Looking for things to do in Queensland?

You will need a LOT of time because Queensland is BIG!

With 1,727,000 square kilometres to explore, or 7 times the size of Great Britain, there are lots of places to go in Queensland that you’ll want to add to your Queensland Bucket List.

Beaches, National Parks, bustling cities and small country towns…..keep reading to find out more about all the unique places to visit in Queensland!

Map of Queensland

Queensland has six geographic regions with more than 70% of the state’s population living in South East Queensland:

  • South East Queensland
  • Darling Downs South West
  • Wide Bay–Burnett
  • Central Queensland
  • Mackay & Whitsunday
  • North Queensland
  • Far North Queensland
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Queensland Government / CC BY 3.0 AU (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/deed.en)

Big Things in Queensland

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Over the years visiting Big Things in Queensland have become a cult phenomenon for tourists and a BIG item (forgive the pun) on everyone’ Queensland Bucket List.

For reasons unknown these kitschy giant statues draw tourists from far and wide to stand in front of them for a photograph. Not only are they are memorable locations to have your photo taken in front of but they are great for Queensland tourism as they draw tourists to the smaller rural towns like the Big Golden Gumboot in Tully.

Some of these Big Things in Queensland are even more popular with the locals than they are with the tourists. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which body part the local lads keep stealing from the Big Bull in Rockhampton!

Learn about the Big Bull and other crazy Australian things by exploring the 10 Big Things in Queensland for your Road Trip.

Add this to your bucket list if you are looking for free things to do in Queensland!

Susan Gan | Australia Bucket List

South East Queensland

Brisbane

Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland and home to over 2 million people. Popular tourist attractions in Brisbane are South Bank Parklands, Kangaroo Point Cliffs and Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

South Bank Parklands

Streets Beach at South Bank Parklands is Australia’s only inner city beach.
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Many consider South Bank Parklands to be the jewel in Brisbane’s crown and one of the most visited attractions in Queensland.

South Bank resides on 17 hectares of park land along the edge of the Brisbane River and is a must add item to both your Brisbane Bucket List and Queensland Bucket List.

Whether you are looking for cultural experiences or a fun family day out, South Bank has it all. Street’s Beach, Australia’s only inner city beach, along with the Lagoon and Aquativity are incredibly popular with both tourists and locals all year round. South Bank’s Cultural Precinct area includes the Queensland Performance Arts Centre; Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art; Queensland Museum and Sciencentre;  and State Library of Queensland.

For more fun things to do at South Bank Parklands checkout the 20 Free Activities at South Bank, Brisbane.

South Bank is just a short walk from the centre of Brisbane, or you can explore Brisbane on a budget with a Free City Hopper Ferry or by bicycle when you hire a Brisbane CityCycle for just $2 a day.

Susan Gan | Australia Bucket List

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

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If you have ever wanted to get up close and personal with a koala, then Lone Pine Koalas Sanctuary in Brisbane is the place to do it.  It is the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary and it is home to over 130 koalas.  The best part is that is also a great place to see kangaroos and other animals native to Australia.

While Koalas are native to Australia, there are only a handful of places that allow you the opportunity to get this close to one.  You will get the chance to both cuddle and hand-feed the koalas.  In fact, you can spend the day feeding a petting the kangaroos too.  

It is easy to get to and you can catch a train or bus from the city centre.  However, you could also combine the trip and take a river cruise there. You have the chose of either a relaxing river cruise or taking a more exhilarating ride on one of the fast boats.  No matter how you choose to get there, you will have an amazing experience at the sanctuary.

Karen Ni Eadbhard | Travel Mad Mum

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Qld Bucket List - Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
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Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is not your average zoo. The small sanctuary is located on a beautiful bend of the Brisbane River and backed by a grove of eucalyptus trees that are used to feed the koalas.   There are Tasmanian devils, crocodiles, cockatoos and enormous monitor lizards, plus a platypus area where you can see these rare animals swimming around.  However, most people come here to see the dozens of koalas, from tiny little baby joeys to geriatric solo males, which are spread around several areas.  

The koalas spend most of their time sleeping, but you can pay extra for a Koala Experience and learn more about the preservation efforts and koala care, and see them being fed fresh leaves, medicine and vitamins.  

The other most popular animals to see are the kangaroos. You can buy (appropriate) food and feed the kangaroos, which dot a large lawn area. There are also demonstrations of wild birds of prey flying around and sheep dogs mustering throughout the day.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is a fun day out for the whole family so add it to your list of fun things to do in Australia.

James Ian | Travel Collecting

***Find out more about a Brisbane River Cruise to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary***

Brisbane Broncos Game

Qld Bucket List - Brisbane Broncos Game
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I’m a big rugby league fan, and while I don’t support the Brisbane Broncos, I was stoked I finally got to watch a game last year at their home stadium, Suncorp Stadium.

Suncorp Stadium is a short walk from the city centre making it easily accessible (you can get the train too), and with a few bars surrounding the stadium, you can enjoy a few beverages with people before heading into the stadium. Depending on when the Broncos game is, these bars could be full to capacity prematch if there’s another big sporting event on in the country (league, football, or AFL).

