The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest and longest coral reef system, stretching for 2,300km from the tip of Cape York in the north to Bundaberg in the south. Comprising 3,000 separate reefs and some 900 continental islands and coral cays, it’s one of the world’s great natural wonders. Home to over 1,500 species of fish, abundant marine life and over 200 types of birds, it’s also one of Australia’s greatest conservation successes. A World Heritage Area since 1981 (the world’s first reef ecosystem to be recognised by UNESCO), it is highly protected and one of the best-managed marine areas on Earth
Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park prides itself on its authenticity. The Tjapukai people inhabited the tropic region that extends from Cairns to Port Douglas and inland to Kuranda. Their name means ‘People of the Rainforest'. The displays and cultural dances within the park portray the Dreamtime through to the present reality of today's Tjapukai people.
Today Paronella Park remains a unique eco-friendly experience where history and romance are seamlessly fused together. Paronella Park is a magical, unforgettable place nestled amongst heritage gardens and 13 acres of lush Australian rainforest situated on the banks of the crystal clear waters of Mena Creek, south of Innisfail. The ruins of the Spanish Castillo feature prominently on the grounds of Paronella Park, as do several other distinctive structures that were designed and built by the original owner of Paronella Park – Jose Paronella. Visitors can explore the architecturally unique ruins of the Castle and buildings of yesteryear, or wander through the lush gardens and Australian rainforest while being transported to another time and place altogether.
Fitzroy Island is one of the most unspoilt islands adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef. Fitzroy Island National Park is a mountainous rainforest oasis surrounded by fringing reef formations.
Enjoy the resort facilities and rainforest walks to white coral beaches and spectacular lookouts. Fitzroy Island also offers a wide range of water sport activities as well as snorkelling, introductory and certified diving and a learn-to-dive school.
The island is 339 hectares in size, 324 of which is protected as Fitzroy Island National Park. The island is on the continental shelf and is within sight of the mainland; in fact, it’s a peak in a mountain chain which lies south of Cairns.
The reef surrounding Fitzroy Island is a “Fringing Reef”. Fitzroy Island is located on the Inner Barrier of the Central Region of the Great Barrier Reef. It is part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary has been in operation for over 20 years and is the largest butterfly flight aviary in Australia. More than one million guests have enjoyed the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary since its inception. Come experience why the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary has been such a long lasting success. The aviary at the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary has been designed to recreate the butterfly's natural tropical habitat. Enjoy the tranquility of the flowing fresh water streams, complete with waterfalls and surrounded by exotic tropical plants and flowers. This is the perfect natural haven for the spectacular butterflies.
As you wander along the large paths that snake through the aviary take time to appreciate the vast variety of Lepidoptera (species of butterflies and moths). The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is also home to the world’s largest moth – the Hercules Moth. The Hercules Moth is endemic to Tropical North Queensland Australia and is a majestic creature of the jungle that really has to be seen to be believed! The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is an all weather activity, perfect for rainy days typical of the tropics. For guests that want to gain a greater appreciation for butterflies 30 minute complimentary tours are conducted every 15 minutes, providing visitors with a greater understanding of the butterflies life cycle and behaviour.
The Kuranda Scenic Railway is an unforgettable 1 hour and 45 minute journey up the tropically clad mountainous range from Cairns City to the eclectic Rainforest Village of Kuranda. The scenic railway journey winds its way through the spectacular World Heritage listed tropical rainforest and Barron Gorge. This memorable scenic train journey showcases the very best that Cairns and Tropical North Queensland has to offer, such as magnificent scenery, lush tropical rainforest, steep ravines and cascading waterfalls and rivers. The Kuranda Scenic Railway is one of Cairns' most popular attractions, and most visitors would not make the journey to visit Cairns and Tropical North Queensland without experiencing this enchanting unforgettable train ride.
Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park is a network of purpose-built, single-track mountain bike trails located in the Herberton Range State Forest. Trails meander through an open forest of gums, bloodwoods, mahoganys, she-oaks, grasstrees and cycads and some of the trails pass former forestry experimental plots of teak, blackbutt and tallowwood trees.
