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Friday, June 7, 2013

What I Would Do in Five Days in Queensland

I have not yet been to Australia, but I am longing to go.  I would love to experience its cities, nature, culture, adventures, and, of course, its people and their lovely accents.  What better place for a first trip to Australia than Queensland, the location of the Great Barrier Reef?

Snorkeling

If I had five days in Queensland, I would start in the south in Brisbane, Queensland’s metropolis, and then travel up to Far North Queensland.

Day 1

I would start my first day in Brisbane at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Lone Pine is the world’s first koala sanctuary and has over 130 koalas.  The sanctuary offers a number of unique experiences, including having your picture taken holding a koala, feeding kangaroos, and seeing many of Australia’s animals, including dingoes, Tasmanian devils, bats and platypus. 

Did you know there are bridges you can climb legally?  Not just walk across, but climb!  There are only three in the world where this is possible, and two of them are in Australia.  I would end my first day with an exhilarating twilight climb of the Story Bridge, which would offer not only an adrenaline rush, but also a literally breathtaking view of the city.

Day 2

Another adrenaline inducing activity that Brisbane offers is abseiling.  I have abseiled twice before, and I am addicted.  I would head to Kangaroo Point Cliffs, which reach heights over 20 meters on the Brisbane River, for a morning of abseiling. Tour operators offer half day adventures for all experience levels, including novices like me. 

Abseiling

I would end the day with a relaxing walking tour of Brisbane, taking in the sights of the city center’s historic buildings, and perhaps enjoying a quick dip at Streets Beach, a popular artificial swimming hole, and strolling down Little Stanley Street, where there are a number of shops, restaurants, and pubs.

Day 3

Once in Far North Queensland, I would immediately head out into the water to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef.  The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world, a World Heritage Area, the largest collection of coral reefs on the planet, and the only living thing visible from space.  I have snorkeled in many places around the world, but I am sure nothing will compare to snorkeling through the marine paradise of the Great Barrier Reef. 

Turtle

Day 4

After spending a day in Queensland’s sea, I would visit Queensland’s rainforest, Daintree Rainforest.  Daintree Rainforest is the oldest existing tropical rainforest and is another of Queensland’s World Heritage Areas.  A day trip, ideally with an eco-certified company, can include hiking through the flora and fauna, visiting waterfalls, viewing rock art, and experiencing the Aboriginal culture.

Day 5

To wind down from so many activities, I would spend my last day in Queensland taking a scenic drive along the Captain Cook Highway, visiting the glamorous Port Douglas, and spending some time soaking up the sun on Four Mile Beach while daydreaming about my next trip to Australia. 

Beach

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Katherine Belarmino is the author of Travel the World, a travel blog for the everyday working stiff. She works full-time in a non-travel related job, but she and her husband Romeo take every opportunity they can to travel the world during their limited vacation time.