There are so many reasons to put a Queensland holiday at the top of your list. This expansive Australian state is packed with natural beauty spots, including rainforests, gorges, sandy beaches and picturesque islands dotting the coastline. From high-octane adventure sports to sophisticated urban delights, there's so much to see and do. And there's also the fantastic Queensland weather: the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast certainly live up to their monikers.
Things to do
The best Queensland attractions are the natural wonders. North of Cairns it's well worth the trip up to the spectacular Daintree National Park, with its rainforests, waterfalls and stunning Mossman Gorge. You might want to venture off the coast to see the picturesque Whitsunday Islands dotted in the Great Barrier Reef, or simply flop on Peregian Beach on the aptly named Sunshine Coast.
Food & restaurants
You're in for a treat with Queensland restaurants, especially in the foodie hub of Brisbane. Try The Lark in the Paddington neighbourhood for well-executed tapas, sharing plates and cocktails, and pick up the perfect Italian-Australian coffee at Cibo Espresso in New Farm. Barnacle Bill's Seafood Inn on the Esplanade in Cairns is a local favourite for its tasty seafood dishes.
Queensland hotels offer great-quality lodgings. For chic design in Brisbane there's the Spicers Balfour Hotel in hip New Farm. If you're lucky enough to be staying on one of the islands in the Great Barrier Reef, Hayman Island offers a super-stylish retreat with killer views. On the Sunshine Coast, there's plenty of European flair at Spicers Clovelly Estate, and cheap and cheerful modern hostel accommodation at Mooloolaba Backpackers.
The best place for a shopping spree in Queensland is Brisbane. There's TCB on Brunswick for casual current fashion trends and streetwear, and the Blonde Venus boutique for fashion-forward apparel. Try Tribal Galleries if you're after your own didgeridoo and the cool Valley Markets for one-off secondhand finds. Cairns Central Shopping Centre is a large mall affair with plenty of high street shopping to offer.
There's a large Southeast Asian community in Brisbane, but locals know that central Chinatown doesn't offer the best of Asian cuisines. Head instead to the food courts in the Sunnybank Plaza shopping centre in the suburb of Sunnybank, where everything from Japanese to Malay cuisine is available from low-key and reasonably priced eateries.