With beautiful beaches, unspoiled national parks and a perfect sub-tropical climate, it’s little surprise that millions of visitors flock to Queensland and the Gold Coast each year. As the official home of the ‘most loved destination in the world’ the Sunshine Coast, the brilliantly beautiful Brisbane and one of Australia’s premier holiday destinations, the Gold Coast, there’s something for everyone to enjoy when travelling to the Sunshine State.

With much to explore and a wide range of experiences on offer, it can be hard to know what to add to your list of things to do in Queensland. Luckily for you, we’re here to share some local favourites, beachside hotspots and must-see attractions as you make your way across the region.

From vibrant oceanside cities to the rolling mountains of the hinterland and far beyond, here is the perfect Queensland road trip itinerary for your next holiday.

Sunshine Coast (Days 1 - 4)

If multicoloured sand dunes, turquoise waters, shallow lakes and mangrove forests sound like your idea of paradise, then the Sunshine Coast should be the first stop on your road trip. Here are some of the best things to see and do when passing through.

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Noosa National Park

Discover some of the finest natural beauty and outdoor adventures on offer at Noosa National Park. Explore a myriad of environments, ranging from heathlands to rainforests and wetlands to eucalyptus forests. Pick one of the many walking trails and get ready to see koalas, honeyeaters and lace monitors in their natural habitats. For those visiting between June and November, migratory humpback whales can be seen just off the coast. Pack a picnic to enjoy while soaking up spectacular views over Laguna Bay before cooling off with a refreshing dip in crystal clear waters.

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Australia Zoo

For families travelling with younger children, no visit to the Sunshine Coast would be complete without a visit to Australia Zoo. Famously home to Australian icon Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, and his family, immerse yourself in a whole new world of wildlife. Take part in one of the many hands-on animal experiences on offer, giving guests a more unique way to engage with their favourite critters. From animal encounters to zoo keeper experiences, Australia Zoo is as educational as it is entertaining. Open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM; it’s the perfect stop as you make your way toward Mooloolaba.

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Explore the best that Mooloolaba has to offer with an afternoon of shopping, dining and oceanside activities. Kids will love getting up close and personal with a world beneath the waves at Sea Life Aqaurium, on the lookout for penguins, seals, sharks and more. The Wharf Precinct is the perfect place for a spot of retail therapy, wining and dining and marina-side activities. Make your way around Mooloolaba on a unique Canal Cruise or head out to sea on an adventure rafting excursion. Whether you’re looking for a refined afternoon of shopping and cocktails or something a little more adrenaline-fuelled, you’ll find it here.

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Rainbow Beach

Whether you want to head out horseback riding as the surf rolls in, speed full throttle through the dunes on a 4x4 adventure, or try your hand at kite surfing, Rainbow Beach is the place to go. Considered a gateway to Cooloola National Park and Fraser Island, it’s ideal for those who appreciate wide-open bays that seem to run forever. Be sure to set aside some time to sail across to Fraser Island, where you can explore stunning coves, beautiful beaches, inland lakes and a wealth of local flora and fauna.

Brisbane (Days 5 - 8)

Nestled on the banks of the Brisbane River and the official capital city of Queensland, Brisbane is a vibrant cosmopolitan city where unique holiday memories are made. For couples, solo travellers and groups of friends, there are plenty of incredible restaurants, events and a buzzing nightlife to enjoy, as well as attractions and activities the kids will love too. Here are some of the top things to do during your time in Brisbane as you make your way down to the Gold Coast.

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Howard Smith Wharves

Soak up live music and entertainment, fantastic food and local sips at Howard Smith Wharves. A haven for foodies and winos on the water's edge, Howard Smith Wharves is the ultimate destination to kick back, relax and enjoy some good old-fashioned entertainment. Perfectly blending its rich maritime history with the modern love of art, culture and diversity of the region, the wharves are home to some of the finest food and drink in Brisbane. Weekends are lively and offer the best live entertainment, so be sure to plan an evening of waterside fun around this.

