Queensland Travel Guide: The Definitive Resource

This Queensland travel guide is here to convince you that visiting this great state is something that you should do while you’re in Australia.

Let me explain why:Queensland travel guide

For a start, Queensland is home to some of the most beautiful places to visit in Australia, such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsundays.

These are among many people’s top reasons to visit Australia!.

As well as that, there’s great cities such as Brisbane and the Gold Coast, which have plenty of things to do. There are also some great lesser-known places as well.

Hervey Bay and Mooloolaba may not be familiar names, but they should be visited while travelling around Australia.

This guide will provide you advice on where to visit, what to do and how much things cost while travelling around Queensland!

Queensland Travel Guide

General info

Queensland is the second-largest and third most populated state in Australia. The state is named in honour of Queen Victoria, who signed the papers confirming its separation from New South Wales in 1859.

Due to its large size, Queensland straddles a number of climate zones. The Far North is tropical, while further south near Brisbane, there’s hot summers with mild winters.

In all, there are five distinct climate zones in Queensland. The Far North suffers from a wet season, similar to the one in the Top End of the Northern Territory.

Travelling around Queensland

Travelling around Queensland can be a challenge at times because the state is gigantic. When I was travelling from Brisbane to Cairns via Greyhound bus, I didn’t think the journey would take as long as it did. The places seemed quite close on the map. In reality, it was very different!

Hervey Bay to Airlie Beach is a 12-hour trip, while the trip up to Cairns is a 10-hour drive! They really don’t look that far apart on the map! It just illustrates how big Australia really is!

You can travel between the Gold Coast and Brisbane easily via train, which only takes about 30 minutes. After that, Greyhound would be your best for travelling around Queensland!

Another option is to rent a car or campervan. This might be a good idea if there’s a few of you in your group, as you can split costs. You also have the benefit of stopping where and whenever you want, as opposed to being stuck on a bus for hours! Jucy, Apollo and Wicked are some great companies to rent from!

The main airport in Queensland is in Brisbane, though there are a lot of flights into Cairns and the Gold Coast too. Internal flights can be cheap, especially if you book with budget airlines such as Jetstar or Tiger!


Burleigh Heads

Why you should visit Queensland

Due to its size, Queensland is one of the most diverse states in Australia. In this regard, I found it was similar to was travelling in South Australia. The contrast between the south and the North of the state is quite stark.

The Far North of Queensland in places such as Cape Tribulation and Cairns is very tropical with distinct seasons. Whereas further south near Brisbane it’s less humid and the landscape is not as lush.

This diversity is one of the best aspects of Queensland. You can see many different sides to Australia just by travelling around Queensland. This is even truer if you ventured into the Queensland outback and went somewhere like Mt. Isa!

The diversity is of true of things to do in Queensland as well. You can do anything from scuba-diving in the Far North to hiking in the Daintree Rainforest.

You can visit Bundaberg, which is a are also great Australian holiday destination. It’s a handy place to stop over for a while if you’re travelling to the Far North of Queensland.

There are Queensland destinations for everyone as the state is that big! Don’t fancy hiking? Then you can chill out at Magnetic Island. Want more hustle and bustle? Then visit Brisbane!

Where to stay in Queensland

There’s plenty of choices when it comes to backpacker accommodation in Queensland. The problem is that with so much choice it can be difficult to know which hostels are good and which ones are not so good! Even small places such as Airlie Beach have a lot of hostels! The choice really is dizzying!

The YHA is one of the most popular hostel chains in Australia and they have a number of hostels in Queensland. I stayed in their hostels in the Gold Coast and Brisbane. Both were comfortable, the one in Brisbane was great, as it had a rooftop pool and great facilities.

