Setting forth on a solo adventure just might be one of the most liberating things you ever do. Don’t let the idea of holidaying on your lonesome scare you, but embrace the opportunity to do what you want, when you want — all at your own pace. Queensland is heaven for the solo traveller: One of the safest places in the world, the state can accommodate many a lone ranger thanks to the ample adventure potential within its diverse borders. Where to begin? Let the following 5 adventures provide ample inspiration for your solo getaway!
1. Immerse yourself in the great outdoors in Noosa.
While Noosa has long been recognised as a swanky resort town, that’s not to say there aren’t ample outdoor adventures to be had in this Sunshine Coast gem. Get away from the crowds of Hastings Street and spend days meandering the bushwalks of the pristine Noosa National Park just around the corner. Wandering the coastline, take in the views of the region’s world-famous surfing reserve and discover quiet bays for a refreshing dip. Or take to the board yourself, learning to surf along the ever-popular main beach with one of the many resident schools. More seclusion can be found slightly further afield in the Noosa Everglades, one of only two of its kind in the world. Spend hours trawling the tannin-coloured water by kayak, keeping an eye out for the diverse flora and fauna which call the region home. You can choose to self-guide your way along the waterways or join one of the many experienced tour groups operating daily. And a trip is not complete without escaping the bitumen and indulging in a unique once in a lifetime 4WD drive tour experiencing the Great Beach Drive from Noosa to Rainbow Beach. The drive is pure exhilaration, more than 70km on a white sandy beach with the Pacific Ocean on one side and natural bushland on the other side.
2. Embrace eco-tourism at Lady Elliot Island.
Make way for the sugarcane capital of Bundaberg, where a hop, skip, and jump away sits the pristine Lady Elliot Island. This little pocket of paradise has amassed a reputation for its unspoilt scenery and has fast become a popular destination for those eager to experience a taste of ecotourism. Reconnect with nature on the coral cay on the cusp of the Southern Great Barrier Reef, where snorkelling among turtles, manta rays, and more than 1200 species of colourful marine life is a part of the everyday. After a day exploring the reef, spend the night at the family-run Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort. The award-winning eco-tourism business works alongside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to be as sustainable as possible in its endeavours and is refreshingly without telephones, television or WiFi.
3. Reinvigorate body and soul.
Take some time out for yourself with a visit to one of Queensland’s most revered retreats – Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat is spread across 500 hectares in the Tallebudgera Valley in the Gold Coast Hinterland. Designed to act as a cocoon from external distractions and stress, the wellness-focused getaway encourages internal self-discovery and is ideal for the solo traveller. Take part in one of the multi-day specialty retreats exploring stress, nutrition, women’s health, sleep and mindfulness. Or make it a day trip heavy on indulgence, choosing instead to decompress with a treatment at Gwinganna’s heavily awarded spa. Or for the perfect digital detox, award-winning Thala Beach Nature Reserve is a 58-hectare sanctuary for tired humans and native wildlife. Nestled between two UNESCO World Heritage areas — the Wet Tropics Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef — this little piece of paradise is home to 120 species of butterfly and almost 200 species of birds, with walking tracks weaving their way through seven micro-habitats found across the property. The resort works hard at being as unobtrusive on the environment as possible, with bungalows seeming to grow from the trees. Thala provides an island-feel experience without leaving the mainland, so you can unwind and relax and still get out an explore the region.
4. Spot animals in the wild.
Get better acquainted with the heaving population of turtles that come to nest on Queensland’s coastline with a trip to Mon Repos Turtle Centre in Bundaberg. The highly regarded conservation park is a must-visit for those in the region - the globally significant site supports the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and boasts the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region. But it’s the encounter tours which are a true stand-out, where you’ll be able to experience both the nesting and hatching of turtles in the wild. During the appropriate season, park rangers lead small groups on supervised tours to the beach for the bucket list experience. But be mindful that tours are popular and offer limited places so it’s best to book well ahead. It's said to be a thoroughly exhilarating, soul-touching experience to swim with minke whales and Tropical North Queensland is the only place you can experience this exclusive wildlife encounter. For just six weeks of the year from June to July, these elusive creatures visit the Great Barrier Reef — and only a few hundred people experience this natural encounter each year. Tours are one of the best ways to see minke whales, and most depart from Cairns or Port Douglas.
5. Greet two world heritage-listed wonders at Cape Tribulation.
Nature is calling at Cape Tribulation in Tropical North Queensland, within arm’s reach of the iconic Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef. Exploration in these parts is best done by foot as Cape Tribulation is celebrated for its web of bushwalking tracks. But these don’t have to be undertaken solo - join a tour like those at Daintree Discovery Centre which will introduce you to the hidden secrets of the rainforest, and the region’s rich Indigenous heritage. Or take to the water instead, greeting the diverse marine life that call the world’s largest reef home on an Ocean Safari Tour. Snorkel at two different offshore destinations on the half day adventure, gliding alongside a rainbow hued coral rife with turtles, fish, eagle rays, giant clams and starfish. After a day out of doors, retreat for a night of well-deserved rest at the beachfront Cape Trib Beach House or the enchanting Daintree Ecolodge.