Looking for things to do in Queensland?
You will need a LOT of time because Queensland is BIG!
With 1,727,000 square kilometres to explore, or 7 times the size of Great Britain, there are lots of places to go in Queensland that you’ll want to add to your Queensland Bucket List.
Beaches, National Parks, bustling cities and small country towns…..keep reading to find out more about all the unique places to visit in Queensland!
Map of Queensland
Queensland has six geographic regions with more than 70% of the state’s population living in South East Queensland:
- South East Queensland
- Darling Downs South West
- Wide Bay–Burnett
- Central Queensland
- Mackay & Whitsunday
- North Queensland
- Far North Queensland
Big Things in Queensland
Over the years visiting Big Things in Queensland have become a cult phenomenon for tourists and a BIG item (forgive the pun) on everyone’ Queensland Bucket List.
For reasons unknown these kitschy giant statues draw tourists from far and wide to stand in front of them for a photograph. Not only are they are memorable locations to have your photo taken in front of but they are great for Queensland tourism as they draw tourists to the smaller rural towns like the Big Golden Gumboot in Tully.
Some of these Big Things in Queensland are even more popular with the locals than they are with the tourists. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which body part the local lads keep stealing from the Big Bull in Rockhampton!
Learn about the Big Bull and other crazy Australian things by exploring the 10 Big Things in Queensland for your Road Trip.
Add this to your bucket list if you are looking for free things to do in Queensland!
Susan Gan | Australia Bucket List
South East Queensland
Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland and home to over 2 million people. Popular tourist attractions in Brisbane are South Bank Parklands, Kangaroo Point Cliffs and Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
South Bank Parklands
Many consider South Bank Parklands to be the jewel in Brisbane’s crown and one of the most visited attractions in Queensland.
South Bank resides on 17 hectares of park land along the edge of the Brisbane River and is a must add item to both your Brisbane Bucket List and Queensland Bucket List.
Whether you are looking for cultural experiences or a fun family day out, South Bank has it all. Street’s Beach, Australia’s only inner city beach, along with the Lagoon and Aquativity are incredibly popular with both tourists and locals all year round. South Bank’s Cultural Precinct area includes the Queensland Performance Arts Centre; Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art; Queensland Museum and Sciencentre; and State Library of Queensland.
For more fun things to do at South Bank Parklands checkout the 20 Free Activities at South Bank, Brisbane.
South Bank is just a short walk from the centre of Brisbane, or you can explore Brisbane on a budget with a Free City Hopper Ferry or by bicycle when you hire a Brisbane CityCycle for just $2 a day.
Susan Gan | Australia Bucket List
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
If you have ever wanted to get up close and personal with a koala, then Lone Pine Koalas Sanctuary in Brisbane is the place to do it. It is the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary and it is home to over 130 koalas. The best part is that is also a great place to see kangaroos and other animals native to Australia.
While Koalas are native to Australia, there are only a handful of places that allow you the opportunity to get this close to one. You will get the chance to both cuddle and hand-feed the koalas. In fact, you can spend the day feeding a petting the kangaroos too.
It is easy to get to and you can catch a train or bus from the city centre. However, you could also combine the trip and take a river cruise there. You have the chose of either a relaxing river cruise or taking a more exhilarating ride on one of the fast boats. No matter how you choose to get there, you will have an amazing experience at the sanctuary.
Karen Ni Eadbhard | Travel Mad Mum
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is not your average zoo. The small sanctuary is located on a beautiful bend of the Brisbane River and backed by a grove of eucalyptus trees that are used to feed the koalas. There are Tasmanian devils, crocodiles, cockatoos and enormous monitor lizards, plus a platypus area where you can see these rare animals swimming around. However, most people come here to see the dozens of koalas, from tiny little baby joeys to geriatric solo males, which are spread around several areas.
The koalas spend most of their time sleeping, but you can pay extra for a Koala Experience and learn more about the preservation efforts and koala care, and see them being fed fresh leaves, medicine and vitamins.
The other most popular animals to see are the kangaroos. You can buy (appropriate) food and feed the kangaroos, which dot a large lawn area. There are also demonstrations of wild birds of prey flying around and sheep dogs mustering throughout the day.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is a fun day out for the whole family so add it to your list of fun things to do in Australia.
James Ian | Travel Collecting
Brisbane Broncos Game
I’m a big rugby league fan, and while I don’t support the Brisbane Broncos, I was stoked I finally got to watch a game last year at their home stadium, Suncorp Stadium.
Suncorp Stadium is a short walk from the city centre making it easily accessible (you can get the train too), and with a few bars surrounding the stadium, you can enjoy a few beverages with people before heading into the stadium. Depending on when the Broncos game is, these bars could be full to capacity prematch if there’s another big sporting event on in the country (league, football, or AFL).
I’m really passionate about the idea of attending sports events to get an understanding of a micro-culture within a city. This is definitely visible in Brisbane where they have one of the highest crowd attendances in the competition.
Jub Bryant | Tiki Touring Kiwi
Daisy Hill Koala Centre
A visit to the Daisy Hill Koala Centre is the best way to have a guaranteed, close-up koala sighting in a responsible way that doesn’t harm the koalas. As always when engaging in any kind of animal tourism, it’s important to do some research and make sure you are not inadvertently causing harm to the animals.
