Queensland Travel Guide

QLD Travel Guide

Basic information about Queensland

Population: 5.1 million
People per square km: 2.5
Cows & sheep per square km:  12
Number of islands: 1955
Longest river: Flinders River – 840km
Most challenging road: Old Coach Road
Famous pub: Birdsville Hotel
Highest mountain: Mt Bartle Frere – 1622m
Most remote Town: Birdsville
Wettest place: Tully – 4300mm/year
Suniest town: Townsville – 300 days of sunshine/year
Best beach: Whitehaven Beach, Whitesunday Island

Queensland is Australia’s second-largest state and the perfect holiday destination.

In this Queensland travel guide, you find everything you need to know before visiting this beautiful state of Australia.

The World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef and its marine life with colourful tropical fish, and extensive coral gardens are well-known to many people but this is just the beginning of the never-ending list of places and things you can see.

Each town of coastal Queensland offer its unique beauty and atmosphere and the outback towns like Birdsville, Winton or Mount Isa will give you an unforgettable experience about their country people and their culture.

Hema - Queensland

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If you thought you travelled far enough don’t forget about Tropical Far North that offers the magnificent ancient rainforest of Daintree National Park with its dangerous but fascinating Cassowary bird.

The history of Queensland is very interesting too. Capitan James Cook discovered the Queensland coast and azure waters of Cape Tribulation. Nowadays Cooktown offers great re-enactment of this significant event.

On the south of Brisbane is the famous Gold Coast with its 300 days of sunshine per year. Their theme parks will give multiple hours of great fun, while Hinterland with emerald-green waterfalls and rainforests will offer visitors a marvellous holiday.

Let’s start from Australia’s last undeveloped frontiers – Cape York, holly grail to all 4WD enthusiasts.

Queensland Travel Guide
Queensland Travel Guide

The Cape York Region

The Cape York Peninsula is a huge piece of land in the north of Queensland. Cape York showcases some of Australia’s best Aboriginal rock art, magnificent wildlife, fishing, and harsh but amazing landscape. It is a very popular destination for 4WD drivers as most of the roads are dirt and there are many challenging tracks to test a 4WD.

The best moment when visiting Cape York is when you place your feet next to the sign and the end of the peninsula. Believe me, it is a very rewarding feeling.

Travel Guide - time to visit

The best time to visit Cape York is during the dry season, between May and October. At this time of the year, the weather is sunny and warm. At the end of the season temperatures rise and humidity increases. It’s not recommended to travel to Cape York in the wet season, as day temperatures reach 30 degrees and the roads are closed and bridges are flooded.

Weipa Average Temperatures and Rainfall
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSeptOctNowDec
323132323231303233353533Max Temp
242424232120191920212324Min Temp
42140133882621111498256Rain mm
22212010321113816Rain Days
  • By air – daily scenic flights arrive from Cairns and Cooktown. From Frangipani beach there is only 1.6 km to the tip of Australia.
  • By tour bus – many options to discover ancient Cape York from Cairns.
  • By car – great 4WD adventure as the road is only partially sealed.
  • By boat – jump on MV Trinity Bay and cruise 1000 km of coast on a cargo ship. Travelling on MV Trinity Bay could be really fun, as it’s equipped with passager cabins and a dining lounge.

Must see the Cape York Region attractions

  • Spend the night at the iconic Lions Den Hotel
  • Visit the small community of Laura, explore Quinkan Country and ancient aboriginal paintings
  • Appreciate Laura Dance Festival
  • Eat lunch at century-old Telegraph Station of Musgrave
  • Explore Lakefield National Park
  • Drive through the frontier gold town of Coen, spend an amazing night at the Bend and picturesque Archer River
  • Visit Weipa, go on a Bauxite Mine Tour and book your seat at sunset cruise to enjoy astonishing sunset over the Gulf of Carpentaria
  • Drive to Maytown via Old Coach Road – the most challanging 4WD track
  • Spend the night at Bramwell Cattle Station
  • Tackle the iconic Old Telegraph Track
  • Have a dip at Fruit Bat Falls
  • Take a ferry through crocs infested Jardine River
  • Catch giant trevally at Seisia Wharf
  • Visit Thursday Island
  • Stand at the very northern tip of Australia!
Queensland Travel Guide - Laura Dance Festival
Queensland Travel Guide – Laura Dance Festival

Accommodation

Most accommodation options in the Cape York peninsula are camping like. It is by far, one of the most remote places in Australia, so there are no motels or hotels (except Weipa).