The Crystal Caves will rock your world! One hour from Cairns on the Atherton Tablelands, share one man’s passion for crystals and fossils at the Crystal Caves. Journey through 300m2 of tunnels and grottos that Rene built to feature his million year old natural crystals and prehistoric fossils. Take a self-guided tour and marvel at the interactive displays which allow you to touch and photograph the crystals, you can even crack your own!
This popular park features a deep crater lake surrounded by cool lush rainforest. Lake Barrine, part of Crater Lakes National Park, is a maar—a crater lake formed by two massive volcanic explosions.
Take the short stroll to the giant bull kauri trees or stretch your legs on the longer 5km track around the lake. Look for rainforest animals, such as the colourful but cryptic Boyd's forest dragon, along the way. Paddle your canoe onto the smooth lake and look for fish, turtles, eels and waterbirds along the shallow, reedy edges.
Crystal Cascades is one of the secrets of Tropical North Queensland that locals wish they could hide from visitors, accessible only by self drive. It is a secluded freshwater swimming hole, hidden in a tropical rainforest. A series of small waterfalls flow into large pools surrounded by large impressive granite boulders.
The Josephine waterfalls and swimming hole are ranked amongst some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Tropical North Queensland Australia, and as such have been used in many television commercials. Visitors can swim in the crystal clear waters, and relax on the sandy beach as the gentle breeze rustles leaves high in the overhead rainforest canopy.
Josephine Falls is a great place to spend a full day, half-day or just a visit and quick swim with a day tour operator. The public facilities here allow you to set up a barbeque and picnic in the purpose-built facilities and relax in this beautiful rainforest environment with your family and friends for a day.
If you are an adventurer and love bushwalking or you are a dedicated a hiker then you may like to choose from a 1.2 km walk to the top waterfalls, a 10 km Bartle Frere hike to Broken Nose (return) or a 15 klm (one way) walk Bartle Frere up to the Atherton Tablelands over the back of the mountain.
Josephine Falls is loved by Cairns locals all year round and a definite destination for nature lovers and backpackers alike. When you mingle in the clubs and bars around Cairns city you will hear the backpackers talking about their day’s adventure on the granite rock slides, the deep crystal clear rock pools and the absolute beauty of the place.
The Chinese Temple was built in 1940 by the shire's Chinese population who were drawn to the agricultural industry and the gold rushes of the region.
Far North Queensland is a very special part of Australia. It is lush and Tropical with green intrusive mountains complementing the adjoining blue-water Great Barrier Reef. Innisfail is situated in the heart of Far North Queensland, and it is to this area that peoples from across the globe migrated, to share in Nature's bounty.
The Chinese were one such small group and contributed to the community with their industrious ways and a subtle spiritual and cultural centre, referred to as the "Joss House", but now more appropriately named as the "Innisfail Temple".
Cairns Aquarium is showcasing a huge variety of marine life and corals from the waters of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. It is located in the heart of the Tropical North Queensland city. The aquarium is also easy walking distance from most hotels, resorts and holiday apartments within the Cairns city.
The aquarium support more than 3 million litres of salt, fresh and brackish water that a home to many creatures that are either rarely seen due to their nocturnal habits along with animals that are nowhere else on the planet. You will be able to be up close to rare, endangered, unusual and deadly specimens in the marine displays.
There will be more than 15,000 creatures from all of the ecosystems in Tropical North Queensland that are interconnected in the survival of the Great Barrier Reef in themed exhibits such as the Open Ocean, The Great Barrier Reef, River Monsters, Rivers & Streams, Life in the Mangroves, Coral Atoll, Reptiles and Amphibians of the Rainforest, Dangers of the Reef and more.
For further education about the Great Barrier Reef there are touch tanks, live diver talks from the deep reef tank and a Turtle Rehabilitation tour and even an opportunity to take a look at the behind the scenes Research Facility.
Balgal Beach forms part of the popular Northern Beaches district of Townsville North Queensland. Offering a superb sand beach and secure swimming in the stinger net from November to May, Balgal is ideal for a relaxing day by the ocean or a fun way to spend time with the whole family.
The area is also a renowned river fishing location.
