Top Places to Visit QLD for Relaxation, Adventure & More

Discover the diverse beauty which is Queensland! The Sunshine State truly has it all, from world-class surf beaches, tropical rainforest, and even the magical outback. So read on and find your next ultimate holiday destination here.

Queensland is renowned for beautiful tropical terrain, breathtaking beaches and truly magical outback landscapes.

Australia’s Sunshine State covers the northeast of the country with a coastline covering nearly 7,000km.

The state is also home to a number of World Heritage sites, including the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics.

Of course, you also have Queensland’s capital city, Brisbane, to give you a taste of the state’s city culture, a contrast to the laidback surf feeling of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

Queensland really has it all, making it a popular destination to get away and enjoy popular tourist attractions. Continue reading and learn about the amazing places Queensland boasts about with our top places to visit QLD 2022.

Top 10 Places to Visit South East Queensland

Gold Coast.

Theme Parks.

Sea World: Seaworld Dr, Main Beach QLD 4217

Warner Bros. Movie World: Pacific Mwy, Oxenford QLD 4210

Wet’n’Wild: Pacific Mwy, Oxenford QLD 4210

Whitewater World: 1 Dreamworld Pkwy, Coomera QLD 4209

Dreamworld: Dreamworld Pkwy, Coomera QLD 4209

Experiencing the theme parks is a must-do when visiting the Gold Coast in Queensland.

Theme parks are among the more popular Queensland attractions, with many of them on the Gold Coast.

On the Gold Coast alone you’ll find Sea World, Warner Bros. Movie World, Wet’n’Wild, WhiteWater World and Dreamworld, Australia’s biggest theme park.

The Gold Coast’s Dreamworld has been in operation for 40+ years, with their extensive variety of rides and attractions, retail and food services, daily shows and their wildlife conservation park. Dreamworld is also connected to Whitewater World, the exciting seasonal water park.

While visiting Queensland, you will also find Warner Bros. Movie World on the Gold Coast, owned and operated by Village Roadshow’s Theme Parks division. Village Roadshow also owns Sea World, located in Main Beach on the Gold Coast, featuring a resort, rides, marine rescue and displays, animal shows and more.

You can also book a whale tour through the marine park for your chance to see humpback whales in the winter season.

Beach crawl.  

If you are visiting the Gold Coast, it is helpful to know the popular suburbs and beaches to visit. For tourists, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach beaches are two of the most popular. They give you the crystal-clear waters and endless sands while keeping you in the middle of the action.

After you spend time in the sun, make sure to head into the city like town to experience the night life.

If you are looking for something a little more laidback, try Burleigh Heads, Coolangatta and Currumbin. With picturesque golden beaches that run on the Queensland coast, they are all popular spots to swim, surf and gather with friends. You can also find great local eateries, Sunday markets and retail stores in these areas too!

Lamington National Park. 

The Beautiful Lamington National is an ideal spot to visit in QLD if you are looking for outdoor activities on the Gold Coast.

With an area of 206 km², the national park is home to much-loved Australian animals including koalas, kangaroos and more. There are plenty of walking trails, scenic lookouts and beautiful waterfalls that roar in the wet season.

If you head a little more north of the national park, you can find the versatile vacation spot O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat for a fun work trip or romantic getaway.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

Location: 28 Tomewin St, Currumbin QLD 4223

Do you like to learn about and interact with native Australian animals? If your answer is yes, then look no further than the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

The sanctuary has been running for more than 70 years and offers daily shows, activities, professional photos with animals and plenty of animals you can learn about and their habitats! Plus, the sanctuary participates in 15 conservation projects to help save endangered animals from extinction.

The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary also offers an adoption donation program allowing you to assist in the conservation of native Australian animals. When donating you will receive a symbolic adoption certificate, small plush toy, and quarterly updates about the animal.

