Queensland has it all. Here you can swim above the planet’s largest coral reef system and hike through some of its oldest rainforests, see dinosaur footprints and spot koalas in the wild, sip fine wines and sample bushtucker. And when night falls you can escape under canvas or into a treehouse, snooze aboard a boat or beneath the ocean.
With so much to see, one visit is never enough. Fortunately, Singapore Airlines is Australia’s most frequent visitor, flying regularly into Queensland and serving both Brisbane and Cairns. Here’s what to do once you get there.
1. Spend time in the buzzing state capital, Brisbane
Sun-soaked and spirited, Brisbane combines a laidback lifestyle with vibrant culture. This is a city for coffee-in-hand strolls through world-leading art galleries and riverside lunches that stretch into the afternoon. Here you can tour farmers’ markets before hitting high-end boutiques or climb Australia’s longest cantilevered bridge before cycling along the banks of the river above which it soars.
There’s always something new in town. Head to Howard Smith Wharves for local wines and Queensland produce at waterfront restaurants, and in 2024 check out Queen’s Wharf, a soon-to-open development on the river’s edge that promises four new luxury hotels and more than 50 exciting new places to eat and drink.
2. Immerse yourself in the Great Barrier Reef
No visit to Queensland would be complete without taking a dive into the underwater world of the world’s largest reef system. From Cairns in Tropical North Queensland, head out with Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel to view the Reef with experienced marine biologists and First Nations cultural guides, offering a unique and ancient perspective on this incredible ecosystem. Or further south, while in Townsville, snorkel or dive to see awe-inspiring installations at the Museum of Underwater Art – the only underwater art museum in the southern hemisphere.
In the Southern Great Barrier Reef Region, a stay at Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort offers the chance to see turtles and manta rays, while you can sleep in a queen-size glamping bed, waking up to sunrise on the magnificent Great Barrier Reef.
3. Escape to an island paradise
Azure waters, white sands and an endless blue sky are guaranteed in the jaw-dropping Whitsunday Islands, at the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. You’ve seen Whitehaven Beach before – on postcards and in brochures galore – but its swirl of turquoise waters and creamy sands still takes the breath away and a sandy-toed walk here is unmissable. Explore the islands by boat, sailing to secluded beaches with Paradise Explorers on a private charter, or check into a blissful beachfront villa at adults-only (and entirely solar-powered) Elysian Retreat. The Ngaro Indigenous Cultural Tour will open your eyes to the history of these ancient island sea people, their customs, their ancient rock art, and how they hunted and sourced bush tucker.
4. Hike around the world’s largest sand island
There’s nowhere quite like K’gari (formerly Fraser Island), located on the Fraser Coast, but the world’s largest sand island is more than one big beach – you’ll also find lofty cliffs in a kaleidoscope of colours, natural sand blows and pristine freshwater lakes amid lush rainforest. Explore on two feet with Fraser Island Hiking who make the most of the island’s 56 miles (90 km) of trails with a variety of walks. Alternatively, stay awhile at Kingfisher Bay, an eco-resort with villas large enough for the whole family, or join a boat trip with K’gari Salty Safaris to spot humpback whales and enjoy incredible sunsets.
5. Get up close to wonderful wildlife
Want to see a ’roo? Sightings are easy at Cape Hillsborough in Mackay, where the beach is visited each morning by kangaroos. You can also meet marsupials just outside Brisbane, where Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the world’s largest koala sanctuary, offers the chance to hand-feed kangaroos and see a variety of Australian wildlife.
For something wilder, visit Hervey Bay on the Fraser Coast – Australia’s first World Whale Heritage Site – between July and November to sustainably swim with humpbacks or head out from Cairns during June and July to snorkel and dive with dwarf minke whales. Queensland’s most beguiling experience might just be found in Bundaberg at Mon Repos though. Visit during February and March and you can witness endangered turtles hatching in the moonlight and scurrying for the sea. Check out the Turtle Centre for information.
6. Snooze surrounded by nature
True luxury is staying somewhere that wows you from the moment you open your eyes. In Queensland you can sleep in the heart of the Daintree Rainforest – the world’s oldest tropical rainforest – at Silky Oaks Lodge, where luxurious tree houses come with hammocks on the deck and access to wild swimming in the Mossman River. Further north, you can also rest your head with the beach on your doorstep at Lizard Island Resort, where superlative snorkelling is within reach. Prefer back-country? Two hours west of Cairns, you can book into Mount Mulligan in the Outback to check out cattle stations and go barramundi fishing. And if you’d rather camp, head south to the Sunshine Coast and take your tent to Habitat Noosa on Lake Cootharaba, where canoes can be hired and walking treks organised.
7. Explore the state’s natural landscapes with traditional owners
Queensland is home to some incredible and diverse landscapes, as well as to the planet’s oldest rainforests, and to the world’s oldest continuous First Nations culture. First Nations guides know the land best and a tour with a traditional owner is an eye-opener. In the state capital, Brisbane, BlackCard Cultural Tours takes you through Indigenous Meanjin (Brisbane), along with weaving classes and a bush tucker tasting. In the Daintree Rainforest, join Walkabout Cultural Adventures and you’ll hear Dreamtime stories, learn to throw a boomerang, swim in freshwater streams and taste native foods.
Jarramali Rock Art Tours take you into Outback Queensland by 4WD or helicopter and into the wonders of Quinkan Rock Art. Near the small town of Laura in North Queensland, the site is hailed as one of the 10 most significant bodies of rock art in the world. The three-day Taribelang overnight experience in Bundaberg takes you on a deep dive into the cultures of the First Nations land and sea people of the Great Barrier Reef, with Taribelang Bunda guides and a crew of marine biologists, chefs and tour guides from the Lady Musgrave Experience.
8. Set off on an epic Outback adventure
Step away from the well-known rainforests and world-famous coastline to explore regional Queensland. Take the three-and-a-half hour flight from Brisbane, or book a sleeper cabin on the Spirit of the Outback train, to visit the atmospheric township of Longreach. In the heart of Queensland’s Outback and set by the Thomson River, it’s home to the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and has some beautiful boutique places to stay, including the rustic-chic Saltbush Retreat. It’s also a top spot for enjoying some of the state’s most spectacular sunsets. Nearby, Winton is Australia’s dinosaur capital and a jumping-off point for the five-day Dinosaur Trail, which takes in footprints and fossils.
Icons of the Sky
For more information on Singapore Airlines’ extensive network of destinations, products and services visit Singapore.com/FlyQueensland
We are delighted to announce that from 22 June 2024 Singapore Airlines will be adding five weekly flights from London Gatwick to complement our existing four daily flights from London Heathrow and five weekly flights from Manchester Airport to Singapore. Seamlessly connect onwards to destinations across South-east Asia, Australia and New Zealand. From Manchester, you can also fly non-stop to Houston, Texas.