For those wishing to explore deeper and head out to the Great Barrier Reef, Balgal Beach provides excellent boat ramp facilities and easy access to the spectacular Palm Island group.
There are a number of licensed cafés and accommodation available in the area including holiday units and designated tent camping and vehicle camping areas.
Just metres short of a mountain, Castle Hill is the giant pink granite monolith that stands proud in the centre of Townsville - a perfect place for visitors to orientate themselves.
As well as offering vehicle access, Castle Hill provides a number of popular walking tracks, which are frequented by more than 2,500 locals a day! The 360-degree views of Townsville at the top are well worth the journey. Be sure to have a camera on hand, particularly for sunrise or sunset as these are photo opportunities which shouldn't be missed.
Apart from being an iconic centrepiece for the city and a lookout for spectacular scenic views, Castle Hill has a significant history. The Hill's vantage was used by visiting American soldiers during World War II. According to local legend, the visitors famously offered to demolish the hill and use the rock to build a bridge to Magnetic Island. A World War II observation bunker sits on one corner of the Hill reminding visitors of Castle Hill's military history.
The award-winning Museum of Tropical Queensland provides a snapshot of this diverse region of North Queensland, from World Heritage listed rainforest and reefs to the story of the shipwrecked HMS Pandora, the ship sent to capture the Bounty mutineers.
The Museum's family-friendly exhibitions and displays explore life in the tropics from prehistoric times to modern day. Located in the heart of Townsville, the Museum has temporary and permanent exhibitions to captivate visitors and their school holiday programs offer something for kids of all ages.
Anderson Gardens is the largest of Townsville's botanic gardens, offering 25 hectares of fauna and flora to explore. Wander through the collection of garden displays or find a shady spot to sit back and relax.
Centrally located in Mundingburra, the Garden contains fine specimens of tropical trees, palms and Pandanus. The World Cycad Garden, Grand Avenues and Tropical Orchard are of particular note. A representative collection of Cape York Peninsula rainforest specimens is displayed along with native plants and flora of the dry tropical regions of the world. Anderson Gardens were named in appreciation of the work of William Anderson, City of Townsville's first Curator of Parks from 1878 to 1934.
Anderson Gardens is a quiescent beauty amongst Townsville's abundant natural attractions.
A popular place in the Burdekin for visitors to take photos is located in Plantation Park, Ayr. The giant carpet snake is an impressive feature, and makes a fantastic backdrop. This 60 metre artwork depicts Gubulla Munda, the Aboriginal totem and the protective spirit for the Birri Gubba people. Gubulla Munda holds sacred cultural and spiritual significance to the Traditional Owners.
The Airlie Beach Lagoon is situated right in the centre of Airlie Beach and has become the focal point of the area. When you want to meet someone you meet "at the Lagoon". If you want a great day of relaxation with no admission fee, "spend a day at the Lagoon". And the most rewarding thing of all is that the people of the Whitsundays have taken the Lagoon to their heart as much as tourists and visitors.
The Airlie Beach Lagoon was officially opened by the Premier of Queensland on 8 January 2001. The experiences on offer are not just a result of the physical facilities but rather a combination of natural and man-made attributes that allow a visitor to enjoy Airlie Beach's "Beach", with all its security and support.
The lagoon is surrounded by grassy knolls, perfect for a spot of sunbathing, or finding a quiet spot in the shade to read a book. The sandy beach area at one end provides a safe stinger free environment for the children to play in the shallows and the lagoon is surrounded by landscaped gardens for added aesthetic appeal. A children's pool is situated at one end.
Hardy Reef, part of the Great Barrier Reef near the Whitsundays, is home to thousands of spectacular reef fish including coral trout, travelly, snapper and smaller tropical species. Hardy Reef is also the location for the Reefworld pontoon, a permanent structure which has been in place for over twenty years. Visitors can experience excellent snorkelling and diving on Hardy Reef, and will see a myriad of interesting marine animals such as turtles, reef sharks, giant Maori Wrasse and even the two metre long Giant Queensland Gropers, which hang around the pontoon.
Visitors can also view the stunning Hardy Reef from the air by seaplane or helicopter, including world-famous Heart Reef. The aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef and natural heart-shaped formation is a must-see experience for the Whitsundays.
