Lush rainforests, vibrant coral reefs and enriching ancient culture: We reveal the must-visit destination in 2021 for those looking to reconnect and rejuvenate
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Soak your cares away in the impossibly beautiful surroundings of Mossman Gorge, Daintree Rainforest
Seems like we could all do with a holiday, wouldn’t you agree?
A great getaway is something we’d all benefit from, one where we can leave the events of 2020 behind and invigorate our senses with rejuvenating experiences that connect us with the natural world and our surroundings.
How this manifests is up to you. Whether you’re after cultural stimulation, luxurious eco-retreats or once-in-a-lifetime wildlife encounters, there’s one destination which can offer it all and much, much more – and it’s topping our travel list for 2021.
Here are just some of the reasons you’re going to want to visit Queensland next year.
Goodbye screen time, hello green time
Step back into nature in Queensland’s lush and leafy Gold Coast hinterland
Queensland’s most breathtaking destinations
Reacquaint yourself with the natural world’s treasure trove of picture-perfect sights in Queensland with these must-visit beauty spots.
Cape Tribulation, Tropical North Queensland
Coastal landscapes don’t get more beautiful than Cape Tribulation. Azure blue waters are separated from the lush green rainforest of the land by a thin strip of undisturbed white beach – bliss.
Heart Island, Whitsundays
Is anything cooler than a heart-shaped coral cay in the middle of the sea? This perfectly formed part of the world is best enjoyed from a new pontoon ‘Heart Island’ which allows you to see this beauty spot up close.
Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park, Outback Queensland
This breathtaking oasis is defined by its striking red cliffs and calm turquoise waterways lined with trees; a truly gorgeous natural scene.
Tamborine Mountain Plateau, South East Queensland
Set in a national park of impressive rainforest, this panorama is best viewed from the very top of the famous Tamborine Mountain Sky Walk, which takes you right up above the tree line.
Magnetic Island, Townsville area
Imposing granite headlands, golden sandy beaches and a peaceful home to over 100 bird species – Magnetic Island is a picturesque haven for nature-lovers and those in search of calm. And let’s not forget that it’s home to the world’s largest colony of koalas!
We’re all guilty of turning to our screens during our downtime, but that’s not truly switching off. To do this properly we need to get away from it all, and disappearing into the great Queensland outdoors should do the trick.
There’s more than just spectacular beach holidays to get excited about here (although if that’s what you need, you’re thoroughly spoilt for choice). Immersing youself in the great outdoors is part of the DNA in this north-eastern state and it’s easy to see why, with vast rainforests, rainbow-coloured coral reefs and mile upon mile of natural parks to explore.
One of the prettiest natural environments to see lies north up the coast from Brisbane in the Girringun National Park.
Lose yourself among the towering trees on the Dalrymple Gap walking trail and replace the hustle and bustle of daily life with that of tropical bird calls on this short walking route, which is a great way to ease yourself into life in this part of the world. Take a picnic with you to enjoy while sitting by Australia’s highest single-drop waterfall, Wallaman Falls.
From here, you could continue north to Cairns which is just over a three-hour drive or take a detour inland to the Undara National Park to visit one of Queensland’s five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Undara Lava Tubes.
Formed over 190,000 years ago, these series of hollow tubes are the planet’s longest lava-formed cave systems. As well as the chance to explore the lava tube caves on a guided tour, you can also explore the park on walking tracks ranging from 1.5 to 7 miles return.
Reconnect with wildlife
You’ll be hard-pushed not to encounter some of Australia’s best known local wildlife on your travels in Queensland.
From muscular kangaroos wrestling on the dusty plains, to laughing kookaburras filling the treetops with their famous cackling, wildlife is abound; a refreshing and heartwarming change of scene.
If you’re looking to reconnect with nature, there are a few experiences you won’t want to miss. Firstly, there’s the resident dingo population on Fraser Island off the coast of Hervey Bay.
These native wild dogs roam the beaches dawn and dusk on the hunt for fish, and one of their favourite past times is barking at any planes that dare fly over their private paradise.
Look out to sea here, especially between the months of June and September, and you’ll witness humpback whales diving through the waves. Hervey Bay was declared one of the first Whale Watching Heritage Sites last year, and The Hervey Bay Dive Centre offers daily tours where you can learn more about these gentle marine giants.
For a truly wild experience Down Under, however, you need to head north to the lush rainforests of the Daintree and join a River Drift Snorkelling tour with Back Country Bliss. Here, you can swim gently along the crystal-clear rivers with turtles, fish and even the occasional platypus.
Goodness for all
Indulgent stays can do wonders for your wellbeing – and in Queensland, it can even help the environment, too.
Queensland is home to a growing number of eco resorts which offer luxury accomodation while protecting the natural world.
Book yourself in for an eco-stay on Wilson Island. This little island is home to loggerhead and green turtle nesting and hatching sites, and the cost of your stay goes towards ensuring they are permanently protected.
Meanwhile, Elysian Eco Retreat is the first entirely solar-powered hotel on the Great Barrier Reef, and offers total seclusion from the world as it’s on its own private island. Find some inner peace with daily yoga classes on the beach then join a snorkel tour with an eco-certified Great Barrier Reef operator to ensure you have an incredible reef experience in a low impact way.
As an added bonus, your tour cost also includes an Environmental Management Charge. This ‘reef tax’ helps pay for the day-to-day management and conservation of the Reef. So not only will you be supporting credible, local businesses but you’ll also be helping to protect the beautiful Great Barrier Reef.
Help the many species of sea turtle who live in the waters off Queensland by supporting eco-tourism spots on your travels
You can get actively involved in helping the reef, too. International environmental charity Earthwatch invites volunteers to dive in and help researchers at the forefront of active reef restoration science. Based on Magnetic Island for five days (and costing £712), volunteers work alongside researchers at the forefront of active reef restoration science, helping to remove algae from corals, conduct research and explore best-practice methods for allowing coral to regrow.
And finally, there are so many incredible Indigenous communities that you can support through local tours. Not only will you support tourism jobs but you’ll also learn about the oldest living culture on earth.
Yalingbila Whale Watching cruises, for example, are run by the Quandamooka people, who have long shared a deep spirtual and cultural connection with whales. Climb aboard and listen to their fascinating history while learning about the different whales that grace Queensland’s shores.
For an inland experience, Walkabout Cultural Tours, led by Aboriginal guides, offers personalised expeditions of Daintree Rainforest, where you can learn about different bush foods, medicines, and sample some seasonal bush tucker while appreciating the history, culture and traditions of the local Kuku Yalanji people.
Mid to late summer is the best time of year to see whales and their calves out at sea in Queensland
Visit our Queensland hub today to plan your 2021 escape Down Under
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