I’m really passionate about the idea of attending sports events to get an understanding of a micro-culture within a city. This is definitely visible in Brisbane where they have one of the highest crowd attendances in the competition.

Jub Bryant | Tiki Touring Kiwi

Daisy Hill Koala Centre

A visit to the Daisy Hill Koala Centre is the best way to have a guaranteed, close-up koala sighting in a responsible way that doesn’t harm the koalas. As always when engaging in any kind of animal tourism, it’s important to do some research and make sure you are not inadvertently causing harm to the animals.

Some places call themselves animal sanctuaries, but in reality they are exploiting the animals for tourists’ entertainment. Daisy Hill is different, though. It’s a government-run sanctuary whose primary purpose is to educate the public about Australian wildlife and to rescue sick and injured koalas.

You can view the koalas in their outdoor enclosure from just a few meters away. However, you will not be able to hold or pet them. This is for their own safety, as being handled by tourists is unduly stressful for them and can also spread disease.

The centre was not very crowded when I visited, even though it was a Sunday morning. And best of all, entrance is free! It’s open from 9am to 4pm, and wildlife officers give talks about koalas and their conservation twice daily at 11am and 2pm. A trip here is highly recommended for animal lovers visiting Australia.

Wendy Werneth | The Nomadic Vegan

For other things to do in Brisbane read Brisbane Bucket List Ideas

Bribie Island

Bribie Island is more a secret kept for the locals. Not having the same claim to fame as the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast you are more likely to run into locals enjoying their weekend on the beach than hordes of tourists.

A few years ago, whilst swimming we had some guests join us, Dolphins!! I grew up in the area so when needing some sun, surf and sand Bribie Island was usually our first choice. As teenagers first being able to drive and having keys to a 4wd we even went for a bit of an adventure 4-wheel driving on the beach. This is completely legal and you are able to set up camp on Bribie Island. You will not be disappointed if you organise a long weekend getaway to Bribie Island.

For lunch definitely grab some fish and chips and enjoy it in one of the many parks located next to the ocean. Apart from swimming in the surf you can also hire a boat to go fishing or just go sailing in the bay as we did a few years ago for New Years Day.

Alternatively, the more adventurous is able to see Bribie from above by going sky diving. There is no shortage of activities on this island mostly enjoyed by the locals.

Petro Marais | World Mission 196

Gold Coast

Surfers Paradise

Qld Bucket List - Surfers Paradise
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There is so much to see and do in Queensland, but the one place we always return to is Surfers Paradise. A visit to Surfers Paradise is one of the most popular things to do in South East Queensland

Often referred to by locals as ‘surfers’, it is one of the more built up suburbs of the Gold Coast with several high-rise apartments, and is also known for its incredible nightlife. The beaches here are golden and it is a popular destination for tourists, locals, and surfers, all wanting a taste of that Australian sunshine.

One of the top attractions at Surfers Paradise has to be the Q1 Building, a 322.5-meter high skyscraper with an observation deck located at the top which has fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean and the Gold Coast in general. If you are feeling brave you can also take part in the Skypoint Climb, which is Australia’s highest external building climb. Here you can walk right to the top of the building with harness in tow for safety.

All in all, with its sun, sand, and bustling nightlife, Surfers Paradise is the epitome of the Queensland lifestyle and is an absolute must for any visit to Australia’s sunshine state.

Lizzie & Dave | Wanderlust & Life

Coolangatta

Qld Bucket List - Coolangatta
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Coolangatta is right at the southern end of Queensland’s Gold Coast and is often overlooked for the busier Surfer’s Paradise area. Coolangatta may be a little quieter, but it still has everything a beach-lover could want, from long white stretches of sand and crashing waves, to a casual, laid back esplanade.

For places to stay (and that look great on Instagram), the quirky, retro Pink Hotel is as fun as it sounds. Speaking of photo-worthy spots, the beautiful Snapper Rocks is utterly gorgeous and even the local-filled Coolangatta Surf Club yields up some amazing views of the beach and lifeguard towers.

If you’re a surfing fan, Coolangatta is also famous for having some of the best surf in the Gold Coast. If you’re not a surfer, then take in the action from the perfectly positioned Rainbow Bay Surf Club with a local beer in hand instead.

Coolangatta is super close to Gold Coast’s airport, so you don’t have far to travel to fly in and out. I’d recommend hiring a car so that you can base yourself in Coolangatta, but be able to travel up and down the amazing Gold Coast as you please.

Emma Jane | Emma Jane Explores

Gold Coast Theme Parks

Qld Bucket List - Gold Coast Theme Parks
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Queensland is home to Australia’s best theme parks and most of them are within half an hour of one another on the Gold Coast!   The Gold Coast is a bit of a thrill-seeking hub, with beaches and attractions galore, so the theme parks are a perfect fit.