You can find native reptiles, birds and mammals and not-so-native animals including ring tail lemurs at the sanctuary. Better still, you can walk through the lemur and kangaroo enclosures for an up-close-and-personal experience. Make sure to stick around for the 5pm bird feeding for a hilarious photo opportunity covered in the local rainbow lorikeets.

If you still have not got your wildlife fix from visiting the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, you can visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Fig Tree Pocket, near Brisbane.

Brisbane.

Brisbane City.

One hour north from the Gold Coast you will find Brisbane, Queensland’s capital city.

Brisbane is known for its nightlife, unique restaurants, culture and shows. The city is divided by the Brisbane River, known as the Brown Snake, which can be seen from the 74m-high Story Bridge.

Another place you must visit in Queensland when you are in Brisbane is South Bank! Things to do in Brisbane’s South Bank include exploring the stunning parklands, visiting the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), finding treats at the market, and swimming at the man-made beach.

You may also like: 9 Top Things to Do in Brisbane

Sunshine Coast.

Noosa.  

A few hours north from Brisbane along the M1, you will find yourself in the beautiful coastal town of Noosa on the Sunshine Coast.

This resort town is one of the most popular places to visit on the Sunshine Coast due to breath-taking beach views of Sunshine Beach, good surfing, premium restaurants and boutique shopping.

There are plenty of beach walks in the area, including the Main Beach Broad walk and Noosa National Park. It is not hard to find a stunning coastal track on the Sunny Coast!

If you love fresh produce and locally made products, look no further than markets in Noosa and the surrounding areas for some of the best markets in the state.

Australia Zoo.

Location: 1638 Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah QLD 4519

Another fun activity the whole family will enjoy on the Sunshine Coast is visiting Australia Zoo.

The late Steve Irwin began managing the zoo in 1991, while his family now runs Australia Zoo with no stopping in sight. Australia Zoo’s vision is “for Australia Zoo to be the ultimate global zoological destination and, in doing so, act as world leaders in conservation, relating to both wildlife and their habitat.”

The zoo offers exciting shows, animal encounters and tours making it a perfect activity when visiting the Sunshine Coast.

Caloundra.

If you are looking for a surfer’s paradise, look no further than Caloundra. Go for a walk on the beach to discover ocean pools and endless surf and golden beaches.

Caloundra has plenty of fun experiences and activities to fill up your Queensland itinerary. You can find gourmet cafes, stay at 5-star accommodation, prime fishing spots, plus enjoy boating and jet skiing experiences.

Caloundra is a great place to add to your list for adventure sports and a relaxing retreat alike.

Gympie Region.

Rainbow Beach.

Visit Rainbow Beach for a spectacular sight of rippled sand dunes fringed by sub-tropical rainforest. The beach is a popular place for Queenslanders to go on holidays and is a bucket-list item to be ticked off.

There are plenty of things to do in Rainbow Beach, including horse riding, kayaking, 4×4 driving, fishing and surfing. This coastal town is the perfect getaway to unwind and enjoy nature.

Wide Bay–Burnett Region.

Fraser Island.

Fraser Island (K’gari) has a length of 122 km, making it the largest sand island in the world. With white sand and crystal blue water, Fraser Island is Queensland’s number one bucket list location for the outdoor lovers.

While visiting the island, you can do several activities, including humpback whale watching, discovering beautiful lakes, going on nature walks, and even visiting the champagne pools, known for the waves causing a bubbly feeling as sea foam fizzes.

Fraser Island is also known for fun 4WD spots along the sandy eastern beach, where you enjoy scenic views and find the Maheno shipwreck that was washed ashore in 1935.

Many people mix up Fraser Island and Moreton Island, however, Moreton Island can be remembered as off the coast of Brisbane, while Fraser Island is north of the Sunshine Coast.

Top 5 Places to Visit Central & Outback Queensland 

Central Queensland.

Capricorn Caves.

Location: 30 Olsens Caves Road, The Caves, 4702

If you are wanting to explore Queensland for unique attractions, make sure you check out the Capricorn Caves.

