Queensland travel guides
Most of Mooloolaba's visitors stay in rental apartments, which range from high-end to no-frills. You can sleep in luxury penthouse pads with commanding ocean views, or modest studio apartments that are geared toward budget-conscious travellers. Given Mooloolaba's compact nature, nearly all rental apartments are within walking distance of this seaside enclave's main attractions.View full guide
Queensland travel guides
Whether you dream of spoiling yourself on a tropical island, you're looking for a secluded, comfy beach house for the family, or you're after a sea-view room for 2, Townsville has you covered. Those passing through on their way to Cairns and other destinations in Tropical Queensland will also find convenient motels on the highways around town.
Whether you’re planning a vacation as a couple, with the family, or with a group of friends, Hamilton Island affords an array of accommodation to suit your needs. There are premium, couples-only resorts, spacious hotel rooms, comfortable family apartments, or luxurious houses with their own pool and sweeping sea views.
Accommodation throughout the Noosa region covers the full spectrum, spanning from practical and affordable hostels, to luxury resorts with ocean views, and lots of mid-range options. Many are conveniently situated close to the Hastings Street strip, but there are also a good number away from the town area, offering a more remote vibe.
There's so much accommodation in and around Surfers Paradise that visitors can afford to be extremely picky. Those looking for large, modern hotels with plenty of amenities will find them in the city centre, while visitors on tighter budgets are well served by the motels in nearby suburbs such as Mermaid Beach. Inland, characterful bed-and-breakfasts and luxury lodges abound.
Sunny weather, white sandy beaches, and plenty of water sports draw visitors to Mooloolaba on Australia’s Sunshine Coast. A drive of about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Brisbane, this seaside vacation spot is packed with oceanfront eateries, boutique shopping, and family-themed activities. When the sun goes down, bars and clubs fill with night people out to have a good time.
With an almost perfect year-round climate, Mooloolaba constantly draws visitors. It is one of the most popular seaside spots on Australia's Sunshine Coast, and wonderful for a romantic getaway or water-sport-centreed family vacation. Mooloolaba's main beach is backed by a famous strip of high-rise vacation apartments. On ground level, there are a multitude of shopping, dining, and nightlife options along the esplanade.
Whether you want to lie back and do nothing, or an active vacation is your scene, Townsville has you covered. There are palm-lined beaches, a plethora of marine life just below the water’s surface, and native wildlife at your doorstep. If you feel like venturing further afield, Townsville is an ideal launching pad for trips to Magnetic Island, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Queensland outback.
Proud of its average 320 sunny days a year, Townsville sits with the outback in its backyard and the aquamarine Coral Sea on its doorstep. Home to a colourful mix of students, military personnel, and "old-timers," it mixes easy-going country town with modern city. More than merely a springboard to Magnetic Island, 8-kilometers offshore, it offers a world-class aquarium, many restaurants, swimming, and a palm-lined promenade.
Hamilton Island's pristine, palm-lined beaches invite you stretch out on the sand and let the sunny hours go by. Resorts with all the comforts, and restaurants with fine food and water views, tempt you to indulge yourself. But you'll be missing out if you don't take advantage of all the active experiences the island has to offer, from exploring the Whitsundays by helicopter, to paddling a kayak.
Gateway to the Whitsunday Archipelago, Hamilton Island sits like an emerald in the aquamarine Coral Sea. Although a tourist magnet since the 1970s, it’s only since wine magnate Robert Oatley purchased the island in 2003 that it’s become a sought-after destination for well-heeled celebrities and ordinary families alike. With a commitment to sustainability, and a consummate balance of amenities and unspoiled nature, Hamilton Island is a singular tropical island destination.
After lazing at the beach or exploring the glorious countryside, shopping in Noosa presents some enticing retail therapy. Hastings Street alone is a famous destination for boutique stores and fashion outlets, but there's also a range of other options within a short drive from town.
