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Mission Beach

Nature takes centre stage at Mission Beach with its long unspoilt beaches, deserted islands and white-water rivers fringed by rainforest. There are no crowds at this seductive and easy going destination which is perfect for relaxation or discovering adrenalin pumping outdoor activities.

This is the birthplace of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, so exploring the reef is a must. Reef boats leave from the Clump Point jetty, join a kayaking tour or hire a dinghy and take a picnic to a deserted Great Barrier Reef island.

Mission Beach has 14 kilometres of sandy beaches, so it is easy to find a quiet place to relax with a book or indulge by checking into the couple's room at a day spa and relaxing with the fabulous beach views. There are four villages that are collectively known as Mission Beach: South Mission Beach, Wongaling Beach, North Mission Beach and Bingil Bay.

Lush rainforest touches the shores of Mission Beach, hiding the elusive southern cassowary. Look for these majestic creatures on an easy rainforest walks and keep an eye out for the brilliant blue Ulysses butterfly, another local icon.

Nearby is the spectacular Misty Mountains Trail, a series of long-distance walking tracks through high-altitude rainforest. Several follow the ridgelines used by the area's traditional owners, the Jirrbal and Mamu Aboriginal people.

The serene beauty of Mission Beach hides another side to this friendly beachside retreat - adrenalin-pumping adventure. Skydive from a plane on to the beach, head into the heart of the rainforest for white water rafting or explore the area on a jet ski or mountain bike.

Luxurious resorts, elegant hill-top apartments and beach houses are favourites for those wanting to escape from their busy lives, or choose from family-friendly motels, beach caravan parks and popular backpacker hostels. Mission Beach is about a two hour drive south of Cairns.

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Cathu State Forest

Yalboroo, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Along the rugged Clarke Range behind the Whitsunday coast is Cathu State Forest. Forests and woodlands range from distinctive poplar gum Eucalyptus alba woodlands and exotic Caribbean pine plantations on the creek flats to dense rainforest, hoop pine plantations and tall wet eucalypt forest along the range.

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.

Barcaldine

Barcaldine, Barcaldine Area
Barcaldine is situated on the junction of the Capricorn and Landsborough Highways and known as the Garden City of the West. Many visitors use Barcaldine as a base from which to explore central west Queensland.

Chillagoe

Chillagoe, Mareeba Area
Head into the accessible outback west of Cairns and discover the underground wonders of the former mining town of Chillagoe. Just 140 kilometres west of Mareeba along the Wheelbarrow Way, Chillagoe was once an ancient coral reef which has been transformed into spectacular limestone bluffs with a network of some 560 caves, while early volcanic activity has created rich marble and mineral deposits.

Bucasia Beach

Bucasia, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Located in the Northern Beaches area of Mackay, Bucasia Beach is a picturesque sandy haven, popular for walking, swimming and fishing. Kick off your thongs (footwear) and feel the soft white sand underfoot.

Peregian Beach

Peregian Beach, Noosa Area
About 13 kilometres south of Noosa Heads, Peregian Beach is one of a string of lovely beaches between Noosa and Coolum. Just over the sand hills at the southern end of the beach you'll find Peregian Environmental Park, an area of wallum heath which bursts into a colourful profusion of wildflowers in spring.

Illawong Beach

Mackay, Mackay Area
Free Entry
A serene and peaceful coastline awaits at Illawong Beach. Kilometres of sandy shoreline as well as off and on dog leash areas make Illawong Beach a popular choice for sunrise strolls. At low tide, the ripples in the sand stretch for kilometres, where small blue soldier crabs can be seen scuttling across the surface.

Agnes Water

Agnes Water, Gladstone Area
There is a certain kind of golden sparkle that glistens across the ocean in this part of South East Queensland and Agnes Water shines bright as the last stop in the surf beach stretch. Surrounded by two beauties that Australia is well known for - the Pacific ocean and a number of diverse national parks - Agnes Water makes the perfect, quiet seaside getaway and you might even find time to learn how to surf while here with regular lessons on offer.

Gatton

Gatton, Lockyer Valley Area
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The fertile Lockyer Valley of South East Queensland is home to the rich farming region of Gatton Shire, just 60 minutes from Brisbane. Known for its spectacular scenic backdrop of steep hills and the mountains of The Great Dividing Range, Gatton is a fast growing region that has maintained its natural beauty and charm.

Childers

Childers, Bundaberg Area
Rows of red rich soil, green macadamia trees dotting the horizon, "hedges" of sugarcane along the roadside and a main street with history and heritage oozing out of its facades - history, heritage, arts, culture, food and wine is all here in Childers.
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