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5 Queensland escapes that will beat the winter blues

As we get deeper into the Australian winter, it’s to be expected that those from the southern states will make a beeline for Queensland to get their mid-year dose of sunshine, and holiday destinations that always feel like Summer. With cities like Townsville and the Gold Coast boasting as many as 300 sunny days a year, and the former rating as the most affordable Aussie destination according to Wotif’s Winter Heat Index, it’s not hard to see why. With this in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the best ways to warm up across Queensland this winter. Book your stay at Choice Hotels.

1. Take a tropical break in Townsville

No trip to Far North Queensland is complete without a visit to Magnetic Island, or ‘Maggie’ as she’s better known to the locals. A 20-minute ferry ride from Townsville, this island paradise offers tourists endless beaches, wildlife viewing opportunities, hiking trails and snorkelling adventures. Back in the heart of the unofficial North Queensland capital, foodies are flocking to City Lane in Flinders Street. If you’re an indecisive eater or just like an urban vibe, this creative laneway is worth seeking out. Here you’ll find yourself with a multitude of culinary choices – from Italian to Greek, Korean and beyond – alongside a selection of small bars. It’s a hip and happening setting to eat and unwind. With temperatures in the mid-20s all winter long, Townsville’s a balmy choice for a winter break.

Need a place to stay?

Clarion Hotel Townsville enjoys a superb location in the heart of the CBD, just a stone’s throw from City Lane.

Chill out on Magnetic Island this winter. Image – Bigstock

2. Soak up the cosmopolitan cool in Brisbane

It’s all going on in the Queensland capital this winter. Check out the new entertainment development that’s bringing life back to Brisbane’s riverfront. Howard Smith Wharves, under the Story Bridge, delivers a diverse selection of bars, restaurants and cafes, all with gas warmers to keep you toasty warm as you dine al fresco. For those not averse to a pop-up, the Veuve Clicquot Chalet igloo bar on the terrace of Customs House is the place for you. Cosy up on the fur rugs inside the geometric domes and sip on winter warming cocktails. The views alone are worth the visit.

Need a place to stay?

Be close to the action with Choice Hotels’ range of Brisbane accommodation options.

3. Escape to the glittering Gold Coast

The Glitter Strip’s long been known for its beaches and nightlife, but in winter it’s the hinterland that comes into its own. Make your way up Tamborine Mountain or into the Canungra Valley and taste test some of the region’s finest wines. Also check out the farmer’s markets, cosy cafes and eclectic art galleries. For those who prefer a dose of Coast culture, head to the Home of the Arts precinct. Positioned between Southport and Surfers Paradise on the banks of the Nerang River, HOTA is home to the Gold Coast City Art Gallery and boasts two cinemas, a theatre, a cafe/restaurant and an outdoor stage. It’s the ideal place to broaden your cultural knowledge of Queensland.

View Choice Hotels Gold Coast accommodation options here.

Explore Canungra Valley from the Gold Coast. Image courtesy of Tourism & Events Queensland

4. Hear some whale songs in Hervey Bay

Hervey Bay is renowned as whale-watching central, so spend some time spotting the majestic giants of the sea. Climb aboard with Whalesong Cruises and enjoy a couple of hours mingling with the humpbacks as they make their journey south. When you’re done at sea, consider taking to the skies on a 60-minute charter flight over the bay with Air Fraser Island. From your aerial perch you may catch glimpses of dugongs, dolphins, sea turtles and yet more whales. Enjoy incredible views as you fly over World Heritage-listed Fraser Island and even opt to land on the beach for photos. It’s the perfect way to elevate your Queensland stay!

Need a place to stay?

Comfort Inn on Main Hervey Bay offers clean, comfortable and affordable accommodation within close proximity to Hervey Bay’s key attractions. The hotel is just a ten-minute stroll from the beach.

5. Catch a ride to the reef from Cairns

With air temperatures in the mid-20s and water temperatures nudging 25-degrees daily, winter is the ideal time to venture out to the Great Barrier Reef. Join a reef day tour from Cairns. Options include the Green Island and Great Barrier Reef Adventure. You can even go one step further and sleep under the stars on a ‘liveaboard’ vessel. Back on dry land, the Kuranda Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and Scenic Railway are a must-do. Get above the stunning McAlister Range and traverse the Barron Gorge National Park from the comfort of a six-person gondola cabin on the way up to the village of Kuranda. Then take the two-hour heritage rail journey from Kuranda back to Cairns past dense rainforest, steep ravines and stunning waterfalls. This is nature at its most pristine!

View Choice Hotels accommodation options here.

Image courtesy of Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

You May Also Be Interested In: Damper, chargrilled kangaroo and fresh water yabbies – does it get anymore Aussie? (Cairns, QLD)

Need a place to stay?

Comfort Inn Cairns City offers the quintessential Queensland holiday vibe. Chill by the tropical-style pool, enjoy a bite to eat in the on-site Thai restaurant, or stroll to the Esplanade Lagoon and Cairns Night Markets. The Benson Hotel, Cairns is a boutique hotel in the centre of Cairns that offers everything guests need for a relaxing stay and more.

Experience the magic of the Great Barrier Reef in winter. Image courtesy of Tourism & Events Queensland

About the writer

Melinda Healy is an Australian-made journalist who enjoys roaming the globe and writing about it. She’s just returned to Australia after four years working in the media in Abu Dhabi where she was most recently section editor of a weekly lifestyle supplement. Mel is a destination expert for Telegraph Travel and Culture Trip and has had bylines in The Times, The Independent, Etihad Airways’ Atlas online, Ultratravel Middle East, Conde Nast Traveller Middle East and The Upsider.

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