The northern reaches of Queensland are incredible sites for those who enjoy vast wilderness. The area plays host to over an incredible 36 national parks and contains three World Heritage Sites within its borders, namely the Wet Tropics of Queensland, Riversleigh fossil site and, most famously of all, the Great Barrier Reef.
Considered one of the great natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef is the biggest coral reef system on the planet. Superlatives fail to capture its immensity and beauty, an environment that fosters incredible biodiversity, including 30 species of cetaceans, more than 1500 types of fish and the graceful dugong, strung out across 2300km (1400 miles). Explore this underwater marvel with unmatched snorkelling, diving and wildlife watching boat trips. There are also hundreds of islands and beaches to discover.
Another popular destination is nearby Cairns, a great spot from which to begin an adventure into the tropical jungles of northern Queensland. With great stretches of eucalyptus savannahs and its remote, barely disturbed environment, the Cape York Peninsula is the northernmost point of Australia. Rivers, creeks and streams bubble through mostly flat territory with mangrove swamps, rainforests and amazing, rough trails for real explorers. The town of Laura also harbours some of the oldest rock paintings from the Aboriginal peoples.
When to go
Northern Queensland is sunny year round, with warm waters and cool coastal breezes. Winter, between May and October, is more commonly known as the dry season, and is the best time to visit, while the summer wet season is balmier and experiences tropical downpours later in the day.
This area boasts not one, but two World Heritage listed sites, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Daintree Rainforest. Snorkel, dive or take in the view from above on a private chartered flight – there are so many ways to enjoy the reef in all its glory. Exploring the largest rainforest in Australia is also essential, as it is home to a huge amount of flora and fauna, which grows right down to white sandy beaches and fringing reefs, an extremely rare combination.