Some places call themselves animal sanctuaries, but in reality they are exploiting the animals for tourists’ entertainment. Daisy Hill is different, though. It’s a government-run sanctuary whose primary purpose is to educate the public about Australian wildlife and to rescue sick and injured koalas.
You can view the koalas in their outdoor enclosure from just a few meters away. However, you will not be able to hold or pet them. This is for their own safety, as being handled by tourists is unduly stressful for them and can also spread disease.
The centre was not very crowded when I visited, even though it was a Sunday morning. And best of all, entrance is free! It’s open from 9am to 4pm, and wildlife officers give talks about koalas and their conservation twice daily at 11am and 2pm. A trip here is highly recommended for animal lovers visiting Australia.
Wendy Werneth | The Nomadic Vegan
For other things to do in Brisbane read Brisbane Bucket List Ideas
Bribie Island is more a secret kept for the locals. Not having the same claim to fame as the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast you are more likely to run into locals enjoying their weekend on the beach than hordes of tourists.
A few years ago, whilst swimming we had some guests join us, Dolphins!! I grew up in the area so when needing some sun, surf and sand Bribie Island was usually our first choice. As teenagers first being able to drive and having keys to a 4wd we even went for a bit of an adventure 4-wheel driving on the beach. This is completely legal and you are able to set up camp on Bribie Island. You will not be disappointed if you organise a long weekend getaway to Bribie Island.
For lunch definitely grab some fish and chips and enjoy it in one of the many parks located next to the ocean. Apart from swimming in the surf you can also hire a boat to go fishing or just go sailing in the bay as we did a few years ago for New Years Day.
Alternatively, the more adventurous is able to see Bribie from above by going sky diving. There is no shortage of activities on this island mostly enjoyed by the locals.
Petro Marais | World Mission 196
There is so much to see and do in Queensland, but the one place we always return to is Surfers Paradise. A visit to Surfers Paradise is one of the most popular things to do in South East Queensland
Often referred to by locals as ‘surfers’, it is one of the more built up suburbs of the Gold Coast with several high-rise apartments, and is also known for its incredible nightlife. The beaches here are golden and it is a popular destination for tourists, locals, and surfers, all wanting a taste of that Australian sunshine.
One of the top attractions at Surfers Paradise has to be the Q1 Building, a 322.5-meter high skyscraper with an observation deck located at the top which has fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean and the Gold Coast in general. If you are feeling brave you can also take part in the Skypoint Climb, which is Australia’s highest external building climb. Here you can walk right to the top of the building with harness in tow for safety.
All in all, with its sun, sand, and bustling nightlife, Surfers Paradise is the epitome of the Queensland lifestyle and is an absolute must for any visit to Australia’s sunshine state.
Lizzie & Dave | Wanderlust & Life
Coolangatta is right at the southern end of Queensland’s Gold Coast and is often overlooked for the busier Surfer’s Paradise area. Coolangatta may be a little quieter, but it still has everything a beach-lover could want, from long white stretches of sand and crashing waves, to a casual, laid back esplanade.
For places to stay (and that look great on Instagram), the quirky, retro Pink Hotel is as fun as it sounds. Speaking of photo-worthy spots, the beautiful Snapper Rocks is utterly gorgeous and even the local-filled Coolangatta Surf Club yields up some amazing views of the beach and lifeguard towers.
If you’re a surfing fan, Coolangatta is also famous for having some of the best surf in the Gold Coast. If you’re not a surfer, then take in the action from the perfectly positioned Rainbow Bay Surf Club with a local beer in hand instead.
Coolangatta is super close to Gold Coast’s airport, so you don’t have far to travel to fly in and out. I’d recommend hiring a car so that you can base yourself in Coolangatta, but be able to travel up and down the amazing Gold Coast as you please.
Emma Jane | Emma Jane Explores
Gold Coast Theme Parks
Queensland is home to Australia’s best theme parks and most of them are within half an hour of one another on the Gold Coast! The Gold Coast is a bit of a thrill-seeking hub, with beaches and attractions galore, so the theme parks are a perfect fit.
- Movieworld is perfect for the movie fanatic, with stunt shows and movie themed attractions.
- Seaworld is the place to learn about marine wildlife and enjoy a mix of water and thrill rides.
- WetNWild is a water park with slides, pools and plenty of splash fun.
- Dreamworld is the home to some of the best thrill rides and also our favourite theme park when visiting with kids. They have the most kid-friendly rides and attractions of all the Gold Coast theme parks. Plus right next door is their own water park, White Water World, so you can experience both in one day when you visit.
Each Gold Coast theme park offers rides and attractions for all ages, with dedicated kid zones and plenty to get the adrenaline pumping. They are definitely a must for your Queensland Bucket List! Plus you can get multi park passes too.
Holly Connors | Four Around The World
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
No visit to Queensland is complete without visiting some of Australia’s unique wildlife and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is the perfect place to do this. Visitors will only find native animals here, and mostly they are housed in large open habitats. As a sanctuary, one of the big missions of Currumbin is to educate the public and well as do a lot of work with preservation of endangered species and rescue of injured animals.
