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Queensland

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Travel Guide Oceania Australia Queensland

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Introduction

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Whitehaven Beach

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Known as the "Sunshine State", Queensland enjoys a very agreeable climate with 300 days of sunshine a year. Its natural environment is a major drawcard, particularly with spectacular natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef beckoning. There is a lot more to offer though, including some of the only places in the world where the rainforest meets the ocean. Although many people stick to the beautiful coastline, Queensland actually exists of huge areas of Outback stretching to the interior and all the way up north to the little visited Cape York Peninsula.

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Geography

Queensland is located in the north-eastern corner of Australia. It's almost entirely located within the tropics and the weather is accordingly. In the northeast there is the Daintree Rainforest and the rest of the coastline is dominated by beautiful beaches, national parks, sugar cane fields and this is where most people live as well, including big cities like Brisbane and Cairns. Inland is the Great Dividing Range and tablelands with fertile flat areas suitable for agriculture. Much of the rest of the state is savanne or desert, with dry conditions but occasional floodings after which dry river beds can become serious rivers for a while.

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Regions

  • South East Queensland - The gateway to the state, South East Queensland contains the capital Brisbane and the vibrant holiday playground of the Gold Coast.
  • The Great South West
  • Wide Bay Burnett
  • Gladstone
  • Central Queensland - Charming towns, endless sugarcane plantations and a melting pot of coastal and country influences can be found along this stretch of pristine tropical coast.
  • Mackay
  • Northern Queensland
  • North West Queensland
  • Far North Queensland - Home to Cairns, Port Douglas and the lush Daintree Rainforest, the Far North is an ideal base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef.

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Cities

Other towns and smaller cities include Airlie Beach, Barcaldine, Boulia, Caboolture, Charters Towers, Cloncurry, Gympie, Karumba, Longreach, Maryborough, Rainbow Beach, Warwick and Winton.

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Sights and Activities

National Parks in Queensland

Queensland has over 160 parks and forests, including several that are also World Heritage sites. Highlights include Fraser Island National Park, the Whitsunday Islands National Park, Cape Tribulation, Daintree National Park, Carnarvon Gorge and Expedition National Park.

Read more in the article about National Parks in Queensland.

Wet Tropics of Queensland

Wet Tropics of Queensland is a UNESCO World Heritage area in coastal northeast Queensland, encompassing several national parks.

Fraser Island

Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island, named after the captain of a ship that shipwrecked here. It is both a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is an incredible reef system off the coast of Queensland. Comprised of over 2,900 individual reefs, it is the world's largest coral reef system. One of the most popular activities whilst visiting the reef is snorkelling and scuba diving.

Whitsunday Islands

The Whitsunday Islands are the place to go if you're looking for sun-drenched beaches and pristine waters. Situated in the midst of the Great Barrier Reef, the islands are an ideal place to base yourself while enjoying the reef.

Undara Lava Tubes

The Undara Lava Tubes are regarded as the world's most significant and largest lava tube network. Formed 190,000 years ago the remaining underground tunnels are an explorers delight.

Other sights and activities

  • Cape Tribulation
  • Crystal Cascades
  • Fitzroy Island
  • Mount Isa and surroundings for a great outback feeling. It's one of the biggest municipalities (regarding surface of course) in the world!
  • Green Island
  • Low Isles
  • Cape York, an off the beaten track experience, only undertaken with a 4WD and good preparation or otherwise on a tour.
  • Port Douglas and surroundings
  • The Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast (including Surfers Paradise) are popular among people loving beaches and all sorts of aquatic activities and of course partying.

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Events and Festivals

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Weather

"Beautiful one day, perfect the next" is Queensland's mantra. It's the warm weather destination for many Australians trying to escape the relative cold of the southern states during winter (June to August). Queensland only has two real seasons: hot, and not so hot. The wet season coincides with summer (November to March, though there is usually at least one part of the state suffering from drought in any given year.

High summer (December-February) can be unbearably hot and humid in Queensland, even as far south as Brisbane and the Gold Coast. But this heat is more bearable when spent on the beach, of which there is no shortage in Queensland. Average daytime temperatures are around 30 °C, but it is the humidity that makes it worse. Humidity increases the further north you go along the coast. Temperatures are higher the further inland you go, though the humidity goes down.

Central, North and Far North Queensland are very pleasant places to travel in during winter (June-August) as the weather is generally dry, warm (an average of 25 °C or more generally during the day), and it is still warm enough to swim. South-East Queensland is cooler in winter (around 20 °C on average), though it is still balmy compared to most other winters in the world.

Get current temperatures from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website.

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Getting There

By Plane

Brisbane International Airport (code: BNE) and Cairns International Airport (code: CNS) are the main gateways to Queensland. There are direct international flights to both places. Brisbane has the most flights with destinations including several cities in New Zealand, Fiji, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Los Angeles. Cairns has flights to Hong Kong, Auckland and several Pacific islands. There are also good connections to Papua New Guinea from here. A number of local carriers (including low-cost airlines) fly to many destinations within Australia. Check airlines like Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia for more information about routes, schedules and prices.

Gold Coast Airport (OOL), also called Coolangatta Airport and about 20 kilometres from Surfers Paradise, has a growing number of flights. Destinations include Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington with Air New Zealand, Darwin and Mount Isa with Airnorth, Kuala Lumpur with Air Asia X, Adelaide, Auckland, Cairns, Christchurch, Melbourne, Newcastle, Osaka, Tokyo and Sydney with Jetstar Airways, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney with Tiger Airways Australia, Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Newcastle, Sydney and Townsville with Virgin Australia and Auckland with Pacific Blue.

