Words by Carlie Tucker
Queensland calls to travellers near and far with a staggeringly diverse array of things to see and do, many of which have gained iconic status the world over. And while the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest are well worth a visit, you should definitely make some times for trails less travelled in the Sunshine State. Here are a few hidden gems you should check out on your next visit.
Great Keppel Island
Plenty of holiday makers flock to the islands on the reef for a chance to unwind with the spoils of one of Queensland's most famous assets at their fingertips, but what if you want to relax sans the typical tourist crowds? Great Keppel Island has you covered.
The largest of a 14-island chain, this lesser known getaway is part of the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Warm summers and mild winters are par for the course, allowing you the perfect weather trek the lush interiors on a walking trail, or pull up a towel any on one of 17 soft white sand beaches. Swim, snorkel, dive, kayak or glass bottom boat your way around the reef.
Most travellers look to the Gold Coast when they set their sights to travel through south east Queensland, but it's worth looking a little further inland for an inspired holiday away from the beach. Mount Tamborine is all about a hinterland holiday surrounded by lush forests, mountain trails and hidden waterfalls.
Get back to nature on one of the 12 walking tracks (suitable for most fitness levels) showcasing native flora and fauna, or check test the light adventure waters with a stop at the Rainforest Skywalk, glow worm caves or Treetop Challenge. Come the end of the day, you can cozy up around the fireplace of your luxury wilderness accommodation. From glamping to private cabins, there's a swathe of 5-star stays to choose from.
Need more Queensland inspiration?
Boodjamulla National Park
Queensland may have a reputation for fabulous coast lines and beautiful rainforests, but that doesn't mean outback adventurers have to miss out. Formally known as Lawn Hill Gorge, Boodjamulla National Park is an outback oasis that rewards tenacious travellers with a sandstone ranges featuring deep gorges and stunningly clear emerald waters.
Hiking and walking tracks reveal this ruggedly beautiful landscape as well as local wildlife drawn to the cooling waters. Enjoy the views from above or set out in a canoe on the water's surface for a completely different perspective. Campsites are available throughout the park. Get back to nature or set up your own glamping experience. No matter how you stay, the stunning stargazing opportunities are sure to make any sacrifice worth it.
Tropical North Queensland is all about sugary beaches and stunning coastlines, but once again, it pays to look to the hinterlands. Just north of Cairns, the Atherton Tablelands are a treasure trove of fun for those looking for something a little different. Home to a delightfully diverse list of things to see and do, a visit warrants much more than a day. Local markets, Crystal Caves and historic villages are just the tip of the iceberg here. Go bird watching at Hasties Swamp, Check out the Hou Wang Temple or try your skills at mountain biking at the Atherton Mountain Bike Park.
The Granite Belt
This best-kept Queensland secret has drawn foodies-in-the-know for years thanks to a diverse range of gourmet-inspired activities. Whether you favour top drops or top tastes, you can arrange an entire holiday around it in this top Queensland destination.
A good starting point is Stanthorpe, where you have your pick of charming cottage and homestead stays. It also happens to be home to the Sutton's Farm, where travellers can pick their own apples from the 10,000 apple trees spread over 30 acres. Or head straight to The Shed for some homemade apple pie. Cooking classes, wine tours and first-class restaurants are also available to provide you with a firsthand taste of this bountiful region.