We’re pretty spoilt here in the Sunshine State. From world-class beaches and lush tropical rainforests to coral reefs and rugged outback landscapes, we’ve got so many amazing regions to explore. But it’s not always easy finding somewhere that’s not already overrun with tourists, and that won’t break the bank.
So we’ve come up with a few suggestions for some budget friendly Queensland getaways in some slightly lesser-known locations.
Wind down at Woodgate
There’s a fair chance you haven’t heard of Woodgate. Most people haven’t, and the locals like it that way. Situated on the beautiful Fraser Coast, just a few hours’ drive north of Brisbane, Woodgate is a sleepy little beachside town, sheltered by Fraser Island and surrounded by three National Parks. Accommodation ranges from 1950s beach shacks to more modern, but still modest, holiday rentals. For those of you that enjoy a caravanning or camping adventure, Woodgate also offers a great range of powered sites with onsite amenities building. If you’re looking for the perfect place to relax, then Woodgate could be the answer.
Grape-hop the Granite Belt
Perhaps surprisingly to some, Queensland has a thriving wine region that’s been producing vino since the 1870s. In towns and settlements in and around Stanthorpe and Ballandean, about three hours south-west of Brisbane (near the border with NSW), cellar doors are offering up a range of excellent white and red varietals. There are also plenty of local producers to provide you with a selection of cheeses, cured meats, breads and olive oil to accompany your wine. B&Bs and modest hotels offer cosy and cost-effective accommodation options across the region.
Bag a big Barra near Bundy
When most people think of huge Barramundi, they think about the Northern Territory or Far North Queensland. Lake Monduran, which is about 45km past Gin Gin in the Bundaberg region, is in fact home to the world record Barra catch. The monster measured in at 135cm and weighed almost 45kg! So if you fancy flicking a lure to try to top the record, Lake Monduran could be your best bet. You’ll find holiday parks, camping grounds, B&Bs and simple holiday rentals all within easy reach.
Hang ten on the double
If you’re looking to get active, perhaps a spot of surfing at one of Queensland’s least accessible surf breaks is on the cards. The north side of Double Island Point, which is just south of Fraser Island, is actually the longest right-hand surf break in the world. Forget the crowds of the Gold and Sunshine Coasts – this is a truly secret spot – perhaps it’s because it’s only accessible by 4WD. Conditions do need to be right for it to break ideally, so be sure to check the surf report. In terms of accommodation, on beach camping is available at Double Island with views that will have you pinching yourself when you wake up each morning. If camping is not your thing, or you don’t have access to a 4WD it’s best to stay at Rainbow Beach which is about a 40 minute drive from the destination. You can hire a 4WD from Rainbow Beach or better yet, take the stress out of it and take a tour.
Dig for dinosaurs out west
Perhaps palaeontology is more your thing? Then why not travel the Dinosaur Trail between Winton, Richmond and Hughenden, a few hours south-west of Townsville. Here you’ll have the chance to unearth 20-million year old bones and fossils. Or discover sights such as the dinosaur stampede and see some of the most complete skeletons found anywhere in the world. Caravan parks, as well as basic hotels and motels, are all close by.
Take a trip to the tip
If it’s off-road adventure you’re in for, then there’s one Queensland trip that tops them all. The journey to the tip of Cape York. Travelling around 600km north from Cairns, you’ll venture through idyllic rainforests, barren bushland and everything in between. Needless to say, it’s 4WD only and there’s not much in the way of accommodation along the journey, except camping. But at Cape York itself you’ll find various well-equipped campgrounds and lodge-style accommodation.
So go on – get out there and explore this great state of ours. Hopefully the above ideas have given you some inspiration for finding those less-expensive, less-busy gems that still exist. But remember…don’t tell too many people! Happy travels