding to experience a different perspective of the Atherton Tablelands.

9) Sleep under Queensland's outback stars in a ‘swag’—an open sleeping bag, similar to a tent with a small bed, made from canvas.

10) Experience a trip on Skyrail (15 minutes north of Cairns). Touted as the world's most beautiful rainforest experience, it offers a unique perspective from treetop height of Queensland's tropical rainforest.

Keep scrolling for the rest of the list 👇

By Faye Bradley 20 October 2020
By Gabrielle Martinovich 23 January 2020

10 Best Water Activities

1) Book a day trip to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef.

2) Get on the Aquaduck to explore the Gold Coast's waterways and famous landmarks on Australia’s first amphibious Duck Bus City Tour. As its name suggests, the transitions from land to water and takes one on a unique one-hour round trip around the Gold Coast.

3) Hire a kayak and paddle the beautiful waters off Fitzroy Island.

4) Go crocodile spotting on a Daintree River cruise in far North Queensland.

5) For non-divers to experience the equivalent of deepsea diving, you can take a semi-submersible trip of the Great Barrier Reef that operates out of Cairns, Townsville, the Whitsundays, and Heron and Green Islands.

6) Rent a yacht and cruise the Whitsundays.

7) Relax in the natural rock pools and spas in Jourama Falls National Park, near Townsville.

8) Rent a canoe and paddle through the tranquil waters of Lawn Hill National Park.

9) Become a certified open water diver by taking a PADI course, available at most major centres along the Great Barrier Reef.

10) Take a cruise along Lake Eacham, a volcanic crater lake in the Atherton Tablelands.

10 Historically Rich Sites

1) Enjoy a drink at the historic Garradunga pub (just north of Innisfail off the Bruce Highway) that's surrounded by sugar cane, and admire the fine collection of memorabilia and photographs of cane cutting history.

2) Step back in time at the Riversleigh Fossil Centre in Mount Isa, and discover Australia’s prehistoric fauna and actual fossils found in the fields of Boodjamulla National Park.

3) Check out Aboriginal stencil art at Cathedral Cave and the Art Gallery in Carnarvon Gorge National Park.

4) Take a trip on the historic Gulflander train that leaves Normanton—a heritage-listed Railway station, on its weekly 152 km run to the old gold-mining town of Croydon.

5) Visit Charters Towers, a town 135 km from Townsville. A former thriving goldrush settlement in the late 19th century, the grand hotels, banks, and heritage buildings reflect the rich grandeur of the bygone era.

6) Attend the Outback Writers Festival held in Winton (usually end of June), featuring some of the countries' latest and greatest bush poets and writers in a celebration of Australian history.

7) View a seven-metre long Muttaburrasaurus dinosaur replica skeleton at the Flinders Discovery Centre in Hughenden cast from the original fossils of a 110 million-year-old dinosaur found in Flinders Shire.

8) Marvel at the 3000-year-old Beech trees in Lamington National Park.

9) Soak up the history of gold mining at Mount Morgan near Rockhampton.

10) Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Riversleigh Fossil site north of Mount Isa.

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Andrew Marshall

Travel writer

Born in England in 1961, Andy has been a professional freelance travel writer and photographer since 1990, and has travelled to over 60 countries including Sri Lanka, Panama, Morocco and the Solomon Islands to cover a diverse range of travel, food, drinks and golf features for various publications worldwide including Golf Australia, Geographic Magazine and Blue Wings. “From playing golf in Iceland and visiting rum shops in Barbados, to truffle hunting in Italy and sampling the best diners in New York, Andy has scoured the globe looking for interesting story angles. Andy lives in a 17th century cottage on the outskirts of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, England.