  • Movieworld is perfect for the movie fanatic, with stunt shows and movie themed attractions.
  • Seaworld is the place to learn about marine wildlife and enjoy a mix of water and thrill rides.
  • WetNWild is a water park with slides, pools and plenty of splash fun.
  • Dreamworld is the home to some of the best thrill rides and also our favourite theme park when visiting with kids. They have the most kid-friendly rides and attractions of all the Gold Coast theme parks. Plus right next door is their own water park, White Water World, so you can experience both in one day when you visit.

Each Gold Coast theme park offers rides and attractions for all ages, with dedicated kid zones and plenty to get the adrenaline pumping. They are definitely a must for your Queensland Bucket List! Plus you can get multi park passes too.  

Holly Connors | Four Around The World

*** Find out more about a Dreamworld Theme Park Day Trip with Hotel Transfers ***

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Qld Bucket List - Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
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No visit to Queensland is complete without visiting some of Australia’s unique wildlife and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is the perfect place to do this. Visitors will only find native animals here, and mostly they are housed in large open habitats. As a sanctuary, one of the big missions of Currumbin is to educate the public and well as do a lot of work with preservation of endangered species and rescue of injured animals.

One of the many highlights is the ability to hold a koala. There are only a handful of locations throughout Australia that allow koalas to be held, and Currumbin is one of the most conveniently located, right on the Gold Coast. While it’s only a short cuddle, feeling how soft the koala’s fur is, and how sharp those claws are is worth the extra fee.

Also look out for some of the many daily shows, from Big Fang Theory, showing off some of the native reptiles, to Aboriginal dance and the Australiana shearing show.

Josie | Josie Wanders

*** Find out more about a Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary General Entry Ticket ***

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary – Segway Tour

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is at the southern end of the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia.

As well as being a leader in native animal conservation in Australia it also runs an amazing Segway tour through the park. You will complete 10 minutes of practice before completing a 40-minute safari of some of the park.

Each Segway Safari session contains a maximum of 4 participants and the instructor.  After some introductions and quick instructions, we were on the Segway. The tour guide leads you into the park being careful to avoid the other visitors. Your guide will stop and start the tour to tell you all about the animals. The sanctuary is well pathed and hilly in spots which makes for some great fun with the segways.

I have never seen another segway tour anywhere that combines the fun and excitement with animal experiences. The Segway tour certainly compliments any day trip to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctury.

Mark Wyld | Wyld Family Travel​

Gold Coast Hinterland

Qld Bucket List - Gold Coast Hinterland
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The Gold Coast may not be on your bucket list when visiting Queenslan; it ’s more touristy, thus less adventurous.

In 2016 I have spent six weeks solo in Mermaid Beach and loved this place. I was surprised at the variety of naturalistic landmarks that the Gold Coast and its hinterland has to offer. It’s an ideal place for hiking, camping and all outdoor activities.

If you plan a road trip, you will enjoy a scenic drive, with ocean views, through the Lamington, the Springbrook and the Tamborine national parks, to name a few.

Either on a day-trip from Brisbane or a multi-day road trip, make sure to check out the small town of Tambourine Mountain with its picturesque falls and creeks, and go on a hike of the Binna Burra section in the Lamington National park, one of the most ancient forest landscape of Australia.  

Michela Fantinel | Rocky Travel

Springbrook National Park

Qld Bucket List - Springbrook Natural Bridge (c) MyFavouriteEscapes
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Natural Bridge is one of the best walks in Springbrook National Park, and among my favourite things to do in Queensland. Most people associate the Gold Coast with surfing, shopping, partying and skyscrapers. They often forget to explore the gems in the Hinterland, like Natural Bridge.

I like that Natural Bridge can please the experienced bushwalker as much as the novice. It’s a short 1-kilometre circuit on sealed track accessible for anyone able to walk up a few stairs. It goes through a beautiful rainforest and leads to a cavern where a waterfall plunges through a hole in the ceiling. It’s quite a unique sight and undoubtedly one of the most photogenic places I’ve ever visited.

Most of the time in Queensland, winter is the best season for hiking. But Natural Bridge is special and becomes even more interesting on hot and humid days. Or nights, to be more accurate. When it’s dark, glow worms illuminate the cave to offer a rare natural show.  

Hiking to Natural Bridge is one of the best things to do at Gold Coast, Queensland.

Eloise | My Favourite Escapes

*** Find out more about a Springbrook and Tamborine Rainforest Tour (Incl Natural Bridge and Glow Worm Cave) ***

Mt. Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk

Qld Bucket List - Mt Tamborine
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Of all the amazing places we love exploring on the Gold Coast, Mount Tamborine is the one that takes my breath away at every visit. Such an enchanted fairytale destination for the whole family, very kids friendly offering endless things to see and do.  

Our favourite activity in Mt Tamborine is the Rainforest Skywalk – the largest canopy walk on the South East of Queensland. Firstly, you are invited to browse through a lovely exhibition of Australia’s flora and fauna at the Eco Gallery — the official entrance to the Skywalk. Then, you are directed outside to the high-tech steel bridge — the start of the rainforest walk.  

