Lovingly known as the Sunshine State, Queensland boasts a seemingly endless list of epic travel experiences. From quaint country towns and authentic Aussie bush experiences to beautiful beaches, world-class food destinations and stunning rainforests, we’ve got it all! For those jonesing for a romantic getaway, family holiday or just an adventurous break, there’s no shortage of great destinations to choose from. To help you with a little wanderlust inspiration, here are 13 of the BEST places to travel in Queensland!
1. Rainbow Beach
Located around 3 hours drive north of Brisbane or 1 & 1/2 hours drive south of Hervey Bay, Rainbow Beach is a sleepy little town home to pristine beaches, lovely locals, and the stunning Carlo Sand Blow. You can camp right on the beach at Inskip Point, rent a holiday house or stay at our favourite local spot, Rainbow Ocean Palms Resort.
|Rainbow Ocean Palms Resort||Click here to read our full review||Click here|
|Plantation Resort At Rainbow||Apartment-style with balcony and spa||Click here|
|Debbie’s Place||Comfortable, clean and incredible hospitality||Click here|
2. Stanthorpe and The Granite Belt Region
An area of the Great Dividing Range in Queensland’s Darling Downs, Stanthorpe sits close to the Queensland and New South Wales border, a little under 3 hours drive south-west of Brisbane. The region is famed for incredibly fresh, local produce and great wine. A popular winter destination it’s also great for a spring or summer escape too, with an abundance of great accommodation providers, vineyards and restaurants with plenty to see, do and eat. We also love exploring the spectacular Girraween NP, home to some wonderful walking tracks and viewpoints! Stay at Ridgemill Estate, the Girraween Environmental Lodge or go glamping at Alure Stanthorpe.
|Ridgemill Estate||Comfortable cabins with winery views||Click here|
|Alure Stanthorpe||Click here to read our full review||Click here|
|Girraween Environmental Lodge||Fully self-contained and spacious bush chalets||Click here|
|Granite Belt Motel||Clean and conveniently located||Click here|
3. Agnes Water and the Town of 1770
You’ll find Agnes Water on the Discovery Coast, around 90 minutes drive in either direction from Bundaberg and Gladstone. The closest point to the southern Great Barrier Reef, you can take a day cruise to Lady Musgrave Island, do a LARC tour of the local area or a sunset kayak adventure. Enjoy the beaches, explore the paperbark forest or mingle at the Discovery Coast Markets. We usually stay at a beach house but other great spots include Pavillions on 1770 and 1770 Getaway.
|Pavillions on 1770||Direct beach access with spa||Click here|
|1770 Sovereign Lodge Resort||Close to restaurants, water views||Click here|
|1770 Beach Shacks||Panoramic Coral Sea views||Click here|
|Loka Santi Penthouse||Quiet apartment with ocean view||Click here|
|The Summit 1770||Secluded hillside chalets||Click here|
4. Carnarvon Gorge
Aussie bush experiences don’t get much better than the spectacular Carnarvon Gorge, located in Queensland’s Central Highlands, 720km north-west of Brisbane, in an area known as the Sandstone Wilderness. You can fly to spots like Emerald, Roma, Rockhampton and Gladstone, hire a car and drive to Carnarvon Gorge. Spend your days exploring the great Australia bush thanks to the wide range of walking trails in Carnarvon Gorge and spot some of our gorgeous Aussie wildlife. We stayed at Takarakka Bush Resort and loved it!
