Queensland first stops
Brisbane is at the edge of Moreton Bay, which is home to the bug of the same name. Moreton Bay bugs are not insects, they're a type of slipper lobster that looks like something from the Jurassic period. Take it from us, they are absolutely delicious. Find yourself a riverside restaurant and order a plate of grilled bugs, or go the whole hog with a seafood platter.
Find a long cool one by the river, which is hard to miss because it cuts Brisbane in two. You'll find a mass of great bars on the riverbank just north of the botanic gardens. Choose a theme to suit your mood - Italian, uber-cool contemporary, modern Australian or sports pub. The local craft beer scene is fizzing, so ask a barman for a recommendation. Alternatively, Queensland serves up some terrific tropical cocktails.
Discover the sheltered islands of southern Moreton Bay on a sea kayak tour, launching from Redland Bay. One of the prettiest destinations is Coochiemudlo Island, known locally as Coochie. There's a good chance you'll see turtles while paddling to the island, or even a dugong. Another kayaking destination is Tingalpa Creek, a wildlife corridor where you can watch sea eagles and wading birds.
Queensland has some of the most luxurious day spas on the planet. Relax with a riverbed massage while you glamp in the Hinterland, enjoy beachside yoga after a day at the Gold Coast markets, and kick back in bath-like waters with a cocktail in hand at the Whitsundays Islands. If you travel to unwind, then you've come to the right place.
Just up the river from Brisbane's CBD is the 18-hectare Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, home to more than 130 koalas, as well as a community of kangaroos, dingoes, Tasmanian devils, wombats, platypus, echidnas and a variety of reptiles. This is where you can cuddle a koala, walk with a dingo and appreciate sun-baking pythons. You need to book for this experience, because you'll be guided by a keeper during your encounter.
Visiting one of nature's finest creations, the Great Barrier Reef, is a powerful experience. With velvety, white sand beaches and turquoise water, the reef will leave you with memories for a lifetime. One of the most captivating ways to experience the reef is by boat, either relaxing as a passenger or adventuring out as your own captain.