Finally, after months of a hard border closure to Sydney and Victoria, Queensland has opened its doors its neighbouring states once again.
QLD Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk announced last week that the state would be reopening on December 1 to all of NSW and VIC. Families can now reunite, tourism can return and holidays can be planned.
With so much potential where does one start? Luckily, as a Queensland local, I have some great suggestions for those planning a trip to the sunshine state. Check out a list of some of the best QLD has to offer below.
The Great Barrier Reef
Shocker, I know, but you can’t go past Queensland’s main attraction – the Great Barrier Reef. As a certified natural wonder of the world, this really is a must-do.
The sad reality is that the reef may not be with us forever. Coral bleaching has taken its toll on the GBR with many once vibrant coral hotspots now lost to the effects of climate change. But there are still many places along the east coast where you can visit this fantastic attraction.
The GBR stretches along most of the QLD coastline, so there are plenty of options when choosing where to visit. Cairns, in the far north, has prime access to the reef as well as city sights and the Daintree Rainforest. It’s great for those looking for multiple attractions in one holiday.
More relaxing reef-side adventures can be found in the Whitsunday Islands, with Hamilton Island being a luxury spot. Neighbouring islands like Heron, Lady Elliott and Lady Musgrave also make for great snorkelling locations with access to prime sections of the reef.
Gold Coast Theme Parks
The Gold Coast really is a catch-all location. It has great beaches, shops and dining locations, but best of all, it is the theme park capital of Australia (which are all open again). Home to five major theme parks, the Gold Coast makes for a great holiday spot for families and adrenaline junkies. Plus, they’re all basically next door to each other.
Sea World is a great suggestion for families, with a combination of animal enclosures, shows and tamer ride options. Wet N’ Wild and White Water World are best for those hot summer days, with a range of water slides and pools to chill out in. Movie World is great for superhero fans with a selection of DC themed rides on offer. Dreamworld is home to some of the best thrill rides, including the Giant Drop, the tallest vertical drop ride in the southern hemisphere.
Movie World is running a White Christmas event all through December, where families can access the park after hours and celebrate the festive season. There’s also the Outback Spectacular show on offer at night and Topgolf nearby for those family members who would rather play golf than stand in line.
If you want to hit a few of these parks in a row it’s worth looking at a multi-park pass.
The Glass House Mountains
The Sunshine Coast in QLD is full of endless beaches, which are all great. But for those looking for some great hiking or cycling paths, checking out the Glasshouse mountains is a good start. The national park is home to a range of different hiking and walking paths, which can lead to some pretty epic views.
Elsewhere on the Sunshine Coast, you can also find Australia Zoo, home to the Irwin family and easily one of the best zoos in Australia.
Stradbroke Island is often overlooked for its neighbour Fraser Island (also very good), but that’s often part of its charm. You can only reach Stradbroke via a vehicle barge or passenger ferry, meaning it can be a lot quieter than some of the nearby islands.
Straddie is known for its great beaches, fishing spots and views for whale watching. But it also has amazing bushwalking trails, lakes and mangroves. Plus, the natural wildlife occurs so frequently you’ll be sick of seeing kangaroos hopping around. Straddie really is an island paradise.
Tangalooma offers a more resort-style of island holiday. It’s the tropical island experience with vibrant waters, white sands and chill beaches. Highlights include a sunken shipwreck for snorkelling and epic sand dunes for tobogganing. Plus it’s a hotspot for whale watching between June and October.
Fun fact but you may recognise Tangalooma from the 2002 live-action Scooby Doo movie, which filmed on the island. So if you want to sit where Scooby sat, this is the place to do it.
Queensland has countless of natural treasures on offer. There are hundreds of beaches to swim in, hours of rainforest and bushland to trek through and chill city sights to enjoy in Brisbane. So get out there and see some more of Australia, while you can.