Holidaymakers have long headed for Queensland in search of surf and sun, but it’s time to shake the sand from your towel and find out what else the Sunshine State has to offer as a travel destination. The fact is, Queensland is packed with a diversity of experiences to suit every type of traveller. Here we match you up with the perfect destination based on your interests. It’s speed dating for travellers and your time starts now!
Queensland for history lovers
Rockhampton sits on the Tropic of Capricorn in Central Queensland. The city was established in the 1850s as pastoralists rushed to take advantage of the grazing opportunities offered by the Fitzroy River delta plains, and today Rocky is packed with historic attractions that hark back to the pioneering era. The Rockhampton Heritage Village brings the period to life through restored cottages, vintage vehicles and immersive displays, while the Archer Park Rail Museum is home to what is believed to be the world’s only still-operating Purrey Steam Tram. Also check out the fabulously restored period buildings and warehouses that line the riverfront, including the sandstone beauty that is Customs House. Rockhampton also has plenty to offer as a modern city, but for those who like to fire up the TARDIS while on holiday, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do it!
Queensland for nature lovers
When you have two UNESCO World Heritage-listed natural attractions sitting side-by-side on your doorstep, ‘getting back to nature’ takes on a whole new meaning. The North Queensland city of Cairns offers sublimely easy access to both the Daintree rainforest (part of the Queensland Wet Tropics) and the Great Barrier Reef, and there are seemingly endless ways to enjoy both of these world-renowned wonders. The Daintree is best explored under the guidance of an expert, and Billy Tea Safaris offers an eco-accredited experience in a custom-built 4WD vehicle. It includes a cruise on the crocodile-inhabited Daintree River, a visit to Cape Tribulation (where the rainforest literally exchanges a brief kiss with the reef) and the short but scenically sweet 4WD-only Bloomfield Track. Outer reef tours and cruises depart from Port Douglas, an hour’s drive north of Cairns. However, if you’re short on time, a day tour to Fitzroy Island, 45-minutes from the city by high speed ferry, is an easy option.
Queensland for romantics
Let’s face it, when you’re planning a romantic getaway, two’s company; anything over that is an unwanted crowd. And while Hervey Bay on the gorgeous Fraser Coast is certainly popular as a holiday destination, somehow it manages to maintain a very boutique feel. It could have something to do with the fact that Hervey is actually a string of small beachside villages, rather than one big place, so finding your own little patch of palm-fringed paradise beside the gentle waters of the sweeping bay isn’t difficult. In the evening, head out with Blue Dolphin Marine Tours on their 12-metre luxury catamaran for a sunset champagne cruise. The Vinyard on the waterfront at Urangan is the perfect spot to gaze into each other’s baby-blues as you feast on succulent seafood, washed down with a drop from their excellent wine list.
Queensland for foodies
Traditionally holiday makers have flocked to the Sunshine Coast’s coastline, but in recent years food and wine lovers have done a U-turn and headed in the opposite direction. The Hinterland harbours a gourmet food scene that’s growing by the day. Fabulous fresh produce, Wagyu beef, fine cheese, zesty preserves, artisanal gelato, freshly roasted coffee, boutiques brews, and even some locally produced wines are on the menu as you cruise through this bucolic landscape of rolling green hills and small rural towns. Must-stop-ats include Maleny Cheese, the Maleny Food Company, the self-explanatory Fudgyboombahs, Montville Coffee, Brouhaha Brewery, and the complete surprise that is the Flame Hill Vineyard and cellar door outside Montville. If you have family in tow, drop by The Ginger Factory at Yandina and the perennial Big Pineapple in Woombye.
Queensland for culture lovers
Brisbane’s cultural credentials need little introduction. As the capital of Queensland, the city is home to a symphony of artistic experiences that will keep any culture vulture in full flight for weeks. Heavy hitters included the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (home to the Queensland Ballet and Queensland Theatre), but it’s also well worth checking out quirkier spaces like the Brisbane Powerhouse (a repurposed riverfront power station at New Farm). The 2020 finalists of the fast-growing-in-prestige Brisbane Portrait Prize are on display at the Powerhouse until the beginning of November.
Need a place to stay? Choice Hotels has you well and truly covered in Queensland, with a superb range of accommodation options to suit every budget. Search online and book direct for a Lowest Price Guarantee.
About the writer
Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. He has previously had the opportunity to travel the world as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten.
Cover image: Fitzroy Island. Image courtesy of Tourism & Events Queensland