This year has been a wild ride and we’d be lying if we said the majority of our time in iso wasn’t spent daydreaming of sun-drenched seaside holidays, blissful road trips, and nights dining out with a cocktail in hand (we are so over banana bread). Well, the wait is officially over as we are finally allowed to hit the road—Queesland is good to go!
With so many holiday options to choose from we know making a decision on a destination can be overwhelming, so to help we’ve teamed up with Queensland to bring you 13 stunning destinations for your post-Rona escape to match your personality. Whether you’re chasing that next life-changing meal, ‘Gram-worthy mountain peaks and outback adventures or you just want to bliss out and unwind on the beach, here’s every excuse you need to get out of town, live your best life, and support home-grown businesses and locals who are doing it tough.
The Luxe Traveller
So you like to live the boujee life, huh? Same here. Luckily Queensland is chock-a-block full of destinations that can deliver. Top of our list? The Whitsundays, of course. A land made up of 74 white sand isles, soothing sea breezes and tropical waters—seriously, there are no bad days here. For the ultimate luxury accommodation, Mediterranean Resorts and Mirage Whitsundays is where it’s at.
Road tripping north to the Whitsundays? Then the Sunshine Coast needs to be your first stop. Boasting a 100-kilometre stretch of picturesque coastline, high-end boutiques, luxury beach resorts, lush hinterland and the volcanic peaks of the Glasshouse Mountains, if you're yet to experience the wonder of the Sunshine Coast, now is absolutely the time.
Packed with beachside adventures, access to the iconic Southern Great Barrier Reef and Wilson Island, watering holes, and luxury stays that will take your road trip to the next level, you need to add Gladstone to your itinerary. Here you’ll spend your days lazing on the beach, kayaking through crystal clear waters with Liquid Adventures and your afternoons with a sundowner at The Dock at East Shores. Just be sure to check into Wilson Island's reef safari tents for a totally luxe stay just steps from the ocean—but be warned, you'll never want to leave. We’re calling it, Gladstone might just be one of the most underrated beachside getaways in Queensland.
Are your Instagram Stories filled with boujee eats and cocktails most days? Do you love the thrill of discovering a new, under-the-radar dining destination? Well, listen up foodies because we’ve uncovered three nearby escapes that are sure to take your love affair with food to the next level. In case you were unaware, Brisbane’s gastronomy scene has exploded over the past few years. Chefs like Will Cowper from Otto and Louis Tikaram of Stanley have been migrating north from Sydney to Brisbane—the tide of top talent flowing north is showing no signs of slowing down. But besides that, Brisbane is also home to that enviable slow living, ‘what winter?’ attitude and ‘Gram-worthy hotels, like The Calile Hotel, will make you feel like you’re sipping cocktails poolside in Palm Springs. Basically, you’ll need to book a stay, stat.
Venture a little further south and the Gold Coast is another foodies haven. Gone are the days this beachside paradise was synonymous with meter maids and theme parks—and although we still love these things dearly—there’s so much more to experience. Whether it’s dining—quite literally—on the beach at Rick Shores and tucking into their famous bug rolls or tossing back cocktails at Miss Moneypenny’s, it’s clear that the Gold Coast needs to be your next holiday destination. If you’re looking for somewhere to rest your head, then look no further than The Pink Hotel in Coolangatta or Gwinganna in Tallebudgera Valley.
For a totally unexpected foodies getaway, Bundaberg is certainly worth the drive north. Of course, this town is known for Bundaberg Rum, but it’s packed full of amazing places to eat, drink and then drink some more. Top of our list is Water Street Kitchen for their Szechuan honey prawns and Ohana Winery—the team there makes their wines from lychees and pineapples, plus they make a range of boutique ciders too. Beyond the food, Bundaberg is also home to Lady Elliot Island, spectacular beaches and is the access point to a World Heritage-listed marine park so we reckon it’s about time you added Bundaberg to your road trip itinerary. Just remember to pack your appetite.
The Chilled Nomad
If you’re the traveller who loves to spend their holiday sipping piña coladas on the beach, hiking to cascading waterfalls, and glamping in eco retreats, you could drop a pin anywhere in Queensland and have a darn good time—but we’ve got four destinations to get you started. The world’s largest sand island, K'gari/Fraser Island is a must-do for any self-respecting Australian, but there’s plenty more to keep you entertained in the region if you’re willing to look for it. Whether it’s setting sail on a yacht at sunset courtesy of Blue Dolphin Marine Tours, grabbing dinner at Hervey Bay’s multi-award-winning Beach House Hotel or whale watching with Whalesong Cruises and Tasman Venture, it’s seriously time to get acquainted with the Fraser Coast.
Whether you’re heading north on an epic coastal Queensland road trip or you’re looking for a chilled spot to relax on the beach, make sure you check out the Mackay Region. A trip here means tucking into sweet surprises at Sarina Sugar Shed, hiking through Eungella National Park, and nights spent fireside at Broken River Mountain Eco Resort. Mackay is bound to surprise and delight you.
Think you know Townsville? Think again. This unassuming holiday destination has it all—lush rainforests dotted with cascading waterfalls and the wonders of Magnetic Island. Snorkel around the forgotten shipwreck that has now turned into a stunning artificial island with Adrenalin Snorkel and Dive and sail to secluded bays with Big Mama Sailing. It’s pure bliss.
Everyone knows Queensland's tropical north is the epitome of chilled vibes and that enviable ‘no worries’ attitude making it an absolute must for any traveller, so if you’re yet to make the trek to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, here’s your reminder. Boasting the world’s oldest rainforest, wide-open spaces and immense natural beauty, you’re sure to forget all about the quarantining nightmare of yester-month on a getaway north. Pack your itinerary with a tour around the Great Barrier Reef with Ocean Safari, stroll amongst the treetops at Mamu Tropical Skywalk and immerse yourself in an Indigenous tour with Walkabout Cultural Adventures. It goes without saying, you’ll never be short of things to do in tropical north Queensland.
The Adventure Junkie
Here in Queensland we’re blessed with the best of both worlds: epic Outback adventures found inland and aquatic playgrounds dotted along our coast. For those looking to leave the bright city lights behind, the wonders of Outback Queensland awaits. Whether you're saddling up for a rodeo in Mount Isa or stargazing in Longreach and 4WDing through the red dusty sands of the Simpson Desert in the South West, you’ll have an absolutely wild time in the golden outback.
If you’re chasing a change from your typical coastal road trip, Southern Queensland Country (which includes Toowoomba and the Southern Downs and Granite Belt region to name a few) will satisfy the itch of luxe travellers and adventure seekers alike. From a wilderness adventure through Girraween National Park to skipping between cellar doors like Ballandean Estate Wines, there’s so much to see and do in this picturesque region.
Looking for a holiday that delivers on beachside bliss and rugged outback adventures? Then the Capricorn Coast is for you. This vast region is part of the Southern Great Barrier Reef that stretches along Rockhampton, Mount Morgan, the Emerald and Sapphire Gemfields, Carnarvon Gorge and the Capricorn coast itself, including the main coastal hub of Yeppoon and the Keppel Bay Islands. Whether it’s snorkelling above coral gardens, hiking to gorges or camping beneath the stars, you’re never short of captivating things to do in the Capricorn region.
If you, like us, have been itching to live your best life again since COVID hit, what better way to celebrate our return to freedom than with a glorious Queensland getaway? Make the promise to holiday here this year and support Queensland businesses that need your help right now by joining our 20 For 20 Challenge.
And remember, always be COVID safe and check operator details and opening times prior to travel.
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Queensland and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.
Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland