Want to know the best places to visit in Queensland? From Brisbane to Cairns and Magnetic Island, there’s no shortage of amazing places to see!
There are a lot of things to do in Queensland, as it takes in a large part of the well-trodden backpacker route of the East Coast.
Amazing beaches on the Gold Coast, warm weather and amazing sights such as the Great Barrier Reef are just some of Queensland’s attractions!
But, there is more to Queensland than just this. You can also visit a rainforest in Daintree National Park, the beautiful Airlie Beach or check out the outback at Mt Isa.
It would be impossible to list all of the places to go in Queensland as there are just so many. I’ve tried to narrow this list down to the very best places and the ones I enjoyed the most when I visited!
I’ve given my best shot and my choices are below!
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Table of Contents
Best Places to Visit in Queensland
Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands, but there’s more to the place than just that!
It’s only small but there’s quite a bit to see here! The esplanade here is great and there’s a small marina-type place where you can go and relax on good days.
Of course, the main reason to come is to visit Airlie Beach are the Whitsunday Islands, and it’s the perfect place to come if you’re visiting Queensland!
You can also do a coastal walk in Airlie Beach which is well worth it, as there are some great views across the shoreline! Visiting Airlie Beach is a must on any Queensland itinerary!
Brisbane is the biggest city in Queensland and one of the best in Australia. Although it doesn’t have a beach, there are plenty of things to do here.
You can take in the numerous museums, stroll along the Brisbane River at the beautiful Southbank and check out the world-famous Australia Zoo!
One of my favourite things to do in Brisbane is climbing Mt Coot-tha. It’s a bit of a trip from the centre, but the views from the top are well worth it!
Visiting Brisbane was one of my favourite memories of Australia. It’s a really lively city, with great nightlife and there’s always something happening!
Read more: Brisbane Travel Guide
I was really excited to visit Cairns, as it was one of the places in Queensland I was really keen to see!
Unfortunately for me, I picked the rainy season to visit, which was not the best decision. Apart from one morning of sunshine, it rained for the remainder of my time there!
This confirms the importance of knowing the best time to visit Australia! As Cairns is in tropical Queensland, there are distinct seasons. If you visit Cairns outside of the rainy season, you’ll find a lively city, with plenty to offer!
It’s the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and there are numerous tours you can do.
You can also visit make a day trip to visit some of the great places nearby such as Barron Gorge National Park and Kuranda, where you’ll find the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary and the Kuranda Scenic Railway.
The Esplanade is another great place to go as you can relax in the pools overlooking the ocean!
Cairns is one of the best places to go in Queensland provided you go during the right months! Driving from Cairns to Brisbane is an ideal way to see some of the best places in Queensland!
Read more: Backpacking Cairns
Cape Tribulation is located in tropical North Queensland and is one of the more popular eco-tourism destinations in the area.
The Daintree Rainforest is not far and is one of the main reasons people visit Cape Tribulation.
Its location in Far North Queensland means it’s an off-the-beaten-track destination. However, it’s a good place to visit as there are quite a lot of things to do.
You can go to the nearby Great Barrier Reef, which is only 19 km (12 miles) away. You can also go kayaking, horse-riding and 4×4 driving here as well!
Cape Tribulation is one of the less-considered places to see in Queensland, but it’s worth a visit nonetheless!
You might also like:
- Places to visit in South Australia
- Places to visit in Victoria
- Places to visit in New South Wales
- Places to visit in Northern Territory
- Places to visit on New Zealand’s South Island
If you’re wondering what to do in Queensland while you’re there, you can’t go wrong with visiting Fraser Island.
There’s a good reason for that:
Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island and isn’t far from Hervey Bay. The island has rainforests, mangrove forests, dunes and a seventy five mile beach! A 4×4 is needed to access the island, as it’s mostly sand.
As well as having the chance to see a dingo in its natural habitat, you can also see the shipwreck of the S.S. Maheno, which is beached on the east part of Fraser Island!
It’s an example of the wealth of things to do on Fraser Island!
If you’re wondering where to visit in Queensland, visit Fraser Island to see the diversity of nature in Australia!
The Gold Coast has a special place in my heart, as it was the first place that I visited while travelling in Australia!
The images of white sand beaches, sun and surf captured my image of Australia perfectly! The beaches along the Gold Coast are incredible and Surfers Paradise is well worth a visit! They are easily some of Australia’s best beaches!
You shouldn’t limit visiting the Gold Coast to just seeing Surfers Paradise and the golden beaches, there are plenty of other things to do as well!
