There's something to suit every budget and plenty to lure gay and lesbian travellers to Queensland - breathtaking natural attractions, gay and lesbian accommodation and thriving club scenes and festivals.
Brisbane, the capital has an 'out there' gay and lesbian community. Brisbane hosts a Pride Festival each June which includes cultural events, a Pride March and Fair Day. The clubs, bars and restaurants of Fortitude Valley, West End and Spring Hill are where the boys and girls play.
Just two and a half hours' drive from Brisbane, the Southern Queensland Country region takes in deep secluded valleys, jagged mountain ranges, wineries, country markets, waterfalls and pristine wilderness. Set your course for the Southern Downs and Granite Belt, Toowoomba and the Darling Downs and The South Burnett and Bunya Mountains. Rustic cabins, B&Bs, country drives, four distinct seasons and warm hospitality await.
The Gold Coast, an hour's drive south of Brisbane (or fly direct into Coolangatta), stretches from Southport to Coolangatta and is Australia's best known beach holiday, and with good reason. Basking in more than 300 days of sunshine each year, the Coast offers golden surf beaches, a rainforest-clad mountain hinterland and chic shopping and dining, making it a top spot for gay and lesbian travellers.
There's a mind-boggling array of places to stay on the Coast. Beachfront high-rise hotels and apartments along the Coast's 42kms of surf beaches will allow the best view of the pumping waves. If you'd rather stunning mountain views, head to the cooler hinterland about 30 minutes inland from the Coast.
If life's a beach, then the Sunshine Coast's the life. Surf beaches, top restaurants, a charming hinterland and access to World Heritage Fraser Island make it the perfect place to unwind. From Caloundra to Fraser Island, through the surfside towns of Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Coolum and Noosa, and the villages of the Glasshouse Mountains, the Blackall Ranges and Eumundi, it's the coast with the most!
Over the last five years, the Coast and particularly Noosa has become the recovery spot after the rigours of Sydney's Mardi Gras.
The Whitsundays is one of the few places left on Earth where you can really escape. There are no crowds, clean beaches and the aquamarine waters of the Whitsunday Passage are one of the world's best year-round aquatic playgrounds.
Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands, which are all within 50km of Shute Harbour. Of the 74 islands, seven have resorts while camping is permitted on many. Try skippering your own bareboat or join a crewed sailing cruise for two or three nights.
There aren't many regional cities that offer a cosmopolitan buzz and the kind of relaxing holiday that you never want to end. Townsville is one of these rare gems. Tropical by nature, perched on the coast between the Whitsundays and Cairns, it's a very appealing escape for gay and lesbian travellers. Easy access to Magnetic, Orpheus and Hinchinbrook Islands, the Great Barrier Reef, Mission Beach and rainforests, as well as the CBD's dining and attractions await.
Escaping to the Tropical North promises warm weather, exciting cuisine and the only place on Earth where two World Heritage listed sites, the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforests, meet. You'll find Australia's largest concentration of resorts and guesthouses catering exclusively to gay and lesbian travellers, and many gay and lesbian friendly ones.
Generally, accommodation houses are very gay and lesbian friendly and the number of gay and lesbian resorts signal the warm welcome in store. You'll find plenty of places to stay in Cairns, Cairns' northern beaches, Port Douglas, Atherton Tableland and beaches just south of Cairns.
For more details and information visit Gay And Lesbian Tourism Australia (GALTA).