Journey into the cave on a guided tour and discover ancient rock formations, find sugar gliders and other native species plus a cathedral hidden inside! Continue through the cave and find the summit for a breath-taking view! Then, finish your outing by visiting the information centre to learn about the cave’s history, grab a bite to eat at the café and even relax at the accommodation’s swimming pool.

Rockhampton.

Visit Rockhampton and learn about the town’s unique history and how it became to be cattle country. Known as the stud capital of Australia, Rockhampton has three million head of cattle within the region.

The unique town does have a charming country town feeling, however, there is much more to the town than its farming reputation. You may enjoy visiting the Rockhampton Art Gallery, dining along the Fitzroy River plus learn about the town’s gold rush history whilst visiting.

If you are looking for sightseeing activities, be sure to visit the Botanic Gardens and take in the views at Mount Archer’s lookout.

Outback Queensland.

Birdsville.

Adventure to The Outback and see the desert landscape of Birdsville. Popularly known for the Big Red Sand Dunes, many people drive out to Birdsville to see the landscape and experience an Outback sunset like no other.

If you are interested in music festivals, why not plan your trip to arrive in Birdsville in the first week of July while the Big Red Bash is on. Other attractions to visit in Birdsville include the Simpson Desert, the Birdsville Hotel plus the Billabong to cool down from the desert heat.

Emerald. 

The quaint town of Emerald is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing vacation with the family.

Experience the Australian countryside in a unique way by learning about Emerald’s sapphire gem fields close by. Drive an hour south to visit the Minerva Hills National Park for scenic walking tracks to find the jagged peaks.

If you are looking for more activities to experience nature, visit Lake Maraboon and the beautiful Emerald Botanical Garden. Also check out Emerald’s giant Van Gogh Sunflower Painting that stands 25 metres high!

You may also like: Most Popular Big Things in Queensland.

Charleville.

Go stargazing at one of the best locations in Queensland, Charleville. A must-do is to visit the Charleville Cosmos Centre and Observatory for a truly unique way to view stars, the Milky Way, planets and the moon!

If you are into your Australian history, make sure to check out the WWII Secret Base & Tour and learn about when 3500 US Army Air Force personnel were stationed in Charleville in 1943.

You can do plenty of other activities to get a feel for this outback town, including meeting bilbies at the Charleville Bilby Experience, taking the Outback Native Timber Walk, flying the Lake Eyre Airtours and more! Make sure to visit the Visitor Information Centre to find out more fun experiences you can do in Charleville.

Top 9 Places to Visit North & Far North Queensland 

North Queensland. 

Whitsundays. 

Location: Whitsunday Islands Queensland

The Whitsundays are made up of 74 islands, located in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef.

The iconic Whitsunday Islands are known for pristine white sand and turquoise water. You can book day trips to the Whitsundays from Airlie Beach, otherwise you can book accommodation in Bowen as well.

Sailing trips are typically a popular activity apart from hanging out at the beach and enjoying nature. Even though there is no coral of Whitehaven Beach, you may see marine life such as rays, turtles and soldier crabs.

Magnetic Island.

One of the most visited of Queensland’s tropical islands is Magnetic Island. Most popularly known for its festival season, Magnetic Island also offers a relaxed escape experience.

The Magnetic Island National Park covers over half the tropical island and has plenty of walking tracks to choose from. If you want to spend more time in the water, you can go on kayak tours, jet ski tours, snorkelling, or just find a sunny beach to relax.

When arriving on the island, you will feel like you have been transported to a tropical getaway. There are plenty of holiday houses to stay and luxurious hotels that will make you not want to leave.

Castle Hill.

Location: Castle Hill Rd, Castle Hill QLD 4810

On your travels visiting Tropical North Queensland, another fantastic lookout spot is none other than the Castle Hill. The giant pink granite monolith stands in the heart of Townsville and is easily seen around town.