The most obvious draw for those holidaying in Noosa would be the prospect of sunbathing on sandy beaches and swimming in sparkling blue seas. However, there's plenty more ways to enjoy the relaxed coastal lifestyle of the region, and a wide variety of leisure activities that cater to those looking for a little holiday fun.
For those wishing to explore Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the Noosa region represents the ideal holiday destination. It's a balanced mix of white sandy beaches, preserved bushland and cosmopolitan indulgences, all blissfully free of high-rise towers. There is swimming to suit families and surfers alike, and the lush national parks and hinterland are within in easy reach.
Surfers Paradise is not a shopping destination in its own right (open-air activities are the area's primary drawcards), but there are still a few good options for those in need of retail therapy. Malls dominate the scene, ranging from large complexes that offer everyday services, to smaller venues specializing in fashion and food. There are some atmospheric outdoor locations, too.
This extroverted waterfront suburb in the heart of Queensland’s buzzing Gold Coast is known for its oversized attractions, from big-and-bold restaurants and sprawling nightclubs, to soaring hotel towers - as well as one of Australia’s largest, and most impressive beaches. But there are plenty of quieter activities in the vicinity too, including enlightening wildlife experiences, and charming markets.
Visitors to sun-soaked Surfers Paradise can sample everything that's great about Australia in one compact, easily navigable area. This vibrant suburb on the Gold Coast has relaxed hotels, fine dining with an Asian twist, and plenty of bronzed locals exuding famed Aussie charm. Nearby, you'll find wildlife sanctuaries, lush rain forests, and adrenaline-fuelled amusement parks. Then there are the beaches, with their golden sand and crisp, blue surf.
With plenty of “happy hours” - or pubs offering cut-price, pre-dinner drinks - to enjoy, Mooloolaba doesn't wait for the sun to go down to have fun. More mature visitors tend to favor imbibing at low-key cocktail bars and chic wine haunts found along The Esplanade and by the beach. Younger crowds are drawn to high-energy nightclubs and live-music venues that party into the night.
Townsville’s nocturnal scene is concentrated downtown around the restaurants and pubs on Flinders and Palmer Streets. There are earthy craft beers and smooth cocktails in historic pubs on offer, and live music and DJs keeping the energy flowing. If you’re feeling lucky, you can lay a bet at Jupiters Casino, and there are regular cultural and entertainment events at Riverway Arts Centre
With year-round warm weather, lots of outdoor spaces for kids to let off steam, and a child-friendly attitude, Townsville offers all you need for a vacation that’s relaxing for all the family. There are plenty of opportunities to get acquainted with the local wildlife, lots of free stuff to do, and you’ll find more than enough restaurants that welcome kids.
Located between the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest, Cairns makes the perfect starting point for families on voyages of discovery. When it's time to relax, there's a host of parks, playgrounds, and swimming spots where the kids can let off steam.
Think of Cairns, and you probably picture the tropical paradise of the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest, pristine beaches, and crystal clear seas. Delve below the surface though, and you’ll find a vibrant creative scene that offers theatre, music, visual art, and regular cultural festivals.
Nightlife is Noosa tends to be as relaxed and chilled as its coastal landscape. Several beaches host an outdoor bar on the sand, and many restaurants morph into cocktails bars once the last coffees are ordered. For those looking to kick on, a handful of nightclubs and live music venues can be found in and around Noosa Heads.
Brimming with beaches, rivers, and bushland, not to mention healthy Aussie attitude, Noosa is an ideal holiday spot for families who appreciate the great outdoors. There's a variety of tours than can be undertaken to enjoy these natural assets to the fullest, or just dump the kids on the sand for a relaxing day out.
A youthful energy dominates the nightlife scene in Surfers Paradise. There are countless clubs and pubs that cater to backpackers and recent college graduates, offering affordable drinks, loud music, and relaxed dress codes. Those in search of a calmer, dressier night out can try the bars at the area's luxury hotels. Families looking for evening fun have several cinemas and theatres to choose from.
