Things to Do in Queensland - page 4
Cairns Aquarium is the only aquarium in the world to exclusively showcase aquatic life from Australia’s Tropical North Queensland, a region that borders the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rain forest, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. Family-friendly and fun, the aquarium is home to 71 different exhibits of marine life.
The Ginger Factory sits amid 22 acres (9 hectares) of tropical grounds in the Sunshine Coast. Besides a factory, which offers tours and tastings, there are shops, a café, an ice-cream store, live bee shows, and a kids’ playground. Rides include the Ginger Train, an old sugarcane train, and Overboard, an adventure led by a gingerbread man.
Queensland's Port Douglas features a true rain forest atmosphere, and at the Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas (sometimes called the Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary), visitors can experience the kaleidoscope of color that wildlife brings to the forest. This eight-acre sanctuary is broken up into four different wilderness habitats–woodland, wetlands, rain forest, and savanna—and showcases the critters who call them home.
Gaze at a blue-and-orange-hued cassowary or the colorful lorikeets and parrots before scouring the savanna for Lumholtz's tree-kangaroos, which are only found in the tropics. Watch the eyes of a freshwater croc as it casually cruises the waters, or search for koalas high in the trees.
Wildlife Habitat staff members lead guided, supervised feeding tours throughout the day and also host educational talks and presentations on the animals' fascinating characteristics. Wildlife Habitat is very active in conservation, breeding, and rehabilitation. Upgrades for visitors include the after-dark Wildnight nocturnal tour (from $30), a Breakfast with the Birds experience (from $26.50), Lunch with the Lorikeets (from $28), and Picnic With the Parrots ($40).
With its striking green dome and colonnaded façade looming over the riverside, Brisbane’s grand Customs House stands out as one of the city’s most iconic heritage buildings. Dating back to 1889, the Customs House originally served to collect the custom duties on imports brought in Brisbane port, but today, the historic building is run by The University of Queensland and best known for its glamorous ballroom and function rooms.
The architectural gem is also open to the public, with visitors able to stroll around the building, view the Stuartholme-Behan exhibition of Australian Art and admire the collection of artifacts and memorabilia on display. There’s also an on-site restaurant, with terrace seating overlooking the Brisbane River and the Story Bridge.
Travelers in search of a tropical paradise need look no further than Cairns Botanic Gardens. This horticultural wonderland is home to more than 4,000 different species of flora from around the world. Clearly printed labels and informational brochures make it easy for every visitor to become an expert.
The lush grounds of this popular destination are ripe with thick ferns and brilliant foliage. Mile-high palms and towering shade trees cast cooling shadows across the lawn, perfect for escaping the midday sun, and the area’s peaceful landscape and quiet surroundings draw bikers, joggers and walkers. Indigenous-birding tours and an extensive orchid collection, as well as exhibition halls filled with exotic plants, are well worth the price of admission—free!
In the heart of Brisbane’s Cultural Centre precinct, the Queensland Museum is a rich and ever-evolving exhibition space for art and culture, which celebrates more than 150 years of recording and exhibiting Queensland and global culture through world-class collections.
As well as hosting traveling exhibitions and the permanent museum collections, the Queensland Museum is home to the Sciencentre, a favorite attraction for families and school groups.
Take time to wander outside the museum, along the river front, past the fountains and sculptures and enjoy a break in the two museum cafes.
UnderWater World SEA LIFE® Aquarium is located in Mooloolaba along the Sunshine Coast, just an hour’s drive north of Brisbane. As the name suggests, it’s a marine park, aquarium, and wildlife sanctuary, and is particularly popular with families with children.
A popular attraction at UnderWater World is Sharks Alive, a moving walkway in an 80-meter shark tunnel. This takes visitors past various watery environments, including coral reef, caves, and open ocean habitats. Here you can spot grey nurse sharks, sandbar whalers, whitetip reef sharks, and zebra sharks – along with a whole host other marine life. There’s also a Seal Island Exhibit and a section entitled Crawly Creatures, which features the world’s largest marine and land crab species.
With more than 16,000 works dating from the 19th-century to modern-day, the Queensland Art Gallery is one of Australia’s leading art institutions and it’s the top ticket for art lovers visiting Brisbane. The gallery is split over two sites, the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG), which opened its doors in 1982, and the glass-fronted Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), inaugurated in 2006, and the neighboring museums form the focal point of Brisbane’s South Bank Cultural Precinct.
The gallery’s vast permanent collection features works from all over the globe, with a particular focus on contemporary Asia-Pacific art. Highlights include works by Australian artists like Arthur Boyd, William Dobell and George Lambert; a varied collection of Indigenous Australia art; and a dedicated Children’s Art Centre. There’s also a cinema, several temporary exhibition spaces, gift shops and a café-restaurant.
Just south of Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, or Broadie as it’s known to locals, offers all the appeal of its more famous neighbor—a great stretch of beach, surf-worthy waves, and extensive dining, shopping, and entertainment options—but in a more manageable size and with fewer crowds.
The Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park offers a fascinating insight into Australia’s diverse Aboriginal heritage. Visitors can discover the 40,000-year history of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and experience the Tjapukai people’s arts, traditions, and foods.
More Things to Do in Queensland
17,000 years ago, a large volcano erupted in Australia’s north-east corner, near what we now know as the city of Cairns. The core was blasted from this volcano leaving a huge crater, which filled with rainwater over time to create Lake Barrine.
From less-than-peaceful beginnings, Lake Barrine has become the perfect place for a relaxing getaway. A massive body of fresh water tucked within opulent cool rainforest, Lake Barrine is a family friendly, low-key holiday destination with opportunities for hikers, photographers, and wildlife enthusiasts.
Visitors looking for relaxation can indulge in tea, scones, jam and cream at the lakeside teahouse, built in 1926, and wander the lush, manicured garden surroundings. Guided boat tours to view the Lake’s distinctive ecosystem are available, while the picnic grounds provide the perfect spot for a family lunch. The clear waters of Lake Barrine make an enjoyable swimming spot for swimmers of all levels of fitness and experience.
Those who would prefer to be more active should explore the World Heritage rainforest that surrounds Lake Barrine, where a network of walking tracks allows for anything from a short stroll to a 5 km hike. The 1,000 year old Twin Kauri Pine trees are the area’s most popular attraction, some over an incredible 45 metres tall and 6 metres in girth. Local wildlife is diverse and abundant, with water dragons, snakes, birds, turtles, eels, all kinds of birds, and even the musky rat-kangaroo are all commonly spotted.
Forty-five minutes by boat from Cairns, Fitzroy Island has been many things — a Chinese Quarantine Station, a Mission School, a WWII coast-watch station...and today it’s all about its natural features — tropical rainforest and a fringe coral reef, part of the Great Barrier Reef system, where you can dive and snorkel in among green sea turtles, clown fish, and parrotfish.
A continental island that separated from the mainland in the last Ice Age over 8,000 years ago, Fitzroy Island covers just 4km — 97% of which is National Parkland that you can wander through on the walking trails through the forest and along the coast. The rest of the island is all about the white sand beaches, and on the sheltered western end you’ll find the island’s accommodation, a restaurant, Foxy’s Bar, and a conference and wedding venue. There’s also a diving school on the island, and options to go on glass bottom boat tours, SUP boarding, ocean trampolining, and kayaking. A relaxed walk is to the old lighthouse on the northwest point. On a clear day, from here you can look out past Cape Grafton to the Frankland Islands.
The relaxed coastal town of Cooktown is a popular excursion from Port Douglas.
Captain Cook beached his ship the Endeavour here, hence the name. These days daytrippers come here to visit the intriguing James Cook Historical Museum, to pay their respects to his statue overlooking Bicentennial Park, and order up a seafood platter at a local restaurant.
Cooktown has some impressive buildings for an outback coastal town, thanks to the 1870s to 1890s gold rush at the nearby Palmer goldfields. The town’s impressive botanic gardens date from this period.
Despite its location on the Queensland coast, Cairns doesn’t have any beaches within the city (the closest are just to the north). But you can still enjoy the sun and sand downtown at the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon. This 50,000-square-foot lagoon is the highlight of the Cairns Esplanade and the perfect place to relax, swim and sunbathe without worrying about the box jellyfish and saltwater crocodiles that sometimes makes appearances in the near-shore waters.
With a maximum depth of only five feet, it’s a safe and welcoming spot for kids, visitors and locals alike, complete with fountains, sunshades, sandy beaches and nearby lawns and tables that are perfect for a midday picnic overlooking Trinity Harbour. The myriad shops and restaurants of the Esplanade surround the lagoon, so it’s easy to enjoy an hour or two by the water amid a day of shopping and sightseeing in the city.
Part of Australia’s UNESCO-listed Great Barrier Reef, the sandy island of Michaelmas Cay—now a bird sanctuary and national park—is a nesting site for thousands of seabirds, from common noddies to sooty terns. Marine creatures such as leopard sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles also call the offshore coral reefs home.
Located in the Q1 building in Surfers Paradise, Skypoint Observation Deck is Australia’s only beachside observation deck. Take in expansive views of the Gold Coast coastline, the Gold Coast Hinterlands, and the Pacific Ocean from Australia’s tallest building. For added excitement, try the external Skypoint Climb at the top of the building.
Townsville’s close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef has made it a destination for underwater adventurers. Travelers from across the globe gather here to don wetsuits and oxygen tanks in search of some of the most memorable deep-sea landscapes on earth.
Perhaps no dive is more famous than SS Yongala. It sends travelers far below the surface of the sea and more than 100 years back in time to 1911, when this notorious ship sank—along with all of its 122 passengers—in a massive ocean storm.
Today divers can explore the coral encrusted remains of this great ship while taking in the typical stingrays, tropical fish and sea turtles of standard dives. Travelers say that an impressive amount of ocean life paired with an up-close look the wreckage of one of Australia’s most famous nautical tragedies make this a truly memorable experience.
Offering more than 50 rides and attractions, Dreamworld is Australia’s largest theme park and one of the most popular Gold Coast family attractions. With big-thrill rides, live shows, the adjoining WhiteWater World water park, and animal residents—including tigers, koalas, and crocodiles—there’s something to entertain all ages.
Dominated by the poignant ANZAC Square War Memorial, Anzac Square is one of Brisbane’s most important military monuments and it’s a scenic spot, with its grand memorial fronted by landscaped parklands and tree-lined walkways. Opened to the public on Armistice Day in 1930, the memorial serves as a worthy tribute to Australia's military heritage, devoted to the memory of the Australian and New Zealand troops that lost their lives in WWII. Today, the square serves as the backdrop to Brisbane’s annual ANZAC day and Remembrance Day services, when wreathes and candles are traditionally placed around the memorial.
The dramatic focal point of the memorial is the Shrine of Remembrance, a Greek-style pavilion housing the ‘Eternal Flame’ and reached by a flight of steps at the north end of the park. Beneath the shrine, a pedestrian tunnel features interactive touch screens, honor rolls and unit plaques, alongside a mosaic of soils taking from World War II cemeteries around the world.
Granite Gorge Nature Park showcases the unique landscape west of Cairns and celebrates Australia’s Northern Savannah wilderness. Ancient volcanic activity defines the landscape, forcing huge granite boulders above grounds in all sorts of weird and wonderful shapes. Walking tracks traverse through the boulder field, letting visitors get up close and personal to these massive monoliths. Granite Gorge is a fantastic place for bird and wildlife watching. Wild rock wallabies inhabit the gorge, and visitors are able to see them in their natural habitat, including the rare and endangered Mareeba unadorned rock wallabies. Possums, gliders, Frilled Neck Lizards, Quolls, echidnas and more also call the gorge home. Over 200 species of bird live in the Northern Savannah region, including tawny frog mouths, kookaburras, and more, with migratory species such as koels arriving every spring.
As well as its namesake boulders, Granite Gorge is dotted with deep, cool swimming holes. Too far inland to be inhabited by the crocodiles that are common around the coast, the swimming holes are home to nothing more sinister than turtles and fish, and are perfect for a relaxing swim.
As Australia’s biggest waterpark, WhiteWater World boasts more than 140 rides, slides, and attractions. Highlights include the Cave of Waves wave pool; the Pipeline Plunge splash zone; The Rip family raft ride; and The Wedgie, a 5-story power slide that runs along a translucent pipe and barrel.
Brisbane's cultural precinct is on South Bank, opposite the city center on the Brisbane River.
The highlight of the Queensland Cultural Centre is the inspiring Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), which hosts a regular program of visiting and local exhibitions. It's the largest contemporary art gallery in Australia, and includes drama and film.
Housed in another building is the Queensland Art Gallery and its collection of Australian and international art. Queensland Museum – South Bank documents the changing face of Brisbane and Queensland over the centuries, from culture and history to flora and fauna.
You’ll also find the State Library of Queensland, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre and the Queensland Theatre Company in this lively arts hub.
The Whitsunday Crocodile Safari offers you the opportunity to see saltwater crocodiles in their natural environment as you cruise around the estuaries and wetlands between the Whitsunday coast and the Proserpine River. There are about 150 of the 'salties' living in the estuaries, so keep your camera ready - the chances of a sighting are good.
As well as croc-spotting, you can keep an eye out for the many other kinds of native wildlife that live in these parts - birds, reptiles, marine creatures and mammals. In addition to the cruise through the estuaries, you'll be taken on a tractor-drawn wagon train ride through the Goorganga Wetlands and through melaleuca forest and mangrove systems.
Your guides provide commentary and 'bush tucker' - damper (a kind of simple bread) and billy tea, cooked over a fire. They'll also try to catch you a mud crab so they can show you its features before releasing it back into the river.
Housed in the historic Treasury Building, where in 1901, the proclamation of the Australian Commonwealth was read from one of the balconies, Treasury Casino is the glitzy heart of Brisbane’s gambling and nightlife. As the only casino in Queensland’s capital, visitors looking to strike it rich all cluster together in the game room, where poker, roulette, craps, and slots help keep the excitement at a high. There’s much more than simply gambling, however, to the notorious Queensland hot spot, as visitors will also find five restaurants, seven bars, and a nightclub, in addition to the adjoining Treasury Hotel that houses Brisbane’s high rollers. Eventually, there are plans for Brisbane’s Treasury Casino to move to a modern venue, but until that time comes and dice are still rolling in the historic Treasury building, visitors will still flock to the glamorous hub as they’ve done since 1995.
- Things to do in Noosa & Sunshine Coast
- Things to do in Cairns & the Tropical North
- Things to do in Brisbane
- Things to do in Port Douglas
- Things to do in Gold Coast
- Things to do in Hervey Bay
- Things to do in Aeroglen
- Things to do in New South Wales
- Things to do in Victoria
- Things to do in South Australia
- Things to do in Byron Bay
- Things to do in Hunter Valley
- Things to do in Northern Territory
- Things to do in Tasmania
- Things to do in North Island