- Discover QLD
Between Byron Bay and Brisbane lies possibly the most developed piece of land in Australia, the Gold Coast, or 'party central' to backpackers. Surfers' Paradise is the 'capital' of the gold coast. You won't find much experienced surfers here ironically enough as it certainly isn't known for its big waves. It is a good place to learn how to surf, however. If you want bigger waves check out Kirra, Burleigh Heads, and Duranbah. Avoid the Gold Coast, if you can, between mid - November and mid December, as it's schoolies time, which is when the school leavers come here to celebrate. It gets pretty crazy.
The Gold Coast is famous for its theme parks. Wet and Wild, Sea World, Movie World, Movie World and Dreamworld, which pretty much covers everything you would want from a theme park.
There are some great pubs such as Gilhooleys on Cavill Avenue in Surfers and O' Malleys, also on Cavill Avenue. The Gold Coast is lots of Neon, sun , pubs, clubs and restaurants, shops, and a whole lot of fun.
The Sunshine Coast is between Brisbane and the Whitsunday coast. A lot more laid back than the Gold Coast, it still has plenty to offer. The towns are smaller, such as Maroochydore and Noosa. There's great surfing and swimming at Coolum Beach. There's the Great Sandy National Park, north of Noosa. The Sunshine is also famous for the late and great Steve Irwins' Australia Zoo.
Rainbow Beach is a small, laid - back town and cheaper than Hervey Bay, the other launching point for Fraser Island. Fraser Island is only 15 minutes away on the ferry.
Hervey Bay is the most popular place to get the ferry to Fraser Island. It's not over - commercialised but it has everything you need, good hostels, campgrounds, pubs and restaurants, and a chance to see whales resting in the bay. Go see Vic Hislops Shark Expo to get a different view on man - eating sharks, but be warned, you may not want to go swimming again.
Airlie Beach is the jump off point for the fabulous Whitsunday Islands. There are lots of backpackers here partying before or after they head on a cruise around the islands.
On Shute Harbour Road you will find everything you need with most cafés, pubs, shops, and accommodation here. Shute Harbour itself is 21km east of Airlie Beach and this is where most tour boats leave from, although some tours leave Abel Point Marina which is just out of town. The main tours available are for sailing, diving and whale watching. Go for a swim in the artificial lagoon, which is very impressive. The beach here is not very nice.
You will probably only come to Bowen if you are looking for some fruit picking work. Barnacles Backpackers on Herbert Street both find work for backpackers in the orchards in the area.