Queensland is Where Australia Shines, the place you can feel the best you’ve ever felt. It’s a feeling that comes from the wonder of remarkable natural beauty, like swimming with thousands of colourful fish on the Great Barrier Reef to the natural exhilaration of walking through an ancient rainforest – feeling your pulse race from the sheer majesty and breathtaking beauty nature has to offer.
It’s where you can shine from the revitalising warmth of golden beaches and simple pleasures of feeling fine white sand beneath your feet. Or the vitality that comes with splashing in crystal clear waters to the excitement of fun-filled days at theme parks or getting amongst it with Australia’s native and exotic wildlife – cuddling a koala or hand feeding a kangaroo. It’s about the promise of big blue skies enjoyed from world class accommodation and spa retreats to energise and rejuvenate the senses. Queensland’s shine comes not just from the warmth of the sun but the warmth of the people and the smile on the face of every Queenslander. It’s where you’ll feel welcome, connected and alive.
Speak to one of our expert Travel Designers today to start planning your Queenland adventure.
Book your luxury Queensland Escape today
9 Days Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Fraser Island
from £1,299 pp
saving £160 per couple
Start your holiday in style at one of Brisbane’s most loved historical listed buildings, Rendezvous Hotel. The decor, ambience and service are of a bygone era and will not fail to impress you. After exploring the character-filled city of Brisbane, head north to the luxurious Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa. Spend your time here enjoying the luxurious free-form heated swimming pool and relax in the exceptional day spa. When you feel it’s time to explore then, head to stylish Hastings Street for shopping, people watching, and al fresco dining. Further north, Fraser Island will introduce you to pristine white beaches, colourful sand cliffs, ancient rainforests and crystal clear creeks. Next, you’ll find yourself in pure paradise in the Sunshine Coast’s Novotel Twin Waters Resort. Enjoy dining overlooking a private lagoon, walk barefoot in the sand on the way to breakfast, reward yourself with a pampering treatment in an overwater day spa. If you are looking for rest and relaxation, this is a great holiday for you.
Book today by calling our travel designers on
0800 988 4676
2nts Rendezvous Hotel, Brisbane
2nts Outrigger Little Hastings Street, Noosa
2nts Kingfisher Bay Resort, Fraser Island
1nt Novotel Twin Waters Resort, Sunshine Coast
1nt Rendezvous Hotel, Brisbane
6 days car hire
Flights with Cathay Pacific
Selected travel June 15
7 Days taste of adventure self-drive
saving £xxxx per couple
from £1,495 pp
The best road-trips are those that offer diversity, where every day is different to the next and that's exactly what Australia's nature coast offers. From the laidback city of Brisbane to the world-class whale watching and pristine beaches of Hervey Bay. A stay in The Atherton Tablelands will introduce you to a truly tropical land and of course when in Cairns a visit to the Great Barrier reef cannot be missed. But the aspect of this tour we are most excited about is the mouth watering food, to find out more about the delicacies you could be tasting en route click on the Flavours of Queensland tab above.
Book today by calling our travel designers on
0800 988 4676
1nt Spicers Balfour Hotel, Brisbane
1nt Outrigger Little Hastings Resort, Noosa
1nt Ramada Hervey Bay
2nts at Rose Gums Wilderness retreat, Atherton Tablelands
1nt Mercure Cairns Harbourside, Cairns
Daintree Dreaming Tour
8 days car hire
Return international flights with Qantas
Based on Travel March 2015
11 Days Luxury Scenic Rim Trail
from £2,649 pp
saving £100 per couple
We think holidays should offer you something that is completely different from your normal life and that’s exactly what this holiday package does. Enjoy the calmness, tranquillity and fresh air of Australia’s bush, but with world-class accommodation and excellent service thrown in. You’ll spend two nights in luxurious safari-style camping in the heart of Queensland’s beautiful Scenic Rim region. Surrounded by 5000 acres of private nature refuge and beneath a canopy of endless skies, staying at this hotel is the perfect way to begin a relaxing holiday. Your next accommodation will take to the height of luxury (literally!). Here, you will stay on a mountaintop, also in the Scenic Rim region, from where you can enjoy impressive views from the spectacular infinity pool. Next up is a stay in the coastal town of Agnes Water where you can see turtles up close at Bundaberg. The final stop on this trip is O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and we suggest you top off your trip of a lifetime with a relaxing massage at this resort. Throughout your holiday an experienced bush tour guide will be on hand to ensure you get the most out of this experience. Finally, one of the best aspects of this trip is the gourmet meals, so if you’re a foodie with a taste for adventure, then this one’s for you.
