Beautiful one day, perfect the next.
Queensland is an Australian state covering the continent’s northeast, with a coastline stretching nearly 7000km. From the seemingly endless coastlines, to the great expanses of the outback, the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, and an array of luscious rainforests, this state is a giant living and breathing postcard, waiting to be explored!
History & Culture
Queensland was first inhabited by Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders. The Aboriginal occupation of Queensland is thought to predate 50,000 BC, likely via boat or land bridge across Torres Strait, and became divided into over 90 different language groups.
During the last ice age, Queensland's landscape became more arid and largely desolate, making food and other supplies scarce. This led to the world's first seed-grinding technology. Warming again made the land hospitable, which brought high rainfall along the eastern coast, stimulating the growth of the state's tropical rainforests.
The first European to land in Queensland (and Australia) was Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon in 1606, who explored the west coast of the Cape York Peninsula near present-day Weipa. In 1770, Lieutenant James Cook claimed the east coast of Australia for the Kingdom of Great Britain. The colony of New South Wales was founded in 1788 by Governor Arthur Phillip at Sydney; New South Wales at that time included all of what is now Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania. Queensland was explored in subsequent decades until the establishment of a penal colony at Brisbane in 1824 by John Oxley. Penal transportation ceased in 1839 and free settlement was allowed from 1842.
The state was named in honour of Queen Victoria, who on 6 June 1859 signed Letters Patent separating the colony from New South Wales. The 6th of June is now celebrated annually statewide as Queensland Day. Queensland was one of the six colonies which became the founding states of Australia with federation on 1 January 1901.
In 2009, Queensland celebrated Q150, its 150th anniversary as an independent colony and state.
Just four hours’ drive north of Brisbane (Queensland’s capital), you’ll find Fraser Island. The world’s largest sand island at 122km long, there are many different aspects to Fraser Island, but the awe-inspiring beauty of Lake McKenzie makes it probably the most visited natural site on the island. It is a ‘perched’ lake, which means it contains only rainwater, no groundwater, is not fed by streams, and does not flow to the ocean. Not only can you swim, you can whale watch, 4x4, camp, fish or go for a hike. You may even spot a dingo!
Another natural wonder of Queensland is one that is visible from space! One of the eight wonders of the world, The Great Barrier Reef is over 344,000 square kilometres, which is about the same size as Germany. There are many ways to explore this wonder, one that will fit any budget.
The tropics of Queensland are the oldest rainforests in the world. They’re said to be roughly six to ten-times older than the Amazon. The tropics can be accessed from Townsville, Cairns, Port Douglas and Cooktown.
To narrow the list of outdoor activities available to you in Queensland would be like trying to count the number of pineapples on the Sunshine Coast. Lucky for you, we’ve picked out our top picks for the 'Sunshine State'.
The Whitsundays are a MUST! The amount of activities here are endless. Departing from Airlie Beach, the Thundercat is a great way to get out and explore the Islands. Thundercat has been designed and built for stability and speed, so it’s perfect for passengers who are concerned about seasickness. On this tour you’ll see the gorgeous Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet lookout, snorkel with the thousands of fish that will come and greet you and snorkel some gorgeous coral reefs. Cruise Whitsundays also offers day trips out to the Great Barrier reef for a day of fun on the reef.
If getting in the ocean doesn’t whet your appetite (see what we did there?), make sure you head to Cedar Creek Falls, located approximately 20 minutes outside of Airlie Beach. The beauty of these natural falls and swimming area are a reason in itself as to why you can't miss them! Here you'll be able to swim, relax and enjoy another side to the gorgeous Whitsundays! The waterfalls are peaceful and secluded, with access only available to those with a car or transport.
You can’t go past the Gold & Sunshine coast’s either! The Gold Coast is a must for families, as the amount of activities that are family-friendly are immense. The theme parks are perfect for a day of thrills.
We can’t forget the capital, Brisbane. Brisbane has its very own man-made beach in the centre of South Bank. Soak up the sun and markets at South Bank, enjoy a City Cat ride down the Brisbane River, wander through New Farm for local shopping and finish up with a drink in Fortitude Valley.
Must Do Experiences
Located an hour north of Brisbane, on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, Australia Zoo is home to none other than the Croc Hunter, Steve Irwin. Steve was passionate about all animals, and the zoo has a team of passionate conservationists working around-the-clock to deliver an animal experience like no other.
With 2900 islands to explore, warm waters all-year-round, and some of the world's best dive sites, from snorkelling right off the beach to jumping on a tour and heading out to the wilds of the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll be amazed at what lies under the water. Make sure you also soak up the sun, sand and surf at one of the amazing beaches. They’ve got plenty of them!
Got plenty of time to explore? Hire a car or campervan and drive from Cairns to the Gold Coast. Both have airports so you can fly into one and out of the other. Be prepared, it's a long drive, 20 hours if you were to drive non-stop. So make sure you give yourself plenty of time to explore all the places on the way!
Points of Interest
An eVisitor (subclass 651) is a visa for eligible passport holders outside Australia who want to visit Australia for tourism or business purposes. There may be a cost involved.
Best Time to Visit
|Watch the Brisbane River light up with fireworks||September for Riverfire|
|See the humpback whales migrate to warmer waters||Various locations across the coast from June to August|
|Experience turtles nesting||Bundaberg - November to February|
|Have a swim at one of the 7000 beaches||All year round!|
Queensland is big! Driving from one end to the other would take you over a day, driving non-stop, so flying is best if you're wanting to visit the north & the south in limited time. Public transport in Queensland is not as readily available like it is in other countries, so a car is a must if you want to explore.
Australia doesn't have a specific cuisine, so you'll never get bored with all the options on offer. Do make sure, though, that you try Kangaroo & Crocodile. Seafood is very popular and readily available in Queensland with lots of fish & chip shops along the coast line. Hot chips with chicken salt are a Queensland summer staple! Just make sure the seagulls don't steal them. Also make sure you try the beer of Queensland, XXXX Gold (pronounced 4 ex) & Queensland's favourite rum - Bundaberg.
Queensland loves a shopping centre. Unlike Europe where the shops are along a street, Queenslanders prefer air-conditioned comfort when they do their shopping. You'll find all the big-name brands as well as Aussie classics.
What to Pack
Summer can be very warm and humid so make sure to wear cool and light clothing. In winter you won't need much more than a pair of jeans & jumper or light coat. Don't forget to pack an umbrella, and carry it with you everywhere in summer. It can be fine and sunny in the morning, then storming in the afternoon.
There is an abundance of things to do in Queensland and to list them all would take days! To make it easier, we've listed our top 5 things you must do when exploring this stunning state:
- Discover the largest natural wonder of the world - the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef should be experienced by everyone at least once
- Enjoy some island-time - switch off and escape to one of Queensland’s islands. Sail the Whitsunday Islands, see the giant clams on Orpheus Island or visit the eco-friendly Heron Island off the coast of Gladstone
- Cuddle a koala - Queensland is one of the few Australian states where you’re allowed to cuddle a Koala. So, while you’re here, don’t miss your opportunity to get up close and personal with our local animal celebrities
- Visit Australia's best beach - totally bragging here! Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays was voted the best in 2017 and its not to be missed
- Explore national parks - from the Gold Coast Hinterland to the Daintree Rainforest, there are stunning walks to be had all over Queensland