For families vacationing in Surfers Paradise, the decision probably won’t be what to do, but where to begin. On top of unbeatable beaches, the Gold Coast is brimming with theme parks, zoos, and aquariums - a host of family activities packed into one very compact and easy-to-navigate area.
Residents of the Gold Coast are the first to admit that the area has not traditionally been an arts hub. But for visitors with a taste for culture, a fresh crop of venues is now providing alternatives to the sun and surf - as long as you know where to look. From contemporary performance to visual art, there's a bit of everything on offer.
The lack of an identifiable national cuisine is actually a blessing in disguise for those eating out in Australia, with a diverse range of global dishes offered in its place. This is certainly true for the restaurant culture in Noosa. There’s an eclectic selection of fine-dining restaurants available in town, to match the gorgeous nature of the beachside scenery.
A centre for commercial fishing with an all-weather harbor, it's no surprise that fresh seafood abounds in Mooloolaba. Visitors often bring fishing rods to reel in their own meals, but the culinary scene has expanded beyond the sea. Restaurants offering cuisine from all over the world can be found in this seaside enclave, from Asian-fusion dishes at beachfront bistros to Portuguese-inspired fare at upscale eateries.
A bounty of fresh, regional ingredients from land and sea, along with locals and visitors who appreciate great eating, have led to the growth of a vibrant food scene in Townsville. The city offers an array of dining experiences to suit almost every palate and wallet. Add some stunning Coral Sea views and you have the recipe for memorable meals.
Hamilton Island offers an array of dining options, with enough variety for you to dine somewhere different every night. The emphasis is on fresh ingredients, with chefs making use of local, sustainable produce wherever possible. It's all here: memorable gourmet dining experiences, relaxed family meals, and quick, delicious takeaways. All of Hamilton Island’s dining options have one thing in common: a breathtaking Whitsunday Islands’ backdrop.
Surfers Paradise attracts an eclectic mix of holidaymakers, and the culinary scene reflects this diversity. It’s easy to spend substantial sums at flashy restaurants, but there are also plenty of characterful places that offer quick bites at reasonable prices. Seafood dominates menus, and for good reason: the local catch is amongst the most impressive in the country. Australia’s culinary love affair with Asia is also well represented.
They don’t call this the “Sunshine Coast” for nothing. With a mild winter and spring, and sun-baked summer days, Mooloolaba has an unbeatable all-year climate. Its main beach is popular for water sports such as surfing and snorkeling, as well as safe swimming. While many restaurants serve seafood caught in local waters, international cuisine has a strong presence. Nightlife is also a top draw.
Townsville is a vibrant, tropical city which sits between the wilderness of the outback and beauty of the North Queensland coast. The population is a colourful mix of students, army personnel, and "old-timers," giving it a laid-back, cosmopolitan atmosphere. As well as offering great beaches, eclectic restaurants, and wildlife encounters, it's also an ideal springboard for expeditions to the outback, Magnetic Island, and the Great Barrier Reef.
Hamilton Island offers fine sand, clear aquamarine waters, and lush green foliage - just like most of the 74 Whitsunday Archipelago’s islands. Hamilton, however, is the only one with a wide choice of hotels and restaurants, and a sophisticated yet laid-back vibe. It’s easily reached by plane and boat, and is a perfect casting-off point for the Great Barrier Reef.
Port Douglas in Far North Queensland is the ideal launch pad for exploring the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree National Park. The city houses numerous upscale resorts that attract well-heeled visitors, in addition to more accessible accommodation that welcomes budget-minded travellers. The aquamarine Coral Sea waters and the golden sands of palm-fringed Four Mile Beach make this an idyllic vacation destination.
The town of Noosa Heads in Queensland, often shortened to simply “Noosa” and the hub of the Noosa region, offers the perfect way to enjoy the Australian lifestyle. You’ll find a delightful balance of pristine beaches and lush bushland, plus a thriving restaurant and shopping scene. Noosa's moderate climate is one of its biggest draws - sitting between 19 and 25 degrees C (66 to 77 F) all year.
