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Broadbeach

Boy has bustling Broadbeach come a long way baby. Once the little brother to big sister Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach or "Broadie" to locals, is all grown up, and how.

You could start in the surf, with its beautiful beaches, framed by lazy parks home to weekend markets and weekday yoga classes. Or wander down the Broadbeach Mall, peppered with roving street artists and framed by alfresco dining whose tentacles seem to keep spreading in all directions. Yes, you've now met one of the Gold Coast's dining divas, with everything from gourmet delis, to bistros and brasseries.

There's five-star feasts to be had along here too, and seemingly a new restaurant or bar every time you blink. Not that it's overdone. That's not Broadie's style. If you do want some razzle dazzle, head across the Gold Coast Highway to Jupiters Hotel and Casino, with its 24-hour casino, bars, lounges, restaurants and shows galore. You'll also find the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre here, home to top international and Australian recording artists and business conference.

Let's not forget that other icon - Pacific Fair - one of Australia's largest retail centres with more than 300 stores, cinemas, and casual dining. And when the sun and fun finally sets on your day, choose from a wide range of accommodation options. All the top brand hotels in Asia/Pacific have taken up residence here, as have some super swanky apartments. Sure, Broadbeach has grown up, but it will always be Broadie to the locals.

Victoria Avenue
Broadbeach, Gold Coast Area
Queensland
Australia

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Malanda Falls Conservation Park

Malanda, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
Surrounded by dense rainforest, the North Johnstone River tumbles over basalt rock that was formed by an ancient lava flow at Malanda Falls. The much-photographed picturesque falls flow into an artificial swimming pool in this popular park near Malanda.

Millstream Falls National Park

Ravenshoe, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
Plunging over the edge of a columnar basalt lava flow, Big Millstream Falls is reputedly the widest single-drop waterfall in Australia. Lying in the rain shadow of the eastern dividing ranges, the dry open woodland here is in stark contrast with the rainforest which is only kilometres away.

Mount Hypipamee National Park

Atherton, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
This park features a diatreme (a volcanic pipe or vent) thought to have been created by a massive gas explosion. The gaping hole is 70 metres wide with steep granite sides that plunge 58 metres to the lake below.

Curtain Fig Tree

Yungaburra, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
The Curtain Fig National Park contains the renowned Curtain Fig Tree, an enormous strangler fig tree. Located a short drive out of Yungaburra, a small town in the Atherton Tableland, the giant tree has several aerial roots hanging down from its branches that look like curtains.

Eubenangee Swamp National Park

Babinda, Cairns Area
Free Entry
One of the most important wetlands between Ingham and Cairns, Eubenangee Swamp is a birdwatchers' paradise, with over 190 species of birds recorded. Situated in the lowlands east of the Bellenden Ker Range (the wettest part of Australia), much of this park is flooded during the wet season.
Free Entry
Josephine Falls, a scenic section of Wooroonooran National Park, features a scenic waterfall fed by rains falling on Queensland's highest peak, Bartle Frere, which looms above this popular picnic area.

Clump Mountain National Park

Mission Beach, Cassowary Coast Area
Free Entry
This park, on the scenic coast just north of Mission Beach, contains some of the few remaining patches of undisturbed tropical lowland rainforest in North Queensland. These rainforest remnants are important habitat for the endangered southern cassowary.

Curtain Fig National Park

Yungaburra, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
This park protects a small area of an endangered type of forest, called mabi forest, the local Aborignal (Ngadjon) word for the Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo. The large fig tree found in this park is unique because the extensive aerial roots, that drop 15 metres to the forest floor, have formed a 'curtain'.

Frankland Group National Park

Deeral, Cairns Area
Free Entry
Surrounded by extensive fringing reefs, the five islands of Frankland Group National Park feature rocky outcrops, dense rainforest, mangroves and coastal vegetation, making them a haven for wildlife. A colony of spectacled flying-foxes roosts on Russell Island, while manta rays and sea turtles have been spotted in nearby waters, part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Lake Barrine, Crater Lakes National Park

Yungaburra, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
This popular park features a deep crater lake surrounded by cool lush rainforest. Lake Barrine, part of Crater Lakes National Park, is a maar: a crater lake formed by volcanic explosions. In several places, large bull kauri pines, a species that once dominated the tableland forests, emerge through the rainforest canopy.
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