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The best Queensland holiday homes and Airbnbs

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It’s heading back into winter in Australia and while any chance of slipping away to the northern hemisphere remains off the cards for now, luckily for those of us in colder climes there are a whole lot of lovely warm spots to visit right here in Australia. And Queensland is at the top of many a traveller’s wish list.

As I started to do a little dreaming about where I’d like to slip away to I wondered what sort of treasures I could find if I searched for Queensland holiday homes and oh boy, do they have some gold in that sunshine state.

Award winning designer homes, private islands and right-on-the-beach houses are just some of the gems I found, with prices ranging from around $100 to around $17,000 a night.  

To help you plan your holiday I’ve shared some of the best Queensland holiday homes and Airbnbs from Port Douglas, the Sunshine Coast, and the Whitsundays, and then at the end there are some jaw dropping ones in the Best of the Rest category. Ready to start dreaming and planning? Let’s go…

Port Douglas holiday home dreaming

The Edge, Port Douglas

Live your Bond villain fantasy in this architectural jewel that looks directly out over Four Mile Beach. The Edge won the 2015 MBA National Award for the Best Luxury House in Australia and it’s not hard to see why.

Designed by Australian architect Charles Wright (who’ll pop up again in the Best of the Rest category), it’s constructed entirely from concrete and has absolute privacy from the public lookout behind. There’s a heated 10-metre infinity lap pool where you can look out at the Coral Sea, a fully equipped kitchen inside and a gas BBQ outside.

The Edge, Port Douglas

This Port Douglas winner has a granite daybed, granite countertops in the kitchen and a granite table in the dining room. The open plan lounge room has a built in fireplace and a large television, and each of the bedrooms has an en-suite, walk in wardrobes and TVs with Foxtel.

Read: The best Airbnbs with Sydney Harbour Views

I also love the building’s sustainability side. The entire roof area is used to fill the in ground water tanks, there are low energy LED fittings throughout and while you have air conditioning as an option, thanks to the cross-flow ventilation you’ll be able to cool down naturally with that fresh salty air.

The Edge sleeps up to four lucky people and is a short stroll from the beach and Port Douglas shops and restaurants.

Inside The Edge, an award winning Port Douglas Queensland holiday home
Bedroom in The Edge, Port Douglas holiday home

Sala on the Beach, Port Douglas

When you wake up at Sala on the Beach there’s only a three minute, road free, walk between you and having the sand between your toes. This newly refurbished house comes with beach chairs and a picnic table you can take on down to beach, but considering how beautiful the home itself is you may find it hard to leave.

The Thai inspired Queensland holiday home has a heated saltwater pool, a tropical garden, large indoor and outdoor living spaces and a big undercover BBQ.

Read: Inside the Mysa Motel, the Gold Coast’s first sustainable motel

If you like to get out on the water there are two kayaks with lifejackets provided, while dry land games include a full size ping pong table. There’s also a book and DVD library and Netflix ready to roll.

Families travelling with children will also find games for the kids, and baby gear including stair gates can be provided.

Sala holiday home, Port Douglas, Queensland
Sala Port Douglas, interior Queensland

Bangalow, Port Douglas

While it may be a little confusing at first to have a holiday home called Bangalow almost 2,000km from the town of the same name, it makes more sense when you know that a bangalow is a kind of Australian palm. Learning new things every day.

The Port Douglas Bangalow sleeps up to 12 guests in six bedrooms, has a heated saltwater swimming pool, indoor and outdoor dining and big open verandas to enjoy that tropical air while taking in the view.

Read: Glamping South Australia, luxury tents, helicopters and swags

Upstairs is where you’ll find the master suite with a bath and walk in shower in the en-suite. Downstairs is where the remaining five bedrooms are found with four bathrooms and a children’s play nook.

It’s only a five-minute stroll to the restaurants and shops and you can head on down to Four Mile Beach or just relax in privacy by your own pool.

Bangalow Port Douglas holiday home bedroom view
Bangalow Port Douglas Queensland holiday home

Pineapple Pete’s, Solander, Port Douglas

Eclectic and fun, Pineapple Pete’s is a coastal hideaway with a touch of the bohemian, in a Tropical Aussie way.

