North Queensland Holiday Destinations

Posted: 1 February 2021

North Queensland is a unique slice of Australia; a tropical landscape characterised by its unique geography, wildlife and local characters, there’s no question that it’s an opportunity to see a part of the country that’s distinct from anywhere else on the continent. So if you’re looking for North Queensland holiday ideas, AAT Kings is here to help. We’ve compiled some of the best places to visit – and if you’re looking for accommodation or for tropical North Queensland holiday packages, we’re more than happy to help.


1,700km north of Brisbane, Cairns is a bit of an unofficial second capital city in Queensland – at least, that’s what the locals will have you believe! It’s a great spot to serve as a gateway or base to the rest of your holiday in Queensland – located close to the Great Barrier Reef, the Atherton Tablelands and Daintree Rainforest – as well as having quite a few attractions of its own to recommend it. Beaches are within easy reach, there’s a vibrant sporting culture, shopping is readily available and  there are plenty of friendly locals keen for a yarn. It’s an ideal spot to seek accommodation during your stay, or as part of a longer Cairns holiday – or maybe even a Cairns & the Great Barrier Reef Tour.

Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef North Queensland Blog

How many places can you say have one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world within a short hop? Well, Cairns can, with the world-famous Great Barrier Reef a comparative jaunt down the road. Famed worldwide for its bright, colourful coral and the incredible biodiversity both in the water and on land, this truly spectacular assemblage of 2,900 coral reefs combines to create the world’s largest reef system.

It’s truly a visual sensation, with brightly-coloured coral, enchanting tropical fish and entrancing natural surrounds – no matter which part of the reef you visit. Spanning more than 2000km of Queensland’s coastline, and recognised on the World Heritage List in 1981, the Great Barrier Reef is a must-see part of any visit to tropical North Queensland. 


Whitsundays North Queensland Blog Post

Comprised of more than 70 islands in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays have long been a prized holiday destination for their sandy beaches, unspoiled national parks and exotic locales. If you’re looking for a tropical Queensland Tour, the Whitsundays are the perfect spot to visit – whether you’re looking for a relaxed resort-style vacation with luxury accommodation or are up for something more adventurous across the islands themselves. 

Fraser Island's 75 Mile Beach

Maheno Shipwreck Fraser Island North Queensland Blog

The world’s largest sand island is home to pristine beaches of golden sand, tropical rainforest and freshwater lakes perfect for cooling off after a day of exploring. K’Gari, or Frasers Island offers visitors many World Heritage-listed wonders, including the spectacular natural highway of 75 Mile Beach which also doubles as a landing strip for light aircraft.

The Indian Head Lookout is the perfect vantage point over the ocean and rainforest, and you may be able to spot humpback whales as they pass by during the months of August through to October. Crystal-clear Lake Mackenzie is one of over 100 freshwater lakes and perfect for a dip, while Eli Creek will transport you along a channel of beautiful banksia trees. Another must-see attraction is the rusting wreck of the S.S. Maheno, which makes a picturesque backdrop for some memorable holiday selfies and Instagram moments.

Coral Sea Marine Park

Home to the famed Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea Marine park is the largest marine park of its kind in Australia, home to 600 fish species and 34 isolated reefs. Visitors come here for the spectacular crystal-clear waters which offer some of the most amazing diving in the world. For those who want to explore in a more leisurely fashion, there are plenty of opportunities to snorkel and nature watch, spotting whales, dolphins and turtles.

Cape York

Cape York North Queensland Blog

Untouched miles of wilderness, savannahs and rainforest will all enhance your enjoyment of the northernmost point of the country. The Old Telegraph track is justifiably world-famous, and a fantastic 4WD drive for experienced travellers, but if you’re looking for other ways to see Cape York, then there are plenty of options with AAT Kings. A Cape York tour offers the chance to get off the beaten track to explore this remote, seldom-visited region of the country.