On the way to Cape York, there are many free and paid camping options. You can stay in any roadhouse that has its own, unique atmosphere where you can grab a late diner, watch the footy and relax among other campers.

Stay at least one night in Hann River Roadhouse, Musgrave Roadhouse, Archer River Roadhouse or Bramwell Roadhouse and you will not regret it. Get a campfire going and cook your camp oven meal. Learn about campfire cooking here.

If you prefer more isolated, free camping there are many options too. If you go on the Old Telegraph Track (OTT), you can camp at almost any creek crossing and enjoy nature (stay away from salties). However, during the peak season (June – Aug) don’t expect to be alone as it is the busiest time.

Right on the tip of Australia, after you cross the Jardine River on a ferry, you can camp free in any designated camping spot or on the beach. For instance, in Usher Point, just pick a nice, beautiful, spot on the beach and have a good night there.

The caravan parks on the tip are all located at the beach to make your stay more enjoyable. Check the below table to see which caravan park is suitable for you.

Caravan Park FacilitiesPriceWho is it for?
Punsand Bay– Camping sites, cabins, safari tents, rooms
– Closest to the tip
– Firewood pizza
– Licenced bar
– Reward yourself at least one night
ExpensiveIf you miss civilization, TV, bar and crowds far from home. Excellent place to stay for everybody or book your Cape York tour.
Loyalty Beach Campground– Camping sites, rooms, beach house or bush house
– Small restaurant and bar
CheapNot as luxurious as Punsand Bay. It is a big camping ground so you won’t be alone. Grab your dinner at the restaurant or a drink in the bar. Also, a good place to book and go for a tour.
Seisia Holiday Park– camping sites, villas, cottages, and lodges
– kiosk
MediumPerfect for those who like fishing off the wharf or book their fishing charter.
Alau Beach Campground– camping sites only
– not crowded as other caravan parks
CheapPerfect if you want to escape the crowds. Peak a beach site away from others (many available). Go fishing in the morning and just place your chair in the sand and enjoy the sunset.

The best camping spots in Cape York Region

  • The Bend in Coen – place your chair in the creek and enjoy a campfire
  • Punsand Bay Camping – the best caravan park and bar in Cape York – taste firewood pizza
  • Chilli Beach – beautiful beach places between a reef and rainforest
  • Elim Beach – Eddies Camping Area – drive on the beach and see the coloured sands
  • Seisha Beach and wharf – try your fishing and get a GT
  • Usher Point – try not to get bogged to see the famous cliffs

Top Events in Cape York

JuneLaura Aboriginal Dance Festival (every 2 years)
JuneMabo Day – Torres Strait Islands
JulyComing off the Light Festival in Brisbane – Torres Strait Islanders event
SeptTorres Strait Cultural Festival
Northern Territory Travel Guide - Darwin

The Far North Tropics

Cooktown

The historic and full of charm small town of Cooktown is a must-stop on the way to Cape York. It is a place where James Cook arrived in 1770 and spent 1.5 months repairing his ship Endeavor. Cooktown has also an excellent botanic garden dating from the 1880s.

Queensland Travel Guide - Cooktown
Queensland Travel Guide – Cooktown

Main Attractions to experience in Cooktown

  • Visit James Cook Museum
  • Take a stroll in the tropical Botanic Garden
  • Experience sunset at Grassy Hill and take a photo of the iconic lighthouse
  • Enjoy historical re-enactments during the Cooktown Discovery Festival
  • Take a cruise and spot salt water crocodiles
  • Try your luck and catch a barramundi
  • Visit Quarantine Bay and spot mantras dancing near the shore in the morning

Accommodation

Cooktown is the last, furthest north, a bigger town in Queensland where you can get all necessary supplies before going to Cape York.

