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Where is the Great Barrier Reef?

The Great Barrier Reef lies just offshore of Queensland in the Coral Sea and runs the entire length of the East Coast state. Stretching more than 2300km it's the world's largest coral reef and it's so impressive that it can even be seen from space! Each part of this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a different and exciting experience to tick off as you travel up the coast. Go sailing around the islands, snorkel the clear waters and go diving to discover the beauty of the reef. After you've experienced it, you'll understand the importance of protecting the reef so that future generations can make amazing memories just like yours. 

Top highlights in Queensland


Great Barrier Reef

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Fraser Island

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Cape Tribulation

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The four regions of Queensland

There's no doubt about it, Queensland is big (seven times the size of the UK infact!) so it goes without saying that there's tons to explore - but where do you start? Not only have we split Queensland up into sections, we've explored beyond the iconic and into hidden Queensland, so you don't miss a thing! Be prepared to want to hop on a plane immediately...
The capital city of Queensland is a vibrant destination for backpackers to set up camp for a couple of months on their way up the East Coast. The mixture of the year-round sunshine, lively nightlife, plus enough bars and restaurants to last a lifetime (and even a man made beach overlooking the skyline!). This is a city you don't want to miss out.
Gold Coast
Gold Coast
This is the place travellers and even Aussies flock to when they're wanting to live the Australian dream - it's got beautiful beaches, tons of surf spots, and the great weather to match. Plus if you're looking for some serious partying, the Gold Coast is home to the famous Surfers Paradise.
Tropical North Queensland
North Queensland
North Queensland is where you can discover real Queensland - from diving the Great Barrier Reef and sailing the Whitsundays, to exploring rainforests and getting away from the usual tourist hotspots. If you want to discover hidden gems and experience some real adventure, then this is just the place.
Fraser Island
Fraser & Sunshine Coast
The Fraser and Sunshine Coast has everything you're looking for (and probably more!). You've got the famous Fraser Island, which you can spend days exploring and camping under the stars, beautiful and idyllic beaches and bays where you can relax and top up your tan, plus tons of coastal towns where you can experience classic Aussie living.

Places you don't want to miss in Queensland

  • Daintree Rainforest
    Located in the tropical north of Queensland, this is one of the three oldest rainforests in the world, and is unbelievably stunning.
  • Mount Coo-tha Lookout
    Love a great city view? Then Mount Coo-tha should be on your agenda when you visit Brisbane. Head up there for the sunset and enjoy the panoramic views of the CBD.
  • Noosa National Park
    You've got loads of walks to choose from at Noosa National Park, but we recommend the coastal walk, where you'll be taken to tons of beautiful bays and beaches.
  • Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
    This is the world's first and largest koala sanctuary, but not only do they care for koalas, they house kangaroos too!
  • Springbrook National Park
    This is a one for Instagram. It's right in the heart of the Gold Coast Hinterland, where you'll find waterfalls, caves, and an ancient volcano - with incredible views.
  • South Bank Brisbane
    A beach in the middle of the city, infront of the skyline? Sounds unlikely. However that's what Brisbane did to feed their Aussie love of beaches. Definitely worth a look.

Work in Queensland

What better way to live the Australian dream than by getting yourself a working holiday visa? And Queensland is the best place to start - not only will you rack up money to travel further afield, you'll also be located in the perfect spot...with beaches and adventure right on your doorstep! What's more, we currently have 10% off work and travel starter packs to get you off to the right start!
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Getting around Queensland

Australia Campervan Hire
For a no fuss Aussie adventure that's done your way and no one else's, hire a camper to cruise along the East Coast of Queensland! Pick up your camper from Cairns or Brisbane and start exploring the sunshine state!
Queensland Rail
Choose from either the Queensland Coastal Pass or Explorer Pass, it's a flexible, easy and versatile way to discover the East Coast of Queensland by rail and it's your ticket to the East Coast's most popular destinations! Discover world-famous beaches, experience true Aussie hospitality, meet legendary locals and enjoy a great way of life via Queensland Rail.
Hop-on Hop-off Bus Passes
Whether you simply just want your transport sorted or fancy getting activities and trips thrown in too, our Australia bus passes are sure to fix up your Queensland adventure for you.

Tours and activities in Queensland

Up to 20% off

Adventure Tours

brisbane to cairns
Brisbane to Cairns Experience - 10 days
This extensive and compact journey up the East Coast of Queensland is nothing short of ideal. Employing a diverse range of transport yachts, trains, 4x4s, and buses you'll visit Fraser Island and the Whitsundays, go snorkelling and camp out under the stars in an authentic Australian "swag."
From £1,229
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queensland sailing sand tour
Queensland Sand, Sailing & Dreamtime - 12 days
This is the perfect 12-day adventure for sailing buffs that want to experience the blue waters of Queensland, as well as off-road enthusiasts looking to explore via private 4x4s. We've got an exclusive riverside camp to stay at in the gorgeous Noosa Everglades, and once we've left Airlie Beach, you'll learn about indigenous artisan crafts from local Aborigines.
From £1,499 
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best of aus
Best of Australia - 14 days
Hop aboard this 14-day trip down Australia's East Coast and make the most of the time you do have. Offering a solid mix of must-do experiences and uncommon adventures, youll learn to surf, sail the Whitsundays and trek through Mossman Gorge in the Daintree Rainforest.
From £2,399 
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When is the best time to visit Queensland?

The great thing about visiting Queensland is that it's pretty much a year-round destination. Like the rest of Australia, their seasons are swapped around, so summer is December to February, and winter is June to August. You can still get decent temperatures in the winter, with highs averaging 21°C - but people tend to head over in spring or summer for the warmer temperatures.

Looking for some more inspiration? Check out our STA Travel Blog!

STA Travel Blog

A sneak peek into hidden Queensland

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STA Travel Blog

Why you should start your working holiday visa in Queensland

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STA Travel Blog

Where to visit the Great Barrier Reef

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