Book today by calling our travel designers on
0800 988 4676
1nt Mercure Hotel, Brisbane
2nts Spicers Canopy
1nt Spicers Lodge
4nts Sandcastles 1770, Agnes Water
2nts O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat
7 days car hire
Selected travel April & May 2015
9 Days Luxury Tropical North Queensland
from £3,195 pp
saving £250 per couple
Tour Queensland in style with this great offer. Your first stop is Port Douglas where you can take a trip to the world famous Great Barrier Reef and also spend time wandering through the village. From here, enjoy cruising to the tropical Low Isles which will bring you close to the desert island of many people’s imagination. Day trips to both Kuranda, a unique village situated in rainforest and Mossman Gorge are also included in this offer. With 4 nights here you will have time to take a splash in the resort’s stunning lagoon style pool. A short drive way will bring you to your next five-star luxury accommodation, this time in the style of a tree house nestled in a rainforest setting. Here you can enjoy being close to nature, unwind with a relaxing massage and in the evening enjoy dinner high above the rainforest. For those feeling active, there are lots of opportunities to get out and explore the nature trails. End your Queensland adventure with a completely different setting at Crystalbrook Lodge. Sit back and enjoy the essence of the outback, the rugged landscape, endless clear skies and remoteness of your surroundings. This resort accommodates just 10 guests, meaning you will truly feel like you are away from it all. This is a perfect pampering holiday full of activity and nature and we can’t think of a better way to discover Queensland. To book this offer speak to one of our Travel Designers today.
Book today by calling our travel designers on
0800 988 4676
4nts The Sea Temple Resort & Spa, Port Douglas
2nts Silky Oaks Lodge
2nts Crystalbrook Lodge
4 days car hire
Quicksilver Low Isles day cruise
Kuranda day tour
Mossman Gorge day tour
Return international Economy flights with Qantas
Select travel November 2014
10 days Discover island paradise
saving £xxxx per couple
from £3,279 pp
Queensland is home to some of the world’s best beaches. Pristine white sands, blue waters and islands that feel almost deserted. No crowds, no fuss, just pure relaxation. You’ll spend 4nts at qualia, a luxurious resort on the northern most tip of Hamilton Island surrounded by postcard views. Take a day tour to Whitehaven Beach and spend time relaxing on the white silica sands, before enjoying morning of afternoon tea. Your final piece of paradise will come with the spectacular Hayman Island. Plus, with two nights in Brisbane before island hoping, this trip offers great variety.
Book today by calling our travel designers on
0800 988 4676
2nts at Pullman King George Square, Brisbane
4nts qualia Resort on Hamilton Island
Whitehaven Beach day tour
3nts Hayman Island
Return international flights
Click on the headings below to find out more information:
The Great Barrier Reef
There are certain places in the world that take your breath away. Where you step back and simply smile in wonder. The Great Barrier Reef is one of those places. Internationally recognised as the world's largest and healthiest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef provides world-class experiences at a world-class destination. Scuba-diving and snorkelling, sailing, bare boating, cruise shipping and expedition cruising are just some of the world class water-based activities on offer. Stretching over 2,300kms - from Queensland’s tropical north, right down to Bundaberg in the south - the Great Barrier Reef is easily accessible from various access points, including Port Douglas, Cairns, Townsville, Airlie Beach, Seventeen Seventy and Bundaberg. Try this on for size: at approximately 350,000 kms² in size, the Great Barrier Reef is the only living structure on earth that can be seen from outer space!
Everyone knows the Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world, but Queensland is home to many other World Heritage listed sites such as Fraser Island, ideal for 4WD and adventure holidays. See rainforest growing from the sand, freshwater lakes and a stretch of sand that is aptly named 75 mile beach.
And then there’s the rainforests…the Wet Tropics in the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef Region and the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia on the Gold Coast. The experience in the north is a truly tropical one, with towering canopies, abundant wildlife and stay in rainforest lodges. The southern experience is a sub-tropical one, where you can experience mountain stays and hidden country retreats.
Venture to the Outback and see the footprints of dinosaurs in a stampede site. Or spend time in remote areas at World Heritage listed Riversleigh Fossil Mammal Site, which offers extensive fossil exhibitions and the chance for you to try your hand at fossicking.
Lifestyle / Food and wine
Queensland has an enviable lifestyle with friendly locals, wide open spaces and year round sunshine. Picture yourself dining alfresco under the stars, overlooking the beach or enjoying a seafood smorgasbord while cruising over clear blue waters. Or perhaps you would prefer to imagine wandering through vineyards and savouring all the tastes of Queensland wines and gourmet foods. Whatever your dream food and wine experience, Queensland has something to suit any taste.
Queensland also offers a distinct flavour of its own, with mouth-watering juicy steaks, fresh sumptuous seafood and a colourful array of tropical fruits - and it’s all locally produced. Fuse this locally grown produce with a uniquely Queensland setting and your food and wine experience in Queensland is sure to be one to remember.
