No matter how you choose to explore it, Queensland is an unforgettable destination – from spectacular beaches to the buzzing state capital of Brisbane.
Queensland needs no introduction as a holiday hotspot. Australia's "Sunshine State" is renowned for both the warm welcome of its weather and the wealth of sights that it offers to visitors. There is so much to enjoy - the vibrant capital Brisbane; the spectacular beaches of the state's long coastline – especially in the resort city of Gold Coast; the secluded coves of the Whitsunday Islands; the thriving coral of the Great Barrier Reef - the must-see phenomenon that is rightly considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
In other words, Queensland is an essential and inviting part of any holiday to Australia.
Yet, for all its fame, much of this iconic destination is still waiting to be discovered. It is a travel zone that begs to be explored. And there are so many different ways to explore the state and take in its many attractions:
Road-trip nirvana beckons if you hire a car in Brisbane and forge upwards, following the edges of the Pacific Ocean and the Coral Sea to Cairns - the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. This is a journey of just over 1,000 miles, a real adventure.
Trailfinders recommends a 10 day coastal driving route between Brisbane and Cairns staying in Noosa, Hervey Bay, Rockhampton, Airlie Beach, Townville & Mission Beach enroute - from £649 per person with 3+* & 4* hotels and car hire.
By hot-air balloon
Before you head north, you can marvel at the Gold Coast region from above via a hot-air balloon ride - a serene experience which will carry you over the protected trees of Lamington National Park and the vineyards of Canungra Valley.
Just north of Sunshine Coast, Noosa Heads is the heart of the Noosa District- where you can pick up an oar and put your core muscles to the test with a paddleboard session on the gentle currents of the Noosa River.
Continue north from Noosa Heads and you soon catch sight of Fraser Island - the ocean outcrop that is the largest sand island on the planet. Here, you can leave the highway behind, venturing off-road in a 4WD - before colling off with a dip in Lake McKenzie, a crystal pool of amazing purity fringed by pale sands.
Alternatively, you could meander up the coast at a leisurely pace by campervan - perhaps pausing at 1770, a village so named because it was the site where Captain James Cook first set foot on Queensland soil (you can surely guess the year!). Here, you can rest your tyres in the next-door holiday town Agnes Water, or turn inland to Carnarvon National Park, where the 20-mile Carnarvon Gorge is a splendid natural landmark.
What better way to tour the Great Barrier Reef than by boat? The Whitsundays are blessed with chic resorts, but can also be glimpsed from the deck of a yacht, manned by an expert skipper and crew who can pick a path through the 74 islands.
Back on the mainland, Mission Beach offers an opportunity to glide on nearby Bulgan Creek by kayak - in the company of local Aboriginal guides, who can explain how and why beautiful, lush environments such as these were of significance to their forefathers.
Stay at one of the luxurious resorts along the Great Barrier Reef and you can sail out by "tinny". No, not the colloquial term for an Australian can of beer, but a low aluminium boat perfect for lazy day of being piloted around the Reef. Glorious.
By cable car
Cairns can boast much to please the arriving traveller - particularly the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, a cable car which soars five miles into the World Heritage-listed rainforest that spreads out thrillingly close to the city.
If you do not want to drive, you can rely on the train. Queensland Rail has just launched state-of-the art "Spirit of Queensland" tilt trains, whose stylish carriages offer the best bits of flying - flatbed seats and seat-back entertainment systems - but none of the stress. The service flits between Brisbane and Cairns in just over 24 hours, and is a fine way to see the state, not least because you can hop on and off to break your journey.
WIN a 10 night Queensland holiday
Tourism and Events Queensland and Trailfinders are offering you the chance to win a fantastic 10 night holiday to Australia’s Sunshine State. Starting in vibrant Brisbane you’ll enjoy the freedom of the road, allowing you the chance to discover things at your pace. Enjoy the beaches, wildlife, rainforest, outback, great food and wine and abundant natural beauty. Entry is easy, simply answer the following question on Queensland: How many whales choose to rest and play each year in Hervey Bay, Queensland’s whale watching capital?
Enter here for your chance to win the trip of a lifetime to Queensland:
Full prize details
- A 10 night Queensland motorhome holiday including return Qantas flights from London to Brisbane, 1 night in a Brisbane hotel and 10 days/9 nights Maui motorhome rental - the ultimate in comfort and style
- Prize valid for two adults and for travel between 1 April - 15 Dec 2014, except 15-25 April, and subject to availability.
Trailfinders Reader Offer
Trailfinders, the UK's No. 1 Tour Operator to Australia, was voted Best Holiday Company by independent consumer group Which? in 2013 and have been creating tailormade holidays to Australia for more than 40 years. Almost all of their travel consultants have travelled extensively in Queensland and are on hand 7 days a week to help you bring your holiday to life. From fly drives, rail or coach holidays, luxury island escapes or simply just a flight, they have instant access to some of the low prices you'll find anywhere. With 27 travel centres in the UK & Ireland, let Trailfinders look after your travels it's what they do best.
