Queensland highlights and wish-list

It’s been five years since we visited Australia and we barely scratched the surface during our five-week adventure. So where would we visit on a return trip? Top of the list would be one of our favourite cities, Melbourne, followed by Queensland highlights. The Sunshine State has so much to offer, from Five World Natural Heritage Areas including the Great Barrier Reef, to bushwalking in the outback and whale watching. Combine that with 7,000 kilometres of idyllic coastline and an average nine hours of sunshine a day and what’s not to love?

The beautifil Queensland Coast, Australia

Our Queensland highlights

Back in 2013, we rented a car to explore the East Coast of Australia, from northern Cape Tribulation down to Bryon Bay. Along the way we had many of our top Australian experiences, from snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef to sailing the Whitsundays. Here’s a look back at our highlights.

Sailing the Whitsundays

Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation

The far north of Queensland is a tropical wonderland of palm trees, colourful birds and steamy temperatures. The waters are home to crocodiles and jellyfish and the shoreline laced with golden beaches. We drove all the way to Cape Tribulation, a deserted beach which joins two Natural Heritage Sites meet, the 110-million-year-old Daintree Rainforest and The Great Barrier Reef.

The ancient Daintree Rainforest, one of many Queensland highlights

The Great Barrier Reef

We took a day trip from Cairns to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world. The planet’s largest coral reef system is home to 30 species of whales and dolphins and 1,625 species of fish, as well as 33 types of sharks and rays. We were lucky enough to spot a rare reef shark on our snorkelling trip, as well as giant clams and all types of colourful fish.

Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The Whitsundays

From Airlie Beach, we took a sailing trip on the Derwent Hunter. The Whitsundays is home to 74 islands and the Great Barrier Reef, some of its most picture-perfect spots are Whitehaven Beach and Daydream Island. Our trip was a windy one, which was great for sailing yet for not so great for snorkelling. Nevertheless, we still had fun riding the waves and soaking up the scenery.

Sailing the Whitsunday Islands, Australia

Hervey Bay

Despite staying in a hostel with bedbugs, Hervey Bay was our favourite Australian beach town. Here, the locals seemed to outnumber tourists, the beach was full of dog walkers and we spent an afternoon cycling around the harbour and along the esplanade towards the sun setting over the sea.

Pelican in Hervey Bay, Australia

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

I’m fascinated by Australia’s diverse wildlife and animals, which we caught a glimpse of at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary near Brisbane. We got to see everything from cute koalas to crocodiles, lorikeets, kangaroos and sea eagles.

Koala with Joey at Lone Pine

Queensland wish-list

From whale watching to bush walking, here’s our Queensland wish-list, inspired by this Queensland guide which has a calendar of the state’s highlights and year-round events.

Turtle Hatchlings

Turtles nest along the beaches in Southern Queensland in November and the cute hatchlings emerge between January and March. We’d love to watch one of these night-time hatchings, which are best seen from Heron Island, Lady Elliot Island or the Mon Repos Conservation Centre.

Olive Ridley hatchling at the Turtle Conservation Centre in Penang

Turtle hatchling in Malaysia

Visiting the Queensland Outback

We’ve never experienced the true Australian Outback, so I’d love to go bushwalking in Queensland. There are dinosaur fossils to discover near Winton, the Whitsunday Great Walk near Airlie, the Capricorn Caves and Undara, which is home to 164 volcanoes, cones and vents.

Airlie Beach, Australia

Airlie Beach

Whale Watching

From June to August, humpback whales migrate from Antarctica to Queensland in search of warmer waters to breed in. I’d love to do a whale watching tour from Hervey Bay, where the whales congregate before continuing up the coast.

Humpback Whales at Geoffrey's Ledge

Whale watching in New England, USA.

Hiking in National Parks

These days we love to get our hike on, so we’d definitely spend some time exploring Queensland’s many national parks. These include Bunya Mountain, Carnarvon Gorge, Lamington, Springbrook and Noosa, which also has a world-famous surfing beach.

Mossman Gorge

Visiting Fraser Island

The world’s largest sand island stretches 123km and is a World Heritage Site. We’d rent a 4×4 to drive along 75 Mile Beach, where you can stop off at shipwrecks and spot wild dingoes. There’s also the Champagne Pools for swimming and beautiful Lake Mackenzie.

queensland highlights and wishlist pinterest pin

Pin Me For Later!

What’s on your Queensland wish-list?

You may also like...

8 thoughts on “Queensland highlights and wish-list

  1. Brian and I absolutely loved our 3 weeks in Australia and often talk about a return visit. It is such a huge and diverse country, one visit is not enough. I hope you will make back there again soon to complete your wish list😄

  2. Good on you Amy and Andrew I hope you get to see Undara lava tubes ,Lawn hill and any great sites along the Savanna way

  3. Hi Amy and Andrew another wish list for you would be Pocupine Gorge National Park which is 4 hr and 51 min drive from Townsville You take the Overland Way It is a beautiful remote gorge You can also stop off at a town called Hughenden which is an hour away from Porcupine Gorge .There is also some natural history along the way There is also a dinosaur musuem please check it out It is a great Outback experience Please go to You tube and look up Sparkys on the loose Porcupine Gorge episode 6 This couple are amazing .They have done alot of vdeos and been to some hidden gems They are currently in Tasmania .I hope this is a help to you ,love louisa

    • Hi Louisa, sounds amazing, thanks for the extra recommendations. We are really interested in Tasmania too. So much to explore!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.