Port Douglas

Port Douglas North Queensland Blog

Just an hour north from Cairns, you’ll find the village of Port Douglas, perched at the end of a peninsula. The area is well-known for its relaxed coastal lifestyle and friendly vibe among holidaymakers. There are plenty of accommodation options – and of course, a Port Douglas tour available  to introduce you to the highlights of the region. With sights such as the Four Mile Beach and its proximity to the Daintree Rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef and Cape Tribulation, it’s no surprise that it’s become such a popular destination for travellers from around Australia.

Daintree Rainforest

Daintree Rainforest North Queensland Blog

As the largest tropical rainforest in Australia – and one of the oldest surviving ones – the Daintree Rainforest is also one of the most biodiverse areas in the country. Home to 30% of Australia’s frog, marsupial and reptile species, as well as 65% of Australia’s bat and butterfly species, it’s the ideal location for any nature lover to get up close and personal with some the Australia’s unique flora and fauna.

Alexandra Lookout provides breathtaking views for keen bushwalkers, gazing across the spectacular coral of the Great Barrier Reef, as well as a wondrous view of the Rainforest itself. For those after something more leisurely, a glide down the Daintree River among the mangrove trees is a wonderfully sedate way to enjoy the surroundings.

Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation North Queensland Blog

A coastal area within the Daintree Rainforest, visiting Cape Tribulation is like stepping back into Australia’s ancient history. It’s something of an evolutionary time capsule for both native wildlife and vegetation, with species of both that have remained relatively unchanged since Australia was part of the supercontinent Gondwana. 

Yet it’s not just amateur palaeontologists who will find themselves captivated by the area. Rainforest swimming holes, and the opportunity for off-road adventures in a 4WD or on bikes are yours for the taking. Whether you’re looking for relaxation or high-octane adventure, Cape Tribulation has an activity for you.

Mission Beach

Halfway between Townsville and Cairns is Mission Beach – a chain of four beach villages, linked together by 14km of sand. It’s a wonderful mix of luxury accommodation and nature-based activities. For birdwatchers in particular, it presents an opportunity to catch sight of the striking and pre-historic cassowary in its natural habitat.

Atherton Tablelands

Atherton Tablelands North Queensland Blog

Just south of Cairns and part of the Great Dividing Range, the Atherton Tablelands are one of the many natural wonders in North Queensland. Nearby, you’ll also find Kuranda Village and Lake Eacham. Covering 64,748 sq km, it’s jam-packed full of so many activities that you’ll want to make sure you have time to experience it all. Self-driving tours are the ideal way to experience the many national parks and tourist features within the area, including Hastie Swamp with its rich birdlife, Mt Mulligan Escarpment, the Curtain Fig Tree and countless others. For those looking for a unique way to see the sights, there’s also the Tableland Express – a steam-powered train journey across the landscape.


Kuranda Railway North Queensland Blog

Colloquially known as the “Village in the Rainforest”, Kuranda Village is a mountain retreat just 25km north-west of Cairns. With the World Heritage-listed Barron Gorge National Park nearby, as well as two great local markets in town, it’s the perfect place to stop in for a for some local shopping and culture.

Barron Falls is also a must-visit spot – whether you decide to visit by the highway, the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and the Kuranda Scenic Railway, you’ll have the opportunity to visit a lush green paradise, capped off by some of the most striking waterfalls in the country.

Tropical North Queensland Holiday Packages

Visiting tropical North Queensland is a must for all travellers and adventurers at heart, with so many unique natural attractions – – no matter what sort of holiday you’re looking for, whether it’s simply relaxing by the beach, looking for luxury accommodation, shopping or exploring the wonders of nature, there’s an opportunity to find the style that suits you. To find out how you can make your dream Tropical Queensland tour a reality, and to learn more about our tropical North Queensland holiday packages, contact your AAT kings representative today.

By AAT Kings


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North Queensland Holiday Destinations



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