Brisbane, the capital city of the Australian state of Queensland, gives you the quintessential Queensland experience from a vibrant urban base world-class shopping, cutting-edge dining and busy nightlife. Brisbane lives and breathes its own brand of casual cool. Here, locals always have time for a chat, a lazy Sunday brunch is a must, a cheeky brew is never off the cards and the locals live for the great outdoors. From the city you can explore the region's spectacular natural features, including stunning marine life and white sandy beaches, pristine world heritage-listed national parks and luxury retreats. Not too far away are two of Australia's top holiday destinations - the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
The Gold Coast
If any area of Australia could lay claim to the title of the premier holiday destination in the country, it would have to be the Gold Coast in South-East Queensland. For all its over commercialisation, the golden surf beaches along its 52 km length are among Australia's best, the choice of beachfront accommodation, shopping and dining options is almost limitless, and it is home to Australia's best theme parks all of which are within a short driving distance of each other.
The subtropical climate is ideal for taking advantage of the myriad leisure activities all year round. The Gold Coast boasts great shopping and many leisure activities such as the observation deck of its tallest building, Q1, in Surfers Paradise, which offers sweeping views up and down the coast. The Gold Coast is a well known haven for surfers, welcoming the Quiksilver Pro every summer.
The Sunshine Coast
As its name implies, the major attraction here is the sunshine and enjoying it on the region's 100 kilometres of beautiful surf beaches. The Coast begins at Caloundra, just one hour's drive north of Brisbane and extends to Cooloola, the gateway to World Heritage Listed Fraser Island. It also takes in tranquil hinterland including the Glass House Mountains, Blackall Range, Noosa Hinterland and the Mary Valley. Like the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast has a very attractive hinterland that makes for a perfect escape from the commercialisation and high rise development of the coastal strip. The Sunshine Coast is one hour's drive north of Brisbane via Bruce Highway. The region is serviced by trains travelling between Brisbane and the various coastal towns to the north of rthe region, however the railway does not follow a coastal route.
The Southern Downs is a vast inland area of rural Queensland encompassing the central section of Queensland to the west of the Great Dividing Range. The eastern section of this region is often referred to as the Golden West but is better known to many as the Darling Downs, one of the richest agricultural areas in the world. Major highways traverse the whole of the whole region, allowing easy access to a most scenic part of inland Queensland. Attractions include numerous museums in the area that preserve the heritage of the pioneers. Activities are plentiful, with bushwalkers, horse riders and fishing enthusiasts particularly well catered for.
The landscape is dominated by rolling hills covered by pastures of many different species, vegetables, legumes such as soy beans and chick peas, and other crops including cotton, wheat, barley and sorghum. Between the farmlands there are long stretches of crisscrossing roads, bushy ridges, winding creeks and herds of cattle. There are farms with beef and dairy cattle, pigs, sheep and lamb stock. Other typical sights include irrigation systems, windmills serving as water well pumps to get water from the Great Artesian Basin, light planes crop-dusting, rusty old woolsheds and other scattered remnants from a bygone era of early exploration and settlement.
The Granite Belt, to the immediate north of the New South Wales Border to the west of the Great Dividing Range, is distinguished by its elevation, which makes it the coolest part of Queensland. This, and its relatively low rainfall, has made it attractive for viticulture. The area is a popular tourist destination, particularly as a short break destination for the peoples of Southeast Queensland/Northern New South Wales. The boom in wine tourism has been a key driver and while winter is popular, the region benefits from being a cool contrast to coastal humidity in the summer.
The cool high country of the granite belt stretches south into the New England Tablelands of New South Wales. The area gains its name from the predominantly granite rocks that distinguish it and is also known for its spectacular flowers and fruit orchards.
The Scenic Rim, an arc of spectacular mountains lying from south of Beaudesert, around to the area south west of Ipswich, is known for it s splendour throughout Australia, and even the rest of the world. There are some magnificent National Parks in the region for the avid nature lover, two of which are World Heritage listed. These include Mt Barney National Park; Main Range National Park; Moogerah Peaks National Park which is made up in four sections eg: Mt French; Mt Greville. Mt Edwards and Mt Moon.
Central West Queensland is a remote region covering an area of 396 650.2 km2, it typifies the common image of outback Queensland. Within this region lies the eastern extent of the Simpson Desert lies within the region, the Channel Country and part of the Cooper Basin. This basin contains the most significant on-shore petroleum and natural gas deposits in Australia. Haddon Corner and Poeppel Corner on the Queensland border are also located here.
Major towns of Central West Queensland include Longreach, Winton, Blackall and Barcaldine. Barcaldine was the location for the 1891 Australian shearers strike, one of Australia s earliest and most important industrial disputes. The Australian Stockman s Hall of Fame is a museum located in Longreach which pays tribute to pioneers of the Australian outback. The ghost town of Betoota has been designated as Australia s smallest town.
Waterways coursing through Central West Queensland include the Barcoo River, Georgina River, Diamantina River, Thomson River, Burke River, Hamilton River and Cooper Creek.
A number of national parks have been declared in the region, including Simpson Desert National Park, Cudmore National Park, Diamantina National Park, Astrebla Downs National Park, Welford National Park, Goneaway National Park, Lochern National Park and Bladensburg National Park.
South West Queensland
A remote region, South West Queensland is noted for its cattle grazing, cotton farming, opal mining and oil and gas deposits.
The northern extent of the Sturt Stony Desert lies within the region around the location known as Cameron Corner. Part of the Cooper Basin is located in the region. The basin contains the most significant on-shore petroleum and natural gas deposits in Australia. The Tookoonooka crater is a large impact crater located in the region, however it is not visible at the surface.
Major towns of South West Queensland include Charleville, Roma, Augathella, Windorah, Thargomindah, St George and Cunnamulla. Cunnamulla has the biggest wool-loading station on the Queensland railway network. Australia s largest cotton farm, Cubbie Station near St George, covers 93,000 hectares.
Waterways coursing through South West Queensland include the Warrego, Maranoa, Merivale, Balonne and its tributary the Bokhara River, Culgoa, Wilson and Cooper Creek. The Balonne is used for an extensive irrigation network. The Bulloo River system is the only closed river system in Australia.