The second largest state in Australia, Queensland covers the continent’s northeast, with a coastline stretching nearly 4,400 miles. The capital, Brisbane, is a thriving metropolitan city flanked by the surfing beaches of the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. Here, you’ll find everything from 5* restaurants, to contemporary museums, to beautifully preserved 19th century architecture. Over 1,600 miles north lies the city of Cairns, known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and tropical Daintree Rainforest. Over the years, Cairns has become a major tourist destination, with tons of water-based activities such as snorkeling, diving and sailing, to name a few.
The crown jewel of Queensland is the Great Barrier Reef. One of the seven natural wonders of the world, this reef is technically considered the planet’s largest living organism. Composed of over 2,900 individual coral reefs and 900 islands, covering an area of approximately 133,000 square miles, it’s a sight to behold. With longstanding ties to aboriginal culture, the reef is also a hotspot for serious snorkelers and divers who want a close-up look at its spiritual beauty, not to mention astounding biodiversity. The Great Barrier Reef hosts thousands of marine species!
The Daintree Rainforest, the largest continual tropical rainforest in Australia, is a fabulous contrast to Queensland’s coastline. One of the most complex ecosystems on Earth, Daintree is the hub of numerous environmental and conservation efforts. Jungle surfing or zip lining through the canopy is one way to discover the ancient flora that covers the forest – or slow it down on a cruise along the river or a guided forest walk with the land’s traditional owners, the Kuku Yalanji.