Burleigh Heads National is definitely one of the best places to go in Queensland, as the views and scenery here are stunning! You can also check out the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, where you’ll find many famous Australian animals such as koalas!
The Gold Coast may have a reputation as a party and surf hub, but there’s definitely much more to it than that! Do a little exploring and you’ll find one of the best destinations in Queensland!
Read more: Gold Coast Travel Guide
If you’re wondering where to go in Queensland, Hervey Bay is one place you can’t miss and somewhere I thoroughly enjoyed visiting.
I didn’t really know what to expect when I visited there, as I didn’t know much about the place. When I got there I found Hervey Bay to be a beautiful and very relaxing place!
There aren’t a lot of things to do in Hervey Bay, but if you want to relax then it’s the place for you! The beach on the Queensland coast is really long and it was great to just relax there for a few hours!
You can also go on a whale watching cruise to see the humpback whales that gather off the coast. The area is known as the whale watching capital of Australia and is home to the first whale heritage site in the world.
It may only be a small town, but if you travel to Queensland, Hervey Bay is a place that you can’t miss!
Magnetic Island is one of the best places in Queensland. The small island is located off the shore of Townsville.
One of the main reasons to visit Magnetic Island is its abundance of wildlife. The Magnetic Island National Park, which comprises 54% of the island is the main place to go for this.
You can see a variety of birds, while the sea life is very varied as well. There are also over 800 koalas on the island, should you want to get up and close personal with these great creatures!
Magnetic Island is also home to several World War II forts. The Magnetic Battery, which is an artillery battery and observation point, is one popular spot.
Magnetic Island is one of the best reasons to visit Queensland, as its natural beauty makes it a great place to go!
If you want to visit the Sunshine Coast, then the first place that people think of is Noosa. However, visiting the resort town of Mooloolaba is something you should do as well!
It may not be one of the most well-known Queensland destinations, but it’s in an interesting place nonetheless! The beach is really nice and there are some great hikes available!
Mooloolaba is a bit less commercialised than Noosa, so it’s a lot quieter and more relaxing. So, if that’s your style then you should definitely visit!
Mooloolaba might not be somewhere you’d consider going when you travel to Queensland, but it’s somewhere you should definitely go!
If you want to see a different side of Queensland, then going to Mount Isa is definitely for you!
Unlike the majority of the places listed on this page, Mount Isa is not on the coast of Queensland. It’s actually a small city in central Queensland!
I didn’t make it to Mt Isa, however, after spending time in the outback while travelling South Australia, I can say that it’s worth it if you’re intrigued!
The Outback shows Australia in a completely different light and Mount Isa is no different! If you’re interested in weird places, then a visit to the only underground hospital in Australia is a must!
Mount Isa may not be one of the most popular places to visit in Queensland but it’s an intriguing one nonetheless!
One of the best places in Queensland for a holiday is almost definitely Noosa!
Despite being a small place, it’s famous for its amazing beaches. As one of the main places to visit on the Sunshine Coast, Noosa is a must if you love beaches! There are plenty of things to do in Noosa.
The beaches are great for surfing. Several surfing events have been held on the beach. It’s a great place to learn surfing in Australia if you’ve not tried it before!
As well as pristine beaches, you can visit Noosa National Park, which has a large population of koalas! It’s only a small destination, but Noosa is one of the Queensland attractions you can’t miss!
Port Douglas is a good place to go to in Queensland if you’re looking for some spectacular beaches.
It’s a great location if you want to see some of the best places to visit in Queensland, as Port Douglas is close to both the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest.
If you want to places in and around Port Douglas, then a day trip out to Four Mile Beach is a must! As the name suggests, it’s a long beach, which has some great views!
If you need any more reasons to visit Port Douglas, it was named the third-best town to visit in Australia by Australian Traveller.
As good a reason as any to check Port Douglas out!
The Whitsunday Islands are one of the most popular points of interest in Queensland! There’s a good reason for this!
Let me explain:
Simply put, the views across the Islands are absolutely stunning and one of the most famous landmarks in Queensland. This is the main reason that people visit, as it’s just really, really beautiful!
They’re not only one of the most popular places to visit in Queensland but the whole of Australia as well! The chance to see the tropical islands while sailing around on one of the numerous boat tours is too good to pass up!
There are a lot of scenic destinations in Australia, with the Whitsunday Islands near the top of that list!
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites in Queensland you have to check out.
