7 Experiences in Queensland That Rival the World’s Most Popular Destinations

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Graced with alluring homegrown alternatives to some of the most famous attractions across the globe, Central Queensland with its Central Highlands and Keppel Islands await Australian travellers. And the best news? With few international travellers at the moment, we’ve got it all to ourselves!

Great Keppel Island

Great Keppel Island

Central Queensland is home to awe-inspiring cave systems, pristine and untouched coral reefs of the Southern Great Barrier Reef, islands aplenty along with the chance for intimate wildlife interactions.

Sharing the same latitude as Rio de Janeiro to the East and Mauritius to the West, Queensland’s Capricorn Region is blessed with sub-tropical days all year round. During normal times, foreign travellers would be flocking to Central Queensland and the Southern Great Barrier Reef, lured to this stunning, sun-kissed natural playground. As Australians, we’re just a little bit spoilt, having this piece of paradise in our own backyard.

Whether you are looking for cultural tourism or adventure, travelling for food or relaxation, we’ve come up with some enticing local alternatives to international attractions we might normally travel oversease to find.

Instead of La Chiva in Puerto Rico, try Great Keppel or Pumpkin Island

Known for long walks, crystal clear snorkelling and breathtaking scenery, Puerto Rico’s La Chiva or ‘Blue Beach’ could be Keppel Bay’s sister. You don’t need to travel over 17,000 kilometres to the Caribbean Sea to experience a magical island paradise. Our very own Great Keppel and Pumpkin Islands are just a 30-minute ferry ride from the mainland, boasting blissful opportunities to relax, unwind and reconnect with nature. Social distancing isn’t a new trend on our local islands. With 17 beaches along Great Keppel Island, seclusion awaits! Stay longer at Great Keppel Island Hideaway or Great Keppel Island Holiday Village.


Instead of Las Vegas’ Grand Canyon, try Carnarvon Gorge

The Grand Canyon is one of the world’s natural wonders, drawing oohs and ahhs from visitors all around the world. For a similar experience, take a trip to Carnarvon Gorge and discover towering sandstone cliffs, vibrantly coloured side gorges, diverse flora and fauna and Aboriginal rock art. A wealth of cultural and natural heritage lies within this special place, located in the semi-arid heart of Central Queensland. Base yourself at Takarakka Bush Resort or Sandstone Park and take a tour with Australian Nature Guides.

Instead of diving in the Solomon Islands, visit the pristine Southern Great Barrier Reef

Any opportunity to experience the world’s coral reefs is a bucket list must-do, but there is no need to travel abroad to witness pristine reef, adrenaline-fueled marine animal encounters and some of the most impressive snorkelling and diving in the world. There is nothing on earth quite like the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Diving through spectacular coral formations while dodging inquisitive sea turtles, reef sharks, dugong, manta ray and a wide variety of colourful fish is something that everyone should do. Get in touch with Keppel Dive to find out more.


Instead of Thailand’s Phraya Nakon Cave, try the Capricorn Caves

The Phraya Nakon Cave may feature an amazing temple inside a hidden cave, but our very own ancient above ground Capricorn Caves offer more than 1.5 kilometres of mysterious passages to explore. Honeycombing a limestone ridge, this labyrinth of large caverns features an abundance of natural decoration including amazing fig tree roots. Look closely and you might see the insectivorous bats in fast flight throughout the dark hollows. Step foot inside the Cathedral Cave and listen to the near perfect acoustics.

Instead of the Shotover River Jet Boat in New Zealand, try The Keppel Explorer

There is no doubt that the Shotover definitely oozes adrenaline and exhilarating adventure, but the only way to experience an epic ride of discovery through Keppel Bay is onboard the Keppel Explorer. Taking you to places where no other tourists can go, the number one rated, VIP experience will have you island hopping around the Keppels, discovering secret beaches, sea caves, surf and delving into the upmost seclusion.


Instead of Mount Everest, try Mount Archer

Maybe not the slightest bit comparable, but worth a shot! The Himalayas are a force of their own, but we are still proud of our 604-metre beauty. Named in honour of the Archer brothers who explored the Fitzroy area in 1853, the national park is part of the Darumbal Aboriginal people’s traditional country. Home to a variety of woodland birds, including the powerful owl and black cockatoo, along with unadorned rock-wallabies, Mount Archer National Park is laced with walking tracks, picnic spots and magnificent sunsets. And sub-tropical temperatures nothing at all like the highest mountain on earth.

If you are seeking island adventures, reef discoveries and natural landscapes, everything you need is right here on your doorstep. We know that we will travel abroad again in the future, but in the meantime, there are plenty of options to fulfill your passions and marvel in your local destination.

Instead of the UK’s Cotswold Wildlife Park, try Cooberrie Park Wildlife Sanctuary

Ok, so Europe’s wildlife parks might have giraffe, rhino and zebra, but can you cuddle a koala or handfeed a kangaroo? Our own animal encounter specialists at Cooberrie Park Wildlife Sanctuary ensure you get the experience of a lifetime, just 28 minutes from Rockhampton and 15 minutes from Yeppoon. Come and spend the day with their friendly residents among the 25-acre natural bushland.


More information: Visit Capricorn Coast

About the author: Fiona Harper is a Queensland-based travel writer – follow Fiona at Travel Boating Lifestyle

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