By Train

The XPT travels to and from Brisbane from Sydney and Melbourne.

By Car

You can reach Queensland by good tarred roads from the Northern Territory. The crossing is near Camooweal. There are also several roads leading into Queensland from New South Wales, south and southwest from Brisbane.
Outback roads cross the border with the Northern Territory and New South Wales, as well as with South Australia. These roads are much rougher though and in most cases require a 4wd vehicle, for example along the Birdsville track into South Australia, crossing near Birdsville, Queensland.

By Bus

Greyhound is the main bus operator, providing services south to New South Wales and further on and also west towards the Northern Territory.

By Boat

There are no regular public services, but check out along the coastal harbors if there are any private yachts to join if you like to go north towards Asia.

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Getting Around

By Plane

Check airlines like Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Blue for more information about routes, schedules and prices. Also, the airport websites (see above) have more info on smaller airlines serving outback towns for example.

By Train

There are many trains within Queensland that offer a special way of getting around, certainly for enthusiasts. These trains are:

By Car

A car gives you maximum freedom and Queensland is a fantastic place to explore by car. Many of the roads are surfaced, including several roads travelling across the outback into New South Wales and the Northern Territory. The dirt roads mostly require a 4wd though, because roads can be rough and some of them require you to cross (hopefully dry) riverbeds. There are plenty of companies you could choose to hire a car from, including Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty. Car hire is often not available to drivers under 25, or if it is, it's more expensive for younger drivers.

By Bus

Greyhound provides bus services throughout the state, including services to smaller towns in the outback.

By Boat

Most travellers who will find themselves on a boat are usually undertaking a trip to the Great Barrier Reef or Whitsunday Islands among other places.

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Eat

Much of Queensland's income is still derived from agriculture, with different regions specializing in different produce. Famous examples include sugarcane in the Whitsundays; peanuts for Kingaroy; mangoes for Bowen. Fresh local fish can also be found right along the coast, usually sold in fish and chip shops. Brisbane and surrounding areas like the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast are becoming very well known for quality restaurants, cafes and take-aways. Whether it's 5 star or fast food you are after there is no need to eat poor quality food in Queensland. With so much fresh food available, seek out boutique and independent operations with a focus on quality and freshness. You won't usually pay more than its worth. Demand for organic food is also growing, as is awareness of variations in peoples dietry preferences, so gluten and dairy intolerant or vegetarian/vegan eaters will often find that choices are available in most places, or can be prepared in the kitchens on request. Pub food in Queensland is no longer just the sad old counter meal variety; if you find a fairly modern pub you'll find a fairly modern kitchen and while you can often still get lunch for $10, generally the low price won't be reflected in the quality. Breakfast is big in Brisbane and markets are particularly good places to go for a local brekkie. Alternatively, you'll find free and clean public BBQ's in lots of the public parks, so bring your own picnic along and enjoy Queensland's gorgeous weather while you cook up your own true Aussie BBQ. To be fair to the other patrons, give the BBQ plate a wipe down after you've finished with some clean newspaper, and place your rubbish in bins provided.

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Drink

The local mass produced Queensland beer is "XXXX", known locally as 'fourex'. The most common glass measure is called a pot, so just about any pub in Queensland will server you a pot of fourex'.

Rum is also produced in Queensland at the central coast town of Bundaberg. It is creatively called Bundaberg Rum, or 'bundy'.

The burgeoning Queensland wine industry is one of the state's best kept secrets. Find a cellar door near you, or even a microbrewery to your taste. Queensland offers a gourmet paradise with delectable, award-winning wines, organic produce and fresh seafood. Follow a food and wine trail and you'll be sipping on a Chardonnay or rolling a Shiraz around your mouth on a grape-fuelled adventure.

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Sleep

Many accommodation options are available in Queensland for every traveller’s budget. Whether you are looking for a plush five star resort or a cosy Bed & Breakfast thousands of hotels, B&B’s, apartments, resorts and hostels are available to help you find the perfect place for your holiday.
The variety of accommodation available in Queensland is listed below:

  • Hotels and Motels - range from warm country pubs to swanky high-rises. Every convenience is available at hotels and motels to ensure your holiday spells relaxation.
  • Resorts - luxurious resorts in ideal locations offer comfort and service to world-class standards.
  • Bed and Breakfast -experience the warm welcome and the comforts of home at a Queensland B&B.
  • Self Contained - self-contained apartments, cabins and holiday houses offer all the conveniences of home.
  • Camping and Caravans - camping sites and caravan parks offer the opportunity for you to stay in superb locations, gather with other travellers or relax in complete privacy.
  • Backpackers - backpacker accommodation in Queensland is among the best. Enjoy modern facilities at ideally located hostels.
  • Farm Stay - farmstay accommodation is as down-to-earth as their friendly hosts. Immerse yourself in Queensland's country heritage.
  • Holiday houses are popular in QLD. Check local papers and local internet sites for availability as they are often privately leased and generally modern and clean.

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References

  1. 1 Source: Queensland Government

Quick Facts

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Capital
Brisbane
Population
3,800,000[1]
Area
1,730,648 km²
Time zone
UTC +10

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Queensland Travel Helpers

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