Famous around the world for its natural beauty, the Great Barrier Reef is a bucket list item for many people when they visit Australia.
You’ll need to book a tour to get there, but it’s worth it. You’ll be able to see the outer reef, pristine islands and snorkel among the reefs.
You’ll need to go to Cairns to visit the Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea. But the trip is worth it, as you’ll remember the sights for the rest of your life!
The Sunshine Coast is located in south east Queensland, 100 km north of Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
One of the best things about this part of Queensland is that it’s so diverse. There are plenty of pristine beaches, and national parks as well as beautiful towns like Mooloolaba I’ve already mentioned.
Noosa is the most famous place, but there are other lesser-known ones such as Nambour, Tea Tree Bay and Kawana you should check out too.
The Sunshine Coast is one of the best places to visit in Queensland and with so much to see and do here, you won’t get bored anytime soon.
Daintree National Park
The Daintree National Park is home to another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Queensland, the Daintree Rainforest.
The tropical rainforest is in the Far North of Queensland and is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet.
It’s one of the nicest national parks in Australia and the rainforest, which makes up the majority of the park, has been there for over 110 million years!
There are numerous walking trails you can do to explore the park, natural rock pools to cool off in and much more.
The mighty Daintree River passes through the park too and is another place you’ll have to check in this incredible part of Queensland!
Where to stay in Queensland
Deciding where to stay in Queensland can be tricky, due to the size of the state and the sheer number of options available!
Australian hostels are some of the best in the world, and those in Queensland are no exception!
If you’re backpacking in Australia, then you will be staying in hostels, as they are significantly cheaper than hotels!
There are many great hostels in Queensland. As it’s quite a tropical place, a lot of them have pools, so you can relax there on a hot day! Below are a few of my favourites!
|Brisbane City YHA
|The best hostel in Brisbane. Excellent facilities, including a big TV room and rooftop pool. Spacious kitchen and rooms!
|Dreamtime Travellers Rest
|A lovely hostel that is more like a home! Great facilities, outdoor pool and the staff are very friendly and helpful!
|Flashpackers Hervey Bay
A great little hostel with great facilities, such as a spacious kitchen and living area and friendly staff!
|The only hostel in Mooloolaba, but it’s great. A lovely outdoor area, big rooms and spacious kitchen.
|A nice hostel a little bit out of town with great facilities and events
If staying in hostels is not your thing, then there are plenty of hotels in Queensland to choose from! Bear in mind, hotels will be more expensive than hostels. However, you’ll have your own room and a bit more luxury!
When is the best time to visit Queensland?
When considering the best time to visit Australia, it’s important to consider several things.
The main thing to consider is the weather, as due to the size of the country it varies a lot, even within states. Queensland’s climate is no exception to this!
The Far North of Queensland is tropical and experiences dry and wet seasons. As someone that visited Cairns during the wet season, I can tell you it’s not much fun, as it rains so much you can’t do anything!
In southern Queensland, the weather is a lot less temperamental than in the Far North. Places such as Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Noosa National Park on the Sunshine Coast, receive a lot of sunshine all year round.
There are occasional storms and a bit of rain, but compared to the tropical Far North, it’s nothing!
The best time to visit Queensland depends on where and when you go. Prices in Brisbane remain constant throughout the year, while they go up in Cairns during the dry season and decrease during the wet season.
For the South of Queensland, there isn’t really a best time to go, although temperatures will be slightly warmer during the summer months.
Visiting Far North Queensland is different. Almost certainly the best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from June to October. Prices will be higher, but there will be a lot less rain!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most beautiful part of Queensland?
There are many beautiful places to visit in Queensland, but one of the best is the Whitsunday Islands. You’ll find secluded beaches such as Whitehaven Beach and incredible scenery which will blow you away!
Where should I holiday in Queensland?
There are many places you can holiday in Queensland. A selection of some of the best places include the Gold Coast, the Great Barrier Reef, Airlie Beach, Hamilton Island, Magnetic Island and Whitsunday Island, where you’ll find the famous Whitehaven Beach.
As one of the biggest states in Australia, there are certainly a lot of things to do in Queensland! It does have a variety of places to see, and some of the best beaches in Australia!
Queensland is a great place for a road trip in Australia, as you can drive up the coast and explore various places! If you don’t explore Queensland during your Australian trip, you’re missing out!
Do you agree with my list of places to visit in Queensland? Have I missed any great places that you would recommend? Leave me a comment below, so I can see your thoughts!
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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. Check out the about me page to learn more!