From the Great Barrier Reef and the wild rain forests of the far north to the glorious beaches of the Gold and Sunshine coasts, Queensland is Australia's adventure playground. Travelers can cruise to a tropical island; learn to surf or scuba dive; check skydiving off the bucket list; or treat the kids to a day at a theme park.
Due to Queensland's tropical climate and searing summer temperatures, the best time to visit is during the autumn and winter months from May to October. It's still possible to visit in summer, but be prepared for high humidity and greater water restrictions due to box jellyfish. Whenever your visit, there's no time like the present to book your trip. With the Australian dollar falling, US and European travelers should book soon to take advantage of the favorable exchange rates. Why not cruise the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns? You can also explore the great outdoors on Fraser Island or take a journey by train through lush tropical climate to Kuranda.
Kick off your time in Cairns with a dose of cuteness by heading to the Koala Café at Cairns Tropical Zoo for breakfast. It overlooks a lake where water-birds, turtles, dragons, pelicans and ducks cruise. Afterward you can see pelicans being fed, take an endangered exotic species walk, hand-feed kangaroos and, yes, cuddle a koala.
Saddle up for an action-packed day trip where you'll take the Kuranda Scenic Railway from Cairns, go shopping in the Kuranda Markets, ride the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, soar over the Great Barrier Reef on a scenic helicopter tour, take a lunchtime cruise on the reef, then spend the afternoon swimming, snorkeling or diving before cruising back to Cairns. Wow! Don't forget your camera!
It's your last day and you cannot miss out on one of the absolute 'must-do' activities in this area – taking a hot air balloon ride. You'll never forget the wonder of a sunrise in Tropical North Queensland.
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Brisbane is a great city to discover on foot. Start your day with the pick of the latest cafes by venturing to the city fringe and into Fortitude Valley, a bohemian, gentrified neighborhood of restaurants and boutiques. Once fortified, hit the streets, taking in Brisbane's historic buildings, churches, gardens and expansive, incredible Gallery of Modern Art. Give your feet a rest by taking a cruise along the lazy Brisbane River, then head to Mt. Coot-tha Lookout for a magnificent eyeful of the cityscape. Fancy a taste of the local produce? You can tour a scenic vineyard or take an indulgent dinner cruise once the sun goes down.
Brisbane is tailor-made for family holidays with endless beaches, the great outdoors and the Gold Coast theme parks just down the road. Dreamworld and WhiteWater World are great, splashy fun for kids. Get up close with crocodiles and tigers at Steve Irwin's ongoing legacy - Australia Zoo.
After rising early for a refreshing morning swim or a spot of fishing off Palm Cove’s popular jetty, head north to Daintree National Park. Spread over two distinct areas – the inland Mossman Gorge and the coastal Cape Tribulation sections – the Daintree is one of Australia’s most loved national parks.
One of the world’s seven Natural Wonders, the Great Barrier Reef stretches almost 1,245 miles (over 2,000km) along Queensland’s coast. With its brilliantly colored corals, azure waters, extensive marine life and alluring tropical islands, there’s really no contest: this is one of Australia’s key attractions.
Need a buzz? The Tropical Coast is tailor-made for thrill-seekers, with all the adrenalin-fueled outdoor activities your heart can handle! Go bungy-jumping in lush rainforest, or brave the high-speed Minjin Jungle Swing. Get wet rafting the wild, whitewater rapids of the Tully River or diving with giant clams and thousands of fish amidst colorful reef.