Brisbane City YHABrisbaneThe best hostel in Brisbane. Excellent facilities, including a big TV room and rooftop pool. Spacious kitchen and rooms!Book Now
Dreamtime Travellers RestCairnsA lovely hostel that is more like a home! Great facilities, outdoor pool and the staff are very friendly and helpful!Book Now
Flashpackers Hervey BayHervey BayA great little hostel with great facilities, such as a spacious kitchen and living area and friendly staff!Book Now
Mooloolaba Beach BackpackersMooloolabaThe only hostel in Mooloolaba, but it's great. A lovely outdoor area, big rooms and spacious kitchen.Book Now
Surfers Paradise YHAGold Coast A nice hostel a mile from Surfer's. A lot more chilled than in the centre of the Gold Coast.Book Now

View Queensland Hostels

Due to the amount of choice in Queensland, my advice is to look on Hostelworld before you book a hostel. This way you can compare ratings, facilities to choose the best hostel for you! If you don’t fancy staying in a hostel in Queensland, then click here for the latest deals on Booking.com for hotels in Queensland!

When is the best time to visit Queensland?

The best time to visit Queensland depends on a few factors because of the size of the state. The Far North has a tropical climate with defined seasons. This means that if you visit somewhere like Cairns during the Australian summer, you’ll be visiting during the rainy season!

Further down towards the border with New South Wales, the climate is quite stable. The summers are hot and the winters are mild, which means that there are more options for someone wanting to visit a place like Brisbane!

Activities to do in Queensland

Road trip

A road trip in Queensland is one of the best ways to see the state! Given that the distances between places are huge here, it’s much better to be able to stop where and when you want! Being stuck on a coach for hours is not much fun and you don’t see as much as you could during a road trip!


No Queensland travel guide would be complete without a mention of surfing! Queensland has some of the best spots in Australia to go surfing! They don’t call it Surfer’s Paradise for nothing!

There’s plenty of other great spots for surfing further up the coast as well. If you haven’t tried surfing during your time travelling around Australia, then Queensland is the perfect place to start!


No Queensland travel guide would be complete without mentioning scuba-diving. After all, the state is home to the Great Barrier Reef! This is one of the primary reasons to visit Australia for many people and if you’re a keen diver, then all the more so!

There are some other great spots as well in Queensland, especially in the Far North, so give scuba-diving a try while you’re here!


Gold Coast beach

Places to visit in Queensland

As one of the biggest states in Australia, there’s plenty of places to visit in Queensland. Most people know about the popular hotspots such as Brisbane and the Gold Coast, but there are quite a few hidden gems as well!

I visited Mooloolaba almost as a last resort because all the hostels in Noosa were fully booked. I was pleasantly surprised by the place and enjoyed my time there!

The further North you travel, the more tropical Queensland becomes and you can visit the Daintree Rainforest or Magnetic Island if you wish. There are a lot of things to do in Cairns, such as visit the Great Barrier Reef or relax at the Esplanade!

Queensland does have a bit of a reputation as a samey backpacker trail, but there’s quite a bit of variety if you get off that trail!


Brisbane is the biggest city in Queensland and somewhere that you absolutely have to visit when travelling around Queensland! It may not be as glamorous or cultural as Melbourne or Sydney, but it has plenty of charm nonetheless!

The Southbank along the Brisbane river is one of my favourite spots in the whole of Australia. There are loads of great cafes here and there’s even a makeshift beach, should you fancy a dip! The Story Bridge is another great landmark

The city has a reputation as a party haven, and it’s not called Bris Vegas by the locals for nothing! The nightlife here is lively, and there’s always something happening in the city.


Brisbane travel guide

Read more: Brisbane Travel Guide

Fraser Island

Fraser Island is one of the most popular places to visit in Queensland. It’s considered to be the largest sand island in the world and it’s also a world heritage site. For an island that is only 120km (75 miles) long, it’s quite diverse with rainforests, woodland and swamps present!

The most common activity to do here is a 4×4 drive on the beach, which allows you to see a lot of this scenic island. The chance to see a wild dingo is also another great reason to visit Fraser Island.

This is one of the unique places to visit in my Queensland travel guide and one you shouldn’t miss!


Fraser Island

Photo Credit: Rhain

Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is one of the most popular places to visit while travelling in Queensland. It’s home to the famous Surfer’s Paradise beach, which is a must-visit! There’s also lively nightlife, so this is definitely the place to party in Queensland.

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle, you can trek to Burleigh Heads, which is a picturesque national park to the south of the Gold Coast. There are some great views of the Gold Coast from here and the landscape is amazing!


