Days Like This in Queensland: An Unmissable Itinerary

From island hopping and rainforest wandering, to snorkelling the world’s largest reef and unforgettable wildlife encounters, Queensland, Australia is calling.

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Thinking it’s time to make that trip Down Under?

Queensland, on the northeast coast, offers a quintessential slice of Australia, with dreamy beaches, native wildlife, paradise islands and glittering coastal cities. This is a place of natural wonders, where you’ll connect with the truly wild and leave changed by the people and boundless adventures.

To ensure you’ve ticked off the must-see essentials, we’ve curated an outrageously jam-packed itinerary to follow, from places you’ve heard of to tips off the beaten track, including shipwrecks and freshwater lakes on K’gari (Fraser Island), snorkelling the aquamarine waters of Lady Elliott Island, Traditional Owner-guided Daintree walks and learning about Indigenous culture in Tropical North Queensland.  

Here’s how to make the most of your Queensland adventure on a journey filled with bucket list experiences that will last a lifetime.   

Want to plan your very own adventure to the Queensland, Australia? Take a look at our TripPlanner to start building your custom itinerary now. Or, follow this exact journey with our Curated Trip, then make it your own. 

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Day 1: Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise

On arrival at Gold Coast International Airport, a private chauffeur will be waiting to whisk you off to your accommodation – the retro-glam QT Gold Coast. It’s the stuff of holiday dreams: a designer oasis with sophisticated restaurants, a serene day spa and Miami-inspired pool area, complete with luxe QT cabanas, palm trees and refreshing cocktails to keep you cool. 

What better way to begin your stay than some serious rest and relaxation with a therapeutic punch at spaQ. Feel like ‘Pure Gold’ with a foot bath ritual and Femme Fatale Facial with brightening properties to leave you feeling golden. After your afternoon of pampering, take a second to admire the panoramic views of the sun-kissed coast from your room, before preparing to peruse the city. Just an eight-minute walk from the hotel, the silky sands of Surfers Paradise beckon; a place where sun, sand and sea blend across a seemingly endless strip of beach. Soak up the sun from Hyde Paradiso, a European summer-themed oasis above the crowds - we recommend sampling the lychee martini or whiskey smash with basil and lemon to wash down the steamed clams and spice-glazed chicken.

You’re sure to be kept busy until bedtime with dinner at retro, Miami-inspired The Island, the Gold Coast’s largest open air rooftop bar and a respite among the lively buzz of Cavill Avenue. Perfect for an aperitif, this Main Beach-facing hideaway is the perfect place to wind down (or up).

Of course, if you’re keen to venture beyond your perimeter, catch a show at The Pink Flamingo, the world’s first Spiegel club. Then, be transported to Tokyo on the Gold Coast from the talked-about Kiyomi, before ascending above it all to Nineteen at The Star to sip, shake and stir your way through their extensive cocktail menu.

Day 2: Gold Coast

Your second day on the Gold Coast requires a jumpstart breakfast – tuck into organic fare at FIXX Cafe at QT Gold Coast and reenergise with a caffeinated brew before hitting the shores. Borrow a complimentary retro bike and head to Broadbeach where you can channel your inner Kelly Slater or Layne Beachley as you learn to conquer the Gold Coast’s world-famous surf with a two-hour introductory surf lesson.

Once you’ve mastered the waves, head to Orzo (a one-minute bike ride), where you will have your pick of freshly made pasta, crafted in-house daily using premium ’00’ flour, imported all the way from Italy itself. If you’ve worked up enough of an appetite surfing, order the linguine – a seafood lovers dream of succulent prawns mixed in garlic and chilli.

After a filling lunch, cycle just six minutes to Soak on Mermaid Beach to soak in the relaxation. Give yourself a break and press your reset button in the revitalising infrared sauna or zone out with a 90-minute bathing session. If you’re feeling particularly lavish, book the Sip & Soak package for serious relaxation across hot and cold pools with a non-alcoholic drink and inviting robe to stay warm between dips.

If you happen to get a second-win after your visit to Soak, ride 30 minutes to Jellurgal Aboriginal Culture Centre to learn about the Traditional Owners through the boardwalk display, or find serenity with SUP yoga at Pure Aloha Yoga.

