Simpson Desert. Image: Tourism and Events Queensland.

6 Places You Won’t Believe Are In Queensland

22 February 2018
Read Time: 4.8 mins

From Townsville to the Gold Coast Hinterland, here are the places that you will not believe are actually right here in our own backyard of Queensland. Whether it’s watching baby turtles scurry towards their first dip in the ocean or diving and exploring sunken shipwrecks, Queensland has it all.

 

Sahara or the Simpson Desert?

There’s no need to jet off to Africa to get some red sand between your toes. Just 40 kilometres west of Birdsville is the first sand dune in the Simpson Desert. Similar to Africa’s Sahara Desert, Queensland’s Simpson Desert also boasts a red-hot hue and windswept sand dunes.

Red dunes of the Simpson Desert. Red dunes of the Simpson Desert.

Fiji or The Whitsundays?

Just a short 1.5-hour flight or 12-hour drive from Brisbane and you’re smack bang in the middle of a white sandy beach paradise, no not Fiji, the Whitsundays! The perfect place for anyone wanting an island escape without the need for a passport.

 

Escape to island time in the Whitsundays, just 1.5 hour flight from Brisbane. Escape to island time in the Whitsundays, just 1.5 hour flight from Brisbane.

Dubai or Moreton Island?

Pack the car and escape to another one of Queensland’s islands on a 4WD adventure. Much like Dubai’s desert safari dune bashing, do a little of your own on Moreton Island or have a go at some thrilling sand dune surfing and tobogganing, great fun for all of the family.

The climb to the top is well worth the giant toboggan ride down. Image: Tourism and Events Queensland. The climb to the top is well worth the giant toboggan ride down. Image: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Townsville or Egypt?

Many of the best scuba diving sites around the world are centred around shipwrecks and one of the most well known is SS Thistlegorm which sank in the northern section of Egypt’s Red Sea. However, Queensland has plenty of its own including SS Yongala in Townsville and the picturesque Tangalooma Wrecks off Moreton Island. It doesn’t matter what your skill level is as both experienced and beginner snorkel and scuba divers can both experience these sites.

SS Yongala dive site in Townsville. Image: Tourism and Events Queensland. SS Yongala dive site in Townsville. Image: Tourism and Events Queensland.

New Zealand or Springbrook National Park?

While it could easily be mistaken for the famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand, the incredible Natural Bridge rock formation in Springbrook National Park is just that little bit closer. At night you can join a guided nocturnal tour through the ancient Gondwana rainforest to witness the colony of protected glow-worms and microbats. In summer there’s also luminous fungi and fireflies that bring this rainforest to life.

 Natural Bridge rock formation in Springbrook National Park. Image: Tourism and Events Queensland. Natural Bridge rock formation in Springbrook National Park. Image: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Mount Tamborine or Napa Valley?

The stunning rainforest that engulfs South East Queensland’s Tamborine Mountain is not the first place you would think of when it comes to delicious wine country. However, Mount Tamborine is home to some of the best boutique wineries and distilleries in the state. For tours check out The Vino Bus.

Witches Falls Winery, Mount Tamborine. Image: The Vino Bus. Witches Falls Winery, Mount Tamborine. Image: The Vino Bus.

Bundaberg or Los Cabos?

Forget about having to travel thousands of kilometres across the Pacific to witness sea turtle hatchlings in their natural habitat of Los Cabos, Mexico. Just 4.5 hours north of Brisbane, Bundaberg boasts baby sea turtles hatching and emerging from the sand which you can witness on a guided tour from the Mon Repos Turtle Centre from January to March. However to see the pregnant mother turtles making their way up the beach and nesting, head to Bundaberg from November to January.


Watch the turtle hatchlings scurry along. Image: Tourism and Events Queensland Rowan Bestmann. Watch the turtle hatchlings scurry along. Image: Tourism and Events Queensland Rowan Bestmann.

Sam Aldenton

Sam Aldenton is a Flight Centre travel writer, digital content creator (read: takes photos/videos with her iphone and sometimes a real camera) and former retail and youth trend forecaster. When she's not off discovering the world’s best pizza (an obsession picked up from her 4-years in New York), she makes her home in Brisbane, Australia. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @samaaldenton.