Spanning a massive 1.72 million square kilometres, Queensland is nearly six times the size of the United Kingdom. The State weaves together an incredibly diverse range of landscapes - from rocky desert outcrops to small coral cays, sprawling sand dunes and dense rainforests.
Spectacular rainforests and national parks border beach environments along much of Queensland’s coastline - perfect for scenic driving, beach picnicking and swimming. The highlight of the coastal landscapes is Cape Tribulation where the Daintree Rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef - the only place in the world where World Heritage listed sites meet. Stroll along the beautiful sandy beaches fringed by lush vegetation of the 135 million year-old rainforest. From dense rainforests to dry scrubland and scenic gorges, the Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef region is as diverse as it is enchanting.
Stunning islands and atolls are dotted along the expanse of Queensland’s coastline. Explore ruggedly beautiful large sand islands in the state’s southeast and pristine coral cays in the Great Barrier Reef. The beautiful Whitsundays alone are home to 74 tropical islands, most uninhabited pristine national parks, scattered across its sapphire blue seas. Here you’ll also find tempting island resorts and idyllic sailing waters.
Queensland is home to a wide range of wildlife, and there are plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with these amazing creatures.
Scuba dive or snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest living organism, and see firsthand the exotic, colourful and diverse marine life. An incredible 1,500 of the world’s 13,000 fish species call the reef home. It’s an unforgettable experience to hand feed dolphins in the wild on Moreton Island or join a whale watching cruise and watch these giant mammals put on a spectacular show only metres away.
On land, watch baby turtles hatch and take their first steps near Bundaberg at Mon Repos. Their fascinating journey is one of the great natural experiences to be had in Queensland. If you have always wanted to come up close and personal with the Australian icons, cuddle a friendly koala or hand-feed kangaroos at a wildlife sanctuary. Bird-lovers from all over the world visit the Daintree to spot cassowaries and rare rainforest species.
Islands & Beaches
Queensland is home to some of the best islands and beaches in the world. Choose the luxury of a world famous island and dive through the Great Barrier Reef or admire the view from your beachside balcony overlooking an endless stretch of sand. Dine on fresh seafood at a local surf club or take a surf lesson and try to catch your first wave. Build a sandcastle empire, learn the ropes and sail your own yacht, or simply relax while someone else does the work!
From your island resort, sail away to explore one or many of over 900 islands and coral cays, and 2,300km of wild and unique nature. There is nothing to compare to the amazement you will feel surrounded by breathtaking colours of the coral and abundant marine life. The sun will warm you. Pristine water will sparkle in your eyes. Your life will be filled with awe.
Find your own adventure in Queensland. Get off the beaten track in a 4x4 tour on Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island. Take on a thrilling white water rafting expedition, dive into the blue depths of the ocean and discover the mysteries of the Great Barrier Reef, take a tree top view of the world’s most ancient rainforest by cable car or zip wire. Why not take a helicopter ride to a beautiful coral cay for a champagne picnic or take to the ocean wave sailing around the pristine waters of the Whitsundays. Your personal adventure can be as relaxed or adrenalin fuelled as you choose.
Icons of Queensland
Queensland, Australia’s sunshine state, embodies all that comes to mind when you dream of Australia. Soft, golden sands border city streets where the most common footwear is a pair of well-worn flip-flops, while oceans sparkle in the sunshine, beckoning you to discover the secret world beneath the waves. Venture inland from the coast to be rewarded with fertile rainforest and the endless, red plains of the Outback – a holiday in Queensland delivers beach relaxation and exhilarating adventure in equal measure.
But your adventure begins long before you touch down on Australian soil. The iconic Qantas Airlines provide the spirit of Australia from the moment you step aboard, so prepare for unrivalled service on your journey down under. As you recline in your seat to enjoy a tipple from the on-board wine collection recently named the ‘Best Cellar in the Sky’, you can relax in the knowledge that you’re winging your way to your perfect holiday.
As the Australia experts and winners of the British Travel Award’s ‘Best Holiday Company to Australasia’ award for two years running, we apply our unrivalled destination knowledge to create a holiday tailored to you. We know the experiences not to miss, and we know how to experience them stress-free. When designing your holiday, we always share our first-hand, tried and tested, Austravel secrets to bring you the trip of a lifetime.
We’ve teamed up with Queensland Australia and Qantas Airlines to bring you the holiday down under you’ve always dreamed of.
The Great Barrier Reef
Off the Queensland coast lies one of the world’s greatest treasures. A vibrant microcosm of colour that will fill you with wonder, the Great Barrier Reef stretches for almost 1,500 miles. Along its length turtles, reef sharks, dolphins and shoals of tropical fish swim among the coral. The chance to swim with them is an experience we don’t want you to miss; use our insider know-how to book the best tours in advance and ensure you have the complete Australian experience.