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Gallery of Modern Art

With such a focus on its history and roots, Brisbane is home to some of the finest museums and galleries in the country. If art and culture are things you enjoy, then top up your culture cup with a visit to the Gallery of Modern Art. Enjoy provocative installations and exhibitions that shine a light on the past, present and future in truly unique ways. Get a glimpse into the history of Queensland and enter an abstract world of dreamlike pieces from celebrated local and international artists. Every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, GOMA screens unique films not likely to be screened anywhere else at their Cinémathèque.

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Moreton Island Day Trip

Located just off of Brisbane and above North Stradbroke Island, Moreton Island is a water lover’s paradise. Be sure to set aside a whole day for a Moreton Island Day Trip, with plenty of kayaking, snorkelling, diving and swimming to be had. Dive the sunken ships just off the beach or abseil down the rugged cliffs. Swim in crystal clear lagoons or sand-surf down the colossal dunes. From quad biking to jet skiing and twilight experiences to sunset picnics, there’s nothing quite as special as a trip out to Moreton Island when visiting Brisbane.

Gold Coast (Days 9 - 14)

The final leg of your Queensland road trip is also where you’ll have the most fun. Home to iconic suburbs including Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach and Burleigh Heads, enter a world of endless fun under the Gold Coast sun. Spend the day taking advantage of endless stretches of sandy beaches and upscale retail therapy before venturing out for an evening of bars, restaurants and entertainment. To help you get started, here are a few of the best things to see and do on the Gold Coast.

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Check-in to Dorsett Gold Coast

Check-in to Dorsett Gold Coast and enjoy afternoons of relaxation poolside followed by evenings of signature and classic cocktails at Jin Café & Bar. Take advantage of stylish and comfortable rooms with all of the facilities and amenities you need for a relaxing stay on the coast. Rest and recharge at Azure Spa & Fitness, cool off in our stunning oasis in the sky at Isoletto Pool Club and share a charcuterie board and refreshing cocktail at our onsite bar. Elevate your stay by choosing an Executive room, which also gives you access to our exclusive Executive Lounge on the 19th floor - then explore the best that Broadbeach, Surfers Paradise and Burleigh have to offer in the evening. Book your Stay.

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Pacific Fair Shopping Centre

Located just a 3 minute drive from Dorsett Gold Coast, shop ‘til you drop with more than 400 stores at Pacific Fair Shopping Centre. While away the day getting lost in luxury stores including BULGARI, Chanel, Coach, Gucci, Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Prada. If street shopping is more your style, browse from a variety of fashion, beauty, footwear and specialty stores followed by a bite to eat from an array of international cuisines. Shop from 9 AM to 5:30 PM and wine, dine and relax from 10 AM to 9 PM daily.

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Dine at the Best Gold Coast Restaurants

First up on our list that you need to visit is the award-winning Nineteen at The Star. Perched on top of The Star Gold Coast, Nineteen at The Star is both a sundrenched lounge bar and chic rooftop restaurant offering. Another to top our list is Mamasan Kitchen & Bar which delivers on all fronts. Chef Ray Choi creates dishes designed to be shared, with fiery spice, deep earthy warmth and zesty bursts showcased throughout the menu. No matter your tastes, there is something for everyone on the Gold Coast.

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Enjoy the Iconic Gold Coast Beaches

No visit to the Gold Coast would be complete without a day or two at the beach. After all, it’s what the region is famed for. From Rainbow Bay and Burleigh Heads to Broadbeach and Snapper Rocks, you are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to somewhere sandy to throw down your towel, soak up some rays and take a dip.

Why not stay the night?

Make the most of your time on the glorious Gold Coast when staying at Dorsett Gold Coast. Just a short ride from Surfers Paradise, Nerang and Burleigh Heads - enjoy easy access to the best things to do on the Gold Coast and beyond.

Choose between 313 brand new, elegant and stylish rooms delivering maximum comfort from sunset to sunrise. Enjoy coastline, city or hinterland views, with rooms made for sweet dreams. Wake up in a King bed, take coffee on your private balcony, invigorate your soul with a massage rain shower and take advantage of the best entertainment, dining and relaxation at The Star Gold Coast.

Ready to rediscover the glittering Gold Coast in style? Book your stay today!