When evening calls, it’s time to dine at The Tropic. At the northern end of Burleigh Pavilion, this Burleigh Heads eatery (a three-minute ride) invites you to slide into a terrazzo-topped table and sample sharp Mediterranean-style cooking, fresh seafood and stellar cocktails. For dinner, you might order the Kingfish tartare on ice or ocean fresh king prawns coated in garlic and herb butter.

End the decadent evening with a casual 30-minute bike ride back to QT.

Day 3: Brisbane

Wave goodbye to the gilded shores of the Gold Coast and board a train for a one-hour ride to the beaming city of Brisbane. The exceptionally elegant Ovolo The Valley will be your base, situated in a prime central location at the foot of the city’s entertainment district.

Brisbane is gifted with a conveniently walkable cityscape – a stroll along the iconic Queen Street Mall will take you across a sprawling quarter of retail stores, while a walk through the lush Botanic Gardens offers themed exhibitions and scenic attractions at each turn. Find yourself wandering along the serene Brisbane River, catching wafts of diverse cuisines and settle in for lunch on the promenade before visiting the State Library, Gallery of Modern Art or Queensland Museum.

Head back across the river towards historic Edward Street in the CBD where you will find Red Queen Gin Bar & Gin School, housed in a fabulous heritage building. Take part in the Master Distillers Experience and master the art of gin before distilling your very own bottle to take home – the perfect souvenir of your time in Brisbane.

If you’re keen to get beyond the city outskirts, secure your spot on the River to Bay tour. In under an hour (each way via ferry), you can be whisked from Brisbane to Moreton Island on an underwater adventure to discover the hidden underwater paradise and snorkel the Tangalooma Wrecks.

When dinnertime rolls around, be spoilt for choice at the Howard Smith Wharves, a vibrant dining precinct that plays host to some of the city’s best artisan breweries, lively bars and sumptuous cuisines. Indulge in a hearty Italian meal overlooking the water at Ciao Papi and take a romantic walk along the wharf with a scoop of gelato from Goodtimes Gelateria as you make your way back to the hotel.

Day 4: K’gari (Fraser Island)

It’s time to leave cosmopolitan Queensland and greet the great outdoors. Start your morning with an immersive breakfast experience at coffee roastery Industry Beans, before heading to Brisbane Airport for your 50-minute flight to Hervey Bay. On arrival, staff from Kingfisher Bay Resort will be waiting to whisk you off to the tropical oasis of K’gari.  

Settle into the idyllic surrounds from your resort and prepare to delve into this remarkable World Heritage-listed Island— the only place on the planet where you can see lush rainforest growing straight from the beachy sands. Hire a four-wheel drive from the resort and go off-road to discover the island’s rugged natural beauty.

After a restful sleep, drive to the dazzling blue rainwaters of Lake McKenzie (Boorangoora), visit the forest-fringed Lake Wabby and explore the dewy rainforest in Central Station. When the sun starts to dip, return to Kingfisher Bay Resort and dine at your choice of the three onsite restaurants.

Day 5: K'gari (Fraser Island)

Wake up to the sounds of swaying trees in paradise and breathe in the fresh morning air from your private deck with a tea or coffee in hand. After a hearty breakfast at the resort’s Sand & Wood restaurant, jump back in the hire car and head towards the secluded 75 Mile Beach.  

Look out for local dingos while driving along the iconic stretch of white beach, head north to the crystal-clear waters of Eli Creek and stop at the mesmerising Maheno Shipwreck, a WWI wreck that sits atop the powdery sand. After a mammoth few days of travel, head back to your resort for a well-deserved pamper session at the onsite Island Day Spa.

Day 6: Lady Elliot Island

After two days in blissful K’gari, it’s time to head back to Hervey Bay and prepare yourself for a true bucket-list experience – a day on the remote Lady Elliot Island, an idyllic coral cay at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy a breathtaking scenic flight from Hervey Bay before landing at Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, where you can explore at your leisure.  

Spend the day snorkelling from a glass-bottomed boat and come face-to-face with a variety of coral, brilliantly vivid fish and the island’s resident manta rays. Enjoy a buffet lunch at the resort’s restaurant before whiling the afternoon away on the pillowy sands. Head back to Hervey Bay where you will spend the night at the beachfront Oaks Resort & Spa. Enjoy a relaxed dinner at the onsite Bayswater Bistro, which offers exceptional views over Urangan Pier, or explore one of the many eateries along the vibrant Charlton Esplanade.