The lookout on top of the hill is 286 metres high while providing a 360 view of the area from the top. Once you have made it to the top, get ready to whip your camera out as the breathtaking views provides plenty of photo opportunities.

Townsville City.

Another fantastic place to visit in Queensland is the popular Townsville city. This place uniqueness will spark your curiosity with Townsville rich history, fine dining and easy access to the Great Barrier Reef.

There are many interesting activities you can do in Townsville and really soak up the town’s culture. Townsville also has great markets if you need to stock up on food at an affordable price or just in the mood to walk around.

Fill up your Townsville markets itinerary with our list of Top List of Markets in Townsville.

Atherton Tablelands. 

Enjoy stunning waterfalls, rural town community and lots of sub-tropical greenery in the Atherton Tablelands, known for natural attractions such as the Cobbold Gorge and the Millaa Millaa Falls.

There are plenty of hiking tracks to take to experience the scenic landscape of the Tablelands region. If you have the family with you, there are plenty of sanctuaries, riverboat tours, parks and caves to explore.

Far North Queensland. 

Cairns. 

Holiday goers typically visit Cairns to experience Australia’s most famous World Heritage Sites, the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics.

However, Cairns proves itself to be an adventure capital with the abundance of activities you can enjoy whilst there.

When visiting Cairns, you must have a walk around town to experience their markets, art gallery and aquarium. Also check out the Cairns Esplanade. If you walk the Harbour Walk, you will find the famous man-made Cairns Esplanade Lagoon that is safe to swim all year round.

Wanting to visit Cairns but don’t know what activity to do first? Check out our Best Things to Do in Cairns, Australia list!

Cape Tribulation. 

Travel along the Wet Tropics on the coastline to discover the natural beauty of Cape Tribulation. The Cape Tribulation beach connects to the Coral Sea, providing a haven for native wildlife.

Activities you can do whilst visiting the region include hiking, finding rainforest swimming holes and, of course, exploring the Cape Tribulation beach.

Wet Tropics. 

The virtually untouched Wet Tropics is listed as a World Heritage area, stretching 450 kilometres along the Northeast Coast of Queensland.

Amongst the most famous rainforests in the Wet Tropics is the popular Daintree Rainforest. For the nature lovers out there, you can even stay in the Daintree National Park at selected accommodations.

There is nothing better than taking a moment and reconnect with nature, so why not do so in a 100-million-year-old rainforest.

Great Barrier Reef.

Calling all diving and snorkelling enthusiasts! This is your opportunity to experience the world’s largest reef, The Great Barrier Reef.

As the Great Barrier Reef’s length is 1,429 miles long, there are several places you can go to experience different parts of the reef. Some beautiful beaches you can go to see the reef includes Lady Elliot Island, Airlie Beach, Port Douglas, Hervey Bay and the Four Mile Beach.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.

Location: 6 Skyrail Dr, Smithfield QLD 4878

15 minutes north of Cairns, you will find the Skyrail Cableway in Smithfield. The Skyrail Cableway will take you through Kuranda with the chance to stop at Red Peak and Barron Falls.

While on your journey, you’ll view the Wet Tropics from a unique view over the treetops.

There are two terminals you can stop off at via the Sky Rainforest cableway at the Red Peak and Barron Falls. At the Red Peak, you can enjoy the rainforest boardwalk either with a guided tour or follow the boardwalk.

When arriving at Barron Falls you must check out the edge lookout, historical precinct plus the panoramic gorge and waterfall views.

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      Sonya Millan

      Junior Marketing Content Assistant

      When Sonya isn’t working on her self-development within marketing and content creation, you will usually find her enjoying the Gold Coast lifestyle. Originally from Melbourne, there is no surprise Sonya takes full advantage of what Queensland has to offer. On the weekend, she will either be down at the beach or adventuring through the hinterlands. Sonya is also an admirer of fashion (kookier the better) while forever seeking the next best track to boogie to.