Step aboard a Quicksilver Cruise boat to sail out to this underwater wonderland. Under the blazing sunshine, jump in to snorkel or scuba dive among the more than 1,500 marine species. Don’t forget your underwater camera to capture photos you’ll treasure for a lifetime. If an afternoon isn’t long enough you can extend your time on the reef with a liveaboard reef cruise. After a day in the water, fall asleep under the star-strewn sky to the gentle rocking of the waves.
A helicopter ride with GBR Helicopters reveals a side of the reef the average tourist never sees. As beautiful from above as it is below, the coral cays paint swirling patterns over the ocean that stretch into the blue horizon. This exhilarating ride is followed by a picnic on your very own private beach of a remote sand cay. If there’s one experience our travel experts can’t recommend enough, this is it.
The Daintree Rainforest
Trek past verdant foliage heavy with moisture, dive into fresh water swimming holes and spot creatures you never knew existed; nothing brings out the explorer in you more than a trek into the heart of Daintree Rainforest. Our years of experience organising jungle adventures mean we know exactly how you can uncover the secrets of the rainforest.
Jump aboard a little piece of Australian history on the Kuranda Scenic Railway. Taking you from Cairns to Kuranda village deep in the rainforest, this rail route has wound its way under the forest canopy since 1891 and continues to be a popular way to enter one of the oldest rainforests on earth. As you savour champagne, sweet mango ice cream and Anzac cookies, you can sit back as the journey takes you through valleys thick with Eucalyptus forest, along thundering rivers and up to great heights for views reaching to ocean.
Long before the train brought visitors to Daintree, indigenous tribes trod the forest paths. These communities may have adapted to modern life, but their deep spiritual connection to the forest remains. With an indigenous guide from the Voyages Mossman Gorge Centre, you can explore this ancient way of life and immerse yourself in the enchanting narrative of the forest on a Dreamtime Gorge Walk. Join in a traditional smoking ceremony to ward off bad spirits then follow your guide through the Mossman Gorge, all the while listening to the stories of the forest.
Inspired by the indigenous peoples’ respect for the rainforest, Silky Oaks Lodge blends luxury accommodation seamlessly with the environment. Stay in a cosy treehouse to feel at one with the jungle or indulge in the luxurious Billabong Suite. Set among the tropical foliage of the Mossman Gorge River, Silky Oaks Lodge is the perfect place to lay your head while exploring Daintree.
Many are surprised to discover that the Red Centre isn’t the only place to experience the Australian Outback. Inland from the Queensland coast the terrain opens out into endless plains, red hills and limitless skies. The trip there is as exciting as the destination with a scenic one-hour flight from the Cairns to Crystalbrook Lodge, an elegant collection of five private lodges set within the desert wilderness.
From your lodge, complete with magnesium infinity pool, you can explore the rugged landscape on exhilarating, complementary experiences. Glide across the lake via kayak, take a heli tour to see the undulating red sand from above or experience the outback way of life with afternoon tea at a traditional cattle ranch; however you choose to explore, your time in the outback is sure to be a taste of true Australia you won’t forget.
To discover Australia’s most famous wildlife, come to Queensland. As the country’s second largest state, Queensland’s terrain varies widely from rainforests to deserts to cool mountain ranges, providing the perfect habitat for the country’s unique animals. In Australia’s sunshine state you can meet kangaroos in Cape Hillsborough, see crocodiles on Wangetti Beach and swim with minke whales in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.
You won’t need to look hard to discover Queensland’s wildlife. With such an abundance of animals and tropical foliage, you’re sure to spot something new while visiting one of the state’s five World Heritage Sites or simply strolling along the golden coastline. However, to be sure to see the best of Queensland, we recommend exploring further afield. Let our experts take you deep into the rainforest, high into the mountains and under the sea on the search for Australia’s most amazing animals.
Start your adventure in Cairns, the perfect launch off point for discovering Queensland. The Qantas Walkabout Pass lets you easily and affordably connect to Cairns on your journey from the UK. With the best domestic flights within Australia and great deals on flights down under from the UK, Qantas helps you see more in one trip.
Magical Marine World
Queensland is blessed with more than its fair share of Australia’s natural wonders – the Great Barrier Reef alone is reason enough to visit. This breathtakingly beautiful stretch of reef systems, coral cays and sun-soaked islands makes the Great Barrier Reef one of the seven wonders of the natural world. You can swim among the more than 1500 species of tropical fish that live among the corals on a scuba dive or snorkel tour. Time your visit right and you can also swim with some decidedly larger creatures.
Despite their name Dwarf Minke Whales can reach up to 7.8 metres in length and weigh over 6 tonnes. Swimming alongside these gentle giants as they effortlessly glide through the ocean is a magical experience. Silversonic, the Port Douglas based dive and snorkel company, are on hand to take you out to meet these inquisitive creatures.
