The Best Places to Visit in Queensland, Australia

The 20 Best Places to Visit in Queensland

There are so many iconic Australian sights in Queensland – the picture-perfect beaches at the Whitsundays, diving the massive underwater coral formations in the Great Barrier Reef, and off-roading in Fraser Island, just to name a few.

Perfect for backpackers or families, we cover the 20 best places to visit in Queensland. Check out the incredible spots below and make a decision for yourself.

Content and photographs provided by Yana Kogan and Timon.

Best Time to Visit Queensland

The best time to visit Queensland is during the winter months between June and September. The north is either tropical or arid – gets extremely hot in the summer and many areas are prone to flooding from monsoon storms. And roads in the north are often closed in the summer.

Best Places to Visit in Queensland: Point Arkwright
Exploring the rocky coastline at Point Arkwright

How to Get Around Queensland

Unique Places to Visit in Queensland: Wallaman Falls
Wallaman Falls, the tallest waterfall in Australia

Rent a Car

Renting a vehicle makes sense for shorter stays in Australia. There is the option to rent small vehicles or campervans, and Australia has campgrounds (including free ones) throughout the country. So renting a campervan would double as your accommodation. While renting a smaller car would require staying at an Airbnb, hostels, hotels, or tent camping.

We recommend hiring a campervan from Jucy or Hippie Camper while touring Australia to give you greater flexibility on your itinerary. Campervans will end up saving money as well. A campervan rental costs between $400 and $700 AUD per week depending on the size and quality. Britz is another option but significantly more expensive.


Take the Bus

Bus companies such as Firefly Express and Greyhound offer direct route services as well as tours. They offer flexible hop-on hop-off packages and tours can range from 3 days to 16 days.

For example, Oz Experience (Greyhound) offers a 12-day tour from Brisbane to Cairns for $1,259 AUD. However, taking the bus will limit your stops to the destinations within the bus itinerary. This may be a good option for those who would rather not do a lot of trip planning.


Apps for Australia

There are two apps to download before heading to Australia. Campermate is a free app that provides information on campsites, things to see, petrol, and lots more. 

WikiCamps Australia is a paid app that has tons of information and user comments. You’ll want to download the comments which are available offline. WikiCamps is great for its extensive list of campsites and comments to help provide information and suggestions. It is free for 14 days, and then you can upgrade to a one-time cost of $7.99 AUD.

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The 20 Best Places to Visit in Queensland

1. Noosa National Park

Best Queensland Holiday Destinations: Noosa Fairy Pools
Relaxing in the Noosa Fairy Pools

Noosa is home to a spectacular national park. Several white sand beaches and a coastal walk are reasons thousands flock here during the summer.

The coastal walk takes 4 hours and is the highlight of the park. There are several overlooks as well as the Instagram-worthy Fairy Pools, but make sure to visit during low tide.


2. Point Arkwright

Unique Places to Visit in Queensland: Point Arkwright
One of our favorite sunrise spots in Queensland, Point Arkwright

Point Arkwright is a hidden gem and one of our favorite sunrise spots in Australia. This is a little-known location, so a visit will be sure to have only a few locals around. It is located 30 minutes south of Noosa.

Best Queensland Holiday Destinations: Point Arkwright
Another area at Point Arkwright

3. Fraser Island

Must See Queensland: Fraser Island
Typical 4×4 driving on Fraser Island

Fraser Island is one of the highlights of Queensland and a mecca for 4×4 enthusiasts. It is the world’s largest sand island and offers perfect conditions for offroad driving and beach camping.

A trip to Fraser Island can be independent or by tour. If you have your own 4×4 vehicle, take the Manta Ray barge from Inskip Point or the Kingfisher Bay Ferry from River Heads. Tours typically originate from Hervey Bay. A two-day visit would include stops at Lake Mckenzie, the SS Maheno shipwreck, 75 Mile Surf Beach, Rainbow Beach, and rainforest bushwalking.

A visit to Queensland should not be without a stop at Fraser Island to explore the incredible coastal sand dunes, rainforest, and bizarre lakes.

Best Places to Visit in Queensland: Fraser Island
SS Maheno shipwreck on Fraser Island

Cost to visit Fraser Island: Ferries cost between $85 – $180 AUD one-way or $130 – $260 return for a 4×4 vehicle and passengers.

CampingOnline bookings are available for all 45 campsites within the national park.

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4. Pebble Beach, Rosslyn Bay

Unique Places to Visit in Queensland: Pebble Beach
The eerie Pebble Beach

Yeppoon is a small coastal town halfway between Noosa and Airlie Beach. We found this spot by chance, but it ended up being one of the best beaches to photograph in Queensland.

There is a small regional park in Rosslyn Bay just beside the marina. One trail leads to the Rosslyn Bay Lookout, the other goes to a small hidden cove called Pebble Beach. This rocky beach is very eerie and a perfect location for sunrise or sunset. Rosslyn Bay Lookout is also a good place to spot migrating whales.