From a sugarcane plantation in the late 1800s, to one of Australia's most visited destinations, Surfers Paradise encapsulates the sea-and-sand lifestyle that is so integral to Australian culture. Its iconic skyscrapers - many of them hotels - tower over a wide beach perpetually lapped by rolling Pacific surf and dappled in the southern sun. A plethora of theme parks and activities make for a fun and varied vacation.
The Gold Coast has a hugely varied nightlife, offering just about any evening’s entertainment you could dream up. From laid-back surfer’s bars and jazzy cocktail joints to neon-drenched nightclubs and hip indie cinemas, this buzzing beachfront city has it all.
The Gold Coast is an ideal city for a fun-filled, stress-free family holiday. The city is laid-back, and - while it does offer an electrifying nightlife - has a safe and kid-friendly atmosphere. You’ll find theme parks, educational adventures, and of course, plenty of soft sweeping beachfront.
While the Gold Coast is known as a paradise for adrenaline-seeking surfers, this sun-soaked city has a lot to offer for culture-lovers too. With a vibrant performing arts scene, a strong selection of fascinating museums, and no shortage of breathtaking landmarks - from grand traditional churches to flashy modern architecture - the Gold Coast is full of intrigue.
While it might not have quite as grand a reputation as other major Australian cities when it comes to fashion, Brisbane is quietly, and stylishly, ushering in a new era of high-end labels and trendy designers. Whether you’re after a must-have, bank-balance busting designer dress in the boutiques of Edward Street, or happier hunting through the work of up-and-coming fashionistas in Fortitude Valley, you’ll never be short of threads to try on in Brisbane.
Brisbane's hot on the heels of Australia’s other major cities when it comes to the art of eating well. It’s already got a head start, thanks to its climate, meaning eating outside with river views give the dining out experience in Brisbane serious bonus points for ambience. From modern Australian to Asian, Mediterranean and other global flavors, you’ll find plenty to suit any palate, or budget, as you go on a culinary journey of discovery.
A Brisbane city guide – a laid-back city offering heat, high-end shopping, and a home-from-home experience
Brisbane's something of a conundrum, managing to offer the sleek, fashionable, and culturally cutting-edge while still feeling like a laid-back sub-tropical paradise. As well as enjoying the benefits of its sunny climate and the active, water-going life which surrounds Brisbane River, you’ll also be in for plenty of fine dining, live-music sampling and boutique shopping. From catching the rays in its wide open spaces, to flexing your plastic in the mall, Brisbane’s got it all.
Being a city spread along a 70 kilometre coastline, finding somewhere attractive to stay in the Gold Coast is hardly a challenge. Picking your perfect location simply depends on your requirements. Everything from bustling family hotels to luxury boutiques dominate the Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach regions; however, if you’re searching for something more affordable and relaxed, it’s better to head towards Main Beach, Miami, Burleigh, Kirra and Coolangatta.
It’s pretty hard to deny that one of the most exciting experiences when traveling is seeing how many purchases you can cram into your suitcase on your return. Filled with sprawling shopping centres, tiny exclusive boutiques and jostling market wares, the Gold Coast won’t disappoint as a destination for shopping.
Gold Coast locals love spending time outside, so it’s no surprise that the beachside city is jam-packed with cafes, restaurants and various interesting eateries. Boasting exciting cuisines from Asian to Mexican, Italian to Modern Australian, the food is as multicultural as the city itself. You are highly unlikely to leave the Gold Coast feeling disappointed or hungry!
The Gold Coast is an action-packed city, perfectly suited for families and adventure seekers. There’s world-famous beaches, thrilling theme parks, the lesser-known hinterland and, of course, iconic attractions such as the Q1 building and Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk. Combined together, these elements provide a memorable holiday on the east coast of Australia.