A three-minute walk from Four Mile Beach in the Solander area, this four-bedroom holiday home has an open plan feel and a big backyard with a solar heated pool.

Read: 11 of the best Byron Bay retreat ideas

The lounge and dining room are full of artworks and interesting bits and pieces collected from friends, garage sales and antique shops. The kitchen has been built for those who love to cook, with a big Caesarstone island bench, a six-burner gas stove with a Teppanyaki plate, Smeg toaster and kettle and all the gadgets the owner (who just happens to be a chef) likes to cook with.

Another family friendly getaway, your hosts can provide all sorts of baby gear including Baby Bjorn carriers, baby baths, prams and more.

And as I’m a sucker for a good bath and have been known to wear a sparkly pineapple shirt or two I’m loving the Master bedroom’s en suite bathroom.

Pineapple Pete's Port Douglas, Queensland
Pineapple Pete's bathroom Port Douglas, Queensland

Sunshine Coast holiday finds

Doonan Belle, Noosa Hinterland, Sunshine Coast

Light, bright and lovely, Doonan Belle is a four-bedroom, four-bathroom home that feels like it’s miles from anywhere but in reality is only a 15-minute drive to Noosa Heads.

The large decking area has an outdoor kitchen and BBQ wall so you can cook and eat by the pool, there’s a fire-pit entertaining area outside and inside there’s one of the few indoor fireplaces in the area.

Read: NSW silo art – how and where to see them all

Golf lovers should bring their clubs as the property backs onto the Noosa Valley Country Club’s golf course, or you can always rent some from the visitor centre.

Back at your holiday home there’s a zip-line flying fox, swing set, basketball ring, ping pong table, a kids play room and a computer gaming room. You can also Netflix / Stan / Amazon Prime and chill before splashing around in the pool again.

Doonan Belle Sunshine Coast Queensland holiday home
Doonan Belle Sunshine Coast Queensland bedroom

Racquet Retreat, Noosa Heads, Sunshine Coast

Feel like you’ve stumbled into your own private resort in this sleek white villa. Racquet Retreat is nestled between the Noosa riverfront, a beach and the national park, and as well as having a boat dock on the river outside you have your own swimming pool, hot tub, home theatre, pool table and BBQ area.

And yes, as the name suggests, you also have a tennis court.

Read: 11 weekend getaways from Sydney all under three hours away

The foldaway glass walls help to create a free flowing space through the villa, which can sleep up to 12 guests in six bedrooms.

You can also arrange for a private chef, a driver and spa services. Or maybe private tennis lessons are in order? Book ahead and it can be done.

Racquet Retreat Airbnb Sunshine Coast Queensland
Racquet Retreat Airbnb Sunshine Coast Queensland interior

Helia House, Peregian Beach, Sunshine Coast  

Named after a Greek goddess of the sun, Helia House has 180 degree Peregian beach and hinterland views and thanks to its north easterly aspect the goddess doesn’t have to work too hard to make sure it’s soaked in sunshine.

This Sunshine Coast Airbnb has four bedrooms, two bathrooms and an office if you haven’t quite managed to leave all that work behind you.

The fully equipped chef’s kitchen has stool seating around the oversized kitchen island bench so friends can hang out and have a drink while the cook for the night works their magic, and the cocktail cart may inspire you to try a few new things. Maybe even a cocktail with honey provided by the bees from across the road? Or an espresso martini with beans from local coffee roaster Flying West? You’ll find both waiting in the pantry.

Every bedroom has hotel quality beds with heavenly mattress toppers and soft linen from IN BED, along with fluffy towels and linen robes and slippers.

And when you’re ready to head down to the beach there are beach chairs along with an umbrella, picnic basket and Esky to use for the day. 

Makepeace Island, Lake Cootharaba, Sunshine Coast

Want to take it up another level? How about your own private island?

Designed as a private retreat for friends and family of Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Australia co-founder Brett Godfrey, Makepeace Island is not your average holiday stay.

For around $17,000 a night you and 21 of your closest friends can take over the island and stay in the Island House, the three oversized villas and the boathouse, where every room has been designed with luxury and privacy in mind.