The best way to explore the Great Barrier Reef is from the luxury of your own desert island. Heron Island Resort enchants visitors with its white sand and ocean as warm as bathwater. However, the island’s main draw is the annual arrival of thousands of sea turtles. Between November and February these fascinating creatures make their way up the beach to lay their eggs. From February to May, the hatchings can be seen emerging from their nests and scooting towards the ocean.
Lamington National Park is one of the most bio diverse areas in Australia. The park, which is part of the Gondwana Rainforest, is home to a vast array of tropical wildlife. Exploring the 160 kilometres of walking trails uncovers the beautiful waterfalls that the area is renowned for and the colourful wildlife that flits between the tropical foliage.
This area is a sanctuary for bird lovers and is internationally recognised as one of the country’s premier birdwatching locations. A stay at one of the O’Reilly’s Mountain Villas offers the perfect opportunity to meet some of these fantastic feather friends; either on the O’Reilly Tree Top Walk that takes you through the canopy of the rainforest, or simply from the comfort of your balcony in your rainforest villa.
Australia is home to species of wildlife you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Head to Mission Beach for the rare chance to see the endangered Cassowary bird, the country’s largest flightless bird. Identifiable by its striking blue head and black body, if you spy one, keep your distance! Although thrilling to see in the wild and notoriously shy, these beautiful birds’ powerful legs, incredible speed and dagger-like claw make them dangerous to approach.
Stretching from Brisbane to Tambourine Mountain, the semi-circle of mountains that form the Scenic Rim encompasses lush valleys, rolling hills and lone peaks on the horizon. This is where Brisbaners head on long weekends. The mix of camping spots, adventure activities and bushwalking trails against the backdrop of Australia’s most accessible rainforest, makes this the perfect destination for city folk seeking a break from urban life. Take a scenic drive to discover the Rim’s spectacular waterfalls, saddle up to explore the landscape on horseback or by bike, or glide down majestic rivers by kayak; the Scenic Rim offers abundant opportunities to reconnect with nature.
Scenic Rim Trail by Spicers is the best way to explore the Scenic Rim. This four-day adventure takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery in Australia, from rainforest filled valleys to high mountain ridges and long extinct volcanic plateaus. The trail experience perfectly melds adventure and luxury. During the day enjoy leisurely walks with a knowledgeable guide, spend the evenings enjoying gourmet dinners and at night rest your head in a safari-style luxury tent at Spicers Canopy followed by a night at the magnificent Spicers Peak Lodge. This is the perfect way to enjoy the best the Scenic Rim has to offer – breathtaking scenery, bountiful nature and exceptional local flavours.
Flavours of Queensland
We’re going to let you in on something most others don’t know. Australia’s best kept secret isn’t its scenic drives, its hundreds of unique animals (the kangaroo is only the start of it!) or its secluded beaches. No, what surprises visitors most about Australia is what they least expect — the deliciously fresh, tropical cuisine that’s full of flavours you won’t find elsewhere.
If you love to eat (and who doesn’t love to eat?) then Queensland should be your number one destination down under. Read on to find out why.
Queensland is a foodie’s dream. Its location beside the Pacific Ocean gifts an abundance of fresh seafood — perfect flavours to eat in the sun (something Queensland certainly has no shortage of). What tops the experience is that in Queensland the delicious food is always served with a side of stunning scenery.
Imagine gazing out over the Great Barrier Reef while biting into a juicy prawn garnished in sweet citrus dressing. The golden sun feels warm on your bare arms and sparkles off the blue water. Can’t you just feel the stress melt away?
Or perhaps you’re seeking adventure in the heart of Daintree Rainforest, trying bush tucker flavours of mango and lemon myrtle? Of course, you don’t need to venture into the jungle to discover a new species of gastronomy. You can explore urban Australia’s famous fusion cuisine in Brisbane’s cool city restaurants.
It’s all here in Queensland; where food isn’t just a meal, it’s a tongue tantalising experience. So, let us give you a taste of Queensland.
Dine in the city
In beautiful Brisbane, city eating doesn’t necessarily mean indoor eating. With a subtropical climate and hot weather for most of the year, Brisbane is peppered with bar and restaurant terraces filled with locals dining alfresco.
Head to Eagle Street Pier on the Brisbane riverfront where people hop on and off the CityCat ferry or glide by in kayaks. This is the perfect place to watch the world go by. Locals also flock to James St Market when they want to enjoy a bite outside. After shopping for fruit, vegetables, nuts, baked goods or a bunch of fresh-cut flowers, take a break for lunch at one of the many restaurants and cafés found in the market.
Of course, you don’t get more Aussie than a barbeque on the beach. This is the epitome of alfresco dining. All you need for the perfect dinner down under is a few choice cuts from a local butcher, a pack of cold beers and a spot on South Bank (Australia’s only manmade beach).
