Queensland's reefs, islands and beaches

Feel the powdery white sand between your toes, hear the sound of waves breaking on the shore and see the hidden jewels beneath the ocean's surface.

With 7,000km of sun-kissed coastline to explore, your senses are in for a treat in Australia's Sunshine State. Take only pictures and leave only footprints while you appreciate unique marine habitats that never stop changing.

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Explore Queensland's Great Barrier Reef, beautiful tropical islands and seemingly endless white sand beaches.

Island magic

Queensland has numerous offshore island paradises to explore and one of them, Moreton Island, is just 58km off the coast of Brisbane. Perfect for a day-trip or longer stay, the island's known for four-wheel-drive adventures, whale watching and tobogganing down epic sand dunes. Moreton Island also has a great selection of snorkelling trails that lead to sunken shipwrecks, giant granite rocks, caves and countless fascinating marine animals.

Perhaps the most magical experience is the chance to feed the wild dolphins of Moreton Island, which you can do if you stay at the Tangalooma Island Resort. This local pod has been coming to the bay since the 1990s and each dolphin has been given a name. It's a wonderful opportunity to see wild dolphins playing and interacting up close. Supervised by dolphin care staff from the resort, you can wade out into the crystal clear water to feed one of the dolphins by hand, while the sun sets behind the distant mainland across Moreton Bay.

However you choose to dip your toes into the warm waters of Queensland, you'll find yourself going back for more.

The coast with the most

Any trip to Queensland wouldn't be complete without a trip to the famous Gold Coast beaches. From the action of the always-spectacular Surfers Paradise to the locals' secluded spots you never knew existed, you're sure to discover your dream beach somewhere on this coast.

Tallebudgera Creek on the Gold Coast is a great place to discover a river mouth beach. The calm, crystal clear waters make this a perfect spot to hire a kayak or stand-up paddle board. Under your own steam, you can explore along the sandy inner shoreline beneath the Burleigh Heads National Park.

Learning to surf, Noosa, Sunshine Coast, Australia.

Walking on sunshine

White sand, calm bays and warm water. The beaches of the Sunshine Coast truly are some of the best in the world. At Noosa you could go from grommet to accomplished surfer in no time. For beginners, the main beach offers gentle rolling waves and popular surf schools to help you get started or to take your surfing to the next level. More experienced surfers can venture into the Noosa National Park to find some bigger breaks around the headland, at Alexandria Bay or over the hill at Sunshine Beach. And don't worry, the Sunshine Coast isn't all about waves; it's also home to calm, secluded bays perfect for lazing in the sun.

 
Snorkelling with Humphead wrasse, Queensland, Australia.

Exploring the reef

There's still so much we don't know about life under the sea. But we do know it's absolutely beautiful. To see it up close, your best bet is to head out to the Great Barrier Reef, one of nature's finest creations. Only 90 minutes by boat from Cairns, the reef is home to more than 5,000 different forms of marine life.

Further south, the Whitsunday Islands provide a great spot to experience another area of the 2,300km reef. Here you can visit for a day, charter a yacht or stay at an island resort. After exploring the clear waters, sandy beaches and national park islands you can relax, cocktail in hand, and soak up the evening view. Or if you're a bit more intrepid, hire a helicopter or seaplane and experience the full scale of the reef from above. It'll blow your mind.

 
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