One of the many highlights is the ability to hold a koala. There are only a handful of locations throughout Australia that allow koalas to be held, and Currumbin is one of the most conveniently located, right on the Gold Coast. While it’s only a short cuddle, feeling how soft the koala’s fur is, and how sharp those claws are is worth the extra fee.
Also look out for some of the many daily shows, from Big Fang Theory, showing off some of the native reptiles, to Aboriginal dance and the Australiana shearing show.
Josie | Josie Wanders
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary – Segway Tour
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is at the southern end of the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia.
As well as being a leader in native animal conservation in Australia it also runs an amazing Segway tour through the park. You will complete 10 minutes of practice before completing a 40-minute safari of some of the park.
Each Segway Safari session contains a maximum of 4 participants and the instructor. After some introductions and quick instructions, we were on the Segway. The tour guide leads you into the park being careful to avoid the other visitors. Your guide will stop and start the tour to tell you all about the animals. The sanctuary is well pathed and hilly in spots which makes for some great fun with the segways.
I have never seen another segway tour anywhere that combines the fun and excitement with animal experiences. The Segway tour certainly compliments any day trip to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctury.
Mark Wyld | Wyld Family Travel
Gold Coast Hinterland
The Gold Coast may not be on your bucket list when visiting Queenslan; it ’s more touristy, thus less adventurous.
In 2016 I have spent six weeks solo in Mermaid Beach and loved this place. I was surprised at the variety of naturalistic landmarks that the Gold Coast and its hinterland has to offer. It’s an ideal place for hiking, camping and all outdoor activities.
If you plan a road trip, you will enjoy a scenic drive, with ocean views, through the Lamington, the Springbrook and the Tamborine national parks, to name a few.
Either on a day-trip from Brisbane or a multi-day road trip, make sure to check out the small town of Tambourine Mountain with its picturesque falls and creeks, and go on a hike of the Binna Burra section in the Lamington National park, one of the most ancient forest landscape of Australia.
Michela Fantinel | Rocky Travel
Springbrook National Park
Natural Bridge is one of the best walks in Springbrook National Park, and among my favourite things to do in Queensland. Most people associate the Gold Coast with surfing, shopping, partying and skyscrapers. They often forget to explore the gems in the Hinterland, like Natural Bridge.
I like that Natural Bridge can please the experienced bushwalker as much as the novice. It’s a short 1-kilometre circuit on sealed track accessible for anyone able to walk up a few stairs. It goes through a beautiful rainforest and leads to a cavern where a waterfall plunges through a hole in the ceiling. It’s quite a unique sight and undoubtedly one of the most photogenic places I’ve ever visited.
Most of the time in Queensland, winter is the best season for hiking. But Natural Bridge is special and becomes even more interesting on hot and humid days. Or nights, to be more accurate. When it’s dark, glow worms illuminate the cave to offer a rare natural show.
Hiking to Natural Bridge is one of the best things to do at Gold Coast, Queensland.
Eloise | My Favourite Escapes
Mt. Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk
Of all the amazing places we love exploring on the Gold Coast, Mount Tamborine is the one that takes my breath away at every visit. Such an enchanted fairytale destination for the whole family, very kids friendly offering endless things to see and do.
Our favourite activity in Mt Tamborine is the Rainforest Skywalk – the largest canopy walk on the South East of Queensland. Firstly, you are invited to browse through a lovely exhibition of Australia’s flora and fauna at the Eco Gallery — the official entrance to the Skywalk. Then, you are directed outside to the high-tech steel bridge — the start of the rainforest walk.
At your own pace, make your way along the tree tops and enjoy hearing the buzzing crystal-clear creek below. Stop and learn about the habitats of the rainforest from the information displays and pause to take photos for your memorabilia!
Follow the trail as it waves through the trees to the very end, explore the midst of the rainforest and if you are lucky you might even spot a platypus!
Alex Palombo | Laska Baby Travel
Tangalooma Island Resort
One of our favourite family destinations in Queensland is Tangalooma Island Resort on Moreton Island. It has an idyllic beach with crystal clear water and swaying palms that make you forget you’re only 35km from the city of Brisbane. It’s great for kids as there are so many activities you can do (or not, depending on how active you want to be).
My kids LOVE going tobogganing down the giant sand dunes, while I love going on the whale watching tour (which runs June- October). There is also the option to hand feed wild dolphins in the evenings too. With quad bike tours, water sports, boat trips and snorkelling on offer you won’t get bored.
You can visit as a day trip if you’re short on time but staying over for a few nights means your visit is less rushed so you can relax and enjoy the surroundings. However long your stay, make time to enjoy a sundowner cocktail on the beach because watching the sunset from the sand is incredible.
There isn’t one single experience that sums up Tangalooma for me – it’s just a great family resort in a stunning location and it’s so easy to get to yet many locals have never even ventured over. Make sure you add it to your itinerary if you’re travelling through SE Queensland.
Karen Bleakley | Smart Steps to Australia