The Best of Queensland

Australia’s most tropical state has everything to offer adventure seekers, from bungy jumping to skydiving, from scuba diving to swimming with jellyfish.

94 Seaworld Dr, Main Beach QLD 4217, Australia
Luxury and opulence define Donatella Versace’s fashion sense. This Roman-style palace with Brazilian marble, Italian mosaics, and gold columns, is no departure from her aesthetic. Details from the custom bath products to gold-and-fuchsia-patterned upholstery were conceived by the designer. From $492. 61/(0) 7-5509-8000. This appeared in the September, 2012 issue.
708 Jesmond Rd, Fig Tree Pocket QLD 4069, Australia
I had one goal for the trip to Australia: hugging a koala. This was a little more difficult than you might think; it’s only legal in Queensland province, and there are strict rules about how long the koalas can work per day and how much rest they’re permitted away from the affectionate public. My dream came true in Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, which has 130+ koalas as well as kangaroos, wallabys, wombats, platypus, Tasmanian devils, kookaburras, and many other exotic (to us) animals. Presentations and demonstrations happen all day long, but don’t forget to set aside a few minutes for the extremely popular koala-hug photos. My koala was a smallish, woolly female who rested comfortably against my chest and calmly looked at the camera like a true pro. Lone Pine is absolutely a must-do day trip if you’re in Brisbane — as the Aussies say, you can’t go past it!
Cape Hillsborough Rd, Cape Hillsborough QLD 4740, Australia
All along the Eastern Seashore of Australia you will encounter spheres of sand in patterns, lines, and random assortments on the beach. At first, it looks a bit like sand circles after an alien beach landing, but if you wait around long enough, you will observe the a sand bubbler crab hard at work on a natural masterpiece. On this particular evening, the tide was low and the entire beach was covered with little balls of sand. Cape Hillsborough National Park is a stunning bit of land with plenty of curiosities, including friendly beach-minded kangaroos and several walks including a long stretch of beach to amble along at the end of the day. If you are camping, this park is not to be missed!
Lizard Island, Cairns QLD 4871, Australia
At Lizard Island, luxurious amenities meet an ecologically diverse island paradise. The sole resort on the island, the exclusive spot features 40 rooms as well as 24 private beaches, all but guaranteeing your own pristine sliver of paradise. Accommodations range from posh villas set apart from one another (including the two-bedroom, cliff-top villa, with its 26-foot pool and endless views of the Coral Sea), to garden-view rooms with private terraces and pathways leading directly to Anchor Bay beach. Furnishings follow a tranquil white-and-gray color scheme, while amenities include LCD smart TVs and Apple docking stations. Guests also receive their own motorized dinghy, standup paddleboards, clear-view sea kayaks, and snorkeling gear for exploring Giant Clam gardens and the schools of brightly colored fish in the surrounding waters. The more adventurous can even arrange for private deep-sea dives to locations accessed exclusively by the Lizard Island Marine & Dive team, ensuring you’ll have the coral reefs all to yourself.
Moregatta QLD 4886, Australia
Millaa millaa falls feels like a paradise that is almost to beautiful to be true. But true it is! I would recommend a visit and swim at these falls. They are outside of Cairns and if you feel up to renting a car I’m sure you would not be disappointed with a day exploring this gorgeous area. I took a tour with “uncle Brian” and his little bus Gus--in all my travels this has been the most full and fun organized tour I have ever experienced! Their webpage is attached to learn about the full day of forest and gorgeous water locations that they bring you to.
Finlayvale Road, Mossman QLD 4873, Australia
Imagine your hotel room looking out into the middle of the rainforest. At Silky Oaks, it’s your reality. Some balconies have hammocks (my favourite feature in the room); other room balconies even have a bed! The restaurant also looks over the rainforest making the delicious food here stand out even more because of the atmosphere. It is the ideal place for honeymooners (though I’d recommend the resort to anyone). There is no wi-fi access in the rooms. Silky Oaks wants you to relax and reconnect but for your convenience they have a lovely living room if you need to get internet connected. The Healing Waters spa is not to be missed. The Thai massage loosened up all of the tight knots I had in my muscles. My friends received the detoxifying ritual and were completely blissed out afterwards. I have to say for the complete experience that the Silky Oaks Lodge is my favourite hotel to date.
144 Adelaide St, Brisbane City QLD 4000, Australia
Despite the name (Noosa is a stunning surf town to the north), this confectionery is indeed based in Brisbane. Stop by to pick up some distinctively Down Under souvenirs: chocolate paired with such homegrown ingredients as Victorian strawberries, Queensland ginger and almonds from South Australia. They guarantee that the chocolate is all made within the last 72 hours.