At your own pace, make your way along the tree tops and enjoy hearing the buzzing crystal-clear creek below. Stop and learn about the habitats of the rainforest from the information displays and pause to take photos for your memorabilia!

Follow the trail as it waves through the trees to the very end, explore the midst of the rainforest and if you are lucky you might even spot a platypus!  

Alex Palombo | Laska Baby Travel

*** Book a Full Day Small Group Luxury Tour to Tamborine Mountain ***

Moreton Island

Tangalooma Island Resort

Qld Bucket List - Tangalooma Resort Moreton Island
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One of our favourite family destinations in Queensland is Tangalooma Island Resort on Moreton Island. It has an idyllic beach with crystal clear water and swaying palms that make you forget you’re only 35km from the city of Brisbane. It’s great for kids as there are so many activities you can do (or not, depending on how active you want to be).

My kids LOVE going tobogganing down the giant sand dunes, while I love going on the whale watching tour (which runs June- October). There is also the option to hand feed wild dolphins in the evenings too. With quad bike tours, water sports, boat trips and snorkelling on offer you won’t get bored.

You can visit as a day trip if you’re short on time but staying over for a few nights means your visit is less rushed so you can relax and enjoy the surroundings. However long your stay, make time to enjoy a sundowner cocktail on the beach because watching the sunset from the sand is incredible.

There isn’t one single experience that sums up Tangalooma for me – it’s just a great family resort in a stunning location and it’s so easy to get to yet many locals have never even ventured over. Make sure you add it to your itinerary if you’re travelling through SE Queensland.

Karen Bleakley | Smart Steps to Australia

Sunshine Coast

Caloundra

Qld Bucket List - Caloundra
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Your Queensland bucket list isn’t complete without the Sunshine Coast and one of favourite Sunny Coast destinations is Caloundra!  No matter how many times you visit you’re sure to find new and exciting things to do. Whether you’re visiting the Pumicestone Passage for views of the Glass House Mountains or going for a lazy walk along Caloundra’s stunning coastal paths; there’s something for everyone.

There are several beautiful beaches located right in Caloundra including; Golden Beach, Bulcock Beach, Kings Beach, Shelly Beach, Moffat Beach, Dicky Beach and Currimundi Lake and Beach. My family’s favourite is Bulcock Beach; however I also love Currimundi too.

However, Caloundra isn’t just for those looking for a beach getaway, there’s many more things to keep you busy! You could live a bit more on the wild side with a Caloundra Jet Ski or Jet Boat experience or take things a bit more tranquil and join a canoe / kayak tour. Whilst you’re there don’t forget to check out the Caloundra Markets on every Sunday! Also, one of my personal favourites, check out some of the colourful Caloundra Murals.

Caloundra is one of my favourite destinations in Queensland, with its incredible beach life and atmosphere, you really should add it to your list of Queensland places to visit!

Melissa Delaware | Thrifty Family Travels

Noosa

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Noosa is one of Queensland’s best resort areas. Situated on the Sunshine Coast, Noosa has brilliant surf and quirky little cafes and boutiques that run down the centre of town on Hastings Street. This cool little town definitely has a great beach vibe.

One of the highlights of Noosa is definitely the National Park that stretches out around Tea Tree Bay. This National Park is home to the shy koala. As you walk on the trail, make sure to look up as you will probably see them hiding in the eucalyptus trees. Make sure to look out to Laguna Bay in hope of seeing dolphins and whales.

Another must see is the Noosa Everglades, which is also known as the River of Mirrors due to the reflections from the water. This 60 kilometre stretch of water is the perfect place to kayak or kite surfing. The Everglades really is the hidden gem of Noosa.

Helena Kreis | Through an Aussie’s Eyes

Wide Bay Burnett Region

Tin Can Bay

Qld Bucket List - Tin Can Bay
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One of our favourite experiences in Queensland was feeding the wild dolphins at Tin Can Bay. Tin Can Bay is a pretty, coastal town on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast around 135 miles north of the state capital Brisbane. It is renowned for its outdoor activities and for its excellent bird watching opportunities.

Many tourists come to Tin Can Bay for a chance to see the wild Australia Humpback dolphins who swim to the shoreline for an early morning feeding session at the Barnacles Dolphin Centre.  Although sightings are not guaranteed, the rare dolphins arrive in varying numbers almost daily. The centre opens at 7am and eager tourists must wait patiently for the dolphins to arrive.
Interaction with the animals is strictly controlled; no touching or flash photography is permitted and the fish stock is limited with the feed only being part of the dolphins daily requirements, thereby not making the dolphins dependent on human fed fish rather than hunting for their own.

Centre volunteers willingly share their knowledge and personal experience of the dolphins and whilst the welfare of the dolphins is their primary concern, the volunteers try to ensure everyone who has turned up gets a chance to see, and if possible, feed the animals, all of whom are known by name to the volunteers.

