18 Great Things to do in Queensland, Australia

Written By: The Planet D

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.

Things to do in Queensland 

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.

1. Explore the Great Barrier Reef 

great things to do in Queensland 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

helmet diving in the Great Barrier Reef
Having some underwater fun on our Helmet Dive

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. Kuranda Scenic Railway

We love a good scenic train journey and the Kuranda Scenic Railway is a spectacular trip from Cairns to Kuranda. 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

what to do in Queensland Mossman River in Daintree Forest
Mossman River in Daintree Forest

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

things to do in Queensland
Rainforest Walkabout with Mooka our 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. Read more at The Daintree Rainforest where Dreamtime Walks and Luxury Meet

7. Stay in a Treehouse in the Daintree Rainforest

what to do in queensland 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

what to do in Queensland
Sunrise from a Hot Air Balloon in Queensland.

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.

9. Attend Hollywood Stunt Academy

Things to do in Queensland stunt training
Queensland 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.

10. Go White Water Rafting

what to do in Queensland whitewater 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 

Where to stay in Queensland Port Douglas
Peppers Resort 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, get up early for sunset, enjoy a relaxing massage, and sit 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.

Heading to Victoria Next? Check out the Great Ocean Walk for More Adventure

12. Go for a Bike Ride Along the Gold Coast

what to see in Queensland Gold Coast
An Epic view of the Gold Coast from the top of the Q1 Building.

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

things to do in queensland australia

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 its 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

things to do in queensland | brisbane story bridge

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. Read: The Very Best Things to do in Brisbane, Australia

16. Coo-Tha Mountain

queensland things to do coo tha mountains

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.

17. Whitsundays

things to do in queensland whitsundays

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

things to do in queensland

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. 

The details:

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Book Your Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner. We have used them for years and have found that they have the best flight deals.

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor.

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Safety Wing - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Book Your Activities: Looking for walking tours, skip-the-line tickets, private guides, and more? Then we recommend Get Your Guide.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

16 thoughts on “18 Great Things to do in Queensland, Australia”

  1. These are all a great activities that you can enjoy all day with your family and friends.

  2. We’re dying to go to Australia and Queensland is top of our list of where to visit first there. We love that it seems to be the adventure capital of Australia and there is such a variety of active things to do.

  3. White water rafting sounds fun to do while on Queensland since I love to try new things and to conquer my fear!

  4. My Queensland faves (apart from the crazy Queenslanders) are the Sunshine Coast and the Glasshouse Mountains, though it must be said, I’ve only been as far north as Noosa. Aah, it has been too long…

  5. I love Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. Beautiful beach, nice walks in the bush and along the promenade and some really good food and wine. Plus the Eumundi Markets not far away.

    • Thanks for the additions Jen, we can’t wait to go back to Queensland. Everyone told us to get ourselves to the sunshine coast, but we only had a limited time and couldn’t do everything, but that gives us a reason to come back!

  6. Would absolutely love the paddle boarding! And I used to be in a stunt coalition in Washington DC so that would totally be fun!

  7. Great suggestions – wish I’d done more of them while I was there, now! Though the helicopter flight over the Great Barrier Reef was a highlight of my time there, as was the subsequent dive there.

    Another top thing I did was the Kuranda cable car and railway – really great way to see the rainforest, and there’s a beautiful waterfall as well.

  8. These are great suggestions! Who would ever think of going on a hot air balloon ride? I’m sure that would be an amazing experience. Thanks for sharing!