Let’s face it, Queensland is a big place. Commanding a respectable 1.7 million square kilometres of the Australian continent, the state is big enough to fit the United Kingdom into it seven times. If you add to this a world heritage listed rainforest, a trove of world-class beaches and the largest coral reef in the world, where do you start?
Instead of listing hundreds of Queensland nature experiences that should be on your bucket list, we’ve hand-picked the top 14 you should try on your next visit.
1. CHASE WATERFALLS
If you like your waterfalls epic, then Queensland is for you!
Imagine facing a massive moss-covered concave wall, with water crashing 50m below into a large pool, that just happens to be perfect for swimming in. Sounds like heaven to us, right?
2. DISCOVER THE OLDEST STANDING LAVA TUBES ON EARTH
If you’re looking for something off the beaten track for your next long weekend road trip, the Undara Volcanic National Park is for you. How does exploring caves carved out by volcanic lava over 190,000 years ago sound?
A destination in and of itself, you can easily tackle the 3.5hour drive to Undara Volcanic National Park in one day from Cairns. But what makes this road trip so awesome are all the other natural attractions en route. Where else can you see lava tubes, dormant volcanic craters, and waterfalls all in one weekend?
3. DIVE WITH MINKE WHALES
For six weeks of the year, Queensland offers one of the most life-changing experiences in the country. During June and July, minke whales come to play in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef in Tropical North Queensland. Live-aboard vessels head out for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dive and snorkel with these curious and amazing sea creatures.
4. EXPLORE A WORLD-HERITAGE LISTED RAINFOREST
What’s been described by Sir David Attenborough as “the most extraordinary place on Earth”, the Daintree Rainforest is special for more reasons than one.
Spanning over 17,000ha (that’s roughly 162 Sydney Harbours), the Daintree is the most famous of the six precincts that make up the Wet Tropics eco-system. In fact, this rainforest is the oldest continuously surviving tropical rainforest in the world, thought to be 165 million years old – trumping even the Amazon when it comes to seniority.
5. DISCOVER THE LARGEST NATURAL WONDER OF THE WORLD
The World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef should be experienced by everyone at least once. Dive with turtles and manta rays off Lady Elliot Island, snorkel the spectacular Low Isles coral cay off Port Douglas, take a romantic scenic flight over the iconic Heart Reef, or make it your mission to find the Great 8.
6. GET SOME ISLAND-TIME
Pack the car and go on a 4WD adventure on the three largest sand islands in the world. Swim in the pristine waters of Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island, surf down the sand dunes on Moreton Island and spot whales along the Gorge Walk on North Stradbroke Island.
7. CUDDLE A KOALA
Queensland is one of the few Australian states where you’re allowed to cuddle a Koala. So, while you’re here, don’t miss your opportunity to get up close and personal to our local animal celebrities. Even Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Russel Brand couldn’t resist a Koala-bear hug.
Psst! Here’s a list of all the places where you can cuddle one of these cuties across Queensland.
8. VISIT AUSTRALIA’S BEST BEACH & OTHERS LIKE IT
That’s right! We’ve got bragging rights. Nudey Beach in Tropical North Queensland has been awarded the best beach in 2018.
With squeaky white sand and piercing blue water, Whitehaven Beach even has celebrity status and has been featured in blockbuster movies such as Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Psst! Here’s how you can visit Whitehaven Beach.
9. EXPERIENCE INDIGENOUS CULTURE
From rock art to traditional hunting and gathering methods, engulf yourself in Indigenous Cultureand the learn about Australia’s rich Indigenous history. Hunt for mud crabs on Cooya Beach in Tropical North Queensland, trek to Laura to participate in the largest Aboriginal Dance Festival in Queensland or take a leisurely stroll through the Daintree Rainforest with an Aboriginal guide.
Psst! Here are the top 12 ways to connect with Indigenous Culture in Queensland.
10. DIVE THE WRECKS
Queensland is home to a number of incredible dive sites and wrecks. From the SS Yongala in Townsville to the Tangalooma Wrecks on Moreton Island, experienced and novice divers can snorkel and scuba dive around these sites. You’ll see the inhabitants of these sites come to life; from schools of fish, and reef sharks to underwater ecosystems.
11. EXPLORE NATIONAL PARKS
Follow a walking trail or camp under the stars surrounded by nature in a National Park. Springbrook National Park is a popular attraction and just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. Located in the Gold Coast Hinterland, you can explore rainforest circuits and see the picture-perfect Natural Bridge. At night, it lights up with incredible glow worms.
12. WATCH THE SUNRISE WITH WALLABIES
Causarina Beach a.k.a “Cape Hillsborough” in the Mackay region is a must-do for Kangaroo and Wallaby lovers. On dusk and dawn mobs of roos and wallabies venture onto the salty sand to feed, play (and sometimes box). And, you can join them to watch the sun rise or set over the water.
13. KAYAK THE NOOSA EVERGLADES
With pristine waterways, lush vegetation and flocks of birds and wildlife, this beautiful freak of nature is open for exploration. And you can experience the Noosa Everglades by Kayak with Kanu Kapers.
14. SEE TURTLE HATCHLINGS
Visit the Mon Repos Turtle Centre in Bundaberg and join the wildlife rangers on a guided tour to watch the life cycle of majestic sea turtles. If you visit from November to January, you’ll watch mummy turtles nesting and if you return from January to March, you’ll be able to watch the little hatchlings emerge from the sand and scurry down to the sea.