Brisbane, Noosa, Fraser Island - Australia

Brisbane.

The nation's fastest-growing capital, Brisbane is Australia's third-largest city, with a population of over1.5 million. The climate is sub-tropical meaning high humidity in summer and temperate winters.

Brisbane is a modern and cosmopolitan city and although located not far from the coast it is the river that is the dominant natural feature. Scenic cruises and ferry services operate on the river – some travelling out to the mouth where you can get an excellent waterside view of the old port warehouses and other historic buildings. To view historic building around the city the Brisbane City Council produces ‘Heritage Trail Brochures’ that are suited to a self guided tour of the city.

Parks & Gardens: Apart from the very excellent city botanic gardens a second, and equally spectacular, Botanic Gardens has been opened on Mount Coot-tha Road. Located off Mt Coot-tha Road in Toowong only ten minutes from the city centre, the Mt Coot-tha Gardens are reputed to be Australia's largest sub-tropical display of flora. They cover an area of 57 ha in which plants are set against an environment of lakes, ponds, and streams. On a clear day you can see the line of Moreton and Stradbroke Island and the intriguing shapes of the Glasshouse Mountain to the north.

Located to the north west of the city is the Brisbane Forest Park that is a 26,500-hetare natural bushland reserve in the D’Aguilar Range. Popular for scenic drives, bushwalking, cycling and horse riding.

The Glass House Mountains are located about 60kms north of the city and whilst their eerie shapes make interesting viewing there is limited access apart from a few lookout points but could be combined with a day long scenic drive also taking in the seaside settlements of Sandgate, Redcliffe, and Bribie Island (access by causeway)

Noosa  (127km north of Brisbane)

Sophisticated, stylish and cosmopolitan, the holiday oasis of Noosa is one of Australia's most desirable holiday destinations. Its proximity to sand, sea and nature combined with its sophisticated charm make it the perfect place for a quick getaway or long, lazy holiday. Noosa has become a mecca for those in search of sunny skies and relaxation, some retail therapy and culinary treats, and for those who want to ride the clean waves off the spectacular coastline.

Alexandria Bay and Sunshine Beach are fringed by many other picturesque bays and coves. From crashing ocean surf at Sunshine Beach to quietly lapping waves at Main Beach, there is a beach experience to suit everyone.

The Noosa National Park has a chain of sections that stretch approximately 20km down the coast from Noosa Heads. The Headland section is one of the most frequently visited national parks in Australia, and for good reason. Easily accessible from famous Hastings Street or from Sunshine Beach to the south, the park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts from nature-lovers and picnickers to bush walkers and surfers. It has an abundance of wildlife, including spirited bush turkeys, lumbering goannas and everyone's favourite, koalas.

The best views of the region can be enjoyed from Laguna Lookout, behind Hastings Street at the top of Noosa Hill.

Fraser Island (290kms north of Brisbane)

Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and carries World Heritage status. White sandy beaches, freshwater lakes, ancient rainforest growing on sand and low ‘wallum’ heaths that produce spectacular displays of wildflowers in spring and summer make Fraser Island a diverse and intriguing destination.

Fraser Island is popular for 4 wheel drive expeditions, fishing, canoeing, spa retreats and wildlife spotting that includes armies of Soldier Crabs, the infamous Fraser Island dingo and Whale watching . An estimated 1500 humpback Whales visit Hervey Bay between August and September on their way to the Antarctic.

Catamaran passenger boats and vehicle barges cross to the island from Hervey Bay several times a day – the trip takes 30 – 45 minutes. (Note that Fraser Island is suitable for 4 wheel drive vehicles only and ‘vehicle access permits’ are required for all vehicles entering the island.).