5. Toowoomba and the High Country Hamlets
Affectionately nicknamed ’T-Bar,’ you’ll find Toowoomba in the Darling Downs region, around 125km west of Brisbane. With so much great local produce in the area, there are some fantastic foodie experiences on offer in Toowoomba. Time your visit with the vibrant Carnival of Flowers or sunflower season. Journey deeper into the region with a visit to the High Country Hamlets, Ravensbourne and the nearby Bunya Mountains. For great spots to stay in and around the area check out Quest Toowoomba, Bunnyconnellen, ecoRidge Hideaway and Cloudlake.
|Quest Toowoomba||Centrally located and fully self-contained||Click here|
|ecoRidge Hideaway Chalets||Self-contained seclusion with views||Click here|
|Potters Toowoomba Hotel||Clean and comfortable with onsite restaurant||Click here|
|Oaks Toowoomba Hotel||Centrally located with gym and pool||Click here|
|Toowoomba Central Plaza Apartment Hotel||Self-contained with gym, pool and day spa||Click here|
Read: 26 of the BEST things to do in Toowoomba, 11 Perfect places to eat in Toowoomba, 6 Delicious vegetarian meals to try in Toowoomba, All the reasons to visit Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers, This is the BEST hidden day trip spot near Brisbane, and How to find these insanely beautiful sunflowers in Queensland.
Journey into the heart of country Queensland with a visit to iconic Longreach, a place that has a very special spot in my heart. Located in Central West Queensland around 700km from the coast, west of Rockhampton, the town is home to some very special locals and authentic Aussie experiences. Avid adventurers may like to catch the train up or you can simply fly! We did a guided tour with Outback Aussie Tours and absolutely loved it, enjoy dinner, drinks and live music under the stars, visiting the Wellshot Hotel, Stockman’s Hall of Fame, enjoying delicious local food and so much more. We stayed at Saltbush Retreat and loved it!
|Saltbush Retreat||Luxurious and self-contained with free airport transfers||Click here|
|The Staging Post||Boutique heritage-themed accommodation with free airport shuttle||Click here|
Famous for Bundaberg Rum, the gorgeous town of Bundy is much more than meets the eye! Located around 385km north of Brisbane, it’s also a great access point to the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Don’t miss the incredible day cruise to Lady Musgrave Island with Lady Musgrave Experience. At Mon Repos, visitors can watch turtles lay or see hatchlings burst forth from the sand. Visit nearby Lady Elliot Island to explore the reef and swim with turtles. Bundy is also home to some of my favourite thrift stores and the rum distillery tour is actually awesome! We love to stay in Bargara, right on the beachfront at The Point Resort.
|The Point Resort||Comfortable, beachfront and well-positioned for turtle attractions||Click here|
|Manta Bargara||Spacious, clean, fantastic views and great facilities||Click here|
Situated around 38km northeast of Rockhampton, Yeppoon is the gateway to the Capricorn Coast and the Southern Great Barrier Reef. There’s an unexpectedly epic food scene here with an abundance of great cafes and restaurants to choose from and a seemingly endless list of fun and interesting activities. Make the most of this truly gorgeous destination by taking the time to visit Great Keppel Island and Pumpkin Island. You can also explore nearby Rockhampton and the gorgeous Byfield National Park. Some of our favourite spots to stay include Villa Mar Colina, Oshen, Great Keppel Hideaway, Pumpkin Island resort, and the Byfield Cabins.
|Villa Mar Colina||Spacious with island views||Click here|
|Oshen Holiday Apartments Yeppoon||Heated outdoor resort pool||Click here|
|Salt Yeppoon||Close to restaurants and main beach||Click here|
|Echelon Apartments Yeppoon||Close to restaurants and main beach||Click here|
|Rosslyn Bay Resort Yeppoon||Close to marina and Kemp Beach||Click here|
9. Port Douglas & The Daintree
Famed for its beach resorts and the ultimate base for visiting the Great Barrier Reef, Port Douglas is located in tropical far north Queensland, around an hour drive north of Cairns. Here, you’ll find some staggeringly beautiful scenery, fantastic food and no shortage of great spots to stay. Explore the picturesque Mossman Gorge and the Daintree Rainforest National Park and head out to the Great Barrier Reef for snorkelling and more. I stayed at Peppers Beach Club and really enjoyed it.
