North of popular Sunshine Coast, this little pocket of quintessential Queensland takes in World Heritage–listed Fraser Island; mellow coastal communities such as Hervey Bay and Rainbow Beach; the sugar-cane capital Bundaberg; and numerous old-fashioned country towns never too far from the ocean.
Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island, home to ancient rainforests and luminous lakes, moody ocean swells and photogenic shipwrecks – few leave here unimpressed. Across the waters of the Great Sandy Strait, Hervey Bay appeals to retirees and young travellers alike, and from July to October welcomes migrating humpback whales into its waters. Further south, tiny Rainbow Beach is a backpacker hot spot with decent surfing.
Bundaberg, the largest city in the region, is a friendly, sunny urban centre overlooking the sea of cane fields that fuels its eponymous rum, the iconic spirit of Queensland.