With intrastate travel restrictions eased, now is the perfect time to pack up your vehicle and hit the road to explore just one of the many picturesque locations that the northeast state has to offer.
Home to year-round warm weather, lush ancient rain forests, pure white-sand beaches, the Great Barrier Reef, and the more cosmopolitan Gold and Sunshine coasts – Queensland will have you covered no matter what kind of adventurous activities tickle your fancy.
In this article, we’ve wrapped up the crème de la crème of camping, sightseeing, hiking, 4WDing, and road trips that you can do in Queensland.
If you just want to skip ahead to check out certain activities, then click the links below:
Camping & sightseeing
Located off the coast of Queensland, K’gari (commonly known as Fraser Island) is one of the most popular and idyllic destinations to go 4WDing and camping in Australia. This heritage listed area is the world’s largest sand island and is home to the purest dingo population in the country.
Access to the island is by barge with the Manta Ray Barge running daily from Inskip Point, around a 3-hour drive north from Brisbane. Permits are required, both vehicle and camping, and you will need to pre-book to secure your spot. With a plethora of campsites available you’ll easily find an option to suit based on your personal needs and setup. If camping with kids, it’s recommended to choose a fenced site as against one of the more wild camping options but check out this link here for all the sites on offer.
No matter how long you stay, you won’t be lost for things to do. Lake McKenzie, Eli Creek, the Champagne Rock Pools, Sandy Cape Lighthouse, the Maheno Shipwreck and Indian Head Lookout will satisfy even the most dilegent explorer. Or if kicking back and chillaxing is more your mood then the open stretches of white sand won’t disappoint.
The pristine beaches and crystal clear water of K’gari. Image: Amie Duncan
Carnarvon Gorge – camping
Featuring a stunning array of rugged ranges and gorges, an abundance of aboriginal artworks, and unique flora and fauna – the Carnarvon Gorge section of Carnarvon National Park is rich in cultural history and significance.
Located 720km northwest of Brisbane, you have a few options for accommodation such as Sandstone Park which is 5km out of the park, Wallaroo Outback Retreat for a glamping experience as well as some other seasonal camping sites near the visitors centre. With so many breathtaking walks to do including the Art Gallery, Wards Canyon, the Amphitheatre, the Moss Garden, Boolimba Bluff, the Rock Pool, and Baloon Cave – you won’t want to forget those hiking boots.
Of course, there is also the Great Carnarvon Walk which is an 87km long journey through the wilderness, making it an ideal trip for the experienced hiker. You read read more about this hike towards the end but to get updates on exactly what is open, head to the official website here.
Camping at Carnarvon Gorge. Image: Bob West
Boodjamulla Lawn Hill National Park
Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park is located in the north west of Qld near the NT border, and is a large area of sandstone ranges cut by gorges and rivers.
For the Waanyi traditional landowners, they have a rich and diverse variety of connections to the land. You should allow yourself a minimum of 4 days to truly experience everything the park has to offer and access is via unsealed roads in various conditions – smooth, freshly graded, rough and some corrugated with patches of bulldust – so keep that in mind. In terms of accommodation, there are limited camping areas that must be booked online in advance to secure your spot.
One way to truly appreciate the area and immerse yourself in all it has to offer is by kayaking through the upper and middle gorges. Kayaks are available for hire from the designated launching spot. Alternatively, you can check out the cascading water at Indarri Falls, explore the Island Stack Walk, Wild Dog Dreaming track, or Constance Range walk.
Spend a couple of days enjoying Boodjamulla. Image: Bob West
4WDing & road trips
Mulgumpin (Moreton Island)
With pristine beaches, a range of hikes for all fitness levels, stunning creeks and lagoons, 4WD tracks galore and only a ferry ride away from Brisbane – there’s more than a few good reasons why Moreton island is known as the gem of South East Queensland.
To get around the island, you will need a 4WD as there are no sealed roads. The most popular tracks on Moreton Island are the Telegraph Walking Track and the Rous Battery Track, but there are plenty of others to keep you occupied too. Aside from hiking and 4WDing, you can also boat and fish on the island, snorkel or dive, or try and spot some of the local wildlife.