Standing knee deep in cold water on a serene Spring morning, it was an unforgettable experience for our family watching the dolphins arrive and swim playfully around us. Our children learnt a lot about the dolphins and were lucky enough to get to feed them. It was an wonderful experience which we will not forget.

Add Tin Can Bay to your list of places to see in Queensland.

Sinead Camplin | Map Made Memories

Fraser Island

Exploring World Heritage-listed Fraser Island is guaranteed to be a highlight of any visit to the Sunshine State. Lying just a short ferry ride away from the mainland, its mix of natural wonders, spectacular views and fun activities makes it an ideal getaway.

Fraser Island may be famous for being the largest sand island in the world but its many ecosystems are incredibly diverse. Explore the verdant rainforest from Central Station, hike to Lake Wabby via the sprawling sand dunes or take a dip in the pristine waters of picture-postcard Lake McKenzie, which is fed only by rainwater.

Another highlight is a drive along aptly named 75 Mile Beach, with the ocean lapping at the tires of your 4WD. Stop to float down idyllic Eli Creek and explore the rusting shipwreck of SS Maheno. Climb up to the top of Indian Head for spectacular views of the island and a chance to spot whales, dolphins and turtles. After the hike, relax in the Champagne Pools swimming holes.

I recommend camping at one of the designated sites around the island. Stargazing on the beach, beer in hand, before falling asleep to the sounds of the rainforest is an unforgettable experience and a must-do for your Queensland Australia Bucket List.

Alexei Gaynanov| Travel Lexx

Hervey Bay

Hervey Bay in Queensland is a fantastic place to stop on the way to Northern Queensland. It’s approximately a 3 and a half-hour car journey from Brisbane and a little over four hours south of Rockhampton.    

From Hervey Bay, you can make day trips to Fraser Island, which is a Unesco heritage site famous for its magnificent dunes and inland lakes. It’s also one of the best places to see Dingos and the coloured sand on Rainbow Beach is unique to the area.  

During thewhale watching season (July to November) Hervey Bay is the perfect place to observe the humpback whales with their young. The mothers use the bay to teach their babies the basics of survival and its genuinely awe-inspiring to watch them in action.

You can also take a day trip to Lady Elliot Island, which is the southernmost point of the Great Barrier Reef. You can only reach the island by plane, and the aerial views above Hervey Bay are spectacular on the route.   

The area has accommodation to suit everyone’s budget, and there are some fabulous places to eat and drink down by the Harbour.  

Fiona Berry | Passport and Piano

Central Queensland

1770 and Agnes Water

1770 and Agnes Water are neighbouring towns in Queensland, located right at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. Captain Cook first set foot on Australian soil at 1770, hence the name.

The small towns have managed to fly under the radar and maintain a laid-back coastal feel even though they are located in a beautiful part of the state and there are plenty of things to do there.

Try paddle-boarding at sunset, or learning to surf in the early morning. Take a boat out to Lady Musgrave Island or the Great Barrier Reef to dive or snorkel in an area that is far more frequented than in the north. Embark on a 1770 LARC tours (a boat/vehicle hybrid) up the coat past pristine and untouched landscapes, or step away from the coast to wander through forest tracks.

If you just want to relax in a quieter part of the Queensland coast, or fill your days with adventures, add 1770/Agnes Water to your Queensland Bucket List Ideas.

Sonja Bolger | Migrating Miss

Bull Riding in Rockhampton

If you are looking for some fun things to do in Rockhampton then visit the arena of the Great Western Hotel. On Wednesday and Friday evenings from 7:00 – 10:30pm they hold practice bull riding sessions in preparation for their competitions.

You can book a ringside table and enjoy a drink and some Texas Bar-B-Q while you watch the free show. This is a must do activity if you find yourself in Rockhampton.

Susan Gan | Australia Bucket List

Camel Racing in the Outback

Qld Bucket List - Camels racing at Bedourie
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 Spending a day at the races takes on a whole new meaning in Outback Queensland – who needs racehorses when camels are on offer?

The Outback’s vast distances mean it’s too far for the locals (and visitors!) to travel just for a couple of camel races, so the meet often includes other events and can take place over two or three days. That means an all-weekend eating frenzy with must-have treats like camp-oven baked damper and billy tea; snags from the barbie (translation: sausages from the barbecue!); and if you get REALLY lucky, a roast or campfire stew.

It also means novelty races throughout the day like pig or yabby racing to give the camels a break; and other events like wood-chopping where station-hands from the surrounding properties toss their Akubras aside to show off their skills. And muscles. Then in the evening there’s often entertainment like a dance or live music.

Head for the outback towns of Bedourie, Boulia or Winton in Queensland’s far west during the Aussie winter to see what all the excitement is about AND for a quintessential Aussie experience!

Watching the camel racing is one of the most unusual Queensland things to do!

Marion Halliday | Red Nomad OZ

Mackay & Whitsundays Region

Cape Hillsborough National Park

Qld Bucket List - Cape Hillsborough National Park
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If you’re looking for the best things to do in Queensland, make sure to add Cape Hillsborough National Park to your Queensland Bucket List. Cape Hillsborough is a popular stop for backpackers travelling from Cairns to Brisbane, especially at sunrise.