Hill Inlet in the Whitsundays is a stunning inlet located at the northern end of Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island, the largest of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays. As the tide shifts, the white sand and blue hues of the inlet blend seamlessly to create a breathtaking mosaic.
Hill Inlet is best viewed from the lookout at Tongue Point on Whitsunday Island. Most people moor their boats in Tongue Bay, take a dingy ashore and make the short uphill walk to the lookout for breathtaking views. If possible, try to reach the lookout when the tide is low to fully experience the beautiful fusion of colours that emerge. Not all operators visit Hill Inlet and the Tongue Point lookout on a Whitehaven Beach visit, so be sure to check before you book if you'd like to go to the lookout.
There are several ways to experience the beauty of Hill Inlet. Many companies offer day trips to Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet by ferry, power boat or luxury yacht. Most overnight sailing trips also stop here.
One of the main beaches on Hamilton Island, beautiful Catseye Beach is a perfect spot for relaxing, swimming, and enjoying a whole range of fun watersports.
Hamilton Island Beach Sports is located right on the beach, and has catamarans, paddleboards, windsurfers, kayaks and snorkelling equipment available for hire.
The long and curved Catseye Beach is a beautiful place to while away the hours - soaking up some sun, enjoying a good book, or swimming in the turquoise water. At low tide, take a leisurely stroll out on the sand flats and see the island from a different perspective.
Exploring Hamilton Island on foot can be a great way to explore its natural beauty, at your own pace. Discover secluded, sandy coves, climb to the top of the island for stunning views, or enjoy a picnic in one of the island’s many picnic spots.
A wonderland of waterfalls, refreshingly cool rainforest and the chance to see a platypus in the wild awaits in Eungella National Park. Australia's longest stretch of sub-tropical rainforest, Eungella, is a must-see attraction.
Travel through the lush lowlands of the Pioneer Valley, surrounded by sugar cane, stop in at Platypus Beach just after Mirani or visit the beautiful Finch Hatton Gorge. Scuba dive with the platypus, fly among rainforest canopy on a zipwire or take a stroll to one of Finch Hatton's waterfalls, before driving up the range to Eungella.
See a diverse range of flora and fauna on a rainforest walk and experience breathtaking views of the Pioneer Valley, truly spectacular at sunrise and sunset. Travel to Broken River for the chance to see a platypus in the wild. Eungella National Park can be experienced as a day trip, or extend your visit to enjoy warm hospitality from one of the rainforest's many accommodation and dining establishments.
A wonderful landscape of waterfalls, lush flora and volcanic boulder formations make Finch Hatton Gorge a must-see attraction.
There are many walking tracks which weave through sub-tropical rainforest. One of the most popular trails starts at the Finch Hatton picnic area and takes you on a 1.6 kilometre journey to the beautiful Araluen waterfall. The granite boulders and surrounding vegetation make this an ideal place to take in the scenery. Take a refreshing dip in one of the nearby rock pools, a cooling haven favoured by locals in summer.
Keep an eye out among the rainforest for rare and unusual flora and fauna, such as the rare gastric brooding frog, the orange-sided skink, Mackay tulip oak, Eungella spiny cray and Eungella honeyeater.
Adventure opportunities are plentiful, with the opportunity to scuba dive in the rainforest waters with platypus, or to zip-line through the tree-top canopy.
At the far north end of Keswick Island, Connie Bay is a secluded beach of sweeping white sand, turquoise water and fringing coral.
The beach is quite secluded, which has made it a favourable area for nesting turtles. And nearby the majestic melaleuca wood is a point of interest for many visitors, especially when the swarms of vibrant blue butterflies are in residence.
Enjoy a refreshing swim at Mackay City's Bluewater Lagoon, the fun of the beach within the city.
Three tiers of lagoon pools provide a safe swimming environment within the Mackay Central Business District, close to barbecue facilities, public work-out equipment and playground on Bluewater Quay.
With three age-appropriate lagoons of varying depths, an interactive children's water playground with water drop-bucket and a water slide, the lagoon is a perfect retreat for all ages. A feature waterfall connects the two main lagoon pools, while a shallow wading pool is perfect for toddlers.
