(does not include Gondwana Rainforests or Great Barrier Reef)
Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
●Shucked Coffee House – 9 Creswell (Newstead); 011-61-07-3257-4567; shucked.com.au; unlikely breakfast spot hidden amid car dealerships.
Bars & Nightclubs
●Alfred & Constance – 130 Constance Street (Fortitude Valley); 011-61-07-3251-6500; alfredandconstance.com.au; boisterous spot with carnivalesque atmosphere; spans pari Queenslander cottages; Vanguard Beer Garden, with outdoor picnic tables, serves chorizo Scotch eggs and bangers & mash; Tunes and White Lightning Tiki Bars serve cocktails.
●Black Bear Lodge – 322 Brunswick Street, Level 1 (Fortitude Valley); 011-61-07-3252-4276; blackbearlodge.com.au; 2nd floor live music club.
●Canvas – 16B Logan Road (Woolloongabba); 011-61-07-3891-2111; canvasclub.com.au; inviting bar across street from Brisbane Cricket Ground; dreamy murals and eclectic furniture; thick cocktail menu; try Guerrilla Warfare (Ilegal Mezcal Reposado, passion fruit, and wormwood syrup).
●Scratch – 8/1 Park Road (Milton); 011-61-07-3107-9910; scratchbar.com; unpretentious; craft beer pub; hike from downtown.
●Super Whatnot – 48 Burnett Lane (CBD); 011-61-07-3210-2343; superwhatnot.com; chic, small bar; bilevel spot with gorgeous interior; craft beers.
●Bun Mobile – 011-61-04-0142-0922; thebunmobile.com.au; steamed buns overflowing with tasty fillings; do not pass up desert bun (banana, caramel, and salted peanut praline).
●Limes Hotel – 142 Constance Street (Fortitude Valley); 011-61-07-3852-9000; limeshotel.com.au; 21 snug rooms; boutique with rooftop bar and cinema.
●Meriton Serviced Apartments – 485 Adelaide Street (CBD); 011-61-02-9277-1130; meritonapartments.com.au; 224 units.
●Alfred & Constance – 130 Constance Street (Fortitude Valley); 011-61-07-3251-6500; alfredandconstance.com.au; boisterous spot with carnivalesque atmosphere; spans pari Queenslander cottages; in addition to appetizers, burgers, and English standards (bangers & mash), desert bar (ice cream sundaes).
●Public – 400 George Street, Upper Level 1 (CBD); 011-61-07-3210-2288; lovepublic.com.au; on nondescript building’s 2nd floor, yet attractive, stylish place to eat; shared plates reflecting world-cuisine.
●m(art) – 166 Grey Street, Shop B13 (South Brisbane); 011-61-07-3255-0279; artisan.org.au; all Australian craft products.
●Young Designers Market – Little Stanley Street (South Bank); 011-61-07-3844-2440; youngdesignermarket.com.au; 1st Sundays; creative handiworks.
Sights & Sites
●Brisbane Cricket Ground (Gabba) – 411 Vulture Street (Woolloongabba); 011-61-07-3435-2201; thegabba.com.au; city sports stadium.
●Brisbane Observation Deck – Sir Samuel Griffith Drive (Mount Coot-tha); 011-61-07-3369-9922; brisbanelookout.com; sweeping bush and city views.
●Clem Jones Promenade – Brisbane River (south bank); southbankcorporation.com.au; lovely location for morning stroll; start on north bank near Story Bridge and head southwest, passing botanical gardens; about mile into walk, detour along boardwalk that loops through mangrove swamp; note Kangaroo Point Cliffs on opposite side.
●Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) – Stanley Street (South Brisbane); 011-61-07-3840-7303; qagoma.qld.gov.au.
●Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary – 708 Jesmond Road (Fig Tree Pocket); 011-61-07-3378-1366; koala.net; zoolike haven that is home to huge array marsupials, including kangaroos and koalas, which you can hold; also, emus and platypus.
●Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) – Stanley Street (South Brisbane); 011-61-07-3840-7303; qagoma.qld.gov.au.
●South Bank District – Stanley Place; discoverbrisbane.com/brisbane/southbank.html; along Brisbane River (south bank); attractions include curious artificial beach, riverside parks, spinning Ferris wheel, and culture complex (GoMA & QAG).
CAIRNS (includes Atherton, Biboohr, Dagmar, Daintree, Innisfail, Julatten, Kuranda, Lake Barrine, Malanda, Mission Beach, Mossman, Mt. Molloy, Ravenshoe, Townsville & Yungaburra)
●Osprey Reef – Coral Sea atoll rising from 3K' abyss; gray reef sharks.