Every morning at Cape Hillsborough Beach the owner of the nearby camping area puts out food for wild kangaroos and wallabies, that have now learnt to expect their breakfast by the beach. You can’t get too close to them but watching the sunrise as the kangaroos and wallabies are eating, playing and jumping around is a fascinating experience.

Make sure to be there with plenty of time before the sun starts coming up, since you’ll find the kangaroos already there. Once the sun is up, the kangaroos have eaten and are off to rest in the shade, you can explore the rest of Cape Hillsborough National Park, with its beautiful beaches, forests and landscapes.

The chance to see kangaroos up close make Cape Hillsborough Beach a popular place to visit in Queensland.

Greta Omobini | Greta Travels

Airlie Beach & the Whitsundays

Qld Bucket List - Whitsunday Islands
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“If you asked 10 different Australians what their favorite beach is, you’d probably get 10 different answers!

That’s because Australia home to over 10,685 beaches, and they’re all pretty spectacular!  But after living in Sydney for a year, exploring the Great Ocean Read, and exploring the east coast – I know exactly how I would answer that question!

Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays is truly postcard perfection, and I think you’ll have a hard time finding a more idyllic place in the country!  The sand stretches for kilometers, and the sand is incredibly soft and white.  Combine that the pristine blue water that’s the ideal temperature, and it really is one of the most mesmerizing beaches in the world!

The town of Airlie Beach is the jumping off point for the Whitsundays, and is also a Queensland must.  With a great backpacker vibe, delicious restaurants, and an amazing atmosphere – visiting Airlie Beach & the Whitsundays is an experience you’ll never forget!!

Dave Anderson | Jones Around The World

For more beautiful beaches read Best Beaches in Queensland.

Hamilton Island 

Qld Bucket List - Hamilton Island
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Hamilton Island is really like no other island and is a must see when travelling through Queensland.

Hamilton Island is like a tiny self-sufficient country mixed the functioning of a Caribbean all-inclusive resort. Located in the stunning Whitsundays, Hamilton Islands primary mode of transportation is with the use of golf carts. There are next to no cars on the island, which is a big win for the environment!

There is really no need to even bring your wallet out with you when you on Hamilton Island. You can charge almost everything back to your room including meals, tours, groceries and souvenirs. So when you head out to the beach or pool, leave your wallet behind and have peace of mind that anyone snooping through your bag will not be finding any of your credit cards or cash.

Hamilton Island is absolutely gorgeous with its clear blue water and white sand. A great place to head if you are looking to relax with a touch of adventure. Offering relaxing pool vibes, clean white sand beaches, worthwhile hiking trails and island boat tours!

This is a place that should definitely be added to your Queensland Bucket List Ideas.

Samantha Elizabeth | Miss Samantha Elizabeth

North Queensland

Diving the SS Yongala

Diving the SS Yongala? The best wreck dive in Australia and some say in the world

For anyone who loves underwater life, diving in the SS Yongala is a dream come true. This ship sank a hundred meters the coast of Queensland in 1911, specifically a little south of Townsville.

Why is it so wonderful? On one hand, because it is a barely new shipwreck so it is in excellent condition to be explored with tranquility, especially on days of good visibility and low current.

But, the best thing is that it is known as one of the places in the world to see the largest amount of fish and marine animals of great size, in the same place. It is as if someone gave steroids to the species. You can see giant barracudas, Giant Queensland Gropers, Sea snakes, turtles, and even sharks and whales if you have a bit of luck; all of them among thousands of colorful fish and beautiful corals grabbed to the wreck.

To do this dive it is necessary to be a certified diver. This is to ensure that it is dived responsibly and the area doesn’t get damaged. However, many dive centers also allow certification in the same place so you can enjoy the SS Yongala and its amazing underwater life.

Alejandra Werner | Universo Viajero

Magnetic Island

Qld Bucket List - Alma Bay Magnetic Island
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The Coral Sea in North Queensland is dotted with tropical islands. Big and small, they range from deserted palm fringed coral cays, to luxurious islands that attract royal visitors and celebrities.

Although Magnetic Island off the coast of Townsville slips delightfully beneath the celebrity radar, Magnetic Island should be at the top of your list of things to do in North Queensland.

Why so? I think it is the Island’s distinctive Aussie flavour that sets it apart and keeps me coming back. With cute Rock Wallabies to feed and wild Koalas to find, bushwalks on this predominantly National Park Island also reveal shy Echidnas and prehistoric looking sand monitors.

But Magnetic is not all nature walks and beach lazing – it’s predominantly a place to unwind. Horseshoe Bay’s Marlin Bar has bi-fold windows above a timber bar just crying out for a frosty glass or two, with a street outside for people watching and the beach and bay beyond. Float over fringing reefs on snorkel trails or view coral freestyle. The various bays are at your finger-tips with a zippy topless hire car.

