BrisbaneIn a nation bordered by beaches, Brisbane is the only place where you can find one in the city. Skyscrapers and swimmers come together at South Bank Parkland, a popular local haunt, containing an artificial swimming beach, weekend markets and cheerful cafes.
Recent development within the city has resulted in an explosion of exceptional theaters, galleries and concert halls, earning Brisbane the title of arts capital of Queensland.
Although Brisbane has experienced a boom in the past decade, it hasn’t lost sight of its country town roots. Classic Queensland houses, encircled by bougainvillea-clad verandahs, are scattered throughout the suburbs. Brisbane’s top attraction, The Australian Woolshed, pays homage to Australia’s agricultural heritage with hilarious hands on demonstrations, while evening dinner cruises down the tranquil Brisbane River highlight the city’s role as a river port.
CairnsNo vacation to Australia is complete without a trip to Cairns. Built on Trinity Inlet, the Coral Sea calls from the east whilst the rainforest-clad Atherton Tableland serenades from the west, making Cairns an enchanting nature lovers Nirvana. To reach the Atherton Tableland you can drive, but to truly appreciate the changing landscape from waving cane fields to walls of rainforest, you should travel the scenic railway to the mountain town of Kuranda. Famed for its vibrant markets and stunning views, Kuranda is a charming hideaway and a good place to mingle with the locals selling regional arts and crafts.
Experience World Heritage Rainforest with Skyrail Rainforest Cableway taking you over and through the canopy. Adjacent to the Skyrail station at the valley floor is Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. Here, visitors are treated to a taste of Aboriginal culture with origin tales of the Dreaming, festive, native dances, and instruction on how to throw a boomerang and spear.
Head to the heart of the city, the Esplanade, and enjoy a café latte before catching a catamaran to Cairns’ underwater rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef. The only living organism visible from space, the Great Barrier Reef is 1,240 miles of memories that will last a lifetime. Snorkel with sea turtles, dive the rich waters off Green Island or bird watch on Michelmas Cay. No fancy photograph or travel documentary will prepare you for the perpetual paradise that awaits you at the spectacular Great Barrier Reef.
Daintree RainforestAustralia’s answer to the Amazon, the Daintree Rainforest, is more than 100 million years old and is home to the highest number of rare or endangered plant and animal species in the world. This world heritage listed area is alive with history and pulsing with prehistoric plants and animals, all of which can be seen in exciting ways. Glide along the Daintree River and spot saltwater crocodiles as they laze on the muddy banks. Join a 4WD guided tour and explore primeval forest rarely seen by man, or camp out under the stars in one of the unique corners of the world.
Daydream IslandThis multi award-winning resort offers guests affordable luxury with 296 beautifully appointed rooms and suites, plus stunning restaurants and bars and a waterfront wedding chapel. Guests can indulge and pamper at the resort’s leading Rejuvenation Spa. The refined elegance of this spectacular facility is reflected in its 16 private rooms offering the latest in naturopathy, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy or reflexology to stimulate the senses and bring harmony to mind, body and soul. There’s action and excitement too with amazing diving and snorkeling off the fringing coral reef, plus a wide range of water sports including jet skiing, parasailing, fishing and kayak adventures. On dry land there’s a hiking track through surrounding rainforest, one of the world’s largest outdoor aquariums boasting over 50 marine fish and coral varieties, plus a 44ft outdoor cinema that plays blockbuster movies.
Gold Coast and HinterlandIt is no coincidence that fashion mogul, Gianni Versace, chose the Gold Coast as the site for his flagship hotel, Palazzo Versace. With its 26 miles of sun-drenched beaches and Mardi Gras atmosphere, the “coast with the most” compliments the Versace vision of finery and fun. Pamper yourself in this miniature Miami with a visit to a holistic spa, dine at a gourmet restaurant or tee off at one of the areas 40 championship golf courses.
For those who are more comfortable in flip flops than in Fendi, the Gold Coast will not disappoint. Head inland and hike Australia’s beautiful Lamington National Park. Fish a canal in Venice-like South Stradbroke Island, or ride the Tower of Terror at Dreamworld amusement park. Travel to the Gold Coast and discover why it’s Australia’s family fun park.
Hamilton IslandSituated in the heart of the Whitsunday Island group, this place has something for all tastes and budgets. Different accommodation styles make this an ideal destination for families and honeymooners alike, from sea view apartments to bungalows set in tropical gardens, and from self-contained 1, 2 or 3 bedroom villas that include your very own golf buggy (to get around the island) to the simple sophistication and exclusivity of Beach Club, ideal for couples who want to indulge and get away from it all.
