Queensland is as much a state of mind as an experience. Don’t forget to set your body clock to relax mode as you explore its world-class beaches and rainforest.

You can chill out in Brisbane

Relax in balmy, laid back Brisbane, a perfect gateway to Queensland. Cycle alongside or kayak down the Brisbane River, shop the markets and visit the world class museums and performing arts centres at South Bank.

You can see whales in Hervey Bay and explore the world’s largest sand island

During winter (July to October), watch humpback whales in the sheltered waters of Hervey Bay — one of the world’s best places for whale watching. Take a ferry across to UNESCO World Heritage-listed Fraser Island to explore the world’s largest sand island. Do the Fraser Island Great Walk, hire a four wheel drive to see the coloured cliffs or take a joy flight over 75 Mile Beach. Swim in crystal clear perched lakes and marvel at soaring rainforest trees growing out of the sand. Chill out in nearby Noosa and the Sunshine Coast hinterland, and enjoy the region’s gourmet fare.

You can discover the Whitsundays

Rent a bareboat or join a sailing charter to explore the aquamarine waters around the Whitsunday archipelago’s 74 islands off the coast of Airlie Beach. Visit the crystalline sands of Whitehaven Beach, regularly voted as one of the world’s best, and fly in a floatplane or helicopter over Heart Reef. Snorkel or dive the outer Great Barrier Reef and stay in some of Australia’s finest resorts such as qualia and One & Only Hayman Island.

You can explorer rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef

Arrive in Cairns and head out to snorkel or dive the Great Barrier Reef on a day-trip or multi-day adventure that best suits your interests. There are destinations and boat trips to suit everyone from adventurous divers to nervous snorkelers. Drive two hours north to the Daintree UNESCO World-Heritage-listed Rainforest, the world’s oldest tropical rainforest. Cruise the Daintree River to look for crocodiles, take a fascinating Aboriginal-led Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tour  and stay in a luxury eco lodge. Make time to relax at lovely seaside resorts in Port Douglas and Palm Beach too.

You can rediscover the Gold Coast

If you think you know the Gold Coast, think again. Yes, there are the famous theme parks and Surfers Paradise skyscrapers, but there’s also an explosion of cool cafes and terrific restaurants, craft breweries and local designer boutiques in beautiful beachside communities from Broadbeach and Burleigh Heads to Palm Beach and Currumbin. And those pristine white sand beaches and iconic surf breaks haven’t gone anywhere, nor has the beautiful rainforest and delicious produce in the lush Gold Coast hinterland, which you simply must explore.

 By Sue Gough Henly

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