The Queensland coast is great, love the coast. But there’s something that feels more – adventurous? – about heading inland. It’s also a totally different but equally beautiful landscape. Name another place in the world that looks like the Australian desert or bush. I’ll wait. The one catch is that when you’ve only got a long weekend, you still need your destination to be close to an airport. So here are the places that’ll tick all the boxes.

Cambooya

Everybody loves a good Insta shot among a field of flowers. Cambooya is along what’s known as the Sunflower Route where, yes, fields of sunflowers come into full bloom over summer. Nobby and Felton make up the rest of this popular route so head along and try to find a spot to yourself.

Toowoomba

The very small city of Toowoomba with relaxed country town vibes is surprisingly full of amazing street art. So much so that it’s known as one of Australia’s largest outdoor galleries. Spend your days finding it all, and be sure to stop in at Colours Of Sancris cafe on your way in and out of town for the best coffee and beautiful gardens.

Winton

It doesn’t really get more Australian than Winton. It’s the birthplace of our ‘other’ national anthem, Banjo Paterson’s Waltzing Matilda, and Qantas, as well as being home to a wholeeee bunch of dinosaur artifacts.

Stanthorpe

Wineries and breweries in one place anybody? Of course, you love them, you’re not a crazy person. Stanthorpe serves up the best of both under big sky panoramas and a generally cooler climate than many other places in the state.

Charleville

Charleville starts getting you into outback areas. There’s actually a lot of things to do here, including going looking for bilby’s, which I’ve literally never seen except for in chocolate form come Easter. But the real pull here is the Charleville Cosmos Centre & Observatory where you can gaze upon the beauty of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Birdsville

Way, wayyy out west on the edge of the desert you’ll hit Birdsville – but yes you can still get there by plane. There are food and bevvie delights, but also it’s a desert, so obviously you have to go see Big Red, aka the first and tallest sand dune in the whole of the Simpson Desert at nearby Munga-Thirri National Park. It’s on private land though, so be respectful. It’s also the site of a VERY cool annual music festival.

Image: iStock Images / [Ian Hitchcock]