Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Queensland
Encompassing roughly 3,000 individual reefs and dotted with almost 900 islands and coral cays (small sandy isles), Australia's Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most unforgettable natural treasures. Snorkelers and certified divers flock here to see the unparalleled array of marine life.
Marking the southern border of Daintree National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Mossman Gorge is one of the most popular places to experience the world’s oldest rain forest. Dating back more than 130 million years, the dense forest and scenic river gorge harbor a rich biodiversity and provide a stunning backdrop for hikers and swimmers.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fraser Island (K’gari, the largest sand island in the world, is filled with natural wonders and Lake McKenzie is one of its most wonderful. Also known as Boorangoora, the strikingly blue water of Lake McKenzie makes it the most visited of the island’s freshwater lakes and its most popular swimming location.
With its miles of sun-bleached sandy beaches, towering sand dunes, shimmering lagoons, and pockets of wild bushland, Moreton Island feels a world away from nearby Brisbane. As the third largest sand island in the world and a national park, Moreton Island makes for a perfect day trip when you want to get in touch with nature.
The Brisbane River winds its way through the heart of the city, from the neighborhoods of South Brisbane all the way to Moreton Bay. The river is also a center of local life, and residents and visitors alike enjoy the many waterfront parks and landmarks, riverside walks, and sightseeing cruises.
Story Bridge is Brisbane’s answer to Sydney’s Harbour Bridge. Iconic in its own right, Story Bridge is a heritage-listed, steel cantilever bridge that allows access between the northern and southern suburbs of Brisbane.
Story Bridge was built between 1935 and 1939, and was known as Jubilee Bridge until mid 1940. The main attraction of Story Bridge, as splendid as it is to view from afar, are the bridge climbs which began in 2005. A guided tour takes visitors up the bridge to stunning panoramic views of the city, out to Moreton Bay, and west across the aptly named Scenic Rim as they stand 80 metres above sea level. It’s also possible to abseil down one of the bridge’s pylons and into Captain Burke Park.
Marooned off the coast of Cairns in north Queensland, Green Island is a tropical paradise of lush rainforest, white sandy beaches, and crystalline waters. The idyllic island is part of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef National Park, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and harbors an extraordinary variety of coral reefs, exotic fish, and marine life.
The Agincourt Reefs are part of the larger Great Barrier Reef, sitting toward the northern end of the reef system and at its outer edge. Off the coast of Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation in Northern Queensland, the Agincourt Reefs are popular with divers, and there are around 16 different dive sites.
Located in the Gold Coast Hinterlands, Tamborine National Park is known for its natural beauty, rich biodiversity, and breathtaking views over the Gold Coast and the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Scenic Rim to the west. Queensland’s first national park, Tamborine is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.
Known as the “River of Mirrors,” the Noosa Everglades is one of Queensland’s most stunning natural landscapes and one of only two everglades systems on Earth. This stretch of wetlands, mangrove forests, and lakes is part of Cooloola National Park and harbors a rich diversity of flora and birdlife.
More Things to Do in Queensland
Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures introduces visitors to Australia’s most famous reptiles (and other native species) through an informative and educational day out. Visitors can observe crocs on a cruise through a lagoon mimicking the creatures’ natural habitat and learn how crocodiles are sustainably farmed.
With its powder-white silica sands, gleaming turquoise waters, and fringe of lush rainforest, it’s little surprise that Whitehaven is one of Australia’s most photographed beaches. Stretching for almost 3 miles (5 kilometers) along the coast of Whitsunday Island, it’s a magnificent sight and an idyllic spot for swimming and snorkelling.
Floating down the shallow, fast-flowing waters of Eli Creek beneath a twisted canopy of trees is a highlight of a visit to Fraser Island. One of the largest freshwater creeks on the island, its cool waters provide welcome relief from the sunny shores of neighboring 75 Mile Beach.
The best-known shipwreck around the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, the once-luxurious liner SS Maheno was driven ashore just north of Happy Valley during a cyclone in 1935. The shipwreck continues to deteriorate in the harsh environment, making for an impressive and haunting site.
Central Station is one of the most picturesque attractions on the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island. Originally a culturally important site for Indigenous Butchulla women, Central Station saw a forestry camp established in the mid-20th century. Now visitors come here to learn about the island’s flora and fauna.
A multimedia experience engaging all of the senses, Infinity is a journey through mazes of special effects that create a dream-like atmosphere. Sound fields, lights, music, and visual illusions challenge the mind and stretch the imagination of those who navigate the funhouse.
There are 20 different environments, each with its own unique interactive experience. Ranging from a laser room to a time warp, electron maze, and inter-dimensional space, visitors are treated to a feast for all the senses throughout. The creator of Infinity has an art background, and the innovative and immersive displays on an “electronic canvas” push the boundaries of artistic expression, eliciting powerful emotional responses. Truly a unique experience, Infinity lives up to its name by altering one’s sense of time, space and what is possible.
With its sandy shores fringed by verdant bushlands, rocky headlands, and turquoise ocean, 75 Mile Beach is the star attraction of Fraser Island. Stretching 75 miles (121 kilometers along the eastern shore of the island, the natural wonder is also an official highway—the 75 Mile Beach Road—as well as an airplane landing strip.
Just across the river from Brisbane’s central business district, Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park offers sweeping views of Brisbane’s skyline, as well as excellent rock climbing and rappelling—suitable for all skill levels—on its cliffs. The cliffs were formed by convicts mining the volcanic rock in the middle of the 19th century.
Winding its way through the ancient rainforests, dramatic gorges, and UNESCO World Heritage-listed landscapes of Queensland’s tropical north, the Kuranda Scenic Railway is one of Australia’s most spectacular train journeys. Running 23 miles (37 kilometers) from Cairns in the south to Kuranda in the north, the route is a thrilling one. As it passes through an impressive 15 tunnels and across 37 bridges, the railway affords panoramic views of the Barron Gorge National Park.
Queensland’s Barron Gorge National Park extends from the town of Lake Placid, and the surrounding lowlands, all the way to the high Atherton Tableland. The area—which is full of beautiful forests, waterfalls, gorges, and wildlife—is easily accessible from the city of Cairns and is one of the most popular outdoor areas in the region.
The colored sand cliffs known as the Pinnacles are a spectacular site on the east coast of Fraser Island and are one of the reasons why the island has a UNESCO World Heritage listing. Formed over hundreds of thousands of years as minerals leached through the sand, experts have identified 72 different colors in the Pinnacles, mostly reds and oranges.
This spectacular national park, covering an area of some 15 square miles (40 square kilometers, beckons visitors away from the surf and sunshine of Noosa Heads, offering miles of coastal walking trails, secluded beaches, a rugged coastline, and the chance to spot dolphins to one side and koalas to the other.
Water, sand and sun make for a good combination pretty much anywhere in the world. Put them all together to create a man-made beach right in the middle of Brisbane, and you’ve got the must-visit Streets Beach.
Australia’s only inner-city, manmade beach, this site has a chlorinated lagoon surrounded by sandy beaches and sub-tropical plants that makes for a great spot to head to whether you have kids in tow or not. An extra bonus—this beach-like spot enjoys a view of the city skyscrapers and Brisbane River, which will keep you from forgetting you’re not out on a tropical island somewhere.
Soaring through the treetops of Barron Gorge National Park, the 4.7-mile-long (7.5-kilometer) Skyrail Rainforest Cableway offers an unforgettable outdoor experience. Glide over North Queensland’s UNESCO World Heritage–listed tropical rain forest and enjoy unbeatable aerial views over its forests, gorges, and waterfalls.