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Whitsunday Islands, Queensland

Vacations to Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef

Whitsunday Islands, Queensland

This beautiful region extends from its temperate border with New South Wales up into the tropical north, with much of it still barely explored or settled.

A little bit about Queensland & the Great Barrier Reef

The capital is Brisbane, Australia's fastest-growing city and an urban center basking in 300 sunny days each year and within easy reach of the Gold Coast beaches and Lamington National Park. Most of the state's great attractions are up along the coast: the huge Daintree Rainforest, the Outback oases of the Atherton Tablelands and the kaleidoscopic colors of the Great Barrier Reef.

Palm Cove and Port Douglas make excellent bases, with small-boat cruises exploring the reef, or you can head into the mountains that hug the coastline.

There are also luxury resorts on a few Great Barrier Reef islands and character accommodations in the heart of the rainforest. It's worth taking time to explore the Outback, with a few nights on a station giving a flavor of this pioneer world.

Start planning your trip to Queensland & the Great Barrier Reef

Start thinking about your experience. These itineraries are simply suggestions for how you could enjoy some of the same experiences as our specialists. They’re just for inspiration, because your trip will be created around your particular tastes.

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Our Queensland & the Great Barrier Reef highlights

Relax on Lizard Island

Reached from Cairns by a light aircraft flight, Lizard Island sits right on the Barrier Reef and boasts some of Australia's most pristine white sandy beaches as well as a luxury 5* resort.

Explore the rainforest from Cooktown

First visited by Captain Cook in 1770, Cooktown now offers visitors who venture this far north wonderful access to remote rock art and tropical rainforest away from the crowds.

Spot cassowary in the Daintree Rainforest

The Daintree Rainforest is world's oldest rainforest fringing the Great Barrier Reef and is a great spot for birdwatching, with regular sightings of the endangered cassowary.

Travel to the waterfalls in the Atherton Tablelands

The lush Tablelands are home to more than ten sets of spectacular waterfalls many of which you can take a refreshing dip in to cool off from the heat of the Queensland sun.

Water activities in the Great Barrier Reef

Declared a World Heritage site in 1981 the Great Barrier Reef covers almost 90,000 square miles and is home to over 400 species of coral and around 1,500 varieties of tropical fish.

Explore the Whitsundays

Bordered by the Great Barrier Reef and cradled by the calm waters of the Coral Sea, the Whitsundays offer beautiful beaches, clear blue seas and some truly amazing scenery.

Stay on Heron Island

A stay on Heron Island is a real treat because of the direct beach access to the Great Barrier Reef and with abundant bird and marine life this is a haven for nature lovers.

Some of our favorite places in Queensland & the Great Barrier Reef

Brisbane, Queensland


Queensland’s biggest city is a balmy, sunshine-drenched urban hub whose art-gallery-bordered river is a place to be enjoyed, as well as the city’s main highway. Then, beyond the city’s perimeter, you’ll find an island penal colony turned national park.

75 Mile Beach, Fraser Island


K’gari (formerly Fraser Island) is awash with color; blinding white sand flanks the milky turquoise and inky blue-black lakes, the dense green center contrasting wonderfully.

Hardy Reef

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef comprises over 2,000 small islands, each sheltering honeyed beaches and surrounded by a kaleidoscope of fish. You can explore this sprawling reef by staying on one of its secluded islands or on a multi-day cruise.

Great places to stay in Queensland & the Great Barrier Reef