The east coast is home to endless partying, the world famous reef, idyllic islands, not to mention the creatures of the rainforest – everything from cute koalas to croc-filled rivers.
And it ain’t called the Sunshine State for nothing. Queensland is indeed Australia’s sunniest state – officially.
So grab your shades and your swimmers and dive in head first with this top 10…
The Whitsundays & Great Barrier Reef
Okay we are cheating a bit by squeezing two into our top spot, but if you do one of these without doing the other then, quite frankly, you are a fool.
Take a sailboat tour of the picture-perfect Whistunday islands with their spectacular beaches. The jewel in the crown is Whitehaven, which has the kind of white sand and turquoise waters that the Bounty ads had you dreaming of. Airlie beach is also renowned, but this time for being a party port. And we mean party.
Of course beneath the waters on which you sail lies none other than one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef. If you haven’t heard of it, you deserve a slap around the face with one of its beautiful tropical fish – although that would be cruel to the fish, so we will refrain. Instead, spy them through your snorkel, along with vibrant coral, sharks (the harmless kind, hopefully) and sweet sea turtles.
There are numerous boat tours on offer, but we recommend Wings Diving and Sailing trips.
Worthy of a top must-dos list all on its own (indeed, we covered its top five in our January issue), Fraser Island is mainly famous for its dingo population, but there is so much more to it.
From rubber ringing down Eli Creek, to chilling in the stunning Lake Mackenzie to dodging crabs on a beach segway tour. If you do want to spot the illusive dingo, though, the disused central station and rainforest is a likely spot.
Play with gravity
Party spot Cairns is the best place to go bungy jumping in the whole of Australia, as original jumpers AJ Hackett have set up a base here.
Launch yourself off the 50m-high platform with 16 jump varieties on offer from their very own ‘jump menu’.
The other way to get your falling fix is by jumping out of a plane, with Mission Beach offering great birds-eye views and a soft landing.
Cape Tribulation has this mystique of being a remote, untouched Nirvana (and in many ways it still is) while still offering the necessities.
Spend your days exploring endless, near-deserted beaches, their sparkling sands crowned on one side with palm-fringed rainforest and glistening ocean on the other. Go horse riding on the beach, croc-cruising, kayaking in the clear waters, bush-walking and, of course, boozing.
It’s easy to see why backpackers love “Maggie”, as the locals affectionately know her. The luscious, tropical playground is a 20-minute ferry from Townsville and it’s home to the largest population of koalas in northern Oz.
With more than 25km of walking tracks, Maggie is a great place for bush-walking – and remember to keep eyes up, checking out the eucalyptus trees for furry koala butts.
White water rafting, Tully River
Like a rollercoaster on water, the Tully River offers a wild ride of gushing torrents and winding rapids.
Cling on for dear life as you are convinced every bump is going to throw you over board, and every rock is going to bash you right in the face.
But the instructors know what they are doing – and that is to make you believe you might die, but they won’t actually let that happen, which is nice. You may end up with a few bruises and a fat lip from a oar to the face, but fun is pain, right? Or is that beauty…?
Daintree National Park
Walking through Daintree National Park feels like you’re in Jurassic Park. This ancient tropical rainforest has been flourishing for more than 100 million years – four times longer than the Amazon.
It’s misty and dark inside, with just a few spears of sunlight piercing through the bright green canopy. Ferns the size of trees, dangling vines and larger-than-life palm leaves choke the trail. You can’t shake the feeling that a bloodthirsty raptor may be lurking in the thick of it all, but it’s not hard to let your imagination run wild in this amazing place.
When the time comes that you are bored of the pole dancing and wet T-shirt contests of Cairns (if that’s possible), head north to Port Douglas.
It’s a bit more upmarket here as this is the holiday destination where A-listers “in the know” come to relax, not to mention a couple of ex-US presidents. Fancy. Cycle around, catch some fish or rent a small boat to hit the water.
Swimming in croc-free fresh water on a hot day is as close to heaven as most of us are likely to get, and the Atherton Tablelands does them best, complete with waterfalls.
You can also go on a midnight canoe trip – you can do it during the day too, of course, but the moonlight adds an eerie but magical twist. Look out for platypus in the water and tree kangaroos in the, er, trees.
Well with all this sunshine it would be plain silly not to go surfing, wouldn’t it?
Also known as the Ibiza of Australia, the party scene is huge here. Just avoid it like the plague when the schoolies are on summer break. Otherwise, surfing and chilling on the beach by day and hitting the bars and clubs by night sounds like a decent way to spend your time to us.