Darby's Destinations Luxury Travel - Italy

Barefoot Luxury in Tropical Queensland and the Whitsunday Islands

Traverse Queensland's sun-soaked beaches and spend a night at Australia's first underwater hotel

May 17, 2024

Queensland is the second-largest state in Australia with tropical rainforests, pristine beaches, and cosmopolitan cities to explore. This northeastern region is where you’ll find the Great Barrier Reef and the idyllic Whitsunday Islands. Cairns is considered the gateway to the most beautiful parts of Queensland although Brisbane is the official capital.

If you’re seeking an Australian adventure under the sun, this is where to focus your attention in Queensland. 

Great Barrier Reef

The world’s largest underwater ecosystem comprises 3,000 reefs inhabited by at least 9,000 marine species. These include whale sharks, manta rays, green turtles, clownfish, starfish, jellyfish, and giant clams. 

An assortment of glass-bottom boat cruises, catamaran charters, snorkeling and diving excursions, and helicopter flights depart for the Great Barrier Reef from Queensland’s coastal towns. Cairns, Airlie Beach, Townsville, and Port Douglas are the most convenient bases for getting out to experience this natural wonder.  

Photo by Dean McQuade on Unsplash

Whitsunday Islands

The Whitsunday Islands are another component of the Great Barrier Reef system. This is where you’ll find chalky-white beaches, aquamarine waters, and coral gardens. There are 75 islands in the archipelago and inhabited islands such as Hamilton Island feature barefoot luxury hotels. The impossibly white sand of Whitehaven Beach fringes the eastern shore of this island.

Taking a helicopter or seaplane flight over Heart Reef is one of the most unforgettable activities in the Whitsundays. These charters usually include a gourmet picnic on a deserted beach within the chain – it’s perfect for a honeymoon or anniversary trip.

Sleeping atop the reef on the Reefsleep overnight cruise is another incredible enhancement of a Queensland vacation. The only way to top this is by reserving a night at Reefsuites, Australia’s first underwater hotel. This exclusive junior suite floats 15 feet beneath the surface and invites you to slumber with the sharks. Both experiences include a gourmet supper under the stars. 

Daintree Rainforest

Daintree, the oldest rainforest in the world, is a wonderful day trip from Cairns or Port Douglas. Boardwalk trails and bushwalks weave you through the lush vegetation and thundering waterfalls. River cruises ease you through the mangroves where crocodiles are practically a guarantee. Swimming isn't permitted at Daintree’s sandy beaches but they’re worth visiting for the surreal scenery and photography opportunities. 

Photo by Chelsea Pridham on Unsplash

Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast

The Gold Coast is the southernmost part of the Queensland coast while the Sunshine Coast journeys north of Brisbane. These resorts are popular with domestic tourists and are close to the region’s wineries. The  granite belt and hinterland wine regions produce wines to rival those from South Australia's Wine Country.

The Gold Coast is a surfing mecca with gnarly waves making it more suited to intermediate and expert surfers. Watching the pros from the safety of the shoreline is captivating. There are some excellent family attractions including botanical gardens, amusement parks, and the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk as well as top-noch golf courses.

For the sunniest skies in Queensland, head to the Sunshine Coast! Technically that’s a myth – this entire region is blessed with close to 300 sunny days every year. Spend a day in Noosa National Park where you can hike the headland trails and observe the tidal pools. The Sunshine Coast is a safer contender for swimming and the beaches are calmer. Whale watching season starts in June. 

Contact Darby at Darby’s Destinations when you are ready to book your trip to Queensland.

Ready to embark on your own journey to the extraordinary?