There are quite a few campsite options which can be viewed and booked in advance here, and if you’re planning on exploring the rugged sandy tracks then you’ll need a 4WD permit too. Getting there is via ferry, which you can book through MICAT here, and takes around 90 minutes in total.
Pack up your 4WD and head to Moreton Island. Image: Dan McGee
Landcruiser Mountain Park
Landcruiser Mountain Park is around a 2 hour drive into the hinterland from the Sunshine Coast, or approximately 2 hours northwest of Brisbane. It is a 10,000-acre working cattle property with 200kms of 4WD trails, making it a 4WD lovers dream.
Not only does this cattle property offer 4WDing, but it is also a privately owned wilderness park with plenty more to explore and enjoy. No matter what you’re in the mood for, be it waterfalls and creeks, fishing, swimming, birdwatching, or just relaxing into some quiet downtime, this park caters for everyone.
There are four main camping areas with toilets and hot showers for those who are not self-sufficient, campfires are allowed, and you can bring your pooch along too so you don’t have to leave a family member behind on your getaway.
This Wilderness park is jam-packed with adventure opportunities. Image: Dan Watkins
A bucket list destination for all Aussie travellers, not just locals – the journey to Cape York, the northernmost point of Australia, is a must for anyone wanting a fun and challenging experience.
The remote and untouched beauty of this part of the country, plus the elated feeling of being at the very top of Australia is enough to get any adventure lover excited. You’ll need at least two weeks for this journey, as well as a 4WD with high clearance. In terms of accommodation, you can camp or stay at a station, caravan park or resort along the route.
The main road that runs to the tip of Cape York is known as the PDR, short for Peninsula Developmental Road. Alongside this road and occasionally overlapping with the PDR is the Old Telegraph Track, guaranteed to be a highlight for 4WD enthusiasts who will enjoy the challenge of this bush track.
Take a trip to the tip. Image: Todoing Family
Hiking and walking
(K’gari) Fraser Island Great Walk
The Fraser Island Great Walk is a long distance hike totalling 90kms and takes around 6-8 days to complete. This hike allows you to experience some of the best scenery and sights on the island, and can be cut down into shorter, easier walks to cater for a half or full day activity.
For all the details on the sections of the Great Walk, as well as the shorter walks you can do – check out this factsheet here.
The Great Walk is the perfect challenge for experienced walkers. Image: Fraser Island Hiking
Carnarvon Gorge Great Walk
Revisiting the Carnarvon Gorge Great Walk that was previously mentioned, this walk is part of the Carnarvon Gorge National Park and covers a total of 87kms so allow 6-7 days to complete.
The best time to do this hike is from March through to October as it’s usually closed from November until February due to the heat and possibility of bush fires. You’ll need to get a camping permit and pay your fees in advance. Some highlights along the hike include the Moss Garden, Amphitheatre, the incredible Aboriginal rock art on the sandstone walls at the Art Gallery and the lookout at Battleship Spur.
If you’ve previously done a few overnight hikes and want to take on a longer trail, the Carnarvon Gorge Great Walk would be ideal to add to your bucket list. Head to the official website here for more information on the trail and for health and safety updates.
Explore Carnarvon Gorge by foot. Image: Sabrina Blaas
Day hikes – Brisbane, Gold Coast Hinterland and Cairns
Can’t get enough of lush greenery and breathtaking views? If you’re a local, then you’ll love exploring some of the tracks in the Gold Coast Hinterland area. Ranging from intermediate to difficult, explore Pages Pinnacle, Mt.Cougal, or Mt.Ernest to get your fix of fresh air and scenery.
If you’re closer to Brisbane there are a range of great walks only a couple of hours from the Brissie CBD. The most popular include Mount Beerwah, Mount Warning, Mount Barney and Mount Coot-tha, all of which are perfect for a Saturday or Sunday arvo.
If you’re not near Brisbane but are up in the Far North towards Cairns and you’re a big fan of chasing waterfalls, then head to Babinda – The Boulders, Barron Falls, Stoney Creek, Hartley’s Creek Falls, Josephine Falls, or Crystal Cascades. Any of these are sure to impress!
Enjoy one of the several waterfall hikes near Cairns. Image: Sabrina Blaas
Did we miss any top spots in Queensland? Let us know in the comments!