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 Brisbane

Bike ride in the City Botanic Gardens or cruise down the Brisbane River spotting pelicans. Laze next to the gardens and lagoons of South Bank or explore Fortitude Valley's cafes and boutique shops. For an adrenalin-pumping view of the city and its surroundings, you can do a bridge climb, abseil down Kangaroo Point Cliffs or coast over in a hot air balloon. On the clear waters and islands of nearby Moreton Bay, you can fish, boat, feed wild dolphins and toboggan down the world's tallest sand dunes.

 Gold Coast

Frolic on the sand or in the world-class nightclubs of Surfers Paradise. Then trek the World Heritage-listed rainforest of the Gold Coast hinterland, where you can swim in crystal-clear rock pools, explore rainforest retreats like Mount Tamborine and see Australia’s largest glow-worm colony. Of course, you can't miss the Gold Coast's famous themed attractions. See dolphin and sea lion shows at Sea World, ride the world's tallest and fastest thrill rides at Dreamworld or jump in a giant wave pool at Wet 'n' Wild Water Park.

 Sunshine Coast

Soak up sunny sophistication on Noosa's Hasting Street or meet koalas in the coastal rainforest of Noosa National Park. Ride a mountain bike, abseil the volcanic peaks of Glasshouse Mountains or trek through rainforest in Kondalilla National Park. Browse cafes, country pubs, art and antique galleries in the sleepy mountain villages of Montville and Maleny, atop the Blackall Ranges. Feast on seafood on the Mooloolah River in Mooloolaba and relax on the wide beaches of Maroochydore. In family-friendly Caloundra, you'll find great surf beaches and estuary creeks brimming with fish.

Next: Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, Whitsundays and Fraser Coast
FROM: Oprah's Ultimate Australian Adventure
Published on January 18, 2011

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