The wonders of being retired mean that time is in your hands. No longer are you bound to the shackles of working 9 to 5, or having responsibility after responsibility getting in the way of a good time.
And with so much amazement to explore in Queensland, it’s time to start ticking off a few of those life-changing experiences that you never had time for before.
Here’s a Queensland Travel Guide built out for retirees in mind.
Witness the Great Barrier Reef from above
Most Aussies will say that their experience of the Great Barrier Reef is from ground or sea level. Not many can say that they’ve witnessed the amazement from above.
Imagine the aerial views of an incredible expanse filled with diverse patterns and ever-changing shades of green and blue, the Great Barrier Reef is a wonder of the world in its own right.
A helicopter tour or a ride on a seaplane from Cairns or Whitsundays (for a view of the Heart Reef) will get you started and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t forget to bring your camera along for some Instagram worthy shots!
Explore the deep blue
You’re never too old to learn a thing or two, and this includes snorkelling and exploring the deep blue.
With vast expanses that will expose you to a whole new underwater world and a journey on a Great Barrier Reef cruise boat will lead you to a gentle entry into the waters. The team onboard include patient and experienced instructors who are helpful and will do what they can to ensure you have a good time. You can explore at ease knowing that the instructors are always keeping an eye on you to ensure your safety.
Feeling a little more adventurous and thinking of going deeper? Many reef cruise boats offer introductory dives. For those with a little more experience or are looking to get certified, there are plenty of companies that offer certified dive courses for you to explore the deeper waters more. Most are based in Cairns and Port Douglas with flexible options of completing a course in as quick as a week.
The best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is during June or July to maximise your chances of diving and snorkelling beside minke whales. Don’t forget to bring your underwater camera for some breathtaking shots!
Explore the wonders of Emerald
As one of the hidden gems of Queensland, the quaint town of Emerald is located by the Nogoa River in the Central Highlands. With the best of Queensland’s countryside at its whim, this humble town is known for its sapphire gemfields.
Whether it’s a few days or just a passing by, Emerald will impress with plenty of things to see and do for the young adventurer at heart.
For nature lovers, a visit to the Minerva Hills National Park is a must as a day trip from Emerald. Offering stunning jagged peaks which resulted from volcanic activity in the past, the view is astounding. The Minerva Hills National Park is home to a spectacular range of wildlife and native plants. Other magnificent spectacles include the unique rock of the historic Karai people. Do note that camping isn’t allowed at the park so staying in Emerald, close to amenities and necessities, is a wise choice.
Given that Emerald is known for its sapphire gemfields, it would be silly not to put that on your must-visit list. Discovered back in 1875, the sapphire gemfields in Emerald are one of largest in the world spanning over a massive 900 kilometre square radius. Tours range from underground mining tours to digging tours. You’ll also get a chance to wander among the sapphire shops to admire the beauties at their finest point. The drive to the sapphire gemfields is a convenient 45 minute from town making it easy to explore from Emerald.
Given the earthy, dry surroundings of North-West Queensland, why not treat yourself to a relaxation oasis at Lake Maraboon? A stone’s throw away from Emerald, this beautiful, tranquil lake awaits you for some fun in the sun. From fishing to strolling and even exploring on kayaks or water skis, there’s plenty to do for everyone. A picnic at Lake Maraboon is a must for those who are happy to do the prep work. With barbecue facilities and picnic tables widely available, you’ll find it easy to cook up a storm.
And if you’re ever feeling peckish in Emerald, why not grab takeaway from a local favourite - the Maraboon Tavern? Steak lovers will delight in experiencing one of the best steaks in Australia - as some patrons have said so.
Try glamping instead of camping
One of the modern trends brought into the world of camping, instead of getting down and dirty with conventional camping, why not spoil yourself with glamping at Carnarvon Gorge Wilderness Lodge. Promising soft beds, crisp linen, and so much more, you get all the luxuries of a hotel but surrounded by a spectacular bush setting.
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