10 Amazing Things to Do in Queensland, Australia

If you’re looking for a list of the best things to do in Queensland, Australia you’ve stumbled on the right one!

With our tourism slogan “beautiful one day, perfect the next,” you know you’re in for a real treat when you visit Queensland. 

Year-round beautiful warm sunny weather, stunning beaches, the Great Barrier Reef, tropical rainforest and countless animal encounters means there is something for all types of travellers.  

Our List of the Best Things to Do in Queensland

The Sunshine State in Australia is the perfect place to explore.

And with millions of visitors amazed with what to do in Queensland, you can understand why it’s so popular.

From tropical destinations like 75 Mile Beach on K’gari (Fraser Island) to the coral reefs of the famous Great Barrier Reef, to crocodiles, koalas, and more, here are our favourite things to do in Queensland.

READ MORE: Here’s our ultimate guide to travelling in Australia!

1) Swim at One of the Golden Beaches

Queensland has some of the most stunning beaches in all of Australia.

With its year-round warm weather, it doesn’t matter what time of year you visit these gorgeous beaches. Even on a cold winter’s day, there are plenty of tourists having a dip!

Around the Gold Coast (south of Brisbane) there are 17 different beaches to choose from.

One of the most well-known and popular Gold Coast beaches is Surfers Paradise.

READ MORE: Don’t miss our list of the best things to do on the Gold Coast!

But I’d recommend you check out beaches such as Broadbeach, Burleigh Heads and Coolangatta where there are fewer tourists and the beaches are even more beautiful. 

When you’ve had enough of swimming, there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and shops nearby too.

However, when it comes to the best Queensland beaches, I’d recommend you go to the Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane. 

Stretching from Caloundra to the north of Coolooa you will find some of the best beaches in the world!

In my view, the best beach on the Sunshine Coast is Noosa. Beaches like Caloundra and Coolum are beautiful too.

The calm crystal-clear waters of the Noosa River are ideal for getting out and exploring in a kayak or SUP.

You can bring your own or hire your own or join a tour group.

If you paddle right out to the mouth of the Noosa River, you will find many sand islands where you can hang out on your own deserted island for as long as you like. 

There are some beautiful beaches up in Tropical North Queensland too, in places like Port Douglas and the secluded UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cape Tribulation in the Daintree Rainforest. But the further north you go, you will need to be careful when and where you swim.

In Queensland, we have an issue with stingers as well as crocodiles (this is Australia after all!) so do read the signs before getting into the water.

Wherever you swim in Queensland, please swim between the flags.

Things To Do In Queensland Noosa
Enjoy the water in Noose Beach, Queensland

2) Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the world and is the world’s largest coral reef system. 

Located in the waters of the Queensland east coast, the Great Barrier Reef stretches from Bundaberg in the south up to far north in Queensland.

Most people tend to visit the Great Barrier Reef from the north in either Cairns, Port Douglas or the Daintree Rainforest

Cairns is the most popular and accessible place for reef tours. Port Douglas, a bit farther north, tends to have fewer crowds.

Some tours will take you to a pontoon stationed out in the reef where you can join in glass-bottom boat rides as well as snorkelling. 

From Bundaberg, you can take a day trip out with Lady Musgrave Island Experience and explore the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef.  

On these cruises as well as snorkelling, other activities on offer usually include diving, swimming, glass-bottom boat tours and even helicopter rides.

Whichever location you experience the reef from, keep an eye out for marine life.

During a few of my trips, I have seen turtles, dolphins and manta rays.

Great Barrier Reef Things To Do In Queensland
Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef from Queensland

3) Cuddle a Cute Koala

Did you even go to Queensland if you didn’t cuddle a koala? 

Years ago you could occasionally spot these cute little creatures in the gum trees in suburbia.

However sadly these days the only place you will see the little guys is in one of the many wildlife sanctuaries around Queensland.

Some places to consider going are Lone Pine in Brisbane, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast, or Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast. 

If you do want to cuddle, just know they only allow so many cuddles a day, so be sure to book in early when you arrive at the park.