This last civilisation bastion offers various accommodation options like caravan parks, motels and hotels. It is definitely worthwhile to stay in Cooktown during the Cooktown Discovery Festival in June.

Cairns and around

Cairns – the capital of Tropical North Queensland. Place where Great Barrier Reef meets the Wet Tropics and palm-fringed beaches. A perfect holiday destination for everyone, families with kids, fishing enthusiasts, and tourists wanting to spot elusive Casuarries.

Cairns became one of the most popular Queensland destinations due to its numerous attractions and great accommodation options.

Cairns Average Temperatures and Rainfall
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSeptOctNowDec
313130292826262728293131Max Temp
242423222018171819212223Min Temp
41343544219194492827363890175Rain mm
18192017141098881013Rain Days

23 must see attractions around Cairns

Queensland Travel Guide - Cairns
Queensland Travel Guide – Cairns

Accommodation

Cairns is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Australia. When you see the above list of all Cairns attractions there is no doubt why tourists like to come here.

You can pick from many accommodation options including motels, hotels, B&B, luxurious caravan parks or even free camping.

To see everything in and around Cairns we recommend at least 2 weeks.

Top Events in Cairns and around

Gulf Savannah

Gulf Savannah is a remote Queensland region characterised by savannah grasslands, red soil, and mangrove estuaries. It is also a region where you can enjoy Aboriginal rock-art sites, dinosaur fossil discoveries, and fossicking opportunities.

Queensland Travel Guide - Gulf Savannah
Queensland Travel Guide – Gulf Savannah
Normanton Average Temperatures and Rainfall
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSeptOctNowDec
353434343229293134363736Max Temp
252524221916151720232525Min Temp
26024915831893231044143Rain mm
14149211100149Rain Days

Top Gulf Savannah attractions

Accommodation

There are only a few towns in the Gulf Savannah region. There is limited accommodation in Croydon, Georgetown, Normanton, or Karumba.

Also, each town has a caravan park where you can stop during your trip.

By far, the most enjoyable time you can spend in Lawn Hill National Park where you can do canoeing, swimming and hiking. For those who like fishing visit Karumba.

Top Events in The Gulf

EasterWorld Burramundi Championships in Burketown
Easter  Normanton Barra Classic
AprKarumba Fishing Classic
MayChillagoe Festival
JunNormanton Show and Rodeo
Northern Territory Travel Guide - Darwin

Great Barrier Reef

Australia’s most-known natural attraction. Over 2000 km long Great Barrier Reef with tropical islands, exotic fish, and radiantly coloured corals.

Day trips or longer stays on reef-surrounded islands is a popular way of seeing and enjoying the reef.

Tropical North Islands

  • Fitzroy Island – Bushwalking, snorkeling, and diving.
  • Lizard Island – National Park walks, fishing and snorkeling.
  • Green Island – Glass bottom boat trips around the island. Popular day-trip destination.
  • Bedarra Island – Bushwalking, snorkeling, swimming, and fishing. Island offers white sand beaches and tropical rainforests.
  • Orpheus Island – a small island offering great birdwatching, glass-bottom boats, walks, and fishing.
  • Dunk Island – National Park with walking tracks and excellent birdwatching, butterflies, and wild orchids.
  • Hinchinbrook Island – Take a 4 day walking trip across the island and experience tropical flora, sandy beaches, and beautiful waterfalls.
  • Magnetic Island – Snorkeling, fishing, sea kayaking, a large koala sanctuary

Whitsunday Islands

  • Daydream Island – luxurious resort with lots of water sport activities
  • South Molle Island – golf, bushwalking, diving, and snorkeling.
  • Hayman Island – great fishing, diving, watersports, and close to the outer reef
  • Whitsunday Island – beautiful 7 km silky beach, camping only
  • Hamilton Island – large island, reef and inner-islands trips, water sports, a wide range of facilities
  • Lindeman Island – bird and butterflies paradise, golf, watersports
  • Brampton Island – wildlife sanctuary, bushwalking, snorkeling

