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.
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.
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.
Base yourself in cosmopolitan Cairns and take a day trip to the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. Snorkel or dive in warm tropical water with rainbow colored coral, sponges and fish. Or head to the magical, primeval Daintree Rainforest. Here you can cruise the Daintree River past birds, animals and crocodiles or cross over on a ferry to the four-wheel drive country of Cape Tribulation. See a performance by the world-famous Aboriginal dance theater Tjapukai, then ride the Kuranda Scenic Railway to the rainforest village of Kuranda. Fish from tranquil Mission Beach, where the rainforest meets the reef, or sip cocktails in the vibrant resort town of Port Douglas. Pamper yourself in a Palm Cove spa or camp, fish and four-wheel drive through the remote wilderness of Cape York Peninsula. Explore the world's longest lava tube system in Undara Volcanic National Park and a 1930s Spanish-inspired castle in Paronella Park.
You can sail, swim, snorkel, dive or just relax in the Whitsundays–74 pristine, palm-fringed islands tucked inside the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Enjoy five stars of resort luxury on Hayman Island and party on Daydream or Hamilton islands. Visit Whitsunday Island and walk the pure white, silica sands of Whitehaven Beach. Camp on the wilderness of Hook Island or get a natural holiday on South Molle Island. You can stay in the carefree, backpacker town of Airlie Beach or take in the tropical islands from a chartered sailboat.
Four-wheel drive past colored cliffs, rainforest and fresh water lagoons on World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island. Or, visit Lady Elliot Island on the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Cruise next to giant humpback whales and their calves from Hervey Bay between early July and late October. See the gracious Queenslander and colonial homes in historic Maryborough. Follow a wine trail through the fertile South Burnett Valley, then camp and bushwalk amongst strangler figs and Bunya Pines in the Bunya Mountains rising up behind.
Enjoy a mouth-watering steak in Rockhampton, Australia's beef capital. Then venture north to the Capricorn Coast, which has 13 stunning beaches stretching from Yeppoon to Emu Park. Inland, you can see Aboriginal rock art in Carnarvon National Park and the picturesque Rainbow Falls in Blackdown Tableland National Park. Paddle along the Byfield River in Byfield National Park and search for gems in the Sapphire Gemfields, the Southern Hemisphere's largest. Around the pretty port of Gladstone, you'll find rainforest gorges, lakes and long white beaches stretching to the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Fish for barramundi at Lake Awoonga and camp and four-wheel drive around Mount Castletower National Park at its base. Discover the majestic cliffs of Kroombit Tops or take a day trip to Fitzroy Lagoon, where you can dive, snorkel, fish and even walk on the reef.
See fossils dating back 25 million years in World Heritage-listed Riversleigh Fossil Fields and the world's best-preserved dinosaur stampede near Winton. Canoe the emerald waters of Lawn Hill Gorge in Boodjamulla National Park. Search for opals at Opalton, Quilpie and Yowah; amethyst near Cloncurry; and moonstone at Moonstone Hill. Four-wheel drive on famous outback tracks like the Birdsville Track or Plenty Highway. Or tackle on-road adventures on the Matilda Highway, which stretches more than 1,700 kilometers from Cunnamulla to Karumba on the Gulf of Carpentaria. See bucking broncos at the Mount Isa Rodeo or learn to muster and shear on a cattle or sheep farm.
You can feast on fresh seafood, tropical fruit and succulent beef steaks in the small coastal city of Mackay. Bushwalk and swim along the dramatic coastline of Cape Hillsborough National Park, then spot platypus on Broken River in the subtropical oasis of Eungella National Park. Sail or take a sea plane to a Great Barrier Reef island. Camp on the Newry Islands or stay a few nights on Brampton and bushwalk its many nature trails. Catch reef fish or snorkel around Bushy Atoll,a suspended lagoon of corals and marine life. See one of Australia's largest coal mines in Blair Athol in the hinterland and huge sunflower fields in the Peak Range Mountains of the highlands.
Explore gracious old buildings and sugar and rum-making history in Bundaberg. Join a diving or fishing trip to Lady Elliot Island and Lady Musgrave Island, the southernmost coral isles of the Great Barrier Reef. See loggerhead turtles nest and hatch at Mon Repos Beach. Swim or fish at Elliot Heads, dive from Coral Cove and Innes Park or spot kangaroos in Woodgate Beach, just some of the beaches along the pristine 140-kilmotre long coastline. Visit Lady Elliot or Lady Musgrave islands on the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Stay in the postcard-perfect town of 1770, named after the year it was discovered by Captain Cook, or in the historic, character-rich towns of Gin Gin and Childers. Bushwalk the lush rainforest of Cania Gorge National Park and marvel at the ancient Mystery Craters in Eurimbula National Park.
Southern Queensland Country
Explore wineries, orchards and pretty, historic villages such as Nanango, Blackbutt and Yarraman in South Burnett. Stay in cozy guesthouses in the Southern Downs. Take in wide, rose-lined streets, old sandstone buildings and the Warwick Rodeo in Warwick. See panoramic views in Sundown National Park, towering granite boulders in Girraween National Park and the 40-meter-high Queen Mary Falls in Main Range National Park. In Bald Rock National Park, you'll find the biggest rock after Uluru. Explore the historic streets, vivid flower beds and perfectly manicured lawns of Toowoomba, a garden city on the edge of the Great Dividing Range. You can enjoy their colorful Carnival of the Flowers each September.
Don't miss Townsville's sensational sunsets, scenic beach promenade and balmy nightlife. Take a catamaran to Magnetic Island, where you can bushwalk through national park, horse-ride on pristine beaches, swim from secluded bays and snorkel colorful coral reefs. Here you can spot humpback whales in August and koalas in the Koala Park Oasis all year round. In the living museum of Charters Towers, you'll find country music, gracious heritage buildings and Australia's first stock exchange. Visit the natural attractions of Saunders and Balgal Beach and Australia's highest sheer drop waterfall at Wallaman.