From the rustic charm of the outback to the dream-like landscape of the Whitsundays, Queensland has more than most on offer when it comes to unique places to visit. But although you might think you know our state from top to bottom, we bet there’s a few stunning destinations you had no idea were right in your back yard. In fact we know so, because we didn’t know most of them existed until we started researching this article…
All that’s left to do is gather the squad and decide where you want to go. So many choices, so little time.
Far North Queensland
Set amid ancient sandstone formations that stretch over 80 square kilometres of Aussie outback lies Cobbold Gorge, a breathtaking demonstration of the power of Mother Nature. The gorge is said to be the youngest in the state, and yet its geological history spans over 1,700 million years. Surrounded by spectacular cliffs towering 19m above the waterline, access to the area is by guided tour only. That isn’t to say your options are limited—tours come in the form of a boat cruise, stand-up paddle boarding, or even a scenic helicopter flight. Keep an eye out for crocs, but don’t fret about being bitten: unlike their saltwater cousins, these bad boys are harmless to humans.
Cardwell Spa Pool
Tropical North Queensland
Nestled about halfway between Townsville and Cairns sits Cardwell Spa Pool, an idyllic swimming hole fed by an underground pool. The natural minerals from the rocks are absorbed into the water that feeds the pool, so going for a dip will do wonders for your skin. Better yet, the spa pool is within walking distance of a number of lookouts and waterfalls, so you can spend the day exploring the area. Internet reception is reportedly patchy, so save your posts for a later upload. Getting to the pool can be tricky, so check out this map to save yourself some headaches.
Tropical North Queensland
Located in Wooroonooran National Park (try saying that three times fast!) near Cairns, Windin Falls boasts incredible views over the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. To get to the falls, you’ll have to commit to a 90-minute hike, but the slopes are gentle and the views are well worth the effort. But the best part is yet to come: at the top of the falls sits a natural infinity pool that plunges deep into the valley below, providing the perfect place to cool off and appreciate the natural beauty around you. Could this place get any better?
Girraween National Park
Great Southern Downs
Named for the breathtaking fields of wildflowers that bloom in the spring, Girraween National Park boasts spectacular granite outcrops, precariously balancing boulders, crystal clear streams and a wide array of wildlife. The climb up the Pyramid will knock the wind out of you, but once you’ve reached the peak you’ll be treated to incredible views that make the trek worth your while. If you’re into astrophotography, this is one nighttime hike you won’t want to miss. While you’re in the area, check out Australia’s largest granite monolith by embarking on the Bald Rock Summit Walking Track, which will reward you with exceptional views of the surrounding national parks.
Hidden amongst Noosa’s Great Sandy National Park is one of Australia's most diverse ecosystems, a tropical wetland home to over 40 per cent of the country's bird species. Known as the River of Mirrors, the Noosa Everglades are just one of only two everglades systems in the world, the other being in Florida. But you won’t find alligators trawling the waterways of the Noosa—instead, the Everglades comprise a 60km stretch of pristine waters perfect for kayaking and birdwatching. Explore the Everglades from the comfort of the Habitat Noosa Everglades Ecocamp, where you can camp (or glamp) in style.
Central Queensland Coast
Located right on the central Queensland coast is Cape Hillsborough, a national park brimming with natural beauty across each of its rugged landscapes. The highlight of the park has to be its beautiful beaches, where you can join the local kangaroos and wallabies in a morning meal at sunrise when they gather along the beach. The picturesque location is surrounded by the waters of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, with plenty of marine life calling the beachfront home. Explore the rockpools that line the sandy shores, or check out the park’s tracks and trails to get back to nature.
Great Barrier Reef
Looking to live the island life? Set your sights on Wilson Island, a secluded coral cay that gives off serious deserted island vibes in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. This adults-only getaway provides the perfect opportunity for you to relax and rejuvenate by soaking up some sun. You’ll be staying in a luxurious Reef Safari Tent, completely secluded from other guests to allow for true immersion in the natural environment around you. All meals, drinks and snacks are included in your package—and yes, that includes a cocktail at sunset for every night of your stay. Now that’s living.
Looking for more unique places in Queensland? How about one of these mysterious caves.
Image credit: Tourism And Events Queensland