With its unique ecosystem, friendly locals, endless sunshine and host of idiosyncratic charm, it’s no wonder that Australia continues to draw legions of tourists from around the world. Few countries in the world can offer the same diversity of local plant and animal life as well as the same blend of cultures, arts and delicious foods reflecting influences from across Europe and Asia but with a distinctly Aussie twist. Yet, for one reason or another, some tourists just don’t think to look north when arranging their holidays. Perhaps they’re lured by the familiar charms of Sydney with its iconic opera house and the wistfully trendy appeal of The Rocks. Or likely they’re drawn to the capital city of Canberra with its impressive War Memorial and parliamentary buildings. Yet, venturing further north to the state of Queensland offers a quintessentially Aussie experience and a greater concentration of incredible sights and activities the likes of which you won’t find anywhere else in the country. Here are just a few of the many jewels in the northern state’s crown…
As historic as Canberra, as picturesque as Sydney and as cool as Melbourne, Brisbane has a whole lot to offer those hungry for a quintessentially Aussie experience. You can rent a party boat and trail the Brisbane river, knocking back stubbies as you wind your way to the picturesque Moreton Bay. You can get up close and personal with one of Australia’s most iconic marsupials the koala at Lone Pine Koala sanctuary. You can scratch your cultural itch at the GOMA (that’s Gallery of Modern Art to me and you) or even check out some underground opera in the cavernous Spring Hill reservoir; home to the Underground Opera Company. Finish up your trip by watching the sun set over this amazing city from Kangaroo Point (home of the iconic Story bridge) or Mount Coot-tha; the highest point in the city.
Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef
For those who thirst for adventure, few destinations offer the combination of adrenaline rush and astonishing natural beauty of Cairns. From here you can engage in a host of activities from snorkelling to skydiving. You’ll also find a host of cosmopolitan bars and restaurants as well as the famous swimming lagoon. But Cairns is, of course, also the gateway to the great barrier reef. This network of over 600 varieties of hard and soft coral spanning over 2,000 km. The reef is a UNESCO world heritage site and offers some of the most breathtaking snorkelling and diving opportunities anywhere in the world.
The Gold Coast
For those who love to be beside the seaside but at their own pace, the Gold Coast offers some of the best beaches and surfing to be found anywhere in the entire country. It’s home to some of the country’s best theme parks including Wet ’n’ Wild, Sea World and Dreamworld as well as some areas of outstanding natural beauty. Check out the criss-crossing hiking trails of Lamington National Park where you’ll explore miles of picturesque mountain ridges and rainforest that are home to the region’s many beautiful bird species.