Being Australia’s sixth largest city and blessed with a year round sub-tropical climate, the Gold Coast has everything to offer visitors. Be it a family holiday, romantic getaway or special event, the Gold Coast spoils you with its warmth and passion for relaxation. Lively entertainment can also be found here too, with world-class theme parks, adrenalin-fueled water sports and indulgent shopping offered in abundance.
As the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns grows more popular with each year that passes. Millions of visitors from all walks of life base themselves in the tropical city and visit the reef and surrounding rain forests. As so, Cairns has developed into a fantastic place to stay with an abundance of hotels, hostels and B&Bs to suit any budget.
Cairns is popular for being a shopping hot-spot in northern Queensland. Many locals make the trip into the CBD from miles around to indulge in some of the best shopping around. Its ancient indigenous past is showcased in many shops around town, where visitors can pick up a number of great souvenirs. There are also some great modern shops where you will be able to peruse some of the world’s great names in fashion.
Australians are known around the world for their love and expertise when it comes to lighting up the barbie and throwing a few snags on; here in Cairns it’s no different. Whether you are looking for first class dining or simple pie and chips, Cairns has something to suit every taste. Its perfect location, being right next to the blue ocean, provides visitors with an unprecedented selection of fresh sea food; some say the best sea food in all of Queensland.
Australia is known across the globe for having a huge variety of activities and sights to suit every taste; and here in Cairns it’s no different. What is different however, is the landscape. While 95% of Australia is desert or savannah Tropical North Queensland is green and verdant. This stunning natural location nestled between the blue ocean and lush greens of the rain forest means it’s a haven for those looking for beach and walking holidays.
Travel far enough north up Australia’s Sunshine State of Queensland and you will eventually reach the picturesque town of Cairns. Known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns has developed into a hub of activity, popular with all types of travelers. An eclectic mix of tropical waters and lush mountain ranges provide the perfect place to spend a few days.
Port Douglas sits on the coast in the north of Queensland, between Cairns and Cape Tribulation, and is known for its long beach and sophisticated feel. It is a popular launch point to the Daintree rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef and also has a ton of excellent hotels, restaurants and shops.
Port Douglas is friendly and laid-back and fully used to tourists at all times of year. It is a safe town as far as towns go, yet there are dangers and annoyances to be aware of, such as box jellyfish and crocodiles in the sea and waterways. The climate also has a rainy season so it is worth spending time planning a trip.
The main activities in Port Douglas involve both land and water in the form of rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef. They are both within shouting distance of Port Douglas, with the Daintree Rainforest just inland and fringe reefs extending from the shoreline.
Port Douglas is mainly used as a base for visiting the nearby Daintree National Park and the Great Barrier Reef. The main allure is its Four Mile Beach which is right by the town and easy to walk to.
Port Douglas has dozens of restaurants and cafés that offer the freshest seafood and dishes from across Australia, Europe and Asia. For such a small town, most people are taken aback by not only the amount of eateries here, but the high quality.
The best shopping in Port Douglas is for arts and crafts as there is a weekly market where good deals can be had. Wood carvings and aboriginal crafts are good buys, along with local paintings, jewelry, and handmade clothes.
The Gold Coast is loaded with shopping malls, duty-free stores and boutiques - in particular at Surfers Paradise – and is the best place in Queensland for high-end goods. Souvenirs, designer labels, and sports goods are widely available here, while handicrafts and souvenirs can also be had at regional weekend markets.
Sandwiched between Brisbane and the New South Wales border in southeastern Queensland, the Gold Coast conurbation is a hugely popular beach-based tourist destination. It is essentially a collection of cities, towns and villages along the coast fronted by excellent surfing beaches and pockmarked by waterways.
The Gold Coast has it all; beaches, countryside, sun, malls, museums and bustle, and everyone is catered for. The beaches are of course the main attraction and they go from the tourist-surf-heavy Surfers Paradise in the heart of the action, down two more measured shores toward the south and on nearby islands.