Gold Coast coastline


Read more: Gold Coast Travel Guide

Hervey Bay

I was pleasantly surprised when I travelled to Hervey Bay. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I hadn’t heard much about it, but I thought it was a great place. Granted, it’s small and there’s not an awful lot going on, but it’s a great place to relax.

There are a few cool things to do at Hervey Bay, such as visit the beach, which is great! It’s not too busy and very picturesque, I really enjoyed walking up and down it for hours, just enjoying the peace and quiet.

Hervey Bay may not feature prominently in a Queensland travel guide, but you should definitely include it as part of your itinerary!


Hervey Bay


Visiting the Whitsundays is one of the best reasons to visit Australia! The islands are extremely popular with backpackers and form part of the popular East Coast travelling route!

I didn’t visit the Whitsundays during my time in Australia, but I really regret it! The chance to visit these stunning islands was one I stupidly passed up.

As you can visit them on a sailing boat as well, I feel like I missed out two-fold. This is something I would have liked to experience, so don’t make the same mistake as me and see the Whitsundays!

How much does it cost to travel in Queensland?

Travelling around Australia can be expensive and Queensland is no exception. However, one bonus is that it’s not as expensive as New South Wales and Victoria. Brisbane is a cheaper city than both Melbourne and Sydney.

I’ve tried to make this Queensland Travel Guide budget-friendly. Below are a few hints and tips aimed at saving you money when travelling to Queensland!


My Queensland trip guide has already recommended a few good hostels to stay at, but there are ways you can save money on accommodation. One is to stay in rooms with more people, as these are always cheaper! If you don’t mind staying in a room with 8 or 10 people, you could save a lot of money!

Looking around on Hostelworld is a great way to save money, as you can often pick out a cheap hostel! If you really want to save money, however, you can do what I did and sleep in a car for three days!

Food and drink

The cost of food and drink is cheaper in Queensland on the whole than states such as Victoria and New South Wales. This only really applies to eating out though, so prices in the supermarkets are more or less the same.

If you want to save money then my advice is to stock up on pasta and rice. It’s cheap, lasts a while, and is versatile for cooking.

Like most places in Australia, alcohol is expensive in Queensland. If you want to save money, then I would advise you cut back on your drinking or stick to wine! You can get bottles of wine for $4, which is considerably cheaper than beer!


If you’re doing the main backpacker route up the East Coast to Cairns, then the odds are you’re going to do a lot of tours. This will eat into your budget, as they do add up, especially with the costs of travelling around and hostels!

My advice would be to pick one or two things that you really want to see and do and then limit the rest!

This way you will still have great experiences, but you will also save yourself a fair bit of money. It’s not cheap doing all the activities such as scuba-diving, and sailing around the Whitsundays.

One of the best Queensland travel tips is to book through a travel agents such as Peter Pans or Wicked. You can normally get a better deal if you book through them than direct with the company!

Tips and tricks

  • Most of the hostels in Queensland charge you for wifi. To get around this, go to libraries, McDonald’s, Burger King or KFC where the wifi is free!
  • Stock up on pasta and rice when you are staying in hostels. They are both really cheap, and you can make lots of great meals with either of them!
  • Buy alcohol before you go out and stick to wine, it is a lot cheaper than beer! Yes, the $3-5 bottles of wine do taste good surprisingly!
  • Book any tours through a tour agency! I’d recommend Peter Pans, as I got some great discounts through them when I booked some of my tours. Never book directly with the company!


Beach on the Gold Coast

Concluding thoughts

Hopefully, my Queensland travel guide has given you a flavour of what to expect in this great state! It’s a big state, and there’s no shortage of things to do in Queensland!

Travelling to Queensland is something most people will do when they visit Australia. Seeing the natural beauty in this state is something that I highly recommend!

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Tom is a travel addict who first left England to spend a year Down Under. Not satisfied with this, he then went to New Zealand, about as far away from home as he could get. He is now planning his next adventures in Europe and Canada while maintaining this blog.

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30 Responses

  1. Marta Nightingale says:

    wow, very detailed and informative, thank you. the diversity you r describing siunds really tempting, bookmarked as Australia is on my list

  2. Jennifer says:

    I haven’t been to Australia yet, but I do know that when I do make it that Queensland is the first place I’d like to visit. I got dive certified earlier this year and scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef has long been on my bucket list.

