Queensland travel: 25 best things to do in the Sunshine State

Whether you’re day-tripping or visiting Queensland for a longer stay this summer, here are 25 of the best things you can do across the state right now.

1. FIND YOUR BALANCE

Swap the laptop workouts for small group SUP fitness and yoga classes on the turquoise waters of Tallebudgera Creek. Even if you’ve never been on a stand-up paddle board before, you’ll know how to engage your core and read the currents before you’ve finished saluting the sun.

2. DAY TRIP TO BRIBIE ISLAND

Get acquainted with one of Brisbane’s closest island neighbours as you wander through eucalypt forests and paperbark wetlands on the Bicentennial Trails. Your reward: A takeaway seafood basket from the Oyster Shed, eaten with your toes dangling in the sea.

A must-visit is the Oyster Shed on Bribie Island.Source:Supplied

3. SEE ART UNDERWATER

The official opening might be slightly delayed but it won’t be long before you can dive the underwater greenhouse in the Museum of Underwater Art, 18m below the surface at John Brewer Reef.

Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) in Townsville North Queensland Picture: Jason deCaires TaylorSource:Supplied

4. GO FOREST BATHING

Picnics, bushwalking and mountain biking are all on the menu at Mount Coot-Tha – a sprawling forest reserve just 5km from the CBD. Pick a trail or wander 27 hectares of native plants in the Botanic Gardens; there’s even a hide and seek trail for the kids.

5. BREW TRAIL

Assign a designated driver and sample takeaway deals along the Sunshine Coast online beer trail. The interactive map dishes up all the info you need on 18 local breweries.

Get a driver and check out the Sunshine Coast online beer trail.Source:Supplied

6. HOLE IN ONE

Play 18 holes in the shadow of former world champion golfer Adam Scott who recently live-broadcasted a round at Maleny Golf Club. Juniors can play for as little as $5.

Check out Maleny Golf Club.Source:News Regional Media

7. HEAD TO MAGNETIC ISLAND

From Townsville, it’s easy to dip a toe into the Great Barrier Reef. Ferry to Magnetic Island for a swim and picnic topped off by a sunset guided kayak tour.

Magnetic Island is surely Queensland’s most underrated island destination.Source:Supplied

8. BREATHE IN THE MOUNTAIN AIR

Hit one of the trails of Lamington National Park – Morans Falls is a stunner – then soak up the views with a pre-booked picnic hamper from O’Reilly’s Mountain Cafe.

9. WAKE UP WITH THE WALLABIES

There’s plenty of room for social distancing when you mingle with the locals at Casuarina Beach, Cape Hillsborough – a mob of eastern grey and agile wallabies who gather each morning to fossick for seaweed (and don’t mind a photo or two).

Check out the wallabies at Casuarina Beach in Cape Hillsborough.Source:istock

10. HIKE THE HEADLAND

Do a progressive picnic walk along the Caloundra Coastal Pathway. Start with brekkie from The Pocket at Moffat Beach and finish with a nourish bowl from Happy Turtle Cafe at Happy Valley.

11. KNOCK ON CELLAR DOORS

Take a scenic drive to Mount Tamborine’s Witches Falls Winery for a bottle of wild ferment malbec – or order via their Witches on Wheels – and jump online for virtual tastings.

12. TRY SOME PIE

It’s worth the drive to Suttons Farm in Stanthorpe for a hefty slice of their freshly baked apple pie with cider-laced ice cream. Drop in on a few cellar doors before you head home.

Try a slice of pie in Suttons Farm.Source:Supplied

13. GO STRAIGHT TO THE HEART

Distance makes the heart grow fonder but luckily you can still see the Whitsundays’ heart beating in Hardy Reef with a Express Scenic Aeroplane Flight over Heart Reef and Whitehaven Beach, direct from Airlie Beach.

14. PADDLE WITH YOUR THOUGHTS

Hire a kayak for a self-guided slow adventure through the tannin-stained ‘river of mirrors’ in the Noosa Everglades – a pristine pocket of the protected Noosa Biosphere, teeming with birdlife and water lilies.

Worth heading out to visit Heart Reef in the Whitsundays.Source:Supplied

15. HIKE TO ART

Lace up your boots and discover the remarkable Strangler Cairn sculpture by artist Andy Goldsworthy along part of the Conondale Range Great Walk.

16. DIAL A FOOD TRUCK

Download the ‘Where The Truck’ app and track down more than 60 food trucks in Brisbane offering safe pick up, or arrange a ‘Food Truck in my street’ for delivery direct to your door.

17. FOLLOW THE PAPERBARK TRAIL

You might find yourself believing in fairies along this short 400m trail in Agnes Waters. Step your way to the thrum of frog calls, surrounded by butterflies and lorikeets.

18. CATCH A BARRA

Hire a tinny or pontoon boat and cruise the mangrove-lined Trinity Inlet. Pop in some crab pots to catch a North Queensland mud crab or if you’re lucky you might bag a barramundi.

Check out the Simpson Desert in a 4WD.Source:Supplied

19. TAKE ON THE BIG RED

If your new travel ethos is to go as remote as possible, start planning your pilgrimage to watch the sun slip below the horizon from the top of Big Red – the first sand dune in the Simpson Desert, just outside Birdsville.

20. NUNU WAY TO PICNIC

You’ve always been able to enjoy the sand between your toes dining at Nu Nu in Palm Cove but an ever-changing takeaway menu now provides the option for noshing on pineapple and turmeric curry, and crying tiger Wagyu beef salad on your picnic rug beneath the palm trees.

21. SKIPPER YOUR OWN BOAT

Go Bareboating has boats complete with kitchens, linens and safety gear to hire for charter around the Whitsunday Islands. After a safety and boat briefing you and your crew of friends and family are free to explore the pristine waters and sparkling beaches in this tropical paradise. Picture: Tourism Whitsundays

There are boats and yachts complete with kitchens, linens and safety gear to hire for charter around the Whitsunday Islands.Source:Supplied

22. SLEEP UNDERWATER

One of the most spectacular ways to see The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is by spending a night aboard Australia’s first underwater accommodation. Reefworld and Reefsuites is located 40 nautical miles from Airlie Beach and offers a whole new meaning to room with a view. Cruise Whitsundays can take you there.

23. STAY AT THE RESORT OF YOUR DREAMS

Hayman Island is a secluded paradise only accessible by seaplane, helicopter or luxury yacht. The luxury resort, Hayman Island by InterContinental, is perfectly placed for diving the Reef, indulging in day-spa pampering and dining on the freshest seafood.

Reefsuites allow guests to sleep underwater. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

24. STAY ON A CAR-FREE ISLAND

Hamilton Island is a marine playground that’s perfectly situated in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Offering bars, restaurants, cultural exhibits and water sports year-round, Hamilton is a favourite for romantics and families. Fringed by coral reef, the island is car-free and guests are encouraged to explore in their very own golf buggy.

25. SEE A LIVING CORAL LAGOON

Daydream Island has had a $100 million makeover and that includes the island’s Living Reef. Wrapping around the resort building, the outdoor coral lagoon is home to over 100 species of marine fish, coral and invertebrates such as starfish, sea cucumbers and crabs and has an underwater observatory.

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