Koala cuddling, rainforest waterfalls, dramatic beaches, and the largest most spectacular reef on the planet.

Way to the south of the state are Brisbane, a major city, international travel hub and launching point for destinations beyond. Stick around long enough to hold a koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and visit Australia Zoo, the country’s most famous, fascinating Steve-Irwin-founded animal park. Or skip 2.5 hours away to Lamington National Park to see some of the same animals in the wild rainforest.

Outside of Brisbane are beaches galore. There is the Gold Coast, Australia’s up-till-dawn nightlife answer to Miami Beach. Up north is the Sunshine Coast, home of the charming beach town of Noosa. And farther to the north is Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, an off-roading paradise.

Take a short flight to Airlie Beach, gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. Set out on a barefoot sailing cruise (for days if you like) at the far southern edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkel amid clownfish and coral. Pull in for lunch at Whitehaven Beach — a spectacular and pristine swirl of fine white sand and teal tropical waters.

On to Cairns, in the northern part of the state. The Great Barrier Reef is a few hours offshore. Climb into a glass bottom boat, bite into your snorkel or pull on your scuba suit — just make sure you see this natural wonder. As you swim with darting, multicolored fish be sure to look at the coral waving in the currents. The reef is by some measures the largest living thing in the world. Take a day trip from your resort or take your time, dipping into the water again and again from your liveaboard boat.

Onshore, take in the beaches of Port Douglas, Palm Cove and Cairns — each with their own distinctive vibe. Draw in a deep breathe then head inland to Daintree National Park, the world’s oldest living rainforest. The jungle is 130 million years old. (For reference, dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago.) Hike through the jungle and swim under waterfalls, playing in the footsteps of giants.

Queensland – Top Activities

Swim the Great Barrier Reef
Wander the oldest rainforest in the world
Cuddle a koala
Kick back on an awesome array of epic beaches

Sydney, New South Wales
Starting at $4,699

Australia Island Vacation: Reef, Wildlife, and Sydney

Hit the highlights of Australia in style. A local lunch cruise in Sydney, an exclusive retreat on the Great Barrier Reef, and an expertly guided wildlife tour on Kangaroo Island will make your Australia Island Vacation one to remember!

Trip Type: Highlights, Islands, Beaches & Reefs, Wildlife & Wilderness, Family Travel

New South Wales Golf Club. Image: Great Golf Courses of Australia
Starting at $5,099

Getaways Australia: Great Golf Courses of Australia

Enjoy a true taste of Australia with this magnificent golf vacation. Play some of the Great Golf Courses of Australia, from Royal Melbourne to Barnbougle Dunes, and discover country highlights, including the Great Barrier Reef, Tasmanian wilderness, and sunny Sydney.

Trip Type: Golf

Uluru/Ayers Rock, Northern Territory. Image: Tourism Australia
Starting at $5,299

Australia’s Northern Territory: The Ultimate Adventure

Unleash your wild side in the Australian outback! Discover the spiritual heart of Australia, spot wild crocodiles on a scenic cruise, snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, and much more.

Trip Type: Highlights, Islands, Beaches & Reefs, Heritage and Culture

Starting at $9,399

Australia Honeymoons: Epicurean Journey

This Honeymoon South Australia package was designed for a couple, he is a chef and she is an accountant. This was their post tax day Australia vacation. He wanted to taste all of the local cuisine; she needed a place to unwind and relax. They started their Australia vacation with a few days on luxurious Lizard Read More…

Trip Type: Food and Wine, Romantic Getaways

Cape to Cape Track, Western Australia. Image: Tourism Australia
Starting at $10,599

Australian Luxury Vacation: Reef to Reef Adventure

Discover Australia’s most magnificent natural attractions in 5-star luxury. Begin your journey on a private island where you can explore the Great Barrier Reef with no one else in sight. Jet over to Ningaloo Reef to swim with the whale sharks, then indulge in an epic food and wine adventure in Margaret River.

Trip Type: Islands, Beaches & Reefs, Food and Wine, Spa & Relaxation, Wildlife & Wilderness

qualia resort, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland. Image: Luxury Lodges of Australia
Starting at $11,499

Australia Luxury Lodges: Reef, Wildlife, and Wilderness

Experience the true heart of Australia with some of the most immersive and luxurious lodges in the country. From the Great Barrier Reef to Kangaroo Island, you’ll get a unique “sense of place” in each destination you visit.

Trip Type: Highlights, Islands, Beaches & Reefs, Outdoor Adventure, Romantic Getaways, Spa & Relaxation, Wildlife & Wilderness