    • Tom says:

      If you’ve got your scuba diving certificates then Queensland is definitely somewhere you should visit! WA is quite good for scuba diving as well!

  3. Very comprehensive guide to Queensland. The tips and tricks section is awesome! Been to Brisbane and the Gold Coast but have never been to Hervey Bay.

  4. Indrani says:

    Looks like a great package for a wonderful holiday there. It includes almost every possible ‘to do’ things in a destination.
    Love the pictures.

  5. Carol Colborn says:

    Well, we intend to cover Australia next year and now I know Queensland must also be included with New South Wales and Victoria!

    • Tom says:

      Don’t forget the other states as well Carol! South Australia, NT and WA are great as well and arguably better than the East Coast!

  6. Crystal says:

    Wow, I’ve heard so many good things about Australia, but this helpfully lays out what Queensland has to offer! I really need to make it to this part of the world!

  7. Tami says:

    Great comprehensive guide to Queensland. I’ve never been to Australia or even heard of some of the things you talked about, so I learned a lot. I hope my travels eventually get me there!

    • Tom says:

      Seems like a lot of people don’t know an awful lot about Australia, which is a shame! This post is only really scratching the surface of what Queensland has to offer, there’s a lot to do there!

  8. Nisha says:

    I am reminded of our own road journey to Queensland , while we were living in Sydney. It brought back pleasant memories. Thanks Tom. I agree that Queensland is not so expensive when compared with NSW or Victoria. We always stayed in smaller towns near bigger cities to curb the stay costs.

  9. Vicki Louise says:

    Great guide to Queensland! There is so much to do up there – and I think most people know of QLD for the Great Barrier Reef – so it’s great to expand on that. Sad to say too that hotels/hostels throughout Aus make you pay for Wifi. It drives me mad and I have data on my phone – I couldn’t imagine how frustrating it would be for visitors to the country!

    • Tom says:

      There’s lots to do, it’s true. I could easily have wrote another 2000 words I think! Most of the hostels I stayed at in Australia charged for wifi unfortunately, as if they weren’t making enough money already! It is frustrating, I often went to the nearest library to get some free wifi!

  10. Thanks for such a great guide – we’re in Canberra, so we’re starting to plan our some roadtrips for summer – we haven’t explored much of QLD past Brisbane and the Gold Coast, so looking forward to getting into some more regional areas and secluded parts of the coast 🙂

    • Tom says:

      I’d say a summer roadtrip in Queensland would be great! I didn’t get to see as much as I wanted, especially past Cairns, so I’ll have to go back and finish the job in the future!

  11. Great guide and even better tips to keep it budget friendly. I love to visit places where everything, from the scenery to the activities are so diverse. Hope to get to explore Queensland, and if I do, I’m definitely trying a Daintree Rainforest hike!

  12. I love Queensland! I have family over there so maybe I am a bit biased 😉 I just love the beaches there especially on the Gold Coast and Hervey Bay!

    • Tom says:

      The beaches in Queensland are great, I was a massive fan of Hervey Bay! I really wasn’t expecting much when I went there, but it was great!

  13. One half of Grassroots Nomad is from Hervey Bay so it is great to see it included in this list! There are so many beautiful places in Australia and a lot of them are included in this list – great tips!

    • Tom says:

      Ah great stuff! It’s one of my favourite places in Australia. There are many great places in Queensland. Just a shame I didn’t get the chance to explore the far North a bit more!

  14. Alex Datsev says:

    Great post – so informative and detailed! Really appreciate all the first-hand personal advice regarding costs, wi-fi, and eating and drinking out…

  15. Definitely you cover a lot for Queensland. Very detailed and complete travel guide. You cover 3
    Important things for someone looking for a
    Travel guide. Where to stay, what to do and what to expect (tips and cost)

    Queensland offers a laid back tropical pace of life is also the home of Big adventures such as The great barrier reef, white water river rafting etc.

    People would surely love Queensland. Who would not love love to dive to one of the most amazing underwater landscapes on Earth.

    • Tom says:

      Thanks Trisha, I appreciate the love! There’s plenty of great places you can explore in Queensland. It’s quite diverse, which I was not expecting at all!

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