Top urban restaurants
With so many outstanding restaurants across the city, it’s hard to know where to make your dinner reservation. When we’re in town with friends and we want to impress, we book a table at one of these award-winning restaurants:
Top urban experiences
Can’t get enough of sipping fine wine on bar patios? Then you’re sure to enjoy a jaunt into Queensland’s wine country. The Granite Belt, just outside of Brisbane in Southern Queensland, enjoys cooler temperatures that are perfect for grape growing. The region boasts 55 vineyards and 40 boutique cellar doors. Join a wine tour to get a taste of this abundant wine region while enjoying the stunning countryside.
Dine on the beach
With its enviable position next to the Coral Sea, it’s no surprise that Queensland’s cuisine is known for its sweet and succulent seafood. And, in our opinion, there’s no better place to take advantage of the ocean’s delicious produce than beside one of Queensland’s golden beaches.
Enjoy scallops cooked to perfection in Hervey Bay; get stuck into a bucket of juicy prawns in a Gold Coast surf club; try Slipper Lobster, known as Moreton Bay Bugs; or have it all on a seafood platter.
Top Beach Restaurants
With beachside restaurants offering ocean views and freshly caught produce, it’s hard to go wrong when choosing where to eat on Queensland’s coast. But to sink your teeth into the best the ocean has to offer, we recommend a window seat at one of these renowned restaurants:
Top Beach Experiences
Ever fancied the satisfaction of eating fresh fish that you caught yourself? You can do just that on the Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours. This isn’t your usual fishing trip, however. With the Kubirri Warra brothers as guides, you’ll learn traditional spear fishing techniques and try your hand at catching dinner.
Dine in the rainforest
Deep in the Queensland jungle, you’ll find a whole new world of cuisine.
Discover the ancient ways of the aboriginal people while sampling bush tucker foods; perhaps embracing your adventurous side with a snack of witchetty grubs and green ant larvae. Or follow the Atherton Tableland Food Trail to experience the rainforest’s new gourmet cuisine.
For a dining experience you’ll never forget, you can try the tastes of the tropical north under the canopy of some of the world’s oldest rainforest. Enjoy the bold flavours of kangaroo and crocodile, delicate dishes of spanner crab and tropical barramundi fish or dig into divine desserts made from fruits like papaya, mango, passionfruit and quandong.
Top Rainforest Restaurants
Queensland’s rainforests offer unforgettable food experiences. These are a few of our top picks:
Top Rainforest Experiences
At Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, you can immerse yourself in the world’s oldest living culture. During the day, try your hand at playing the didgeridoo and throwing a spear. Learn about the traditional rainforest people and the medicinal qualities of bush tucker, and get to taste them too. Then at night, hear the legends of Aboriginal Dreamtime beside a roaring campfire.
Dine on the Reef
It’s hard to imagine a more spectacular dining location than the Great Barrier Reef.
Spend a leisurely morning snorkelling or diving the world’s largest living reef system or cruise the 74 beautiful Whitsundays Islands, before sitting down to eat in some of the world’s most remote restaurants.
A day spent exploring this wonder of nature is sure to build up an appetite. With the soft silica sands beneath your feet and the clear waters of the Coral Sea a mere few steps away, you can enjoy gourmet dining served in 5-star resorts.
Top Reef Restaurants
Whichever island you choose for your stay on the Great Barrier Reef, you’re guaranteed the pinnacle of luxury dining. Here are a few of our favourites:
Top Reef Experiences
The ultimate in tropical indulgence, the Solitary Sand Cay experience with GBR Helicopters takes you to your very own desert island. After a breathtaking helicopter ride, you’ll enjoy a meal of tropical seafood platters while surrounded by the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef.
To find out how we can create an amazing culinary holiday down under, speak to one of our travel designers on 0800 988 4676
Queensland's paradise islands
White-sand beaches; clear, warm waters; new, exciting experiences under the glorious sunshine — as the cliché goes, the Queensland islands are nothing short of paradise.
These magnificent islands sprinkled along the Queensland coast offer endless opportunities for ocean-going adventures. Captain your own vessel around the sublime Whitsundays, stopping off on secluded beaches and sleeping on deck under the stars. Dive among the curious, underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. Then unwind on private islands at world-class luxury resorts.
Set within the most spectacular of settings and with a wealth of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, your holiday off the coast of Queensland is sure to be an adventure you’ll never forget.
Sail the Whitsundays
The beautiful Whitsunday archipelago should feature on every traveller’s itinerary. With over 74 tropical islands right in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, the best way to explore is at the helm of your very own yacht. You can charter a vessel from Sunsail on Hamilton Island and live out your own adventure at sea.
Before setting sail, why not ease into your holiday with a few days on Hamilton Island, one of Australia’s most beautiful destinations. Here you can enjoy a vast range of water activities, sit back and drink in the scenery, or take sailing lessons to brush up on your nautical skills.