Day 7: Whitsundays

After a lovely evening in Hervey Bay, it’s time to venture out and explore more of Queensland’s coast. Board your flight to Proserpine and take a private transfer to Airlie Beach, the gateway to the idyllic Whitsunday Islands. Check into your hotel, the nautical-themed Freedom Shores, and sip on a welcome drink by the pool before sinking your toes into the resort’s private beach.

After a sun-soaked day on the beach, make the most of the coastal locale with a seafood spread at Northerlies Beach Bar and Grill, a hut-style restaurant nestled among swaying palms with views of the shimmering Coral Sea. Choose from a selection of local wines or a creative cocktail while sampling freshly caught Whitsunday prawns, oysters and Moreton Bay bugs.

Day 8: Whitsundays

Fuel up with a continental breakfast at Freedom Shores before embarking on a Catamaran Sailing Adventure. This unique island tour will take you to some of the most beautiful corners of the Whitsundays, including the iconic Whitehaven Beach, Bali Hai, Cockatoo Point and Langford Sandbar. Enjoy snorkelling, bushwalking and banana boat rides on the sparkling water or relish the spectacular scenery from the comfortable catamaran deck.

Tonight, take a complimentary return shuttle into Airlie Beach town for a signature meal at KC’s Bar & Grill, a must-visit Whitsundays institution with a buzzing atmosphere and excellent pub grub. Taste a selection of chargrilled crocodile, kangaroo, emu and buffalo — the perfect way to replenish after a day of adventure.

Day 9: Whitsundays

Create lasting memories with a stop at Fat Frog Beach Cafe to enjoy a homemade brunch with uninterrupted sea views. If you haven’t already, this is the perfect opportunity to try a classic Australian breakfast – smashed avo on toast.  

After your morning meal, it’s time to see the Whitsundays from above with an hour-long Reef & Island Scenic Flight. Admire the natural beauty of iconic locations like Heart Reef, Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet, where you snorkelled yesterday, as you enjoy panoramic vistas of azure seas and white sand beaches.  

Spend your last dinner in Airlie Beach indulging in more ocean-fresh seafood from Fish D’vine & Rum Bar – from oysters, to sizzling prawn cutlets, Moreton Bay bugs and hearty seafood chowder, there are plenty of sumptuous dishes on the menu to remember the Whitsundays by.

Day 10: Townsville & Magnetic Island

Today you are leaving the beautiful Whitsundays and making the journey north to Townsville, approximately a seven-hour journey by car, bus or train.

Townsville has a wealth of culture and scenery to offer, including the engaging Museum of Underwater Art, award-winning Museum of Tropical Queensland, an impressive collection of street art and a number of gorgeous palm-tree lined streets. Grab a bite to eat at one of the many waterfront cafes on The Strand before boarding your ferry across to Magnetic Island (Yunbenun). 

Check into the waterfront Peppers Blue on Blue for your two-night stay and spend the afternoon relaxing by the lagoon pool with a tasty tipple. At dinner time, head to the onsite Boardwalk Restaurant & Bar to enjoy mouth-watering cuisine and local wine as the water ripples bellow. 

Day 11: Magnetic Island

Rise with the sun and enjoy breakfast at the hotel before visiting the onsite Aquascene tour desk to organise an adventure around the crystal-clear waters of Magnetic Island. For advanced scuba divers, the sunken SS Yongala awaits – this impressive 110-metre ship has been sitting 15 metres below the surface of the ocean for over 100 years. Now, thousands of tropical fish, turtles, manta rays and humpback whales circle the wreck and its surrounds — making the must-see SS Yongala a bucket list experience.

Magnetic Island also offers some incredible snorkelling opportunities – including directly off the pristine white sand at Arthur Beach. If you prefer to stay dry, Pilgrim Sailing, also located onsite at Peppers Blue on Blue, has a selection of premium sailing adventures that allow you to soak in the views of the coastline, while enjoying locally sourced food and wine. also located onsite at Peppers Blue on Blue, has a selection of premium sailing adventures that allow you to soak in the views of the coastline, while enjoying locally sourced food and wine.