5. Cape Hillsborough

Best Places to Visit in Queensland: Kangaroo in Cape Hillsborough
Kangaroo at Cape Hillsborough

When we looked up Cape Hillsborough, we saw incredible pictures of wallabies and roos on the beach for sunrise. However, what the photos did not show was the park ranger that comes every morning before sunrise to feed them. Tourists line up a few meters away in hopes of getting that epic sunrise shot with a kangaroo on the beach.

While the experience was not what we originally imagined, it still was a very unique sight to see. After their food is gone, they jump around the beach and offer plenty of opportunities for pictures in a more natural way.


6. Airlie Beach

Unique Places to Visit in Queensland: Airlie Beach
Sunset at Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach is a backpacker hub as well as the jumping point to the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef. It has some of the best food in Queensland with a wide range of cuisine options.

We opted for the fresh seafood at Fish D’Vine or the homemade pasta at La Tabella. Make sure to prearrange a tour to the Whitsundays, especially during the peak seasons.


7. Whitsunday Islands

Best Queensland Holiday Destinations: Hill Inlet Lookout
Famous view from the Hill Inlet Lookout

Our absolute favorite thing we did in Queensland was a visit to Whitsunday Island. The white-sand beaches and picture-perfect hill inlet are just some of the highlights. Tours originate from Airlie and tour options range from small sailboats to large catamarans offering day trips or overnight cruises.

The Camira is a large catamaran with daily trips to Whitehaven Beach and the Hill Inlet. The full-day tour includes food and alcohol. Prima and Summertime are traditional sailboats with excellent reviews that both offer overnight sailing trips. For a list of all boats sailing/cruising around the Whitsundays, check out sailing-whitsundays.com.

For a more intimate way to explore the Whitsundays, camping is an awesome option. Campsites are located at the end of Whitehaven Beach and are the perfect way to have a few hours each morning with the beach almost to yourself.

You can rent a kayak for the duration of the trip, which is a great way to explore the island. It is possible to paddle over to the Hill Inlet Lookout. For more information on camping, check out our guide to camping at the Whitsunday Islands.

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8. Bowen Beach

Unique Places to Visit in Queensland: Bowen Beach
Bowen Beach

Bowen Beach is a small beach town one hour north of Airlie. This is a great beach to relax for the day while waiting for your Whitsunday Island cruise. A short walk from the end of the beach leads to a nice lookout.

Best Queensland Holiday Destinations: Bowen Beach
Small tide pools at Bowen Beach

9. Magnetic Island

Must See Queensland: Magnetic Island
Hiking up to the top rocks at Alma Bay at Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island, off the coast of Townsville, is known for wild koala bears and secluded beaches. It is a 30-minute ferry from Townsville. Cruise around the island with stops at Alma Bay, Horseshoe Bay, and The Forts where there is a chance to spot a koala in the wild.

Best Places to Visit in Queensland: Magnetic Island
Alma Bay at Magnetic Island

Cost to travel to Magnetic Island: A return ticket costs $34 AUD from the SeaLink Ferry terminal.


10. Wallaman Falls

Best Queensland Holiday Destinations: Wallaman Falls
Wallaman Falls from the top viewpoint

Wallaman Falls is the largest single-drop waterfall in Australia. There is an overlook as well as a trail down to the falls. The hike down takes around 30-45 minutes and is quite steep. To get closer to the falls there are sections of large boulders that you will have to navigate. It is worth the effort as the views of the falls are unparalleled.

Must See Queensland: Wallaman Falls
The base of Wallaman Falls
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11. Mission Beach

Best Places to Visit in Queensland: Mission Beach
Mission Beach

Catch a sunset skydive with Skydive Mission Beach, the number one skydiving location in Australia! The skydive has incredible views of the coastline and reef and ends with a beach landing. A 7,000 foot tandem dive cost $219 AUD, or go high with a 15,000 tandem dive for $310.

Unique Places to Visit in Queensland: Mission Beach
Mission Beach

12. Waterfall Circuit

Best Queensland Holiday Destinations: Ellinjaa Falls
Taking a break at Ellinjaa Falls

The waterfall circuit was one of our favorite days in Queensland! We loved exploring several waterfalls that are very close to each other. The circuit is located on Palmerston Highway near the town of Millaa Millaa.

Our favorites were Millaa Millaa, Ellinjaa, Zillie, and Wallicher Falls. Others that are nearby and worth checking out are Nandroya Falls and Malanda Falls.


15. Babinda Boulders

Unique Places to Visit in Queensland: Babinda Boulders
Babinda Boulders, Queensland

The Babinda Boulders is a great spot in Queensland. There is a campground, a picnic area, a swimming hole in the river, as well as walking paths to view the boulders. A section of the river has been carved through massive boulders and is a beautiful spot for an afternoon swim and BBQ.

Best Queensland Holiday Destinations: Babinda Boulders
Morning at the Babinda Boulders

Camping: The Babinda Boulders Campground is free, but with limited spots make sure to show up early. Another great free campground is near the Babinda Train Station on Howard Kennedy Drive.

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16. Walshs Pyramid

Must See Queensland: Walshs Pyramid
Walshs Pyramid

Walshs Pyramid is a mountain that is amazingly shaped like a pyramid. Is it as impressive as the Great Pyramids? No, but it is a quick stop en route to Cairns. For pictures of the road leading to the mountain, turn on Behana Gorge Road and follow for about 5 minutes.