The Gold Coast is all about the beach and there are miles of sand here where swimming and surfing can be enjoyed almost year round. Surfers Paradise is the main beach and the most built up town on the Gold Coast. Consequently it also has the bulk of the attractions, including noteworthy museums and galleries, as well as the best shopping.
There is more eating choice in the Gold Coast than anywhere else in Australia. Unless you plan on heading to one of the top spots, where you will need to book, you can just head out in any of the beaches or towns and check out any number of quality places.
The sun is particularly fierce in this part of the world and using a high-factor, brand name sun block, plus a hat and sunglasses, is a must when on the beach. Despite being a huge conurbation of towns, villages and suburbs, getting about by public transport is not a problem.
There are extensive entertainment options and things to do in Brisbane, with an array of interactive museums and galleries to check out and a busy schedule of festivals and events throughout the year. The city is also home to many square miles of public parks, both in the CBD and at South Bank.
When lined up against Sydney or Melbourne, Brisbane doesn't fair so well statistically on the shopping front. There is lots of variety, however, from fun arts and crafts markets to the highest quality designer stores.
Brisbane is one of the most laid-back big cities in the country, with warm and friendly people and a casual and sophisticated atmosphere. The weather is agreeable for the most part, and getting about is straightforward although you should try and stay within reach of the CBD as the city is huge.
Cairns is one of the centers of Australian tourism and as a result people come here from all over the world to work, study and play. This means a cosmopolitan dining scene that can hold its own with the eating on offer in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Brisbane is a fascinating collection of suburbs and districts in one of the most sun drenched areas of Australia. It is a warm, friendly city with spotlessly clean streets and impressive buildings and features a large, meandering river through the middle.
Cairns is the sweltering gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Australia's second-largest tourist attraction (after Uluru) and the largest living thing in the world. Most people who visit here do so fleetingly, in order to take boat trips to the Reef. This is a shame since Cairns itself is a thriving tourist center that marks the entrance to the far north tropics of Australia.
Cairns is very much a night time city since the soaring temperatures and soggy humidity during the day prohibit any kind of vigorous activity during the day time. Of an evening, the international crowd flocks to bars and restaurants that pulsate with travelers from all backgrounds, and the variety of nightlife and atmosphere here is truly electric.
The main thing to bear in mind when approaching a stay in Cairns is the heat and humidity. This is a very steamy part of the world and the most frequent cause of discomfort and distress is unfamiliarity or lack of preparation for extreme temperatures. Also, be sure to avoid swimming in the waters directly off Cairns as crocodiles swim in the wild here. Tourist traps are another concern, and most visitors should try to book well in advance for all trips to the Great Barrier Reef.
Brisbane is one of Australia's most historically important cities and is loaded to the hilt with impressive buildings in the center. It also has an array of world class museums and galleries that hold much of the country's cultural wealth and history. The galleries in South Bank in particular are nicely laid out and appeal to a broad audience.
Brisbane used to be a bit of a bore on the dining front although it has really come along of late. There are now many award-winning restaurants in the city and its stylish suburbs, with everything from good Aussie tucker (wholesome Australian food) to excellent European and Asian eats.
Sophisticated and multi-cultural Cairns is a shopper's heaven with a great mix of shopping malls and department stores as well as souvenir and trinket stores which are a dime a dozen by the main port and The Esplanade. Good buys include crocodile skin leather goods and pearls.
Dive into a mesmerising underwater world with this guide to the top 10 diving destinations in the world. You’ll find a hotel that suits whether you want to cage dive with sharks or explore hulking shipwrecks.
The Gold Coast - set on Australia’s east coast in the vast state of Queensland - is a laid-back, sun-specked city. It boasts swathes of powdery beachfront, perfect for lazy days of catching rays, or swimming in the warm aquamarine ocean. The city is has theme parks for the kids, and a buzzing nightlife of fine-dining restaurants and lively bars for the adults. The Gold Coast is also crowned by a deep, lush rainforest where you'll find shimmering waterfalls and rare wildlife.