Cooya Beach QLD 4873, Australia
Tropical North Queensland offers some incredible wildlife tours but there are also opportunities to experience local aboriginal culture. Enter Linc Walker, owner of the Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours. Linc welcomed us to the wonderful world of Cooya Beach, leading us through the waters and mangroves of this magical place. Australia can make you feel like you’re nowhere else and Cooya Beach is indicative of this. Linc taught us how to throw a spear, hunt for coastal wildlife like crabs (and cooked it for us!) and told us about the ecosystem of the mangrove trees.Note: you’ll need to wear your shorts for this slightly swampy experience!. He then took us to his modest home after the tour where we were treated to relics of his ancestry from the Kuku Yalanji tribe featuring a performance on the didgeridoo and homemade muffins. If you want that local experience of Australia, this is it. Note: the tour does not have a website but you can contact Linc Walker at 1 Palm Street, Cooya Beach. Phone: 07 4098 3437
Nandowrie QLD 4722, Australia
I was fascinated by the bark on this tree along one of the hiking trails around Carnarvon Gorge National Park. A bit like yin and yang!
8 The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217, Australia
Sea Temple sits proudly in the heart of Surfers Paradise, and if you pick the right floor, lifts you a world away from the noisy street below. Great access to Surfers, but a peaceful escape at the same time. Sea Temple is one of the Gold Coast’s top luxury accommodation providers and in my opinion, stands out because it has one of the best locations if glitz & glamour is what you’re after during your stay. The rooms are gorgeous, the pools are great but the best part is hands down the view - it helps that Sea Temple looks over the top of the surrounding cluster of hotels too. Beautiful!
2 McGregor Rd, Smithfield QLD 4878, Australia
“Every day do something that reminds you you’re still alive.” Words to live by from AJ Hackett Cairns, the premiere place in Queensland to scare yourself half to death in the jungle. Traditionalists go for the Bungy, a 50-meter / 164-ft. plunge toward a teeny pond below, but there’s also another fun option for those less inclined to hurl themselves off a platform. The Minjin Swing allows up to 3 people to experience a heart-pounding swoop through the jungle at speeds up to 120/km per hour, swooping from 45 meters to 1 (ONE!) meter in 3.5 seconds. Either option will push your adrenaline to the limits!
Black St &, Paten St, Milton QLD 4064, Australia
No beer company has left more of an impact on Australia than XXXX, established as Castlemaine Perkins Brewery in 1878. Since then they’ve become a national icon, creating some of the most clever advertisements. You can visit their Brisbane brewery, where all of their selections are made before ending the tour in the Ale House. In addition to their famous XXXX Gold, try the XXXX Summer Ale and XXXX Bitter, as well as more craft selections from James Squire.

Brewery tours at XXXX are 90 minutes long and end with a beer tasting with four beers. The brewery recommends visitors make an advanced reservation, due to COVID safety measures. The tour costs $32 AUD per adult and are available Friday, Saturdays, and Sundays.
2694 Round Hill Rd, Agnes Water QLD 4677, Australia
Agnes Water and the Town of 1770 are places you aren’t likely to find yourself unless you, like me, were spending a few days on your way up Australia‘s East Coast. But it’s home to one of the top rated activities on the coast, Scooteroo motorcycle tours. The sunset tour gives you the chance to don a leather jacket and ride a motorbike through the countryside where kangaroos sunbathe. The night ends with potato wedges and sunset over the water.
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