I think that some of the metro centers in QLD don't get the attention that they deserve. There is a huge world to explore North of the Sunshine Coast and South of Cairns. One of my absolute favourite places to visit is Townsville. Townsville is a 2 hour flight north of Brisbane. Once you are there, you'll be surprised by the cultural variety that the "Capitol of North QLD" has to offer. I suggest staying somewhere downtown - Clarion is my hotel of choice. It's only a walking distance from the arty city centre, and a brisk walk from the touristy areas. If you want a view to blow you away, strap on your trainers and walk up Castle Hill to give you a bird's eye view of the Pacific. Dine to your heart's desire at City Lane, just off Sturt Street, and check out a few galleries that are dedicated to up and coming artists. Cross the pedestrian bridge across the Ross River and take in the port before heading out on a day trip to Magnetic Island. Spend a weekend, you'll be amazed at all the things to do and take in!