9 things everyone should do when they turn 60

So, you’ve celebrated and unwrapped your 60th birthday presents. If you’re an empty-nester or early retiree, it’s time to start ticking off a few more of those longed-for experiences that you’ve just never quite had time for before.

Once that “big birthday” has been and gone, start planning some well-deserved holidays. Whether you fancy a road trip, a long weekend away, or a jet-setting lifestyle, Queensland offers more than enough exciting opportunities to explore some of the best Australia (and the world) can offer.

Shake off the shackles of the 9-to-5 life and start travelling!  

See the Great Barrier Reef from above

Heart Reef | 60th birthday presentsFrom the air, the Great Barrier Reef reveals its incredible expanse, diverse patterns and changing shades of blue and green.

If you’re a daredevil, take a tandem skydive; for more sedate viewing, a helicopter or float plane.

Whether you fly from Cairns or the Whitsundays (for a view of Heart Reef), be assured your camera won’t stop clicking!

Explore the deep

Minke whales | 60th birthday presentsNever too old to learn!  If you’ve never snorkelled before, now’s the time.

Take a gentle entry to the water on any of the Great Barrier Reef cruise boats, where patient instructors will teach you the basics and keep an eye on you as your confidence builds.

Ready to go deeper? Most of the reef cruise boats offer introductory dives, and if you’re hooked on the wonders of the undersea world there are also certified dive courses. Most of these are based in Cairns and Port Douglas, and you can do it in a week, either from a land base or a live-aboard boat. Time your visit for June or July for the chance to dive and snorkel with minke whales.

Put a G in your camping trip

Sanctuary by Sirromet | 60th birthday presentsNot the camping type? What about if it came with wooden floors, soft beds, crisp linen, deep bathtubs (or a rain-shower) and flush toilets? All the luxuries of a hotel, within canvas walls, all in a beautiful bush or beach setting? If you haven’t experienced ‘glamping’ before, do it now (you’ll never go back to a normal tent again).

Queensland has more than its share of fabulously decadent glamping sites, everywhere from Castaways on Moreton Island to the wilds of our National Parks and the beaches along the coast.

Want wine with that? Try Sanctuary by Sirromet, just 30 minutes from the Brisbane CBD, with a cellar door and restaurant as part of the package.

Connect with Indigenous culture

Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival | 60th birthday presentsA photographer’s dream event, the Laura Dance Festival is held every two years (next in July 2020) on remote Cape York. It’s worth the effort to plan ahead and get there for this colourful celebration of Queensland’s diverse indigenous culture. 

Performance groups from 20 aboriginal communities travel to the tiny town of Laura to share their traditional music, dancing and culture on the site of an ancient Bora ground. The three-day event also provides the chance to check out some of the area’s exceptional Quinkan rock paintings. Accommodation is limited, so think about a campervan option (another first?).

To experience more Indigenous festivals in Queensland, head here.

Take a hike

Great Walks Cooloola Great Walk | 60th birthday presentsLace up your hiking boots and take a Great Walk into some of Queensland’s most stunning landscapes.

Where to start? The Sunshine Coast’s Cooloola Great Walk covers 102km along the beaches north of Noosa, while the guided Spicers Scenic Rim Trail takes two days (with glamping thrown in). Carnarvon Gorge offers multiple trails for all levels of fitness.

Watch some wild rides

Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo | 60th birthday presentsFor more than 60 years, Mt Isa has welcomed all-comers to its annual rodeo each August – so maybe it’s your turn! Outback action includes bull-riding and other events in the red dirt arena, along with concerts and entertainment for the massive crowds that turn up to watch the cowboys.

It’s also a chance to explore this legendary mining town, including taking a tour into the cavernous Hard Times Mine, heading underground with guides who’ll explain what makes this town tick.

Five-star city stays

Palazzo Versace Gold Coast | 60th birthday presentsGo on, you’re worth it! A top hotel isn’t cheap, but there’s nothing quite like the pampering that a couple of nights in a truly luxe hotel can offer.

Brisbane is fairly bristling with new options – from the new Emporium hotel at South Bank, to the breezy 1950s Miami-style glamour of The Calile Hotel in Fortitude Valley, or Queensland’s only Westin hotel. If bold and boutique is more your thing, the Ovolo Inchcolm at Spring Hill may fit the bill.

Head for the glitz of the Gold Coast at the opulent Palazzo Versace or The Star Grand.

Channel your inner hunter-gatherer

Kuku Yalangi Cultural Habitat Tours | 60th birthday presentsJoin the Walker brothers as they follow the traditions of their ancestors on the mud flats near their home north of Port Douglas.

Go barefoot among the mangroves at low tide and learn how to watch for wildlife, to stalk and hunt mud-crabs, and throw a spear, as well as which plants can be used for food and medicine. Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours is an experience you’ll never forget, which ends on the verandah of the Walker family home.

Become a dinosaur hunter

Dig a dino | 60th birthday presentsIf you’ve always longed to be a palaeontologist, you can help unearth the secrets of the dinosaurs that once roamed Queensland at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History in the outback town of Winton.

The museum runs prep-a-dino sessions, or you can join a week-long dig. Don’t want to get your hands dirty? Daily tours of the museum complex, home to the world’s largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils, are fascinating.

What other Queensland adventures would make the perfect 60th birthday present?