●Cassowary House – Kuranda (30 minutes drive from Cairns); 011-61-07-4093-7318; cassowary-house.com.au; small, family-run guest house in World Heritage tropical rain forest; apart from small garden envelope (immediately adjacent to main house), grounds and surrounding area are unspoilt rainforest; mainhouse verandahs look straight out into surrounding tree branches; Cassowaries and musky rat-kangaroos frequently seen from single guest room patios; among best places in world to see wild Cassowary; also, local endemic Bird of Paradise, Victoria’s riflebird, Noisy pitta, Red-necked crakes, Grey goshawks, Lesser Sooty owl, Brush turkey, and Orange-footed scrub-fowl, King parrot, Double-eyed fig-parrot, Topknot pigeon, Spotted catbird, Black butcherbird, Chowchilla, Lovely fairy-wren, White-eared, Spectacled and Pied monarchs, Yellow-spotted, Graceful and Macleay’s Honeyeater, and Helmeted (New Guinea or Hornbill) friar-bird; animals include several bat species, Red-legged pademelons, striped possums, bandicoots, giant white-tailed rats, antechinus, melomys and prehensile-tailed rats, and platypus; great reptile and frog list and butterflies are well-represented.
●Highlander Tavern – corner of Rex Highway 12 & Mt. Lewis Road (Julatten); 011-61-07-4094-1210; highlandertavern.com.au; 2 luxury Balinese style villas, surrounded by awe-inspiring Julatten mountain range.
●Jabiru Safari Lodge – 142 Pickford Road (Biboohr); 011-61-07-4039-1969; jabirusafarilodge.com.au; safari style tent and cabin accommodation, walking trails, boat tours.
●Kingfisher Park – Mt. Kooyang Road (Julatten); 011-61-07-4094-1263; birdwatchers.com.au; haven for anyone interested in natural history; mountain backdrop; 222 bird species; consists of self-contained units, seperate roomed bunkhouse, camping, caravan, and motorhome sites in rainforest environment; walking tracks allow easy access around 12 acre grounds, taking you through rainforest into open grassed orchard and onto Bushy Creek, where you might see platypus; minimum 3 day stay recommended.
●Red Mill House – 11 Stewart Street (Daintree Village); 011-61-07-4098-6233; redmillhouse.com.au; deluxe Daintree accommodation to travelers interested in conservation, nature & wildlife; historic Queenslander home with modern, tasteful addition; well-known as birdwatching accommodation for many years, operated & owned by 2 enthusiastic birders, who happily provide good up-to-date information and advice to their guests; spacious, comfortable ensuite queen and king bed rooms with wide verandahs overlooking extensive tropical and rainforest gardens; 2 bedroom family unit, sleeping 4, also available; extensive gardens.
●Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat – Land Road (Malanda, via Lake Eacham); 011-61-07-4096-8360; rosegums.com.au; pole & timber treehouses; walking tracks through 230 acre property; platypus; 160 bird species; all treehouses have fully-equipped kitchens, large spa baths & wood fireplaces.
●Voyages Silky Oaks Lodge – Finlayvale Road (Daintree National Rainforest); 011-61-2-8296-8010; voyages.com.au; in bird and rain forest retreat on Mossman River; riverside rooms have polished wood floors and treehouse rooms; latter have spa baths and glass doors that open to hammock-strung balconies; minimal food variety.
●Highlander Tavern – corner of Rex Highway 12 & Mt. Lewis Road (Julatten); 011-61-07-4094-1210; highlandertavern.com.au; nestled in rainforest; large outdoor deck area is idyllic.
●LEAF – Land Road (Malanda, via Lake Eacham); 011-61-07-4096-8360; rosegums.com.au; modern Australian cuisine.
●Mt. Molloy National Hotel – 17-19 Main Street (Mt. Molloy); 011-61-07-4094-1912; mtmolloynationalhotel.com.au; pub grub.
●Alan’s Wildlife Tours – 2 Mather Road (Yungaburra); 011-61-07-4095-3784; alanswildlifetours.com.au; experienced birder Alan Gillander leads tours to see birds, as well as tree kangaroo and other mammals around Yungaburra.
●Fine Feather Tours – Mossman; 011-61-07-4094-1199; finefeathertours.com.au; Del Richards leaves tours to see endemics, like Chowchilla, around Mr. Lewis (near Mossman).
●Close-Up Birding Adventures – 142 Pickford Road (Biboohr, at Jabiru Safari Lodge); 011-61-07-4094-1068; closeupbirding.com.au; David “Chook” Crawford leads tours to see Red-tailed black cockatoos, Australian bustards, Tawny frogmouths, etc.; expeditions around Atherton Tablelands, up to Cape York (north).