Located just five kilometres from the Mackay city centre, the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens showcases the beautiful tropical flora from Mackay and the Whitsundays, along with other beautiful Australian native and exotic plants from similar climates around the world. This young botanic garden opened in 2003 and provides many resources to visitors - from over three kilometres of walking and cycling trails, wetland boardwalks, a unique cafe and gallery perched high above the wildlife filled lagoons, to excellent bird watching opportunities. Feature gardens include the luxuriant Fernery, the Regional Forest, rare and threatened flora of the tropical Shade Garden and the unique Coal Garden - tracing the evolution of plants and the importance of coal.
Discover the arts and culture of the Mackay region when you visit Artspace Mackay, the regional art gallery and museum in the centre of the city. This architecturally award winning building provides visitors with an opportunity to learn about the people and history of Mackay through the Spirit and Place: Mementos of Mackay exhibition.
Group tours can be booked with well trained volunteer guides who will provide visitors with insights into the exhibitions on display.
Relax and enjoy the beautiful Orchid House, intricately placed in the historic Queens Park gardens, boasting a broad collection of unique and exquisite orchids. With about 25,000 species the fascinating orchid family (Orchidaceae) is the largest group of flowering plants in the world and over 3,000 new hybrids are added every year.
The Orchid House is one of the largest and finest orchid display houses in Australia. Built in 1988, the orchids are displayed in a natural type-setting around circular walkways. Stroll through the large collection of stunning orchids in all shapes and sizes, from the bizarre to exotic looking.
The Orchid House displays over hundreds of varieties of orchids on show including native and tropical orchids from all over the world. The seasonally changing display, which is rotated between the Orchid House and the Council Nursery ensure a broad range of orchids are on show all year round.
Built on reclaimed land near Ela Beach in Port Moresby’s central business district, this glazed conference facility is a gracious nod to the cultural caretakers of the Capital City, the Motu-Koita people. The iconic design resembles a Lakatoi sail, from the Motu-Koita’s distinctive double-hulled boat, to symbolise international trade negotiations.
As you enter the building, you’ll see additional local designs referenced with a giant timber feature wall in the lobby engraved with a stepped traditional tattoo and every last corner of the new conference rooms paying respect to the incredible cultures of our 22 provinces.
For the best seafood in town visit Koki market, to the east of Ela Beach. Koki is the main seafood market and also sells a range of fresh tropical fruits and vegetables. Wander through the aisles, where you can absorb the ocean breeze and observe the fishermen negotiate with bargain hunters over the catch of the day. We recommend bringing a guide with you when you visit markets in Port Moresby.
Papua New Guinea’s Parliament House is a must see landmark whether parliament is sitting or not. Built in the style of a Maprik Haus Tambaran (house of spirits from East Sepik Province), this impressive building was first opened in 1984 and the grounds are lovely.
Wander through the awe-inspiring collections at the National Museum & Art Gallery (NMAG). Here you will see a careful curation of objects from 19 provinces of Papua New Guinea. The earliest collection is by Sir William MacGregor and dates back to the 1800s during early administration of Papua. NMAG was built on Independence Hill in 1975 and opened to the public 1977. It is the national centre for anthropology, archaeology, natural history, contemporary arts, research and conservation.
The Port Moresby Nature Park is a haven of greenery and lawns spread over 30 acres, boasting two kilometres of boardwalk threading beneath a jungle canopy, plus excellent wildlife exhibits, plant collections, and cultural demonstrations. You may find yourself passing by a wedding, a friendly soccer match and a class trip all in one single visit to the park.
Bring a picnic to enjoy in the large grounds, under a 'haus-win' with a barbecue area. Or rest a while in the Park’s well-appointed and popular café before browsing the souvenir shop as you leave.
Port Moresby Nature Park is open 365 days a year!
Adventure Park is Port Moresby’s only theme park and features an assortment of rides and attractions including a delightful Ferris wheel with fine views across the plains at 14 Mile, waterslides, paddle boats, and a colourful merry-go-round to rival Mary Poppins’ adventures.