I’m so dreaming of having a soak in one of the carved volcanic boulder baths in the villas that they’d be the top pick for this bath lover, but frankly I’d be beyond happy to stay in any of the above.

Read: Seven great Aussie road trips

A quick boat ride from Noosa Head, the island has a 500,000-litre pool, a 15-seater spa, tennis court, gym, paddleboards and kayaks.

Champagne on arrival and a private chef are included, with produce sourced regionally to support the local community. The island also has its own chickens and beehives and there are vegan friendly amenities and a wastewater purification system to help ease the island’s environmental impact.

Makepeace Island Sunshine Coast
Makepeace Island Sunshine Coast, bathtub

Whitsundays top holiday homes

Horizons, Hamilton Island, Whitsundays

When luxury retreat Horizons opened on Hamilton Island a couple of years ago it became one of the few houses on the island to have views over both the marina and the beach.

Horizons sleeps up to twelve people in six bedrooms, and as three of the bedrooms have the option to choose between a king or two single beds, there’s no awkward who’s sharing a bed with who if you’re travelling with friends.

The huge house has entertaining spaces on all sides, including a pool and BBQ area on the living room level.

You’ll also be able to get into that Hamilton Island vibe and zip around in the buggy that’s provided along with airport transfers for your stay.

Horizons Whitsundays, Hamilton Island, Queensland holiday home
Horizons Whitsundays, Hamilton Island view

Point Blue Hamilton Island, Whitsundays

It may be a coincidence that the 17m wet edge pool looks like a big L but to me it’s standing for Love and Luxury at Point Blue.

Another rare home with Hamilton Island marina views, this Whitsundays holiday home find is set over two levels and hosts up to eight guests in four bedrooms.

Read: What to know before you go to Palm Cove, Queensland

While downstairs has that tempting pool, upstairs the bi-fold doors open up to a huge balcony with a BBQ ready for outdoor entertaining.   

Here you’ll also be able to enjoy toodling around in a golf buggy when you want to get out and explore or pop to the cafes and restaurants.

And when you want to whip up a meal at home there’s a modern kitchen complete with European appliances waiting for you to make your move.

Point Blue Whitsundays Hamilton Island
Point Blue holiday home Whitsundays Hamilton Island upstairs

The Cove, Airlie Beach, Whitsundays

You’d have to be on a boat to be closer to the water at Airlie Beach than here.

At The Cove a set of private steps leads down from the back of the house to the water and the house has water views front and back.

There’s no need to climb any hills after exploring the Airlie shops and restaurants, and when you want to go island hopping the Port of Airlie is only a 150m stroll away.

You can fish off your back steps, go for a bike ride along the path or just kick back and relax and look at the view.

A chemical free zone, all of the cleaning products and toiletries provided are nice and natural.

The Cove can sleep up to ten guests but if you won’t need all of the bedrooms Airbnb Superhost Kate is also happy to talk about a discount rate.

The Cove Airbnb Whitsundays, Airlie Beach
The Cove Airbnb Whitsundays, Airlie Beach pool

La Boheme, Jubilee Pocket, Whitsundays

Tucked away in the hills just seven minutes drive from Airlie Beach, La Boheme is a light and bright cottage and a bargain to boot at under $100 a night (at time of publication).

The cottage is clean and white, with cute pops of colour from the pastel green Smeg fridge, plants and artworks on the walls.

While your hosts live on the property and share the pool you have your own quiet cottage and private deck area. You can stick to your own space or if you’re feeling social can join your hosts for a chat. Dog people may even get a cuddle or two from their fluffy four legged friends.

La Boheme holiday home Whitsundays pool
La Boheme Whitsundays holiday home

Best of the Rest Queensland holiday homes

Alkira, Cape Tribulation, Daintree    

Remember back at the start of all this Queensland holiday homes love when I said we had another Charles Wright masterpiece up our sleeves? You guessed it. It’s here.

Alkira, which was first known as Stamp House in a nod to its original stamp collecting owner Rod Perry, is an award winning, carbon neutral, off-the-grid bunker that manages to be both brutal and elegant in design.

After arriving by helicopter or by car you and your lucky friends can choose between six bedrooms each at the tip of one of the building’s wings and with their own framed views of the lake and rainforest.

