© All Rights Reserved Degolasse
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are many trains within Queensland that offer a special way of getting around, certainly for enthusiasts. These trains are:
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.
Greyhound provides bus services throughout the state, including services to smaller towns in the outback.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License