Equally colourful is the display of native orchids found at the National Orchid Gardens at the edge of the Park. The gardens house the largest collection of orchids in the Southern Hemisphere. All year-round, you can explore over three thousand orchid species, unique to Papua New Guinea. Peak flowering season for most orchids is between December and March.
Award winning Spinnaker Park was officially opened in 2001 by the Gladstone Ports Corporation, the park has become the premier recreation area of Gladstone City.
Two and a half kilometres of educational walking tracks along the ocean wall, through native wetlands and ponds makes the park excellent for walking, riding or rollerblading. The beached cove is wonderful for a dip on a warm day while the barbecue and picnic areas make it a great place to entertain.
Gladstone Maritime Museum focusses its collection on maritime history of the Gladstone Region. Visit to view history from prior to Captain Cook up to modern times. Special features include the shipwreck wall, Jenny Lind figurehead and a library. Naval and sailing ship models are of interest.
The Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum was established in 1985 and is a community cultural initiative funded by the Gladstone Regional Council. It is dedicated to promoting art and heritage for and by the communities of the Gladstone Region and Central Queensland, acting as a focal point for the preservation and display of the region's history and cultural heritage.
The Gladstone Aquatic Centre is a public swimming facility located in the heart of the Gladstone City. Relax and enjoy the tropical surrounds and expansive grassed picnic areas for play and sunsmart shaded areas to escape the sun. There is an onsite kiosk for snacks, drinks and the obligatory ice-pole on a hot summer's day.
The Aquatic Centre has a 50 metre outdoor pool and 25 metre indoor heated pool plus the newly opened 'Splash Zone' water park which will keep the kids entertained for hours!
Say hello to Fraser Island - also known as the largest sand island in the world. You can gaze up at towering ancient trees in astonishing rainforests growing out of sand on this World Heritage-listed wonder, be amazed by the incredible sapphire blues and emeraldene greens in the stunning freshwater lakes and float down Eli Creek
Brisbane will come at you with riverside vistas around almost every corner, but it takes a short drive from the city centre and a few twists and turns up Sir Samuel Griffith Scenic Drive to find the city's best angle.
Roma Street Parkland sits on 16 hectares in the centre of the Brisbane CBD and a veritable oasis in the middle of the city. The parklands are adjacent to the Brisbane Transit Centre and Roma Street Station and are considered to be the world’s largest subtropical garden in a city centre. The parklands are home to grassy picnic spots, subtropical plant displays, colourful flower displays, fern groves, rocky peninsulas, barbeque areas and playgrounds for kids.There's something for people of all ages with a visual feast everywhere you look.
One major drawcard is the artworks displayed in The Roma Street Parklands. When the site was first developed, 16 Queensland artists were commissioned to create a collection of 15 pieces of works for the parkland. They each tell a story in a different medium including sculptures, mosaic, paving, bronzes and murals.There’s a self guided walk which you can take to lead you past all the different works.
Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) is located across two riverside buildings in South Bank’s Cultural Precinct. QAGOMA presents an evolving program of Australian and international exhibitions, with a focus on the contemporary art of Australia, Asia and the Pacific. Immerse the family in creativity at the Children’s Art Centre and see the best in international film and video at the Australian Cinémathèque. QAGOMA offers cafes, modern dining and shopping to complete your visit.
Whether you are a local or a tourist to Brisbane, a guided tour provides an opportunity to learn something about the art, architecture and history of City Hall. The building known in Brisbane as "the People's Place", City Hall was built between 1920 and 1930. The heritage-listed Brisbane City Hall is seen as the heart of Brisbane and has been the backdrop to many cultural, social and civic events.
City Hall is the civic seat of the city and is home to the Lord Mayor and Deputy Mayor, and plays host to community and corporate events daily. City Hall is a bustling, active working building, so you may find that some of the rooms and features are not open to the public on certain days. Accompanied by a professional guide, these tours provide further access to different parts of the building as possible.
Queensland Museum is the State’s centre for natural history, cultural heritage, science and human achievement. Home to permanent and changing exhibitions and collections, the museum also provides innovative public programs, educational experiences plus holiday and early child hood activities. The Queensland Museum is also home to the Sciencentre, where visitors can take part in exciting - and educational - kinetic and interactive displays and experiments.