Camping: Free camping is available in the Gordonvale Rest Area.


17. Great Barrier Reef

Best Places to Visit in Queensland: Great Barrier Reef
Visiting the Great Barrier Reef with Coral Sea Dreaming (Milne Reef)

The Great Barrier Reef has been on our bucket list for years and is one of the most amazing places we’ve ever been! The reef is best accessed from Cairns and tour companies offer day trips, overnight sailing cruises, as well as diving liveaboards.

The best way to see the GBR is by visiting the outer reef, where there are fewer tourists and less damage to the reef. For those looking to snorkel or dive, but don’t want to stay on a liveaboard, Coral Sea Dreaming offers an incredible 2-day trip to the outer reef. If diving, the best option is to embark on a week-long liveaboard.

Overnight Tour: We would highly recommend an overnight trip with Coral Sea Dreaming. The cost for one person (bunkbed) is $460 per person, or a private cabin (2 people) is $960 AUD.


18. Barron Falls

Must See Queensland: Barron Falls
Barron Falls in the dry season. Photo by Shell @thisismebowie87.

Barron Falls is one of the more picturesque waterfalls in Queensland. In the dry season, the water flow is significantly smaller, although it’s still worth a stop. This waterfall really comes alive during the wet season. Check out the differences between these two photos!

Best Places to Visit in Queensland: Barron Falls
Barron Falls in the wet season. Photo by Sarah Latham @_sarahlatham.

Camping: Camping is available for $32 at the Kuranda Rainforest Park.

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19. Palm Cove

Unique Places to Visit in Queensland: Palm Cove Beach
Palm Cove Beach. Photo by Nicolas Jaegergaard

This palm tree-lined beach is a perfect spot to stop before finishing a Queensland road trip. Hit the sand and relax for a few days. The beach is home to many cute cafes and restaurants.


20. Port Douglas, Daintree Rainforest, and Cape Tribulation

Best Queensland Holiday Destinations: Port Douglas
Port Douglas. Photo by Nicolas Jaegergaard

Port Douglas is a small fishing village with a cute marina full of shops and restaurants. 4 Mile Beach is located just south of Port Douglas, and is a great place to relax.

From Port Douglas, you can join a day tour to the Daintree Rainforest. Tours depart daily for a crocodile-spotting river cruise, the Marrdja Boardwalk, Cape Tribulation, and the Mossman Gorge. Daintree Rainforest Tours depart from Cairns and Port Douglas for $165 AUD per person.


Tropical Queensland Suggested Itineraries

7-Day Queensland Itinerary: Brisbane to Airlie Beach

Must See Queensland: Pebble Beach
This cove at Pebble Beach is a hidden gem.
  • Day 1: Starting from Brisbane, it is a 2-hour drive to Noosa Heads. Walk around Noosa National Park visiting the fairy pools and exotic beaches.
  • Day 2 – 3: Drive two hours to Inskip Point and take the ferry to Fraser Island. Spend two days on the ultimate 4WD adventure on Fraser Island.
  • Day 4: Drive nine hours to Airlie Beach.
  • Day 5: Spend the day at Bowen Beach and eat your face out at one of the excellent restaurants at Airlie Beach.
  • Day 6 – 7: Go on an overnight sailing cruise to the Whitsunday islands.
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14-Day Queensland Itinerary: Brisbane to Cairns

Best Places to Visit in Queensland: Whitsunday Islands
Views at the Whitsunday Islands
  • Day 1: Starting from Brisbane, it is a 2-hour drive to Noosa Heads. Walk around Noosa National Park visiting the fairy pools and exotic beaches.
  • Day 2 – 3: Drive two hours to Inskip Point and take the ferry to Fraser Island. Spend two days on the ultimate 4WD adventure on Fraser Island.
  • Day 4: Drive nine hours to Airlie Beach.
  • Day 5: Spend the day at Bowen Beach and eat your face out at one of the excellent restaurants at Airlie Beach.
  • Day 6 – 8: Go on a three-day two-night camping trip to Whitehaven Beach. Rent Kayaks and explore the area with a day trip to Hill Inlet.
  • Day 9: Drive three hours to Townsville and drive around Magnetic Island in a miniature jeep.
  • Day 10: Drive three hours to Wallaman Falls and then another two hours to the waterfall circuit visiting Millaa Millaa Falls, Zillie Falls, and Ellinjaa Falls. Camp the night at Babinda.
  • Day 11: Spend the morning exploring the Babinda Boulders. After breakfast, stop at Walshs Pyramid on the way to Cairns (1-hour drive). Spend the afternoon at Palm Cove beach.
  • Day 12 – 13: Go on a one-night sailing and scuba diving cruise at the Great Barrier Reef. Make your way to Port Douglass.
  • Day 14: Spot crocodiles and untouched coastline one a day trip to the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation. Spend the night at Port Douglas and finish your Queensland road trip!

We hope that reading about the best places to visit helps you plan your trip to the beautiful State of Queensland!


Planning a trip to Queensland? Check out our favorite books and travel guides!


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