READ MORE: Hit the road using our guide to the best Queensland driving itineraries and road trips for some inspiration!

Who doesn’t want to cuddle a Koala?

4) Get the Adrenaline Pumping at one of the Gold Coast Theme Parks

One of the more fun things to do in Queensland is to visit any number of theme parks.

The Gold Coast is home to some of the best theme parks in the world!

I love theme parks and have been to quite a few around the world in my time. But I still love visiting the ones on the Gold Coast.

In my view the very best theme park for rides is Dreamworld

Dreamworld also has the benefit of having a wildlife park where you can see native Australian animals as well as a water park with awesome water slides for cooling off.

The other theme parks include Movie World (brilliant rollercoasters) Sea World (lots of marine life and some rides) and Wet n Wild (some of the most awesome water slides on the planet!)

If you’re a kid or a kid at heart, don’t miss a day at least one of these theme parks.

Book your 3 day pass to the Gold Coast theme parks here!

Wet N Wild Queensland
Enjoy some water adventures at WhiteWater World!

5) Drink at all the Rooftop Bars in Brisbane

Some of the best Queensland sightseeing can be done from a rooftop bar in Brisbane.

While everyone thinks Melbourne and Sydney are the “cool cities,” Brisbane is pretty great too

I love heading out in Brisbane. With our year-round warm weather, we are super casual and just love hanging out with our mates for a few drinks in the outdoors.

Over the last few years, Brisbane has seen a stack of super cool rooftop bars pop up over the city. 

These bars are a great place to come after a day of sightseeing and relax with amazing views of the city and the Brisbane River.

Check out rooftop bars such as the Terrace in South Bank where you have great views across the South Bank Parklands.

Or pop on over to the super trendy Howard’s Wharves and go to Fiume at The Fantauzzo for a great view of the Storey Bridge. 

I recommend you visit these bars just before sunset, so you get a great view of the city by day as well as by night.

Some other cool rooftop bars include Eleven, Sixteen Antlers and Wet Deck.

6) See a Crocodile in the Wild

Unique Queensland activities will take you from the city to the wilderness.

While it is fantastic seeing crocodiles in the various Queensland wildlife parks, what’s even better is spotting them in the wild!

The best place to see crocodiles in the wild is in far north Queensland in the Daintree River. 

Join one of the various boat tours and get ready to see these massive beasts as they bask in the glorious Queensland sun. 

My tip is to go during low tide. This way you will get to see the full views of crocodiles rather than just their tips as they zig-zag down the river.

Yes, crocodiles eat people in Queensland! 

But from the safety of the boat, it is just marvellous watching these incredible animals.

Crocodile Things To Do In Queensland
Just a normal day exploring Queensland.

7) Climb the Story Bridge

The Story Bridge is an iconic landmark in the middle of the city of Brisbane. 

But did you know that it is also one of only three bridge climbs in the entire world? 

The Story Bridge is 72 metres tall. From the top you can see all the way out to Moreton Bay in the east and the Scenic Rim to the west. 

During the climb, you will learn some interesting facts about the bridge as well as Brisbane city.   

If you like there is also the option of abseiling down one of the pylons of the bridge.

You don’t need to be overly fit to climb the bridge.

However, you must be ok with climbing steep stairs.  The entire experience goes for around 2 hours.

READ MORE: Here’s our guide to the best things to do in Byron Bay!

8) See Australian Native Wildlife

There are a few good opportunities for seeing Australian native animals in the wild in Queensland.

But if you don’t have any luck you can go see them at some of our great wildlife sanctuaries.

As mentioned, some of the good wildlife parks are Lone Pine in Brisbane, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast or Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast.

However, if you want to see the most animals and have an entire day to spend, I’d definitely recommend you go to Steve Irwin’s world-famous Australia Zoo.

Some of the animals on display include Australian lizards, freshwater and saltwater crocodiles, koalas, birds of prey, kangaroos, red pandas and tigers. 

