Queensland: The Great Outdoors
by Aaron Lim.
Sunny Queensland is a wonderland of adventures, a foodie city that also boasts tropical forests, stunning beaches and a plethora of outdoor activities – especially since its capital city, Brisbane, lies on the Eastern Coast and offers both warm winters and hot summers. With more people choosing to come explore this diverse state of Australia, here's our hit list of favourite Flight Centre spots to plan your Queensland itinerary.
A forty-minute drive south of Brisbane brings you to one of Queensland's hottest destinations – the Gold Coast. Thrill-seekers can spend the day at its popular theme parks, Dreamworld and Movie World; be sure to check out Dreamworld's "Big 5" thrill rides or Movie World's hair-raising Superman rollercoaster. Meanwhile, kids will love spotting the Nickelodeon and Looney Tunes cartoon characters at Dreamworld and Movie World respectively.
For your dose of sun, sea and sand, head to Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach or Burleigh. If you're bored of just soaking up the rays, these beaches also offer adrenaline-fuelled activities like surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing and stand-up paddling.
If you're looking for a different side to Gold Coast, a trip to Tamborine Mountain will not disappoint. Unlike the beaches, Tamborine Mountain offers a cooler climate, making it a must for nature-lovers and keen hikers.
An approximately two-hour drive north of Brisbane lies one of Queensland's prime beach destinations – the Sunshine Coast, boasting beautiful areas like Noosa, Coolum Beach and Sunshine Beach (to name but a few!). The Sunshine Coast typically attracts more families than the Gold Coast, who are looking for a quiet weekend away.
Life in Noosa is relaxing but make sure to spend a night strolling along Noosa Parade for a plethora of modern Australian, Italian, Japanese and Spanish restaurants. One must-try is the award-winning Noosa Surf Club, which offers great food and fantastic service in a prime location overlooking the beach.
The Sunshine Coast is also famous for Australia Zoo. Regarded as one of the best zoos in Australia, it belongs to Teri Irwin (widow of famous wildlife expert and conservationist Steve Irwin) and offers visitors a hands-on experience feeding kangaroos, hugging koalas and petting wombats. One particular highlight is the crocodile show, where expert crocodile handlers feed the reptiles whilst teaching the audience about their important role in nature.
Brisbane, unlike the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, has no access to beaches; however, it does offer a buzzing cosmopolitan lifestyle, with Lonely Planet even voting it one of the "hippest cities in Australia". That's admittedly a bit of a bold statement when your competition comes from the ever-cool Melbourne and Sydney but Brisbane has certainly proven itself as one of the fastest growing cities in Australia. The restaurant and café culture here has grown immensely, with tourists flocking to unique areas like South Bank and New Farm. South Bank is positioned in an area known as South Brisbane; located south of the river, this gives you an amazing view of Brisbane's bustling Central Business District (CBD). The CBD is full of great restaurants, bars, shops and entertainment options, plus a boardwalk where you can soak up the atmosphere while admiring Brisbane's striking skyline.
Flights to Brisbane