Cruisin’ on sunshine

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Green turtle swimming over coral reefs

The weather’s getting hotter, the drinks are getting colder, summer’s knocking at our doors, so let the sunshine in with these holiday options

While the Gold and Sunshine Coasts are synonymous with Queensland summers, the state capital of Brisbane is now topping the popularity charts as a Christmas vacation hotspot, at least that’s what travel website Wotif.com seems to say.

Holiday bookings for the south of Brisbane have jumped 90 per cent compared to the same time last year, with Surfers Paradise, Noosa, Caloundra and Hervey Bay trailing Brisbane in the top five destinations.

Even Queenslanders are opting for a staycation in the city at this time of year, says the website. The reasons for Brisbane becoming a holiday top-stop includes accommodation offers that are fantastic value for money, apart from the perfect balance of city and leisure. With 17 hectares of parklands and world-class galleries, performance spaces and museums including the acclaimed Gallery of Modern Art, South Bank also entices visitors with boutique markets, top restaurants and bars, plus a packed calendar of events.

With summer knocking at our doors, it’s time to get those breezy summer clothes out of the closet and feel the sand between your toes. Here are five places to go this summer.

PALM COVER, TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND

Hut for mud crabs at Cooya Beach or spend the day like a castaway at Fitzroy Island, the choice is yours. But also book a dinner under chandeliers in the middle of the rainforest while listening to Aboriginal storytellers.

THE WHITSUNDAYS AND MACKAY

Go swimming with platypus thanks to Rainforest Scuda or just hang out with the wallabies at Cape Hillsborugh National Park.

Sunshine Coast
SOUTHERN GREAT BARRIER REEF

Ever tried a turtle selfie or one with manta rays. Lady Elliot Island is the place to go. There are turtles galore in this region—you can watch hundreds of loggerhead turtles nesting from November to January at Mon Repos Beach just off Bundaberg.

SUNSHINE COAST

The Noosa Everglades beckon, canoeing and camping safaris are aplenty here. One can also explore the waters of Pumicestone Passage or head out on a jetski tour of the Sunshine Coast. For those who love their handicrafts, the Eumundi open markets set up in hteh shade of magnificent fig trees, are open on Wednesday or Saturday morning.

BRISBANE

Catch a CityCat to the Cultural Heart of Brisbane, South Bank, for a waterfront lunch at River Quay and a night of drama at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. If you want to try the sands instead of the surf, hit the slopes of Moreton Island’s sand dunes for a thrilling ride downhill.

Do you know where Brisbane’s first in-ground pool is? Well, it’s right here, at the Spring Hill Baths, built in 1886.

 

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