Where to stay in Queensland

Like most holiday decisions, where to stay in Queensland depends entirely on what you are interested in doing, what sort of weather you are hoping to have and how you plan to get around.

This list is a starting point to help narrow down some destinations that sound like they might be a good option for your trip!

Where to stay in Queensland for warm winter weather

While weather is always unpredictable, generally the further north you stay on the coast in Queensland in winter, the better chance you have of warm to hot weather. So if you are escaping winter in southern Australia, your best chance of proper warm to hot weather in a location with an airport is the very northern coastal towns in Queensland around Cairns.

For a resort holiday, you want to stick to the coast around Tropical North Queensland, where there is lots of choices for resorts and there is a better chance than most other parts of Queensland of warm days and balmy nights.

You can still get really nice days inland, however in can cool down a lot more at night time. For example heading ever a short distance inland to Atherton in winter can result in evening temperatures that require pants and a jumper while Cairns might be closer to 20 degrees still in the evening.

Again, keep in mind while much of the time you have a great chance of this happening, in 2022 many Cairns holidays, unfortunately, received torrential rain (like my friends did)!

If you have a longer trip, you might like to plan a multi-destination trip. Some towns that are great to stay in for a chance at warm winter weather include:


Cairns is a good place to stay in Queensland if you want warm winter weather a convenient location close to the airport, plenty of choice for reef trips, day tours to nearby attractions, hire car access, shopping, bars and restaurants.

If you stay at the Novotel in Cairns you can have it all – a lagoon pool & swim-up bar while still being close to the centre of town and the airport – a great option for a short break away.

North of Cairns

Trinity Beach

Only a short drive from Cairns and a quieter option than the more popular Palm Cove and Port Douglas that has warm weather in winter.

Much of the accommodation here is apartments good for more affordable self-catering but there are also restaurants for those who don’t want to cook.

Palm Cove

A popular destination for predominantly resort-based holidays, Palm Cove usually has warm weather and has lots of bars and restaurants and is also a short day trip from the Atherton Tablelands, Kuranda and for a longer day trip the Daintree.

Port Douglas

The ‘resort capital of Australia’ Port Douglas is a bigger alternative to Palm Cove while still having the beach town vibes. Its biggest resorts are generally several km’s out of town on the beach front while options in town tend to be a bit smaller but walking distance to bars, restaurants and shopping.

Read my Accommodation Guides for Port Douglas:

South of Cairns

Mission Beach

A super chilled out but popular little tourist town, Mission Beach is the place to be for iconic palm tree beach photos, casual bars and restaurants and easy access to rainforest walks a short drive away.

For the best coffee views in town, stay at Castaways Resort and Spa, beachside rooms are a great choice for views but if you need something more affordable they also have budget accommodations further from the beach.

The view from the deck at Castaway Resort & Spa

Where to stay in Queensland for a honeymoon or couples resort holiday

Queensland Island Resorts

The most popular choice of places to stay in Queensland for a honeymoon or couples resort holiday is one of the many Queensland Islands.

There is a huge variety of options available, its about finding one that suits you. If your wondering which Queensland island is the best for couples here is a few ideas based on interest:

  • Active couples: will enjoy Hamilton Island as it has a big range of activities on offer including bushwalk, non motorised water sports (kyacks, stand up paddle boards, catamarans, off the beach snorkelling) as well as day trips out to the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Swimming Pool Time: Hayman Island has one of the biggest pools in Australia and its also long been a honeymooners resort (my folks went there for their honeymoon).
  • Wildlife Lovers: will find the reef is accessible from many of the Whitsunday and Cairns Islands so you have plenty of great choices, however for a very special nature based experience consider a stay at Heron Island (which has a great nature calander by month) or Lady Elliot Island (see their nature calander)

Where to stay in Queensland for a holiday with adult or older teenage children

My favourite place to recommend for family holidays with older teens or adult children as a wholesale travel agent was Hamilton Island. It may be a good choice for your trip with adult kids or older teenagers because:

  • It’s a good balance of plenty to do than smaller islands but still a contained area
  • Most things are within walking distance
  • The suburb is contained on the island so they may be able to roam a bit more freely
  • There are non-drinking activities for those under 18 like snorkelling, non-motorised water sports & bowling
  • There are pubs and restaurants you can visit together and drink with over 18 adult children
  • There is a bar for adult children to escape from you while still being within walking distance from the accommodation
  • There are plenty of pools to hang out at and the beach and main pool and water sports are all clustered in a similar area
  • There are direct flights to hamilton island from many cities so adult children working interstate can meet you there
  • Active families can do bushwalking and other outdoor activities together

In fact, my parents chose to take us to Hamilton Island when we were a mixed group of adult kids and older teenagers rather than overseas at that age.

Their reasoning was despite us all being pretty well-behaved teenagers, they knew if we did something stupid and out of character (like teenagers often do) we wouldn’t be subject to another country’s obscure or strict rules that could end in long-term imprisonment plus if we got injured we would have access to Australian healthcare.

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