Alkira Cape Tribulation is an award winning holiday home

There’s so much that blows me away about this one, beyond just how out of this world amazing it looks.

The roofline around the unusual swimming pool shape is based on the ‘One Pound Jimmy’ postage stamp issued in the 1950s. The Australian stamp with the image of Aboriginal elder Gwoya Tjungurrayi (who we see on our $2 coins these days) was the first to feature an indigenous person and was chosen to acknowledge both the Aboriginal heritage of the region as well as Perry’s passion for stamps.

Read: Eco friendly gifts for Sustainable travel lovers

All of the energy is renewable, with solar power used to offset air conditioning and LED lighting, the entire roof area collects water for the 250,000 litre in-ground water tank with hydraulic systems. There’s even an on-site Advanced Tertiary Sewerage Treatment plant for grey water recycling and irrigation.

Alkira doesn’t just look strong, it’s Category 5 cyclone proof making it the most beautiful cyclone shelter I’ve ever seen.

Oh yes I could go on and on and on about this one, but I’ll leave you with the pictures now while I go dream of how I’ll somehow manage to stay here myself someday.

Alkira Cape Tribulation balcony
Alkira Cape Tribulation exterior

Straddie Chill, Stradbroke Island, Moreton Bay

From Bunker deluxe to a much more chilled vibe. Straddie Chill style.

Just a 150m walk from the ocean, Straddie Chill has the National Park on one side, a walled garden on the other, and a whole lot of beach house inside.

Up to twelve guests can share five bedrooms, and both levels in this two storey Airbnb have their own kitchens, and indoor dining and lounge rooms.

There’s a Tropicana bar to mix your favourite sundowners and forget hiring a boat to go whale watching, just sit back on your balcony and let the show come to you.

Straddie Chill Airbnb Stradbroke Island
Straddie Chill Airbnb Stradbroke Island, Queensland

Rivermead Estate, Gold Coast Hinterland  

One look at this rather grand Gold Coast home and I’m hearing the popping of champagne corks and the sound of laughter that carries out to the polo ponies grazing nearby.

Yes I said polo ponies because Rivermead Estate has it’s own polo ground, as well as a tennis court, basketball court, swimming pool, hot tub, gazebo, fire pit, billiards room and more. It even has its own Day Spa. Just saying.

Available for destination weddings, big birthday celebrations, corporate events that people will RSVP to mighty quickly or just for a friendly get together in a certain kind of style.

Rivermead Estate sleeps up to 12 guests in six bedrooms, and if you feel like getting away from the rest of the group you can always book a helicopter tour of the nearby mountains and lakes. But I’d make it back for sundowners if I were you.

Rivermead Estate Gold Coast Hinterland Queensland
Rivermead Estate Gold Coast Hinterland Queensland balcony

The Old Church, Brisbane City

On the places I didn’t know you could stay in Brisbane City list comes this heritage-listed church right next door to Suncorp Stadium.

The Old Church was built in the 1800s and is now fully renovated and has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large living room that looks up at a huge stained glass window, and a kitchen / dining room with a table for eight.

Outside there’s a six seater table and a BBQ on the deck, and a single car garage on site.

It’s only a ten minute walk to the centre of Brisbane City, and if you’re travelling to Brisbane to see your favourite band or cheer on your team, you couldn’t get closer to Suncorp Stadium unless you wanted to sleep in the car park.

The Old Church Brisbane, Queensland
The Old Church Brisbane, Queensland interior

Clouds Safari, Beechmont, Gold Coast Hinterland

And last but not least, we have a Queensland glamping moment up in the hills of the Gold Coast Hinterland.

Just five minute’s drive from the ‘heart shaped waterfall’ Killarney Glen, Clouds Safari is my kind of glamping, with a freestanding bath looking out over sweeping green valleys.

Cloud Safari Beechmont Queensland
Cloud Safari Beechmont Queensland bath view

The safari tent has 180-degree views of Springbrook mountain and the Numinbah valley and while you’re only a 30 minute drive from the Gold Coast’s theme parks I’d be much more in the mood to explore the bush walking trails around my corner of the mountain.

Oh yes. When Queensland calls there are some mighty fine ways to stay. The only question is, which one is top of your list?

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