Queensland Country Life

What makes Queensland one of the world's most popular bucket list destinations?

What makes Queensland one of the world's most popular bucket list destinations?

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There's no denying that Queensland is jam-packed with things to see and do, both for domestic and international travellers alike.

From surfing or sunbathing on the pristine beaches dotting the Sunshine Coast to trekking through the forested areas spanning the state's many national parks, there's plenty of reasons to visit the sunkissed state of Queensland before you die.

And it's not just Aussies who see this state's potential, as Queensland holidays are fairly popular across the globe.

So what are the main bucket list-worthy attractions that are bringing world travellers to the Sunshine State?

We'll be taking a look at all the natural and cultural attractions that make Queensland a must-see destination for people from all corners of the globe.

Experiencing the Great Barrier Reef

Arguably the most breathtaking attraction that Queensland has to offer, the Great Barrier Reef is visited by approximately two million tourists annually, with many hoping to witness the reef in all its remaining majesty, given the detrimental impacts that the ongoing climate crisis has held on its biodiversity.

Visiting the reef is likely to rank in the top ten additions for any bucket list because of its status as one of the Earth's seven natural wonders as well.

Despite the fact that the reef has been hit hard by coral bleaching due to ocean acidification and water temperatures rising, the reef is still a mesmerising tourist attraction that's home to literally thousands of fish, birds, and other species of marine life (and micro-organisms!) that can't be found anywhere else in the world.

You may even get to swim with some dwarf minke whales if you schedule your trip to coincide with their migration route through the Coral Sea.

There's also more than one way to explore the reef, with aerial tours being just as popular as boating excursions.

Avid explorers may also like to give snorkelling or scuba diving a go in order to boost their chances of getting seriously up close and personal with some of the reef's more elusive inhabitants.

Visitors may also choose to embark on longer explorations of the reef, camping at some of the reef's hundreds of islands in between days filled with sailing and diving.

What makes Queensland one of the world's most popular bucket list destinations?

Making the journey from reef to rainforest

Queensland is actually the only place in the world where two world heritage listed sites meet, with these being the Great Barrier Reef and the ancient Daintree Rainforest.

The opportunity to go from reef to rainforest has naturally attracted many ecotourists to the region, especially those with an interest in rare flora and fauna species.

Like the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest is home to a variety of endemic species of plants and animals, including around 60 per cent of Australia's 400 different types of native butterflies and an equally sizable number of the continent's reptiles and amphibians.

The Daintree is also home to wild southern cassowaries as well as a variety of other bird species.

A trip to the Daintree Rainforest would be incomplete without a visit to the forest's aerial walkways, that take you through the region's towering canopy, providing visitors with a bird's eye view of the national park.

The aerial walkway stands at around 11 metres high, however the Discovery Centre's Canopy Tower stands at a whopping 23 metres high.

Although a visit to the Canopy Tower is truly guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience, the likelihood of seeing any of the forest's inhabitants from this height is quite rare.

If you're hoping to see some of the rainforest's inhabitants, we highly recommend booking a walking tour with a local guide.

Indigenous tours of the Daintree organised by members of the region's Kuku Yalanji cultural group, may also teach you about the different kinds of bush tucker that can be found amidst the trees.

Meeting native Australian animals up close

If you're hoping to meet some other native Australian animals, then Queensland is certainly the place to go.

Why? Even if you don't get to spot any critters in and around the reef or the Daintree, there is still a selection of wildlife sanctuaries where visitors can meet some of Australia's most unique animals, including cuddly koalas.

The Sunshine State happens to be home to the Australia Zoo, which is also known for being home of the Crocodile Hunter, the late Steve Irwin.

Today, his family - wife Terri, daughter Bindi, and son Robert - continues to manage the zoo and all the animals that call it home. The Irwin family also carry on Steve's legacy by investing in conservation projects both within Australia as well as across the globe.

With this in mind, a trip to Australia Zoo doesn't just equate to some adorable photos of you holding a koala. A portion of the costs from admission tickets will always go directly towards the zoo's own conservation efforts, so you can be rest assured that the positive impacts of your trip to Australia Zoo will only continue to ripple outwards.

Another worthwhile sanctuary to visit is Port Douglas' own Wildlife Habitat. Featuring a handful of habitats designed to emulate Queensland's rainforests, wetlands, woodlands, and even their waterways, the Wildlife Habitat is the ultimate attraction for any fans of crocodiles and other toothy (or beaky) terrors.

The Wildlife Habitat is also home to a large population of native Australian birds like lorikeets, galahs, cockatoos, and the ever-intimidating southern cassowary.

What makes Queensland one of the world's most popular bucket list destinations?

Riding roller coasters and exploring theme parks

Finally, Queensland does have a little something for thrill-seekers as well, and we don't just mean skydiving or parachuting, two activities that we believe are best experienced over the aquamarine waters of the Coral Sea.

The Gold Coast is also home to some of Australia's premier theme park destinations, including Warner Bros.' MovieWorld, Dreamworld, Wet'n'Wild, and Sea World Australia. Amongst these theme parks, you'll be able to find Australia's greatest roller coasters, like MovieWorld's Superman Escape.

There is one roller coaster in particular that's likely to already be included on the bucket lists of many seasoned thrill seekers: Dreamworld's Steel Taipan roller coaster.

One of the park's newest additions, the Steel Taipan features two record-breaking design elements in particular. First of all, this coaster is fitted with the world's first 360° spinning seat, allowing for a range of movement that simply cannot be matched by any other coaster on the planet.

If that weren't enough of a reason to add this theme park to your bucket list, the Steel Taipan also features the Southern Hemisphere's first triple launch system, meaning that your ride will begin with a rapid forwards, backwards, and forwards motion, allowing your carriage to build up enough momentum to reach top speeds of around 105 km/h.

Alongside the adrenaline rush that comes with riding the roller coasters, the theme parks that dot the length of the Gold Coast also have plenty of other fun activities and attractions that'll be sure to keep the whole family entertained, making Queensland one of Australia's greatest destinations for family holidays.

Whilst we have touched upon all of Queensland's major bucket list-worthy attractions, there are still a myriad of experiences that can be had across the face of the state that will make a trip to Queensland well worth your while.

If you've ever dreamt of playing golf on a desert island, of hiking through dense forests to stumble upon hidden, cascading waterfalls, or even of taking a drive along one of the world's most beautiful coastlines, then Queensland is the destination for you.