Southern Reef Islands

  • Great Keppel Island – a beautiful tropical island, with white sand beaches and water sports on offer
  • Heron Island – small coral island, turtle nesting site, ecology walks
  • Lady Elliot Island – 19 diving sites, bird rookeries, turtle nesting site
  • Lady Musgrave Island – scuba diving, whale watching, snorkeling

Accommodation

There are plenty of accommodation options in the Great Barrier Reef region. Each island offers luxurious resorts with swimming pools and a possibility to book your reef tour where you can try snorkelling or diving.

The Mid Tropics – Townsville & Mackay Region

Less known, but full of charm the Mid-Tropics has plenty of sandy shorelines, warm waters, and patches of rainforest. Full of historical charm Charters Towers was Queensland’s second-largest city during the 1870’s gold rush. Te ‘Ghosts of Gold’ Heritage Trail takes visitors through the town’s glamorous history.

Top Attractions around Townsville

Discover Mackay

Accommodation

Drier weather and plentiful accommodation options in the Mid Tropics region attract many tourists every year.

Undoubtedly, the biggest attractions are Magnetic Island, Cape Hillsborough and Eungella National Park.

The two biggest towns: Townsville and Mackay have a good accommodation base and a lot to see around.

Top Events in the Mid Tropics

Apr-May10 Days in the Towers – Chater Towers
JulyMackay Festival of Arts
Jul-AugAustralian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville
SepBurdekin Water Festival in Ayr
OctGreek Fest Glendi Festival in Townsville
Northern Territory Travel Guide - Darwin

Coral Coast

Part of the Wide Bay Burnett Region. Home to Lady Elliot and Lady Musgrave islands and the Bundy rum distillery.

Coral Coast attractions

Visit Mon Repos Conservation Park – the largest mainland turtle rookery where sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Discover Bundaberg Rum Distillery

Spend a day kayaking on Elliott River.

Cach Barramundi at Lake Monduran.

Capricorn Region

Central Queensland region spreads on the Tropic of Capricorn, from Great Barrier Reef through Rockhampton and Central Highlands to the Queensland Outback.

Queensland Travel Guide - Capricorn Coast
Queensland Travel Guide – Capricorn Coast
Rockhampton Average Temperatures and Rainfall
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSeptOctNowDec
323130292623232527303132Max Temp
22222118141191114171921Min Temp
1361411034752353129244868105Rain mm
1112107755447810Rain Days

9 must-see attractions at Capricorn Region

Queensland Travel Guide - Townsville and around
Queensland Travel Guide – Townsville and around

Accommodation

Capricorn Region offers a wide variety of budget and luxurious accommodation as well as bush and rainforest retreats.

Top Events in Capricorn Region

JanCapricorn Film Festival – Yeppoon
Fig Tree Markets – Yeppoon
AprRare Spare Rickynats
MayCapella Country Music
Emerald Agricultural Show
JulCountry on Keppel
SepMount Morgan Wattle Festival
AugCapriCon – pop culture convention
DecPBR Rockhampton (Bull Riding Event)
Northern Territory Travel Guide - Darwin

Fraser Coast

Fraser coast region is full of coloured sand cliffs, breathtaking white beaches, and a perfect spot to watch whales passing by. It is also a home for the world’s largest sand island.

Fraser Island Atractions

It is something magical when you see this island because Fraser Island is built 98% of sand and it is really fascinating to see it. What is even more surprising – the rainforest grows out of the sands. Let’s add to it over 40 beautiful freshwater lakes on the island and Fraser Island can be a great spot for your next holiday destination.