Trailfinders is offering a 14 day Explore Queensland holiday which includes flights from London to Cairns returning from Brisbane, 4 nights in Cairns with a hot air balloon ride and Skyrail experience, the Spirit of Queensland rail journey to the Whitsundays, 3 nights on the Whitsunday Coast with a Whitehaven Beach cruise, car hire to Brisbane, 1 night Rockhampton, 3 nights Hervey Bay with a Fraser Island 4WD experience and 2 nights in Brisbane. From £2099* per person.
To book your dream holiday to Queensland call Trailfinders on
Tailormade Travel: 020 7938 0212
Business Class Travel: 020 7938 0213
To discover more about Queensland, visit experiencequeensland.com
*All prices are per person, based on twin share for selected March - April 2014 stays. Subject to availability.
Terms and conditions
By submitting an entry, entrants shall be deemed to have accepted the following terms and conditions:
1. The “Win a Trip to Queensland, Where Australia Shines with Trailfinders and The Independent” competition commences on 6 January 2014 at UK Time 10:00hrs GMT and ends on 2 February 2014 at 2359hrs GMT.
2. To be eligible, entrants must be residents of the United Kingdom and be over the age of 18 years.
3. Only one entry per person is permitted.
4. The Grand Prize is an 10 night Queensland holiday for two people including:
• 2 x economy Qantas return flights from London Heathrow to Brisbane;
• 1 night at the 4* Traders hotel in Brisbane;
• 10 days/9 nights Maui motorhome rental.
The value of the Grand Prize is £4500
5. The Prize winner will be randomly selected by random electronic draw on Monday, 3 February 2014
6. The winner will be notified by telephone and email and the name of the winner will be posted on: www.experiencequeensland.com/iss/uk/competitions/competitions_home.cfm.
7. If the prize winner cannot be contacted within 2 weeks, the prize will be forfeited and the Promoter may elect to select another Prize winner from other entries.
8. The prize is non- transferrable or exchangeable or redeemable for cash.
9. The prize is valid for travel from 1 April to 10 December 2014, subject to availability. Travel is not permitted over the periods 9th to 25th April 2014 and 10th to 18th November 2014. Prize must be booked by 31 March 2014 and at least 14 days in advance of departure. [The winner’s travelling companion must be aged over 18.]
10. Bookings must be made through the Qantas Commercial Support Team, who will issue all tickets. Changes cannot be made to travel arrangements once tickets are issued.
11. Travel must be via the most direct route to Brisbane, as identified by the Qantas booking agent. Flights are valid on Qantas operated services only. They are not valid for travel on codeshare services or regional services operated by Qantas subsidiaries.
12. An upgrade cannot be purchased on the flight tickets with cash or Qantas Frequent Flyer points and Qantas Frequent Flyer points cannot be accrued on the flights.
13. Prize travel is subject to Qantas’ and Trailfinders general conditions of travel and booking conditions.
14. Employees and Directors of the Promoters or agencies associated with the promotion, and their immediate families, are ineligible to enter the Competition.
15. All expenses outside of the stated prize are at the cost and responsibility of the winner. It is the responsibility of the prize winner to ensure they have a valid passport and travel visa. Travel insurance is not provided and the Promoter recommends the prize winner obtain comprehensive insurance.
16. The Promoters will not be responsible for any winner failing to redeem the Prize for reasons such as unsuccessful visa application.
17. By entering the promotion, you accept that the Promoters may use your name and likeness for their promotional and publicity purposes without the payment of any fee. By entering the promotion, you accept that the Promoters will be capturing personal information including email address.
18. When you respond, The Independent may use your information to contact you with offers/services of interest.
19. Entrants will receive automatic subscription to the Promoters’ online communications.
20. The Promoters’ decision concerning any aspect of the competition is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
21. The Promoters shall be entitled to cancel the prize and itinerary without notice should the prize winner or travel companions engage in any inappropriate, illegal or immoral behaviour, use excessive alcohol, artificial stimulants or illegal drugs, or act in any manner which brings the Promoters or any person or organization involved in the promotion into public disrepute.
22. The Promoters accept no responsibility for any variation in the value of prizes or any variation in the prizes advertised and the prizes provided. Each entrant releases and indemnifies the Promoters against all liability, cost, loss or expense arising out of acceptance of any prize or participation in the promotion including (but not limited to) personal injury and damage to property and whether direct or consequential, foreseeable, due to some negligent act or omission or otherwise.
The Promoters are Tourism and Events Queensland, Trailfinders and The Independent.