10. Fraser Island
The world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island stretches over 120km, located 360km north of Brisbane. Accessible by barge, it’s the ideal spot to get away from it all. A truly unique part of Queensland, visitors can explore stunning Lake McKenzie, float down Eli Creek, marvel at the Maheno Shipwreck, spot Humpback Whales and dingoes. We stayed at Kingfisher Bay Resort and had a great experience.
11. Gold Coast
The iconic Gold Coast, located an hour drive south from Brisbane CBD, is famous for its stunning beaches, theme parks and party scene. There are loads of great spots to visit but our favourites tend to be a little further away from Surfer’s Paradise. We love the cool cafes and great beach spots in Tallebudgera, Palm Beach, Currumbin and Burleigh Heads. Explore local weekend markets or eat your way through the seemingly endless roster of restaurants and cafes. We like to stay at the Meriton Suites Broadbeach, The Pink Hotel Coolangatta and Meriton Suites Surfers Paradise.
|Meriton Suites Surfers Paradise||5-star beachfront with stunning ocean views & heated pool||Click here|
|The Star Grand at Star Gold Coast||Super comfortable rooms, close to the Casino & restaurants||Click here|
|Meriton Suites Broadbeach||Comfortable with easy access to restaurants and shopping||Click here|
|ULTIQA Air on Broadbeach||Luxurious, spacious close to restaurants and beach||Click here|
|Burleigh Esplanade Apartments||We stayed in ‘Loft Penthouse’ and LOVED this unique gem||Click here|
|19th Avenue on the Beach||Absolute beachfront away from the crowds||Click here|
|The Pink Hotel Coolangatta||Unique boutique hotel with rooftop beachfront bar||Click here|
Read: 14 of the BEST things to do on the Gold Coast: Surfers Paradise to Burleigh, 13 of the BEST things to do on the Gold Coast: Currumbin to Coolangatta, 79 of the BEST things to do on Australia’s Gold Coast and 3 of the BEST places to eat on the Gold Coast
12. Sunshine Coast
Where the Gold Coast is well-known internationally, the Sunshine Coast is a favourite among Queensland locals. Located 100km north of Brisbane, this area is home to some really beautiful beaches and sleepy coastal towns that come alive during peak season. Beach lovers will want to visit cool spots like Caloundra, Noosa, Mooloolaba, Maroochydore and Coolum in the warmer months. But, visitors in winter and autumn may like to check out the hinterland and explore the quaint towns of Maleny and Montville. We like to stay right on the beachfront in Noosa at Seahaven Noosa, find a cool Airbnb in Caloundra/Moffat Beach or at Spicers Clovelly Estate or Spicers Tamarind Retreat in the Hinterland.
A welcoming city located along the Brisbane River, Queensland’s capital is a hub of great food, cultural experience and entertainment. Explore local neighbourhoods like New Farm, Paddington and the Fortitude Valley. Visit beloved spots like South Bank and Street’s Beach, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and Kangaroo Point. Dine at Howard Smith Wharves, Eat Street and trendy West End. Great spots to stay include Rydges South Bank, The Sebel, The Johnson, Spicers Balfour, and Meriton Suites.
|Rydges South Bank Brisbane||Read our full review here||Click here|
|The Sebel Brisbane||Central CBD location with pool||Click here|
|Art Series – The Johnson||Spacious and well-appointed with pool||Click here|
|Alex Perry Hotel Apartments||Read our full review here||Click here|
|Spicers Balfour Hotel||Luxurious with fantastic food||Click here|
|Meriton Suites Herschel Street||Comfortable and centrally located||Click here|
|Mantra Terrace Hotel||Well-priced, comfortable and stylish||Click here|
Useful travel resources for your next adventure!
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Agoda – for booking hotels (& homes)
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Motorhome Republic – for RV rentals
RentalCars.com – for car rentals
SCTI – for travel insurance
SimsDirect – best prepaid travel SIM cards
Surfshark – for online security & VPN (Watch the Netflix libraries of 30 countries incl. USA!)
TourRadar – for booking tours