Highlights of Southern Queensland
Imagine cruising down the road, singing at the top of your lungs while the stereo pumps out your favourite tunes. You stop every now and then, soaking in different sights and sounds. That was basically how things were during our 2 week road trip across Southern Queensland, thanks to FlyScoot and Tourism and Events Queensland.
To give you an idea of what it was like and how you can also do the same, here are some of our favourite things you can do!
We flew in to Gold Coast from Singapore, and started driving from Coolangatta Airport. Check out the map to orientate yourself!
(1) Try surfing like a pro
Where: Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast
With some of the best beaches and surfing spots in the world, there’s no way you can visit Gold Coast without experiencing surfing life and culture. For beginners, there are tons of surfing schools along Surfers Paradise that can get you started.
If getting wet and sandy isn’t really your thing, you can still aim for that sun kissed tan and watch the surfers do their thing. Once you’ve had enough sun, check out the surf clubs, grab a bite, or simply chill with an icy cool drink in hand.
(2) Experience Gold Coast from above
Where: Hot Air Balloon or Gold Coast Helitours, Gold Coast
Whether it’s watching the sunrise over the majestic Gold Coast hinterland in a hot air balloon, or seeing the coast from another perspective in a helicopter, nothing beats a view from up above.
The pictures speak for themselves.
(3) Selfie with Australian wildlife
Where: Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Cuddle with koalas and feed kangaroos at this not-for-profit sanctuary. But more than that, the sanctuary is a great place to learn about Australian wildlife and is suitable for all ages. There is an animal hospital that cares for injured wild animals, which even has a glass surgery room to educate the public on the importance of wildlife conservation.
(4) Discover Brisbane’s creative and cultural heart
Where: Fortitude Valley, Brisbane
Situated at the other side of the river, Fortitude Valley is where the hip in Brisbane gather. It’s grungy and offbeat and the same time, with the old and new blending in perfectly. Walk around and you’ll discover chic clubs and bars, an interesting mix of restaurants, and local designer shops on both the main streets and inside vibrant laneways.
To make the experience more insightful and worthwhile, book a free tour (yes free!) with one of the friendly Brisbane Greeters.
(5) Hunt for unique international street food
Where: Eat Streets Markets, Hamilton Wharfs
Seek out the best bites by local chefs in this unique market. Open every Friday and Saturday from 4pm till 10pm, the Eat Streets Markets is a collection of mini restaurants housed in reconfigured shipping containers. The chill vibe around the market makes it an ideal place to whine down with friends and family as the week comes to a close.
(6) Pick the finest and freshest produce for a home cooked meal
Where: Noosa Farmers Market
Produce doesn’t get any fresher than this. Every Sunday morning, the Noosa Farmers’ Market plays host to the best regional produce, grown or produced on the Sunshine Coast and it’s surrounding districts. Pick you own ingredients and go from farm to your dining table in the shortest possible time. After all, what’s a road trip without preparing some of your own dishes.
Do try to go early as the markets whine down by lunch time.
Going on a road trip doesn’t mean being confined to where your car can go too. Because there are tons of drop off centres around, we could simply return the car before hopping on a tour to another island!
(7) Explore the largest sand island in the world
Where: Fraser Island
This largest sand island in the world stretches for over 120km and is simply breathtaking to drive through. What’s amazing is that other than white sandy beaches, there are also rainforests, numerous fresh water lakes, and crystal clear creeks around the island. You can even swim in some of them!
Spending a night on this island star gazing is also an unforgettable experience. I never knew so many stars existed!
(8) Swim with turtles in the Great Barrier Reef
Where: Lady Elliot Island
This is the place to get up close and personal with marine wildlife. Turtles, mantas, black tipped sharks, unspoilt coral reefs, and all kinds of fish. Located on the southern most tip of the Great Barrier Reef, Lady Elliot Island is a coral cay that’s simply magical from the moment you step off the scenic flight. You can literally snorkel off the beach instead of having to take a long boat ride out. If you’re lucky, you can even catch turtles nesting or hatching during the season.
The Eco resort offers both day tours and longer stays on the island.
(9) Indulge in local food products
Where: Maleny & Montville
Go on a local food tour around the Sunshine Coast hinterland and discover hidden gems made by local food producers. Sample cheeses, yogurts, chocolates, coffees, and many more in a day of indulgence. Although we didn’t get to try everything that was on offer, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Maleny Cheese Factory, where we learnt about the support network amongst the different producers.
(10) Sleep in a train carriage
Where: Glasshouse Mountains Eco Lodge
If sleeping in alternative accommodations is your thing, this cosy eco lodge at the heart of the scenic Glasshouse Mountains is a must. Choose between staying in an 1882 Victorian Train Carriage, 60 year old Queenslander Train Carriage, or even an old restored church! The cosy and well equipped rooms will definitely charm your mind into a good night’s sleep.
The owner is also a firm believer of sustainability and reducing waste, so you can find a self sufficient food garden, and see all sorts of quirky little installations made from recycled materials.
This was truly an eco experience!
After reading all these, are you now ready to hit the road to Gold Coast and beyond?