On Hamilton Island you’ll find accommodation to suit all budgets and tastes. Check in at Palm Bungalows for affordable romance while you enjoy your own private balcony; or indulge completely with infinity pools, luxury suites and incredible signature experiences at qualia resort and spa.
Cruising out to sea in your easy-to-navigate yacht, you can sail among islands topped with rainforest, going wherever the wind takes you. Two of Australia’s best beaches are found in the Whitsundays, the gorgeous Whitehaven Beach. Be sure to factor in time to linger a while on these stunning stretches of sand.
Hayman Island is the perfect place to finish off your Whitsunday tour. Located on the northernmost tip of the archipelago, the island — and the luxury resort of One&Only Hayman Island — is a place of natural beauty, restorative peace and unfettered indulgence.
Here you can stay in luxury rooms just a step from the beach, dine on world-class cuisine in tropical gardens and rejuvenate with massages and unique spa treatments. After a stay at One&Only Hayman Island, you’re guaranteed to leave feeling refreshed and ready for the next leg of your journey.
Dive the Great Barrier Reef
"It’s like a whole new world!" smiling, goggle-faced revellers cry as they emerge from the water of the Great Barrier Reef.
The incredibly vibrant world beneath the surface of the ocean, with its extraordinary animals, living coral and sights never seen on dry land, mesmerises those who explore it. Here you can swim with dwarf minke whales near Port Douglas, snorkel with turtles on remote sand cays and camp out on deserted islands to watch the sun rise over the Great Barrier Reef.
Cairns Premier Reef and Island Cruises lets you explore both the reef and the stunning islands. Take the Ocean Free tour to snorkel or dive among the wonders beneath the waves, and then unwind on the sandy beaches of Green Island.
With 23 beautiful bays and beaches, Magnetic Island offers countless opportunities for making the most of the warm water. As well as fantastic snorkelling and diving just off the coast, you can sail, sea kayak, jet ski or take a guided fishing tour. On land, you can explore this World Heritage listed island by horseback, bus or even on a Harley Davidson.
Just north of Magnetic Island lies the secluded hideaway of Orpheus Island. Fringed by coral reef and covered with lush jungle, you’ll discover fascinating wildlife both on and offshore. An alluring tranquillity rests over island life here, where days are best spent bushwalking through thick eucalyptus forest or picnicking on beaches with breathtaking ocean views.
The Orpheus Island Resort offers the perfect intimate setting for unwinding in the tropics with beautiful ocean-view rooms and unique experiences like a starlit dinner on the pier.
No journey to Queensland is complete without time spent exploring the Great Barrier Reef and the sublime islands that hug the coastline. Ready to book your own Queensland cruise adventure? If so then speak to one of our Travel Designers on 0800 988 4676.
Australia's Nature Coast
For those travellers captivated by the country’s unique wildlife and sublime scenery, Australia’s Nature Coast is a dream destination. This stunning stretch of Queensland combines the wonders of two regions, the Sunshine Coast and the Fraser Coast, to bring you the ultimate nature experience down under.
You can bushwalk through some of the country’s best national parks, explore areas of abundant wildlife at Biosphere Reserves, feed dolphins at Tin Can Bay and swim with turtles on the world’s largest coral reef. From subtropical rainforests to shimmering sandy beaches, Australia’s Nature Coast showcases the best of natural Australia.
Glasshouse Mountains Nation Park
The partnership between these two regions brings together many of the country’s best national parks. You’ll have your pick of 47 parks, reserves and forests where you can stand under the cool waters of a waterfall, bushwalk through incredible scenery and picnic under the shade of leafy eucalyptus trees.
About 100 miles north of Brisbane, Noosa National Park lets you escape the city and breathe in the fresh air. The park’s pockets of rainforest, hidden beaches and fabulous views make this one of Australia’s most loved areas of natural beauty. Take a stroll while keeping a look out for koalas, parrots and the black cockatoo.
The volcanic peaks and craggy skyline of Glasshouse Mountains National Park whisks you away from sandy beaches into high mountain ranges. Although Lieutenant James Cook named this dramatic part of Queensland in 1770, the area remains inextricably linked to the ancient Aboriginal culture. Follow one of the great walking trails to enjoy views over eucalyptus forest or test your bravery on an abseiling adventure at Mount Ngungun.
The Mooloolah River National Park contains one of the few remaining coastal rainforests in Queensland. Among the tea-tree swamps and bubbling waterways, you might catch glimpse of some iconic Australian animals, including kangaroos, echidnas, lizards, snakes and a multitude of butterflies, dragonflies, spiders and frogs.
Natural wonder abounds wherever you travel in Queensland, but some areas are so rich in biodiversity that they hold the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status.
