Happily tucked away a decent distance from Bundaberg or Gladstone, on gorgeous coastal lands owned traditionally by the Gureng Gureng people, these two idyllic little beach towns have been tipped by property speculators as Australia's next Noosa or Gold Coast. Thankfully, and despite the love showered on them by European backpackers, such change has been slow, and they retain an unfussy charm that is seaside Australia at its best.
Bordered by national parks, red rock coves and the rolling Pacific, Agnes Water has the east coast’s most northerly surf beach, a sleepy commercial centre and some excellent hostels. Just 8km up the road is the site of Captain Cook's first landing in Queensland, in 1770. The town's short bluff walks are outstanding, and its campground one of the most dreamy in the state, a launching point for kayaking, paddleboarding and fishing excursions around the inlets of the ‘Discovery Coast’.