As most Aussie states get colder, Queensland keeps summer glowing. These destinations have everything you need for the perfect winter escape, plus a little bit more.
With over 21 million interstate and international tourists every year, it can be hard to avoid crowds in Queensland. Yet while there are some firm favourites, Australia’s second-biggest state has so much more to offer. So much so that we’ve narrowed down seven of the best Quest Apartment Hotels in QLD where you can keep the heat well into winter, and asked the locals (aka their individual owners) for year-round travel tips.
With over 250 parks, historic buildings and big country charm, Toowoomba is a great place to spend a weekend, according to Quest Toowoomba owners Tony and Jenny O’Reilly.
Their stylish hotel features a stunning foyer in a beautiful heritage-listed church and boasts one of the best locations in the city, with 25-hectare Queens Park and Botanic Gardens on one side and thriving downtown on the other.
If you’re stopping off at the city’s most famous attraction, Picnic Point, Jenny recommends the waterfall just below the lookout (most tourists miss it).
Walk into Quest Toowoomba’s foyer inside a foyer in a beautiful heritage-listed church.
You might know Townsville as the jumping-off point for gorgeous Magnetic Island, but this growing city is an emerging destination in its own right.
To explore it on foot, stay at the Quest Townsville on Eyre – not only do the modern serviced apartments offer beautifully appointed accommodation and an outdoor pool, but they’re also only a short walk from The Strand beachfront promenade and Queens Gardens.
If you’re new to the area, Quest owner Kyllie Hoile suggests starting your trip with a hike on one of the many paths at Castle Hill to get an impressive view of the whole of the city.
Hike to the top of Castle Hill for sweeping views of Townsville. (Image: TEQ)
“Rocky”, as the locals call it, is a buzzing inland city on the serene Fitzroy (Toonooba) River. The best way to enjoy the region is by staying at the stunning Quest Rockhampton on the river bank. According to owners Ben and Kylie O’Sullivan, these welcoming serviced apartments are “far enough away from the city’s hustle and bustle, but close enough to enjoy its charm”.
To get a feel for the area, they recommend taking a sunset river cruise, where you may spot a crocodile or two, followed by dinner and cocktails at Skyring’s Restaurant and Bar (the lychee mojito is a local favourite).
Take a walk by the river when you stay at Quest Rockhampton.
As Queensland’s oldest provincial city, historic Ipswich proudly maintains around 6000 heritage-listed sites (including Australia’s oldest railway workshops still in use).
For comfortable, central accommodation, Quest Ipswich is the clear winner, with 64 modern serviced apartments and a refreshing outdoor pool (Ipswich can get hot!).
When you’re not hiking, biking or horse riding on the spectacular nearby Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, Quest Ipswich owner Allison French recommends the Sunshine Lager and Philly cheese steak sandwich at Pumpyard Brewery Bar. Recognised as a “Best of Queensland Experience” last year, this bar has an incredible selection of craft beer and a mouth-watering menu.
Hire a bike and jump on the popular Brisbane Valley Rail Trail. (Image: Brisbane Tourism)
Not only is Mackay the gateway city to some of Queensland’s most stunning islands (including Brampton and Keswick Islands), but it’s also home to Australia’s longest stretch of subtropical rainforest.
The stylish Quest Mackay on Gordon helps you take advantage of this tropical location with floor-to-ceiling windows and a stunning outdoor pool.
A short distance away from the hotel you’ll find Mackay’s famous Bluewater Lagoon, a free aquatic park in the centre of the city with slides, three lagoons and a water playground; there are also electric barbecues, so you can cook up some local seafood. Spend the day there or head out to Eimeo Beach, just a 15-minute drive away, for a swim and lunch at Eimeo Pacific Hotel, which boasts sweeping views over the Coral Sea.
Dive into Mackay’s famous Bluewater Lagoon. (Image: TEQ)
6. Kelvin Grove
On the other side of Brisbane lies the newly built Kelvin Grove Urban Village. Close to the university and featuring a young, vibrant and creative scene, Kelvin Grove is fast becoming the place to be.
Quest Kelvin Grove holds a prime position, with popular cafes and the 64 hectares of Victoria Park/Barrambin within walking distance. The hotel caters for everyone, offering 85 serviced apartments with kitchenettes up to full-sized kitchens. If you want to head out, owner Domonic Oh recommends a Vietnamese dinner at Sago Restaurant and a show at nearby La Boite Theatre.
Be surrounded by popular cafes and nearby Victoria Park/Barrambin.
7. Breakfast Creek
With over 250 days of sunshine a year, and winter temperatures that rarely drop below 20°C, Brisbane is fast becoming our most attractive capital city to visit (and live in).
According to Quest Breakfast Creek owner Roberto Salicio, one of the most interesting suburbs is Albion, which is going through an “exciting period of change”. Not only has it become a hotspot for funky cafes and hidden restaurants, but it’s close to all the action of the CBD. When you’re not enjoying a steak from the historic Breakfast Creek Hotel (built in 1888), which is just opposite the hotel, Roberto recommends visiting Grandad Jack’s, a gin distillery with killer cocktails.
Sip on amazing cocktails at Grandad Jacks.