Queensland is known for its big waves on the Gold Coast of Australia’s sunshine state. I mean how many places on earth have an entire community called Surfers Paradise? But there are a lot more things to do in Queensland besides surfing.
From its endless beaches to a massive rainforest Queensland has plenty of activities for outdoor lovers.
But it also has dazzling urban centres from its capital Brisbane, to the lazy Port Douglas and glamour of the Gold Coast. With so many things to do, it is no wonder that Queensland is one of the most popular places to visit in Australia.
These are the very best things to do in Queensland. Besides surfing.
Things to do in Queensland
1. Explore the Great Barrier Reef
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Great Barrier Reef is THE thing of things to do in Queensland.
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest of the world’s coral reefs. This UNESCO World Heritage listed habitat is located just off the coast of Queensland.
There are many ways to explore the Great Barrier Reef from snorkeling and diving to going on a sailing trip or taking a helicopter tour.
2. Flight over Barrier Reef
A flight over the reef gives you the opportunity to appreciate just how massive this system is.
Leaving from Cairns or Port Douglas you can be out at the Great Barrier Reef in a half an hour. For Helicopter tours in Queensland, check out Queensland Heli
3. Scuba The Barrier Reef
You don’t have to be an avid diver to scuba the great barrier reef. There are plenty of opportunities for experienced or new divers.
Go on a discovery dive or try a unique helmet dive experience. We loved playing around with our helmets on.
It has the most abundant collection of marine life on earth
Read more at The Great Barrier Reef Extravaganza
4. Kurunda Scenic Railway
We love a good scenic train journey and the Kurunda Scenic Railway is spectacular trip from Cairns to Kurunda.
The journey takes you over 37 bridges and through 15 tunnels as it passes waterfalls and ravines through the World Heritage listed Barron Gorge National Park.
5. Relax in the Daintree Rainforest
The Daintree Rainforest considered the world’s oldest rainforest estimated to be 180 million years old. It is tens of millions of years older than the Amazon Rainforest.
Spending time in Queensland’s tropical rainforest is a must.
Keep an eye out for the Cassowary – the world’s most dangerous bird!
6. Paddle boarding the Mossman River
We paddled up the Mossman River of the Daintree Rainforest far away from the saltwater crocodiles that live closer to the ocean.
In the Daintree forest, the waters are safe to swim in.
During our paddle we played on rope swings, relaxed in warm pools and treated to local fruits for snacks. It’s a beautiful day.
book paddleboarding and kite surfing with Windswell Kite Surfing and SUP
7. Walkabout with an Aboriginal Guide
A visit to Australia would not be complete without learning about the Aboriginal Culture.
When thinking of things to do in Queensland, consider doing a walkabout with an Aboriginal Guide.
Learn about the culture and traditions of the Kuku Yalanji people as you walk through the Daintree Rainforest
From the Mossman Gorge you can book a walking tour where you’ll learn about life in the rainforest, medicinal and poisonous plants and ancient walk paintings.
Our guide Mooka grew up in this forest and can tell you anything about how to survive here.
Before entering, you must take part in a smoking ceremony to let the spirits know that you are visiting as a friend.
7. Stay in a Treehouse in the Daintree Rainforest
We stayed 10 minutes away from the Mossman Gorge at the luxurious Silky Oaks Lodge.
This treehouse lodge is perfect setting and to enjoy a lot of luxury.
It is built within a rainforest setting itself!
The property winds through jungle paths leading to contemporary treehouses located on the Mossman River and its full service spa and dining room are to die for.
We had an indoor and outdoor queen bed to sleep on too!
Read all about it here: Daintree Rainforest and Dreamtime Walks
8. Take a Flight on a Hot Air Balloon
There’s nothing better than flying in a hot air balloon. Step back in time and fly high in the sky as you take in sunrise over the Gold Coast.
As you fly over farmland and wide open spaces you’ll spy kangaroos and finish off with a champagne breakfast at a local vineyard.
- See our video and read more about our flight at Flying High in Queensland
- Book your trip to Queensland with Hot Air
9. Attend Hollywood Stunt Academy
It may not be the first thing you think of when visiting Australia, but its the most fun you’ll have on your trip!