11 things to do on Fraser Island

  • Take a hike around Basin Lake
  • Sandboard the dunes
  • Drive on the 75 Mile Beach – a sand highway for 4WD enthusiasts
  • Swim in Lake McKenzie
  • Have a dip in Champagne Pools
  • Take a photo of the wreck of S.S Maheno 
  • Visit Central Station Rainforest and take a walk along the cristal clear stream
  • Walk to Lake Wabby where you can swim and admire the view
  • Admire Lake Birrabeen and its cristal clear waters
  • Walk along Wanggoolba Creek – magical Aboriginal woman’s place
  • Pick your tides and visit Sandy Cape Lighthouse

Fraser Coast Atractions

  • Have a great time fishing from Hervey Bay pier
  • In the winter time watch humpback whales migration to the warmer waters of Hervey Bay
  • Enjoy walking along Maryborough Heritage walk

Accommodation

Perhaps the most famous two places in the Fraser Region are Hervey Bay and Fraser Island.

Hervey Bay is a popular holiday destination with plentiful accommodation to choose from.

Fraser Island is known for its pristine environment and dingoes. While camping is the main option it is still possible to book a cottage and holiday house.

If you look for a wide beach away from people visit Woodgate Beach and Burrum Coast National Park.

Fraser Coast Top Events

Northern Territory Travel Guide - Darwin
Easter Burrum Heads Fishing in Burrum Heads
Apr-MayBay to Bay Yacht Race – TinCan Bay
Aug Harvey Bay Whale Festival

Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast has perfect weather, with winter temperatures around 25 degrees, stunning views of the blue Coral Sea, and the iconic backdrop of Glass House Mountains.

Sunshine Coast Attractions

  • Visit Glass House Mountains – the giant cores of extinct volcanoes
  • Stop on spectacular lookouts along the Glass Ho use Mountain Road
  • Visit Inskip Point and Rainbow Beach.
  • Take a 4WD, beach drive from Rainbow Beach to Noosa and admire colour sands of Great Sandy National Park. Aboriginal legends connects the color of the sand to the slaying of the rainbow serpent.
  • Take Queensland best 70 km scenic drive at Landsborough, Enjoy local galleries, B&B’s, antique shops, and cafes in pretty villages like Malleny, Mapleton, and Montville
  • Explore Noosa National Park with its beautiful surroundings, and if you are lucky you can spot a Koala
  • Spend the weekend in coastal towns of Caloundra, Mooloolaba, or Maroochydore and enjoy patrolled surfing beaches
  • Visit the big pinepple complex and Macadamia Nut Factory
Queensland Travel Guide - Sunshine Coast
Queensland Travel Guide – Sunshine Coast

Accommodation

Sunshine Coast is a very popular holiday destination. The most famous town, Noosa offers luxurious accommodation, but for those that look for something cheaper, there is plenty of budget accommodation in smaller towns like Coolum, Caloundra or Mooloolaba.

If you prefer mountains and hills, visit Sunshine Coast Hinterland where you can stay in a cabin, lodge or hotel.

Sunshine Coast Top Events

Brisbane and around

Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and it is the last big city when going north on the coast. It is beautifully located at Brisbane River and has a population of 2.6 million (Census 2021).

Brisbane Average Temperatures and Rainfall
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSeptOctNowDec
322928262321202124252830Max Temp
21211916131091012151820Min Temp
11312176631227027353265102114Rain mm
887775334599Rain Days

How to get to Brisbane

  • By air – easiest and fastest way to arrive to Brisbane from other Australian states or overseas. Daily flights from all major Australian cities.
  • By car – via New England Highway if you come from the south, Bruce Highway if you come from the north or Warrego Highway if you arrive from the west. Be prepare for a long drive.
  • By train – various options from Sydney and Cairns. It is the slowest way of transport

What to do in Brisbane

  • Enjoy city views from Mount Coot-Tha
  • Take an adventure climb on the Story Bridge
  • Hug a koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
  • Swim at Street Beach at Southbank
  • Take a bike ride through the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens
  • Visit Queensland Gallery of Modern Art
  • Discover City Centre with Queen St Mall
  • Spend the morning at Brisbane City Hall Museum
  • Admire St John’s Cathedral – the last medieval construction project of its kind.
  • Have a look at Brisbane oldest convict build structure – an Old Windmill built by convicts in late 1820
  • Walk along Cliffs Boardwalk and admire great city views from the Kangaroo Point Cliffs City lookout
  • Visit Chinatown with great good, and busy valley markets
  • Have a tour around XXXX Brewery if you are a beer-loving enthusiast

Brisbane City tours

Day tours

  • Visit Towoomba and climb the Great Dividing Range. This city is perched on the edge of 800 meters escarpment. Toowoomba celebrates the Carnival of Flowers each September and it is known as Garden City. Japanise garden is also worth visiting with its lake, bridges and pavilion.
  • Visit Queensland wine region and its Granit Belt wineries. Many offer tasting and sales of wines made from shiraz and merlot grapes.