Sights & Sites
●Atherton Tablelands – corner of Main & Silo Roads (Atherton, Atherton Information Center); 011-61-07-4091-4222 or011-61-07-4091-7394; athertontablelands.com.au; fertile plateau located west to south-south-west inland from Cairns, well into tropics; several small rainforest remnants are now protected in national parks; classified by BirdLife International as among Australia’s Important Bird Areas, supporting over 1% world population of Sarus crane and significant population of Bush stone-curlew; 12 species birds endemic: Atherton scrub-wren, Bower’s shrike-thrush, Bridled honeyeater, Chowchilla, Fern wren, Golden bowerbird, Grey-headed robin, Macleay’s honeyeater, Mountain thornbill, Pied monarch, Tooth-billed bowerbird & Victoria’s riflebird.
●Crater Lakes National Park – Lakes Drive or McLeish Road (Yungaburra, Lake Barrine & Lake Eacham); 011-61-13-0013-0372; nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/lake-eacham/index.html; in Wet Tropics World Heritage Area; both lakes are maars (crater lakes formed by volcanic explosions), surrounded by rainforest; look for musky rat-kangaroo and various cassowaries.
●Daintree National Rainforest – Dagmar; 011-61-07-4098-0063; daintreerainforestinformation.com/About_Daintree.html; World Heritage site; rainforest; significant habitat for rare species and prolific birdlife.
●Etty Bay – Innisfail (15 km by road from Innisfail & 7 km from Bruce Highway); beachsafe.org.au/beach/qld0768; cassowary.
●Mareeba Tropical Savanna & Wetlands Nature Reserve – Pickford Road (Biboohr); 011-61-07-4093-2514; mareebawetlands.org; more than 2K hectares savannah & wetland; tropical Australian cultural heritage, fauna & flora sanctuary; birdwatcher haven, with more than 200 species, some quite rare; Gouldian finches known to be breeding 35 years ago and, recently, volunteers released 100 as reintroduction program to save from extinction (called Jewels of Savannah because of spectacular colors), can be seen while drink from billabongs at sunset.
●Mission Beach – midway point between Cairns & Townsville; missionbeachtourism.com; made up of 4 beach villages linked by 14 kms wide golden beach; art galleries, boutiques, hotels & restaurants nestle against lush tropical rainforest; home to cassowary.
●Mt. Hypipamee National Park – Kennedy Highway (between Atherton & Ravenshoe); 011-61-07-4096-3474 or 011-61-07-4091-4222; nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/mount-hypipamee; Mt. Hypipamee crater could be sci-fi film setting; its vertical granite walls drop 58 ms from rainforest-fringed rim to greenish colored lake, 82 ms deep; boasts numerous “must-see” features; surrounding rainforest studded with enormous granite blocks; Dinner Falls is cascade series plunging out of rainforest onto boulder-strewn creek below; park’s high-altitude rainforest is also striking, and very different from tropical rainforests found elsewhere on Atherton Tableland; more than 200 bird species, including Golden bowerbird (this smallest bowerbird makes largest nest of any Australian bowerbird), Spotted catbird and Victoria’s riﬂebird, and so many possum species that park is renowned for them; go spotlighting with torch at night to see green, lemuroid or Herbert River ringtails or coppery brushtail possums (common brustail subspecies).
●Wet Tropics of Queensland – Daintree; wettropics.gov.au; 370 varieties of birds, including cassowaries; estuaries and mangroves have saltwater crocodiles.
●Wooroonooran National Park – Palmerston Highway (between Cairns & Innisfail); 011-61-07-4064-5294; nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/wooroonooran/index.html; Wet Tropics World Heritage Area national park & gazetted World Heritage site; contains some of world’s oldest surviving rainforests; park covers most of Bellenden Ker Range and includes Queensland’s 2 highest mountains, Mt. Bartle Frere (1622 m) and Mt. Bellenden Ker (1592 m); Walsh’s Pyramid (922 m) is just south of Gordonvale and among world’s highest free-standing natural pyramids; park has 2 sections: Palmerston & Josephine; both North & South Johnstone River branches flow through Palmerston section; Josephine Falls water source (Josephine Creek) originates on Mt. Bartle Frere and flows into Russell River; 600 m walking track leads through rainforest to recently constructed platforms which allow safe falls viewing; living around falls area is endemic Bartle Frere skink; 30 km west of Bruce Highway (along Palmerston Highway) are Tchupala & Wallicher Falls; park forms part of Wooroonooran Important Bird Area; Mamu Rainforest Canopy Walkway is located in park, providing elevated walkways, cantilever & observation tower.