The Australian Stunt Academy is run by martial arts expert Colin Handley.
He caught the eye of Chuck Norris and was invited to Hollywood to work as a stuntman.
After working on over 100 TV and movie projects he came back to Australia as continued acting, and opened the Stunt Academy.
You can spend a day with him or train for an entire month learning everything from wire work, high jumps, and stage fighting.
- See our video at Hollywood Stunt Academy and find our more information at their website!
- See more Things to do in Queensland at Queensland Australia Tourism’s Website
10. Go White Water Rafting
Just 20 minutes outside of Cairns is the Barron River where we went white water rafting.
We were told that the rapids were an easy grade 2 and 3 so we weren’t expecting much of a thrill. However, it ended up being one of our most fun rafting excursions we ever had!
With experienced guides, we ended up surfing into a waterfall and whirlpool that gave us a soaking turn after turn.
People fell out of their boats and we were completely submerged again and again.
I don’t know if we had perfect conditions or not, but I’ve had fewer thrills on class 4 rapids than I did here.
11. Chill out in Port Douglas
Port Douglas is a laid-back town with great shops and cafés set on a beautiful sandy beach known as 5 mile beach.
This is the place to hang out for a few days getting up early for sunset, enjoying a relaxing massage and sitting by the spectacular pool at Peppers Resort on the beach.
Make sure to check out the waterfront market at the park, we bought our digeridoo here for the best price we’ve seen in Australia.
Hanging out at Peppers enjoying the sandy beach pool and spa was one of the most relaxing things to do in Queensland.
- Check out more of our time at Peppers here at our Spa Etiquette, From Stripping to Tipping
Heading to Victoria Next? Check out the Great Ocean Walk for More Adventure
12. Go for a Bike Ride Along the Gold Coast
The Gold Coast is an area of sandy beach that stretches for miles.
It’s difficult to explore it all on foot, and driving make you miss all the little secret spots, so we signed our a bike from Peppers Broadbeach and explored the area.
We cycled out to Currumbin Beach and Burleigh Head to watch the surfers. (there are paddle boarders there too!)
We dined at Surfers Paradise, road past Sea World and wove through a maze of high rises and million dollar homes enjoying the outstanding Australian sunshine.
Visit Gold Coast Tourism for Things to do in Queensland along the Gold Coast
13. Surfer’s Paradise
I know I said this post was about things to do in Queensland besides surfing, but how can you not mention it.
Surfer’s Paradise is world famous for it’s surfing conditions.
It’s a great place to learn how to surf but it’s also fun to browse the shops and grab a bit on the beach after walking along the coast.
14. Fraser Island
A visit to the world’s largest sand island is one of the greatest adventures we ever had.
Fraser island is famous for its 70 mile beach.
Rent a 4×4 truck and set out for a drive on the island in search of dingoes. There are plenty of sites to see and be sure to book at least a night or two to truly explorer all of its sites.
- Read all about our Fraser Island adventure here and watch the video.
15. Story Bridge Climb in Brisbane
Brisbane is one of our favourite cities in Australia and there are plenty of things to do here to keep you busy for a few days.
Our favourite thing to do in Brisbane was to take part in the Story Bridge Climb.
The Story Bridge dominates the skyline just as Sydney’s Harbour Bridge.
When you get to the top, it offers great views of the city.
16. Coo-Tha Mountain
Visiting Coo-Tha Mountain while in Brisbane, is a good day trip outside the city.
It has a beautiful scenic lookout and on your way down, be sure to stop at the Botanical Gardens.
There’s also the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary where 130 koalas reside.
Located off the coast of Queensland, the Whitsundays are a group of 75 islands that make for a superb base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef.
There are many isolated luxury resorts on the islands and the top draw is Whitehaven Beach which is at the top of many of Australia’s most beautiful beaches lists.
18. Sunshine Coast
The Sunshine Coast is the Gold Coast’s more laid back cousin. It is filled with popular beach towns and surf hangouts.
It’s also a great jumping off spot for rending trucks to explore Fraser Island.
What do you recommend for things to do in Queensland? There’s so much more, I bet you know of a few suggestions.
Read More: Our Complete Australian Travel Guide