Accommodation

Brisbane offers plentiful accommodation options and you can even find a last-minute deal in the festive season.

Interestingly, if you travel with a caravan, Brisbane has a few caravan parks where you can stop and enjoy the town.

Brisbane Top Events

Brisbane Islands

  • Drive to Bribe Island and enjoy a day on white beaches, fishing, boating, and if you are lucky you can see dolphins.
  • St Helena Island known in the past as the ‘hell-hole of the South Pacific’, was a prison place up to the 1930s. Historic ruins exist and tours are offered to visit St Helena Island National Park
  • North Stradbroke Island, also known as ‘Straddie’ is a coastal paradise with a great North Gorge Headland Walk.
  • Moreton Island is protected by a national park, built mainly from sand with great 36 km wide surf beach and 280 metre Mout Tempest is a great day trip from Brisbane.

Brisbane Islands Top Events

Gold Coast an Hinterland

There is no doubt that Gold Coast is Australia’s biggest holiday destination. With great weather, 35 beautiful beaches, and many theme parks there is no better spot for the winter holiday.

Queensland Travel Guide - Gold Coast
Queensland Travel Guide – Gold Coast

Gold Coast main attractions

  • Take kids to Sea World, Dreamworld, or Wet n Wild. Meet your favorite Hollywood characters at Movie World.
  • Visit Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Get close with saltwater crocodiles, observe animals at the daily feeding times, and experience Aboriginal culture show.
  • Explore the heart of the Gold Coast – a famous Surface Paradise
  • Lamington National Park is part of the World Heritage area with rainforest, waterfalls, and many walking tracks.

Accommodation

Gold Coast is a haven for surfers, beach lovers, theme parks visitors and hikers.

If you want to sleep in a skyscraper with a view of the Coral Sea, or you look for budget accommodation, Gold Coast has it for you.

Gold Coast Top Events

Northern Territory Travel Guide - Darwin
Jan Magic Millions Racing Festival
May-JunBlues on Broadbeach Music Festival
JunCountry and Horse Festival – Beaudesert
Aug-SepGold Coast Show in Southport
OctSpringtime on the Mountain in Mt Tamborine
OctGold Coast SuperGP in Surfers Paradise

Queensland Outback region

Many legends of Australia’s pioneering days start at Queensland Outback. From the largest Queensland Outback town of Mt Isa through Channel Country where hundreds of inland river channels meander through the flat plains to the Dinosaur Trail and Waltzing Mathilda Centre in Winton.

Longreach Average Temperatures and Rainfall
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSeptOctNowDec
373635312724232630343637Max Temp
232320161287812172022Min Temp
58684310135433161644Rain mm
775332222446Rain Days

What to do around Queensland Outback

Queensland Travel Guide - Queensland Outback
Queensland Travel Guide – Queensland Outback

Top Events Around Queensland Outback

EasterEaster in Roma
AprDirt and Dust Festival in Julia Creek
AprSurf Carnival – Kynuna
Aug Mount Isa Mines Rodeo
AugDrover’s Camp Festival in Camooweal
SepBirdsville Cup – Birdsville
Northern Territory Travel Guide - Darwin

Queensland Travel Guide – Summary

We hope you find our Queensland travel guide as a good information source that you can use for your Queensland trip. There is so much happening in Queensland so we listed only the main attractions and events.

Queensland is a state that you can visit any time of the year with the exception of Cape York which should be avoided during the rainy season.

Please let us know if you know of an event or attraction that we have not listed here. Feel free to drop a comment below.


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