Hotels, Lodges & Resorts
●Bloomfield Lodge – P.O. Box 966 (Weary Bay); 011-61-07-4035-9166; bloomfieldlodge.com.au; in northern part of Daintree Rainforest.
●Cape Tribulation Sanctuary – Lot 1 Ryker Road; capetribulationsanctuary.com.au; 2.5 hours north of Cairns; stellar views.
●Misty Mountains Nature Retreat – 199 Ellis Road, Bellenden Ker, 4871; romanticretreats.com.au.
Sights & Sites
●Babinda Boulders – cairnsattractions.com/a_babinda-boulders.html; Aboriginal mythological site.
●Bloomfield Track – daintreecoast.com/4wd-bloomfield.html; begins just north of Cape Tribulation and continues to Bloomfield River; covers spectacular terrain, running through rain forest and along coast accessible only by 4-wheel drive.
●Cape Tribulation – daintreecoast.com.
●Daintree Rainforest – daintreecoast.com; horseback riding on beach, sea kayaking, zip-line gliding through forests; hidden swimming holes and waterfalls.
●Josephine Falls – epa.qld.gov.au/parks_and_forests/; multitiered waterfall at Mount Bartle Frere’s base; Mount Bartle Frere is Queensland’s highest point and possibly Australia’s wettest; half-hour walk to platform with excellent viewing.
●Tully River – continent’s premier white water rafting point.
FRASER ISLAND – noted for dingo and whale watching.
Hotels, Lodges & Resorts
●Kingfisher Bay Resort – PMB 1 Urangan, Hervey Bay; 011-61-07-4120-3333; kingfisherbay.com; on white beach’s edge, blending into surrounding trees; popular Whale Watch package (August to October) and dolphin all year round.
Sights & Sites
●Central Station Rainforest Area – dkd.net/fraser/forest.html; walking tracks are superb; picturesque Wanggoolba Creek boardwalk is must: envelops you in tranquil world where creek flows silently, banks covered in palms, ancient cycads, and rare King fern (living fossil and largest fern frond in world).
●Great Sandy National Park – epa.qld.gov.au/parks_and_forests/; more than 98% Fraser Island is in this park; only place on planet where rain forest grows on more than 600' sand dunes.
●Lake Wabby Lookout & Ammerstone Sandblow – epa.qld.gov.au/parks_and_forests/; view of massive sandblow (coarse sandy soil with no vegetation) also takes in emerald lake and rain forest.
●Lake McKenzie – freshwater lake with fine-silica, white beach and turquoise water set against thick forest; among most beautiful “perched” (above groundwater) lakes in world; Aboriginal tribal ceremonies host for centuries.
●Maheno Wreck – stranded on 75-Mile Beach since 1935, when ran aground in cyclone; former luxury liner and WWI hospital ship; used for target practice in WWII.
●75-Mile Beach – sandy highway traces along east coast; avoid holidays.
GOLD COAST (includes Tallebudgera Valley)
●Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat – 192 Syndicate Road (Tallebudgera Valley); 011-61-07-5589-5000; gwinganna.com; eco-luxury spa experience.
Hotels, Lodges & Resorts
●Adel’s Grove – on Lawn Hill Creek (adjacent to Lawn Hill National Park and 50 kms from World Heritage-listed Riversleigh Fossil deposits); 011-61-07-4748-5502; adelsgrove.com.au; shady oasis with cabins, permanent tents, and restaurant; adjacent to Lawn Hill National Park and Riversleigh Fossil Fields.
Sights & Sites
●Riversleigh Fossil Center – 19 Marian Street (Mount Isa); directs you to Riversleigh trail (which is 5 hours from center – at minimum); once there, 40 square miles of fossil beds dating back 24M years.
Bars & Nightclubs
●Muckadilla Hotel – Warrego Highway (between Mitchell & Roma); 011-61-07-4626-8318; muckadillahotel.com.au; in a town of population 9, this is it.
●Brisbane – among world's largest "purpose-sunk" ships.
Hotels, Lodges & Resorts
●Eden House Retreat & Mountain Spa – 20 Gillies Highway; 011-61-07-4089-7000; edenhouse.com.au.
Sights & Sites
●Crater Lakes National Park – near Lake Barrine; epa.qld.gov.au/parks_and_forests/; 200' deep, 2 lakes in Atherton Tablelands are volcanic craters; Lake Barrine is more popular, with amenities; 3 easy walking tracks and lake circuit takes 2 hours; Lake Eacham has picnic spots and walk along shady track, as well as canoeing.