There are also a variety of animal presentations during the day including tortoises, otters, koalas, birds of prey, and crocodiles.  

The main show during the day is the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors. 

This show is held only once a day in the Crocosuem and is not to be missed. 

You will see and learn about giant snakes, birds and saltwater crocodiles. Check the presentation times on arrival.

Australia Zoo
Prepare to see unique aspects of the country’s diverse wildlife at the Australia Zoo.

9) Visit a Tropical Island

Not only does Queensland have some of the best beaches in Australia but we also have some gorgeous tropical islands too!

The most well-known and popular islands of Queensland are the Whitsundays, which are located off the coast from Airlie Beach.

Here you will find postcard-worthy islands with white silica sand and stunning turquoise water. Be sure to check out Whitehaven Beach, one of the most famous beaches in Australia!

Islands where you can stay include Hayman, Hamilton, and Daydream.

You can also take a day trip from the mainland at Airlie Beach, and one of the best experiences is to take a scenic flight over the Whitsundays!

But even around our capital city of Brisbane, we have some pretty stunning islands. 

Other places like Stradbroke Island, K’gari (Fraser Island), and Moreton Island can easily be reached during a day trip from the city.

K’gari (formerly known as Fraser Island) is best explored in 2 days or more because it is the largest sand island in the world and there is so much to see. K’gari (Fraser Island) is known for its massive sand dunes, pristine forests, Lake McKenzie, and the iconic 75 Mile Beach.

Stradbroke Island is great for spotting wildlife such as kangaroos, koalas, dolphins and pelicans.

Right up in far north Queensland, there are even more islands such as Green Island, Magnetic Island, Lady Elliot Island, Lizard Island, Fitzroy Island, and Bedarra Island.  

Definitely make time for at least a day trip to one of our stunning tropical islands when you visit Queensland.

Stradbroke Island
One of the gorgeous views along Stradbroke Island

10) Go Bush Walking in a National Park

With more than 200 national parks in Queensland, regardless of where you visit, there is bound to be a gorgeous national park nearby. 

Queensland’s national parks offer panoramic views, wildlife sightseeing and picturesque waterfalls.

One of my personal favourites is the Noosa National Park, which offers both a picturesque coastline and a variety of walking tracks from easy to moderate. 

These walking tracks take you through the rainforest and along the gorgeous coastline.

Walking tracks start from a few hundred metres to 5.4 kilometres.

Some of the best Noosa beaches can be found in the Noosa National Park, such as Tea Tree Bay, Winch Cove, and Granite Bay

Just outside the national park you will find my favourite Noosa beachLittle Cove.  

Burleigh Heads National Park near the Gold Coast is another peaceful oasis right near the city.

Inland from the Gold Coast, there are more national parks like Springbrook and Lamington. Here you’ll find the Gold Coast Hinterland and the nearby Sunshine Coast Hinterland, both of which are full of beautiful nature.

Springbrook National Park has breathtaking views, lush rainforest, and waterfalls.

Capture the flowing water stream at the Natural Bridge or enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Springbrook Plateau.

Lamington National Park has over 160 kilometres of walking trails scattered with waterfalls, ancient fauna and flora throughout.

In far north Queensland you will find the World Heritage-Listed Daintree National Park

The Daintree National Park area covers the Mossman Gorge at the southern point, the Daintree River at its centre and then up to the dense rainforests of Cape Tribulation. 

The region has numerous tourist attractions including the lush dense rainforest, crocodile-infested rivers, cool freshwater streams, pristine beaches and the Great Barrier Reef.

Mossman Gorge
Exploring Mossman Gorge
Picture of Melissa Delaware

Melissa Delaware

Melissa is the creator and writer for the Thrifty Family Travels website; which details her family’s travels both locally and across the globe. Together they travel the world, experience new cultures, indulge in local delicacies, and explore every corner of our beautiful earth, navigating their way around the world. Thrifty Family Travels hope to inspire other families to travel and to show them all the fantastic places the world has to explore.

Hi, We’re Alesha and Jarryd!

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