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Sun-drenched and built for fun, Australia's Gold Coast hugs Queensland's southeast coastline with beaches, shimmering high rises, and epic surf breaks. Though it's hedonistic at heart, there's also plenty of opportunities for adventure and family-friendly attractions beyond its well-known party scene.
Noosa is a world-famous surfing destination, known for its expansive beaches and colourful bays. Hike across Noosa National Park's cliffs and forests, canoe through the Noosa River Everglades, kayak across the open sea or just bask in the sunshine on golden sand that stretches and sparkles for miles. A day trip to nearby Fraser Island, a World Heritage Site where lush rainforests mingle with dry sand dunes, is a unique experience not to be missed.
The Whitsunday Islands are a collection of 74 tropical mini-paradises, floating in peaceful waters that double as a marine park and are a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Plan a romantic getaway or a fun family holiday that’s filled with sun, sailing, golfing, snorkeling and diving, all served up with a little slice of heaven.
The world's largest coral reef system, the Great Barrier Reef stretches almost 1500 miles into the Pacific from the tip of Queensland. Designated a Marine Park by the Australian government and a World Heritage Area by UNESCO, the reef is home to an extraordinary abundance of species and habitats. Snorkelling, diving and fishing are popular along the reef, nowhere more so than on the Whitsunday Islands, where the silica sands and aqua waters of the Coral Sea create the perfect beach escape.
Tuck into succulent five-star meals in Port Douglas, the culinary gem of Queensland, or suck down a killer cocktail at a casually swanky lounge. A perfect base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, the rainforest at Daintree and the beaches at Cape Tribulation, this Queensland town has an out-of-this-world setting. Sunbathe on the golden sands of Four Mile Beach, then melt into perfect pampering at one of Port Douglas’ glorious day spas for the ultimate in relaxation.
Bali is a living postcard, an Indonesian paradise that feels like a fantasy. Soak up the sun on a stretch of fine white sand, or commune with the tropical creatures as you dive along coral ridges or the colorful wreck of a WWII war ship. On shore, the lush jungle shelters stone temples and mischievous monkeys. The “artistic capital” of Ubud is the perfect place to see a cultural dance performance, take a batik or silver-smithing workshop, or invigorate your mind and body in a yoga class.
You’re on a gorgeous island off the coast of Thailand—it doesn’t get much better than this. Spend the day on a lively, popular beach, or explore the Ang Thong National Marine Park’s secluded lagoons. Looking for romance? Choose a luxurious five-star resort, a simple, secluded bungalow or pretty much anything in between.
Phuket offers a rainbow spectrum of spectacular holiday sights from blue lagoons and pink sunsets to orange-robed monks. Three wheeled-Tuk Tuks, taxis, buses and long tailed boats transport visitors between these marvels. Phuket's south coast offers its most popular beaches. The north is more tranquil. Koh Phi Phi, Phang Nga Bay and Patong Beach are popular spots. Diving, snorkeling, wind surfing and sailing are just a few active options. Inland, forested hills, mountains and cliffs wait to be explored.