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Exploring south Queensland by road is the best way to discover the region’s diversity. Fly to Brisbane from Sydney; then head north across the Tropic of Capricorn into the land of beaches, flying foxes and Australian history.

Stop 1. Take in the wildlife at Cape Hillsborough

Cape Hillsborough National Park Australia

Photo by Rob and Stephanie Levy

At sunrise, watch as whiptail wallabies and grey kangaroos scavenge for their breakfast along the beach at Cape Hillsborough National Park. Afterward, explore one of the well-marked hiking trails through the park’s hoop pine and mangrove forests, seeking out the 150 bird and 25 tropical butterfly species hidden in the branches.
Cape Hillsborough National Park, 51 Risley Parade, Cape Hillsborough, 61-7-4959-0152, nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/cape-hillsborough

Stop 2. Go surf fishing on Fraser Island

Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island

Coastal Queensland’s signature sport is surf fishing: Stand on the beach and cast directly into the approaching waves with a 4.3-metre rod and locally built Alvey reel. At Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island – one of Queensland’s best fishing spots – learn all the tricks of the sport, like locating pipis (sand clams) to use for bait. We recommend testing your new skills along the island’s famous 120-kilometre beach, where you can see dingoes trotting the shoreline as you fish.
Kingfisher Bay Resort, PMB 1 Urangan Hervey Bay, 61-7-4194-9300, kingfisherbay.com

Stop 3. Devour an authentic Fruito bar in Toowoomba

Toowomba in Queensland

You can grab a Fruito bar in many Queensland shops, but save your first taste of the treat for Toowoomba, the home of their creator. In the 1930s, Les Weis came up with the idea by combining frozen passion fruit, pineapple and banana juice into a bar that’s topped with vanilla ice cream. Pick one up at the Coles supermarket, and enjoy it in one of the town’s famous gardens.
Coles, Hooper St., Toowoomba, 61-7-4615-1700, coles.com

Stop 4. Zipline over thousands of flying foxes at Finch Hatton Gorge

Finch Hatton Gorge in Australia

The term “flying fox” is a misnomer. The winged creatures are actually the largest bats in the world, with wingspans of up to 1.5 metres. At Forest Flying, watch them from 30 metres above the ground as you zipline through their habitat in the rainforest canopy. Afterward, take a dip in one of the emerald green swimming holes fed by mountain creeks. 
Forest Flying, 18 Oliver’s Rd., Finch Hatton, 61-7-4958-3359, forestflying.com

Stop 5. Scuba dive with the platypuses in Finch Hatton

Platypuses in Finch Hatton

Scuba diving in a tropical river is rare, but rarer still is coming face to face with a platypus in its natural habitat. Rainforest Scuba offers both. Dive to the bottom of Oliver’s Pool, and wait quietly for a foraging platypus to come to you. Bring an underwater flashlight to illuminate the scene. Don’t worry; platypuses swim with closed eyes, so they won’t be spooked.
Rainforest Scuba, 55 Anzak Parade, Finch Hatton, 61-7-3445-5040, rainforestscuba.com

Stop 6. Fuel up with an Australian meat pie in Gin Gin

Australian Meat Pie

To travel Australia is to eat meat pies, and the Traveller’s Rest Café bakes some of the best in Queensland. Tim and Jenny Gourley hand make their pies daily in 25 flavours ranging from traditional (steak and mushroom) to exotic (oyster). Call ahead and the Gourleys will set some aside or even freeze them for you to enjoy on your road trip. 
Traveller’s Rest Café, 57 Mulgrave St., Gin Gin, 61-7-4157-3333

Tags

AUSTRALIA     BRISBANE     FISHING     FOOD     SCUBA DIVING     SPORTS     SYDNEY    

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