The Great Sandy Biosphere on the Sunshine Coast and Fraser Coast is one such area. Its level of biodiversity puts it in the same class as the Galapagos Island, Uluru, the Everglades and the Central Amazon. Incredibly, the area hosts more marine species than the Great Barrier Reef, and visitors may see sea turtles, dugongs, whales, dolphins and a vast variety of migratory birds. The rare and colourful wildflowers, vibrant black bean trees and vivid orange silky oaks make for spectacular walking too.
In the 150,000 hectares of the UNESCO recognised Noosa Biosphere fantastic nature walks or eco cruises reveal a small section of the 1,365 species of plants that flourish in the area. Keep your eyes peeled for the endangered animals that call this park home, like the whistling tree frog, ground parrot, dugong and loggerhead turtle.
Beaches and Waterways
If you’re looking for nature, you need look no further than the beaches and waterways of Australia’s Nature Coast.
The system of magnificent lakes and wetlands that make up the Noosa Everglades attract a myriad of wildlife, including many endangered species. Explore on foot, by kayak or canoe before taking time to relax on the 40-mile-long Noosa Beach. You won’t find a more perfect place in which to get back to nature.
The beaches of Australia’s Nature Coast aren’t just for lying on however. Rainbow Beach is famous for the coloured sands and Carlo Sand Bow. Close by, on the Great Sandy National Park, adrenaline junkies will love the opportunity to try four-wheel driving or skydiving. And the adventure doesn’t stop there; Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, is only a quick ferry ride away.
The beaches of Fraser Island were made for adventure. Zoom along Seventy-Five-Mile Beach in a 4WD vehicle, feast your eyes on incredible views with a scenic flight over the island and swim in refreshing freshwater lakes. Although you can’t swim in the water around the island you’ll still have the opportunity to enjoy the ocean with dolphin cruises, sailing tours and kayaks available to hire.
Bushwalks and Coastal walks
There’s few better ways to explore Australia’s Nature Coast than by the power of your own two feet. And with 27 different tracks found in the area, including three of Queensland’s Six Great Walks, there’s no shortage of opportunities to enjoy a stroll in the bush.
Park up your 4WD vehicle for a while and explore some of the 55 miles of walking tracks that criss-cross Fraser Island. The Fraser Island Great Walk takes you on a grand tour of the island through areas of incredible unspoilt beauty, from white-sand beaches to 200-year-old kauri forests.
The third great walk on Australia’s Nature Coast is the recently revitalised Calounda Coastal Walk, stretching 25 Kilometres, begins at Golden Beaches in the south where it rims the Pumicestone Passage, before passing Bulcock Beach and Kings Beach on its way around Caloundra Headland and the north to the sandy beaches of Kawana to Pointe Cartwright.
Hervey Bay whale watching
A holiday along Australia’s Nature Coast allows you ample opportunity to tick-off many of those bucket-list animal experiences.
The small coastal town of Tin Can Bay is one of the few places in Australia where you can hand-feed dolphins in the wild. Each morning between 7 am and 8 am pods of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins gather at Norman Point, where volunteers and tourists have the chance to interact with these friendly animals.
Further up the coast, Hervey Bay is the unofficial whale-watching capital of Australia. Here the sheltered waters allow migrating humpback whales to let down their guard and play, treating us to a spectacular show of breaching, fin-slapping and tail dives. Whales visit the area from July to November and you’ll find a range of eco-friendly tours ready to take you out to meet them. Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast also offers great whale-watching opportunites and you can even swim with Humpback Whales.
In nearby Maryborough, the Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary lets you get one-on-one with some of Australia’s most iconic animals. Spot dingoes; help feed kangaroos, hold a diamond python and see colourful birds in flight.
Snorkelling and Diving
The Great Barrier Reef
Off the coast of Hervey Bay you can explore the largest man-made reef in the Southern Hemisphere - Roy Rufus Artifical Reef. Cruise tours run regularly, so you can snorkel or dive among the multi-coloured coral and the marine life that live among it.
The protected waters around the Bay means you’re unlikely to see sharks in the area, although you may be lucky enough to catch sight of a reef shark. If you dream of experiencing a safe shark encounter however, you can swim with them at Hervey Bay’s Reefworld Aquarium.
Hervey’s artificial reef is both stunning and easily accessible, but when holidaying on Australia’s Nature Coast, the Great Barrier Reef is right on your doorstep.
The wonders of the world’s largest living coral reef are within easy reach from Lady Elliot Island, you can snorkel there straight from the beach. Often ranked in the top five best diving spots in the world, divers and snorkelers will be in their element. Visit during November or December for the chance to see leisurely swimming turtles among the multitude of reef fish.
Few places will enchant nature-lovers quite like Australia’s Nature Coast. If you wish to immerse yourself in natural beauty, then Australia’s Nature Coast is for you.