In the afternoon, pamper yourself with a wellness treatment at the resort’s day spa instead. In the evening, enjoy a cocktail by the lagoon pool before heading to the nearby Saltwater Restaurant, where you can eat your way through the seafood-laden menu, with dishes like handmade wontons, prawn poppers and salmon tartare. 

Day 12: Spirit of Queensland: Townsville to Cairns 

Bid adieu to the magical Magnetic Island and board the Spirit of Queensland to Cairns. Spend this 6.5-hour rail journey marvelling at the spectacular scenery, dining on local produce or enjoying the in-seat on-demand entertainment as you head deeper into Tropical North Queensland (TNQ). 

Check into Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, a seaside haven where you can embrace tropical views in a luxury setting. Relax in the comfort of your modern room, soak up some sunshine at the rooftop pool or try your luck in the onsite casino. For dinner tonight, head to the Chef’s Hatted Tamarind Restaurant where you can indulge in a delectable menu of fusion Australian cuisine.  

Day 13: Great Barrier Reef Adventure

Today it’s time to get to know one of the world’s greatest wonders – embark on a full-day catamaran tour of the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef and marvel at the majesty of Australia’s marine life. The first stop on your tour is Green Island, a 6000-year-old rainforest-covered island known for its colourful coral gardens, abundant marine life and breathtaking bushwalks.  

After a leisurely two hours here, continue to the Outer Great Barrier Reef where a bucket-list experience awaits. Snorkel or dive into the crystal-clear waters, spotting tropical fish, brightly coloured coral and marine creatures big and small. Enjoy a tropical buffet lunch onboard the catamaran and learn about the reef ecosystem from a marine biologist at the underwater observatory.  

Head back to Pullman Reef Hotel Casino and enjoy a relaxed dinner at the hotel’s Flinders Bar and Grill before turning in for a restful night’s sleep…another action-packed day is on the horizon!

Day 14: Exploring Daintree Rainforest

After two weeks of sun and sand, it’s time to visit Queensland’s sheltered rainforest. Explore the Wet Tropics of Queensland, the only place in the world where two World Heritage sites meet – the rainforest.

Walkabout Cultural Adventures offers immersive tours of this unique region with local Aboriginal guides who will share their cultural connection to the land. Walk through the ancient Daintree Rainforest, learn the history of the region, taste bush tucker and hear Dreamtime Stories about the country, sea and sky, as you look for cassowaries and saltwater crocodiles. 

Once your tour is over, spend a few hours exploring the boutique shops, cafes, bars and restaurants of Port Douglas. After dark, treat yourself to a unique dining experience at Flames of the Forest, set within a candle-lit rainforest and offering a tropical-inspired menu.

Day 15: Cairns

On your last full day in sunny Queensland, enjoy a visit to the award-winning Rainforestation Nature Park in Kuranda. After stopping for one of the state’s finest coffees at Blackbird Espresso, make your way to the park to spot Australian animals and learn more about Indigenous culture and history. Hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies, meet dingos and Tasmanian devils and spot colourful cassowaries from afar. It’s an action-packed morning as you experience the flourishing ecosystem of Tropic North Queensland. 

While you’re in Kuranda, don’t miss an opportunity to absorb the sights, sounds and smells of the rainforest as you glide high above the jungle canopy on the iconic Skyrail. After soaring over the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, take the scenic route back to Cairns via the Kuranda Scenic Railway. From the comfort of a fully refurbished vintage carriage, you’ll weave through lush green forest, past spectacular waterfalls and into the stunning Barron Gorge before arriving at Cairns Station. 

For your last balmy night, head down the red brick laneway that leads to the quirky Three Wolves bar. Sip your way through the incredible list of whiskeys, spirits, wines and beers, as you nibble on a charcuterie board. After drinks, head over to Prawn Star – one of Cairns’ best dining spots. Watch the sun set over the Coral Sea from the fishing boat restaurant, as you eat and drink your way through the seasonal menu at this iconic venue. 

Day 15: Fly home

After enjoying your last a la carte breakfast, make the most of your leisurely 12pm checkout and book a signature treatment at the hotel’s rooftop spa. Then it’s time to pack your bags and head to Cairns Airport to board your flight home. Until the sunny shores of tropical Queensland come calling again!