But my favourite way to holiday on Magnetic is to drive my own car over on Fantasea Car Ferry and park it at my rented island holiday home for a week.

I put on sunscreen and bathers, wear my favourite coloured hat, toss a towel over my shoulder and head for the beach.
The rest of the week takes care of itself – Island Style.

Jan Robinson | Budget Travel Talk

While you are in the area, check out these FREE Things To Do In Townsville.

Far North Queensland

Cairns

Qld Bucket List - Cairns
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Cairns is a great place to base yourself whilst visiting some of Far North Queensland’s best attractions.  From Cairns you can explore the Great Barrier Reef, lush rain forests, gorgeous beaches and see loads of native Australian animals, including crocodiles!
Whilst there are several places in Queensland to experience the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns seems to be the most popular place to explore it from. A day out on the reef is a must do and one of the many things to do in Cairns with kids.

I’d also recommend taking a day trip out to Kuranda.  Take the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway up to the picturesque mountain village.  In Kuranda you can visit the Butterfly Sanctuary, the Rainforestation Nature Park, the Australian Venom Zoo, Kuranda River Cruises or just explore the quaint little village.

Another great day trip from Cairns is to explore the Daintree. Here you will find lush dense rainforest, crocodile infested waters, cool fresh water streams and pristine beaches. Whilst visiting the Daintree I highly recommend you visit the Mossman Gorge, take a Daintree River Cruise to see crocodiles and other wildlife, the Daintree Discovery Centre and one of the gorgeous Daintree Rainforest Beaches.

Melissa Delaware | Thrifty Family Travels 

Cairns Waterfalls

The lush landscapes and tropical climate of Queensland lend itself to epic waterfalls, the majority of which are located in the Atherton Tablelands – a short drive from Cairns. The Cairns waterfalls are some of the most epic (and famous) in all of Australia and it requires a day or two at least to view them all. The best plan is to hire a car from Cairns and drive the waterfall route, which includes impressive cascades such as Ellinjaa Falls, Dinner Falls and Wallaman Falls.

The Atherton Tablelands is also home to Millaa Millaa Falls which are falsely advertised to tourists as the location for the Peter Andre ‘Mysterious Girl’ music video (it was actually filmed in Thailand), but it is a fun location to attempt that famous hair flick none the less.

Many of the waterfalls are safe to swim in which is an ideal way to cool down from Queensland’s humid climate, however always take note of warning signs and recent weather as the waterfall conditions can change overnight. Swimming is particularly dangerous in the wet season due to flash flooding although this is the best time to view the waterfalls as the cascades will be in full flow.

Darren & Lauren | Faramagan

Green Island

If you’re planning a trip to Far North Queensland, with limited or a lot of time, do yourself a favour and include an overnight stay (or more) on Green Island!

With just a forty-five minute boat trip from Cairns, it makes accessing The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) so easy. We spent six nights at the Island and had the most remarkable time.

From the sand, we were literally metres from snorkelling amongst GBR tropical fish and coral of the most beautiful colours. We loved our Outer Reef Experience as well as the Island snorkelling boat trip. As a family we went out on the glass bottom boat almost daily, went to the crocodile feeding show every other day, snorkelled, paddled in the kayaks, relaxed on the beach, walked the circumference of the Island, enjoyed beautiful sunsets and evening fish feeding.

During our stay, we saw 13 turtles (the kids took great pleasure in counting), 7 stingrays, 4 reef sharks and thousands of tropical fish. After the day trippers head home, the Island is peaceful, relaxing and a great time to reflect on the day.

Erin Parker | Australian Mountains To Sea

Green Island

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Green Island is a great place to visit in Queensland. It’s beautiful, easy to visit and there is a lot to do.

Green Island is located a short, 50-minute catamaran ride from Cairns. You can easily day trip or there is accommodation for an extended stay. Green Island is a National Park and just stunning. Walking around the island in the rainforest is fun and snorkeling on its beaches over the Great Barrier Reef is even better. It’s easy to rent gear and enjoy discovering the ocean. There is also a pool to use.

There are many other activities including glass bottom boat rides, diving and visiting Marineland Melanesia which is basically a small crocodile park on Green Island which has tours which will get you close to these scary creatures while you learn a lot more about then. For food, there are several dining options including a food court.

Green Island is one of the most beautiful and easiest places to get up close to nature and enjoy many of the things that make Queensland fantastic.

David Hutchison | Paid Surveys Fanatic

Kuranda

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Whilst in Cairns and Tropical North Queensland an absolute must is taking either the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway or the Kuranda Skyrail up to the picturesque mountain village of Kuranda. There are a variety of attractions to visit here all within walking distance of the station including the Butterfly Sanctuary, Birdworld and Kuranda Koala Gardens, or simply enjoy the plentiful markets packed with handy crafts and wonderful food.

