For years, Queensland’s slogan was ‘beautiful one day…perfect the next’. Australia’s northeastern state is one of the largest and most diverse regions of the country, stretching from the northern tropics of Cape York to the southern temperate climates of the state capital, Brisbane. The capital city is also the largest commercial base in the region and most international travelers use Brisbane as a gateway into Queensland’s marvelous attractions.
Queensland is teeming with an exciting menu of natural highlights, some of which are known around the globe like the world’s largest living organism, the Great Barrier Reef, with its phenomenal array of colors, creatures and corals. Along the spiny backbone lie some of the most impressive rainforests and sub-tropical forests. And of course, holiday-makers also come here for the golden beaches that line the coast.
Fraser Island, Moreton Island, and the two Stradbroke islands of southeast Queensland are great spots for a weekend getaway to escape urban life. The Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast are widely known for their sun-drenched surf spots, yet ‘Goldie’ is home to fabulous shopping delights too. Brisbane is the cosmopolitan center of the region, and the economy engine. Meanwhile, towns like Cairns and Townsville provide perfect bases for a day at the Great Barrier Reef.
Hotel variety in Queensland are a traveler’s dream. Stay in one of the five-star resorts of the Great Barrier Reef, or enjoy the social atmosphere of basic pub accommodations. The beaches and major cities experience high tourism levels during Australia’s main school breaks, which mostly fall between December and March so if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, plan for later in the year. The seafood along the coastal towns is mouthwateringly delicious, but a steak in the southeast is a highly recommended gastronomic activity.
Brisbane International Airport is the busiest airport in the state. However, Cairns, Townsville, and the Gold Coast also have reasonably large facilities for domestic and international travel. Queensland is well-connected with roads and highways with the Bruce Highway traveling north from Brisbane, and the Pacific Motorway heading south. Trains are not as popular as driving or flying, but there are several long distance routes operated by Queensland Rail and other companies.
The southeastern region of Queensland, where Brisbane and the Gold Coast are found boasts a sub-tropical climate that sees cooler winters (June through to August) and hot summers (December to February). The northern reaches of Queensland experience a wet and dry tropical climate, which brings heavy rain between October and March, with many short bursts of thunderstorms and downpours. The dry season (April to September) receives much less rain, and temperatures can drop to about 70°F on average. However, most of the year stays relatively warm and humid. Very little rainfall is found in the southwestern and central areas of Queensland and temperatures can top 110°F in the summer.
Driving up the coastal spine of the state is a great way to reach Queensland’s central reef region. Visitors can explore the Lockyer Valley that sits between Brisbane and Toowoomba and embrace the laidback rural lifestyle. From the capital, it only takes an hour of driving either north or south to reach the beaches of the incredible Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.
- Scuba dive one of the world’s seven natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef
- Fly over the Whitsunday Islands on a scenic air flight
- Surf the famous breaks of Kirra, Snapper Rocks and Duranbah
- Down a steak from the Breakfast Creek Hotel in Queensland’s capital
- Hike through the preserved rainforests in the Daintree and other national parks
- Fish off Moreton Island or Fraser Island
- Enjoy the tourism-influenced culture of Surfers Paradise