Take a Mini Break in Queensland
Not every holiday has to span weeks - some can take place over the course of a weekend or just a few days, and you may not even have to leave your state. Book your holiday accommodation at one of the following mini break destinations and enjoy a weekend to remember.
Great Barrier Reef
This unique and beautiful area is part of Tropical North Queensland and boasts the world's largest, and arguably most spectacular, coral reef system.
Swim with captivating dwarf minke whales in reefs off the coast of Port Douglas, dive into the coral on the outer reef and swim out amongst 1500 species of fish, 4000 species of molluscs and 400 types of coral. Agincourt and Ribbon Reefs are some of the region's best options.
Board a cruise ship and explore the deep aquamarine waters, with the opportunity to snorkel right off the back of the boat. Alternatively, hop into a kayak and make your way around these stunning islands yourself, stopping at isolated beaches for a picnic lunch and sunbathe.
While this beachy area has its fair share of stunning natural scenery, it's better known for its glitz and glamour. Try your hand at roulette or craps at Jupiters Hotel and Casino.
Dress up to the nines and head to Surfers Paradise, the entertainment precinct of the Gold Coast region. Check out Sin City, a luxurious after-dark venue where you can let your hair down while your hips swing to the beats of world-class DJs and sip on expertly mixed cocktails. Melbas on the Park is another great option and is a true Gold Coast icon, having been in operation since 1981. There's a cocktail and gaming lounge to enjoy, or you may prefer the restaurant and bar area for something sophisticated.
During the day, head to one of the Gold Coast's many theme parks, including Dreamworld, Wet 'n' Wildand Movie World. Take the kids or channel your inner child and enjoy water slides such as the Blackhole and Kamikaze, meet your favourite movie characters including Bugs Bunny, and test your nerves on the Giant Drop ride, one of the tallest free-fall rides on the planet.
Bundaberg is a city within the Wide Bay-Burnett area of Queensland, and boasts over 500 hectares of parkland for you to explore. Before you break out your walking shoes, visit the famous Bundaberg Distilling Company, which has been running since 1888. Home to the famous Bundaberg Rum, the distillery attracts more than 85,000 people each year, many of whom imbibe in a few samples. Take a self-guided tour or get a more in-depth experience with a guide.
Take the kids to the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens and Playground, where you can roam through 27 hectares of land and spot 114 species of birds. Marvel at the hidden Japanese Gardens and enjoy a bite to eat the Cafe 1928 before taking time out in the Chinese Gardens temple.
Walk off your holiday excess on the Sunset Track, which is part of a chain of wetland remnants in Bundaberg. The track sits in the Baldwin Swamp Conservation Park, with waterways that provide feeding and breeding grounds for waterbirds and wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for brushtail possums, short-nosed bandicoots, bats and echidnas.
The Fraser Coast has two World Heritage listed areas - Fraser Island and Lady Elliot Island - so it's no wonder the region is one of the most naturally beautiful in Australia. If nature is your thing, base your mini-break around Fraser Island, Great Sandy National Park, where you'll come across staggeringly tall sand dunes, windswept beaches and rainforests growing on sand. There's a 90 kilometre Fraser Island Great Walk you may wish to tackle, or you could take a private charter flight over the area to get a good feel for its sheer size and beauty.
If you're a thrill seeker, try hang gliding over the ocean at Rainbow Beach, or kite surf at Hervey Bay. There are plenty of dive sites on Lady Elliot Island, including Coral Gardens, Light House Bommie and Maori Wrasse Bommie, where you can get up close and personal with a range of marine life including reef sharks.
Maryborough is another must-visit destination on the Fraser Coast, with a fascinating history stretching back to its 1847 settlement. Take a visit to the original wharf district, now known as Portside, where the old timey buildings have been converted into pubs, restaurants, museums and art galleries. There's also the opportunity to immerse yourself in the life of Mary Poppins, whose creator, Pamela Lyndon Travers, was born above a Maryborough bank building in 1899. Make sure you bring your camera to have your photo taken with Poppins' life-size bronze statue.
Head to the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville for an insight into the country's leading tropical marine research agency. Frequent seminars take place at the AIMS Lecture Theatre, and you can also take a tour through the venue - just make sure you contact the institute first to book in.
Sit back and enjoy a tipple or two at Heritage Bar and Grill, which adds a touch of class through its tessellated tile floor and chandeliers. Nibble on bruschetta and Chinese five spices duck while you sip on a hand crafted cocktail such as the espresso martini, featuring vodka, kahlua, vanilla and espresso. There's also a carefully edited wine list, featuring local Australian wines such as the Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cab Sauv and Pepperjack Shiraz.
Finish your mini break with a luxurious massage treatment at the Endota Day Spa.