Hayman IslandRenowned for its elegance, service and superior location, Hayman is the ultimate in classic sophistication for the world-class traveler. With champagne in hand, the luxurious Hayman spirits launch you away to one of the finest resorts in the world. Hayman’s rooms, suites, penthouses and villa are beautifully appointed with services and facilities befitting a world class resort and private terraces or balconies offer breathtaking views of the magnificent pools, ponds, gardens, beach and Coral Sea. Abounding in lush, tropical growth, encircled with white sand and surrounded by coral reefs and warm waters, this island will be sure to indulge all your senses and embed life-lasting memories.
Heron IslandKnown as a nature lover’s retreat, Heron is a coral cay located right on the Great Barrier Reef. Here you can swim straight off the beach to a garden of coral where the waters are teeming with beautifully colored fish and marine life. You won’t see buildings above the tree line, and you won't bump into day-trippers either. Explore and discover the natural attractions on offer, from diving and snorkeling, to reef walks and bird watching. The relaxed island lifestyle on Heron promotes a sophisticated yet casual resort atmosphere to perfectly suit this natural paradise.
Lizard IslandLizard Island is truly secluded from the rest of the world. Located right on the Great Barrier Reef, there are 24 powdery-white beaches and 40 luxurious villas and suites. Sensational diving opportunities abound, including the famous Cod Hole and the island is only a 50-minute boat ride to the legendary Outer Great Barrier Reef. The Ribbon Reefs near Lizard Island are also renowned for some of the best big game fishing in the world.
Snorkelers are rewarded for little effort with coral gardens, brightly colored tropical fish and giant clams just moments from the island's beaches. Discover secluded, pristine beaches by foot or by motorized dinghy with a gourmet picnic just for two. Dining is one of Lizard Island's many pleasures. Osprey's Restaurant embodies the resort's understated elegance. The menu, which changes daily, is fresh and creative, showcasing the finest local produce and freshest seafood.
NoosaSurfers, seduced by spectacular waves, flocked to Noosa in the 1960's. Wealthy holidaymakers soon discovered this little gem in the Sunshine Coast’s crown and together they have created a stylish seaside getaway. Although surf, sand and sophistication don’t always blend, at Noosa they live in perfect harmony.
Orpheus IslandOrpheus is the ultimate romantic hideaway. Fringed by sheltered bays of unspoiled sandy beaches and wreathed in spectacular coral gardens, the resort is surrounded by 3,200 acres of protected National Park ensuring absolute tranquility. The style is distinctly Mediterranean, and the environment is unmistakably tropical Queensland, offering the ultimate in seclusion and privacy.
Port DouglasToday, the “Port” as it is called by locals, is a trendy, tropical resort and is giving its southern sister, Cairns, a run for its money. Sleek resorts and chic restaurants line the streets, while celebrities stretch out on the golden sand of Four Mile Beach, tending to their tans. Although it is easy to get star struck by the Port’s shiny veneer, this Australian town still has remnants of its humble beginnings, and colonial buildings can be found lazing in the shadows of 5-star hotels. Perfect for families, couples, singles and celebrities all visit here because of the way Port's laid back style, superb natural attractions and effortless sophistication blend together to create the unique flavor of the village.
Sleek resorts and chic restaurants line the streets, while celebrities stretch out on the golden sand of Four Mile Beach, tending to their tans. Although it is easy to get star struck by the Port’s shiny veneer, this Australian town still has remnants of its humble beginnings, and colonial buildings can be found lazing in the shadows of 5-star hotels. It is almost symbolic how the road into town passes through stoic sugarcane fields before widening into streets lined by prim palm trees – imported no less.
Beautiful, tropical Port Douglas is the gateway to the World Heritage Listed natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest. Snorkeling or diving the Great Barrier Reef is, quite simply, the adventure of a lifetime. The 3200 km Great Barrier Reef is the world's healthiest reef system, a marine wonderland made up of 6 600 species of flora and fauna including 1,500 species of fish, 4 000 species of mollusks and 400 types of coral.
Sunshine CoastAn hour’s drive from Brisbane, Australia’s Sunshine Coast is a ribbon of vacation villages, beautiful beaches and meandering mountains, extending from the Glass House Mountains to the colorful sands of Rainbow Beach in the north. Blissfully free of the glitz and glamour of the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast is a quieter, more relaxed version of its southern sister.
WhitsundaysWelcome to the Whitsunday Islands, Queensland’s preeminent tropical paradise. The hundred or so islands forming the Whitsunday’s vary from steep summits to coral cays all possessing a piece of Australian heaven. Snorkel the sun drenched waters of Hayman Island and count clownfish as they weave in and out of coral castles. Slumber under the stars and fall asleep to the sound of lapping waves while camping on your very own island, or stroll the soft sands of Whitehaven Beach and take in a sublime sunset.