Further afield but still do-able as part of a day trip into the mountains are the Kuranda River Cruises on the Barron River and Rainforestation Nature Park. Don’t try and pack too much in as the timing can be tight depending what time slots you get for the train or skyrail – note it doesn’t matter which one you take up or down but the earlier you book the more chance you can extend your day and make the most of the first journey up and the last one down!

The Scenic Railway and the Skyrail are the best things to do in Kuranda cairns.

Click here for more details on how to plan a Kuranda day trip from Cairns.

Keri Hedrick | Our Globetrotters

Platypus Spotting in the Atherton Tablelands

Platypus at Yungaburra - Thrifty after 50
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A popular location to see Platypus on the Atherton Tablelands is from the Yungaburra Platypus Viewing Platform and yes, it’s a location in Google Maps!

At the Platypus Viewing Platform you’ll find a small parking area, some information for you to read about this elusive egg-laying mammal, a sign with head cut-outs so you can take a happy snap, as well as some timber viewing screens for you to stand behind.

If you have some free time on your hands, walk across the bridge and then down the track which goes under the road. The track follows alongside Peterson Creek on a pocket of land called the The Dowling Corridor, which began as a re-vegetation project in 1998.

There are several benches along the path for you to sit back and relax while you wait for a Platypus to appear.

Some tips on spotting Platypus:

  • keep noise to a minimum
  • best viewing times are dawn and dusk
  • watch the surface of the water for bubbles or ripples

Susan Gan | Australia Bucket List

Port Douglas

Qld Bucket List - Port Douglas
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In my opinion, Port Douglas is one of the best places to visit in Queensland.  I love its laid back vibe, and even though it’s a tourist town I always feel like a temporary local whenever I visit.  Unlike many popular tourist destinations in Queensland Port Douglas has stayed lowrise, and Macrossan St, the main street still retains historic “Queenslander” style architecture.

My favorite part of Port Douglas is the foreshore area, with the historic St Mary’s By The Sea Church nestled among the palm trees.  On a Saturday morning the whole town comes out to enjoy the markets – the best place to shop for locally grown exotic tropical fruits, homemade ice-creams and local crafts.

After the markets, it’s time to relax in the historic and charming Courthouse Hotel.  A perfect spot to while away the afternoon with friends and a cold beer.Late afternoon, the best thing to do is to take a catamaran out into the ocean to enjoy a breathtaking sunset – with a champagne of course.

Jo Karnaghan | Frugal First Class Travel

Cape Tribulation, Daintree Rainforest

For things to do in Far North Queensland, your bucket list would not be complete without a visit to the Daintree Rainforest; it really is one of the best Qld tourist attractions. Not only is it the oldest tropical rainforest in world (estimated to be around 100-180 million years old!), it is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site. This lush landscape provides a unique home to exotic and endangered animals and plants found nowhere else in the world.

Daintree Rainforest comprises 12,000 square kilometres, which is roughly equivalent to the size of Sydney! It is divided into two sections; Mossman Gorge (80km north of Cairns) and Cape Tribulation (110km north of Cairns). It is the perfect road trip from Port Douglas or Cairns.

A walk through this rugged, wild forest transports you to what feels like another world, and it’s easy to understand how inspiration was taken from Daintree to create the movie Avatar. You are immediately immersed in a rich green jungle, surrounded by ferns and if you’re lucky you may spot a cassowary, fresh water turtle or vibrant Ulysses butterfly.

As you reach Cape Tribulation, you will discover where the rainforest joins the reef and two World Heritage sites meet; the Wet Tropics Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Here there is something for everyone; from a relaxing day on the beach, to ziplining, a 4WD adventure, exotic fruit tasting, cultural tours or cruising looking for crocodiles – the Daintree has it all!

For nature lovers you will find that a visit to the Daintree Rainforest is one of the best things to do in Queensland.

Sophie Clapton | Travels of Sophie

Iron Range National Park, Cape York

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I’ve lived in Australia for 5 years now and spent all of that time in a tiny township (12 residents) that’s an 850km drive from the nearest town, in the Iron Range National Park. Cape York and the Iron Range aren’t places you’ll find on most people’s bucket list, simply because they are so isolated and can be difficult to reach but that’s one of the reasons it’s such a memorable trip.

The National Park has lush green rainforests full of rare birds and native Australian wildlife you might not see anywhere else in the country. On one side there is a towering mountain range and on the other has the crystal clear ocean with some of the last untouched stretches of the great Barrier Reef!

If you want to take full advantage of what the area has to offer, use the area around the indigenous community of Lockhart River or Portland Roads as your base. There are a number of small businesses in the immediate area (accommodation, a small airport, cafe and fishing charter company) and you’ll find local people (like my family) who have lived in the area for decades and are full of helpful information.

It really is a once in a lifetime experience for any wildlife, camping, nature, adventure, fishing or 4wd enthusiast!

Sophie Marie | Australian Kitchen & Home

For fun things to do, Queensland – save it for later! Queensland Bucket List : the best Queensland tourist attractions!

Queensland Bucket List : the best Queensland tourist attractions!
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Do you have any favourite places to visit in Queensland? Share it in the comments below.