Queensland has several day trips that are as memorable as they are quirky. This list of five has activities that aren't generally affected by fitness or age. They are photogenic, memorable and will get you seeing or trying something new. In terms of a definition, a day trip is a tour of varying lengths achievable in around a 24 hour timeframe or 'less than a day' as opposed to daytime only. The list is indeed ranked in order of how astonishing the author feels each tour is as a touring proposition. What makes a trip astonishing is something more than a view - so an amazing animal interaction or a special story. When combined with amazing locations and that something extra - that's when a tour/day trip becomes truly astonishing!
With the selected day trips offering something extra, you can learn something astonishing about the 'sunshine state' while getting some phenomenal touring ideas.
Mary Kathleen Photogenic Old Uranium Mine
Mary Kathleen is located near Mount Isa and tours to the spot for a day trip are done from Mount Isa by North West Tours. For the day-tripper and photographer, the main attraction is the Instagrammable old uranium mine, however, there is also a ghost town dating back to the early 1980s. The author has ranked it top of the list because uranium mines (especially in this form) are rare as is the ghost town's astonishing history. However, it's also astonishingly radioactive, with much controversy about the site's rehabilitation.
From Mackay, it's possible to drive or hop on a bus tour to Cape Hillsborough National Park and see kangaroos and wallabies on the beach when they come to feed on mangrove seed pods. A rare sight that captures the imagination of all - from brochure photographers to those tourists fortunate enough to see them early morning in this stunning natural environment. It's something easily put on the bucket list!
Near northern Mackay, this half-day trip idea can be turned into something longer in duration with a tourist resort park on site.
As an Outback racing carnival or even as a desert racing carnival, the Birdsville Races is an event astonishing for its remoteness, along with its place in the national psyche. It can be attended in a day via light plane from inland towns like Quilpie and Charleville. Birdsville has an airport conveniently across the road from its iconic pub. As expensive and unrealistic as a private or small numbers plane trip (as well as buying an event ticket) in a day is, it's indeed possible to have attended the event in a day, and for that, for every other thing about this Outback party being astonishing such a day trip gets placed at third on the list.
Searching for turtles? As few of these hatching events at Mon Repos Conservation Park are ever seen, the only slight catch to this truly astonishing Queensland day trip is most of the associated touring is done at night. Hence while at a one-night duration and thus a distinct lack of daylight hours, it's not the average day trip. Yet in terms of turtle-watching tours, a Mon Repos hatching season one-night tour is in fact the most astonishing turtle-watching day trip of them all. Mon Repos is a small coastal locality near Bundaberg nestled between Bargara and Burnett Heads, directly east of the city.
Despite such beautifully behaved wild dolphins, the Tin Can Bay wild dolphin feeding is astonishing as a quirky, family-friendly yet significant thing to do with a morning's worth of time.
The Barnacles Dolphin Centre is the host of this rare experience - with its Tin Can Bay location near Gympie and Maryborough. The experience requires a very early start. The activity can take a few hours to complete with feedings and photos along with some interesting discussion from the centre's staff about how this became a daily and rare way to interact with dolphins.
Tin Can Bay dolphin feeding, source WeekendNotes 2020.