State of Queensland

Queensland is known as Australia’s Sunshine State although weather conditions vary greatly between the coastal plain and the inland. Queensland offers a great diversity of holiday and touring opportunities, with the Great Barrier Reef, tropical islands, rainforest and wilderness, open sandy beaches, and the vast outback, as well as the sophisticated attractions of Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

Guide to Queensland >>

Capital City: Brisbane
Whilst it would be wrong to say that Australia’s southern capital cities are very similar to each other, there is no denying that Brisbane has a feel all of its own. There is a uniquely tropical flavour about the place that is absent from cities like Sydney or Melbourne. The weather, the architecture, the love of recreational activities by the locals who enjoy a laid back, relaxed, semi-tropical lifestyle make Brisbane unique among Australia’s state capitals. Brisburnians are proud of their city, and share the view all Queenslanders have towards their home state – that it is Australia’s number one holiday destination.
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  • The Gold Coast
    Mention the Gold Coast and various images spring to mind – sun, surf, long beaches, theme parks, night life, towering apartment buildings. So varied are the activities and the choices of accommodation, some holidaymakers travel from as far away as WA just to experience the place. Beyond the pristine beaches is the Gold Coast hinterland, which is as totally different an environment as it is possible to be.
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    • The Sunshine Coast
      Famous for its pristine coastline and lush hinterland, the Sunshine Coast begins at Caloundra, an hour’s drive north of Brisbane and extends to Cooloola, the Fraser Island. It takes in tranquil hinterland including the Glass House Mountains, Blackall Range, Noosa Hinterland and the Mary Valley; as well as more than 100 kilometres of beaches. Each Sunshine Coast locality on this coast is different to the others.
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      • Whitsundays Islands
        These are the most well known and well visited island group in Australia, and one of the country’s major tourist attractions and holiday destinations. The Whitsunday Islands encompass the ‘town’ of Whitsunday and the 74 islands surrounding Whitsunday Passage which make up the Whitsunday Islands. Eight of these islands have resort facilities. The Whitsundays are the epitome of the perfect tropical island holiday destination and are synonymous with the image of paradise.
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        • Great Barrier Reef
          The Reef extends for more than 2,000km off the east coast of Australia, from just south of the Tropic of Capricorn to the coastal waters of Papua New Guinea. It includes the world’s most extensive stretch of coral reef. The reef system, extending to Papua New Guinea, comprises some 3,400 individual reefs, including 760 fringing reefs, which range in size from under 1ha to over 10,000ha and vary in shape to provide the most spectacular marine scenery on earth.
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          • Tropical North
            Apart from the locals, few Australians know where Trinity Bay is, yet all have heard of the two popular holiday destinations built on its shores – Cairns at its southern end, and the former mining and timber port and now upmarket holiday resort town of Port Douglas at its northern end. Not far offshore is the northern section of the Great Barrier Reef where visitor flock in their thousands to dive on it during the winter months. To the north in Daintree National Park is the stunningly beautiful Cape Tribulation.
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            • Cape York
              Truly the last frontier in Australia, a trek to the northernmost tip of Australia is the ultimate destination for 4-wheel drive enthusiasts. Cape York Peninsula is a wild and sparsely populated wilderness area that is only accessible during the dry months from April to December. The dusty tracks contrast dramatically with the abundant rivers, crystal clear creeks and spectacular waterfalls in this vast area of unexplored rainforests, magnificent national parks, sacred Aboriginal sites, rugged mountains and swampy marshlands. This is a land of climatic extremes where the creeks are either dry or running three metres high.
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              • Longreach
                If you have ever dreamt of visiting Australia’s heartland, there are few places in Australia that can offer everything you are looking for like Longreach. The birthplace of Australia’s airline, Qantas, it is the biggest town in Queensland’s far west and has much to offer the visitor or traveller seeking a taste of outback Australia, without straying too far from the creature comforts associated with home.
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                • Birdsville
                  One of Australia’s most famous iconic outback settlements, Birdsville is a ‘must visit’ destination for the outback traveller. The town is a starting point for many people travelling into South Australia along the Birdsville Track which was first developed in the 1880s as one of Australia’s first major cattle routes. No trip to Birdsville is complete without marvelling at “Big Red”, the huge red sandhill that marks the eastern boundary of the Desert.

Getting There

By rail
Sydney is the only Australian capital city linked to Brisbane, Queensland, by rail. It is an XPT rail service which runs twice each day in each direction – one travels during the day, the other is an overnight service. From Melbourne, one must first travel by the Melbourne XPT service to Sydney, then the XPT service to Brisbane.
Melbourne – Sydney: 10 hours 40 minutes
Sydney – Brisbane: 16 hours 5 minutes

By coach (road)
Numerous operators provide coach services between Melbourne, Sydney and the cities and regional centres of Queensland.

Self drive
The Spirit of Tasmania Car and Passenger Ferry operates daily from Station Pier, Melbourne to Devonport in Tasmania, running overnight, with additional trips in daylight hours during peak travel periods (mainly Summer); duration approx. 12 hours. There are two ferries operating, with one with travelling in one direction as the other travels in the opposite direction. From Melbourne, drive first to Sydney via The Hume Highway, then on to Brisbane.

There are two highways that link Sydney to Queensland. Pacific Highway follows the coast via Newcastle, Forster, Ballina, Coffs Harbour, Grafton and Byron Bay, entering Queensland at the Gold Goast – 919 km, 10 hours.
New England Highway is an inland route, passing through the Hunter Valley, Tamworth, Armidale and Tenterfield, entering Queensland via the Granite Belt – 1,095 km, 12 hrs.

It is possible to drive from Melbourne to Brisbane and bypass Sydney. This route uses sections of the Hume, Newell, Gore and Warrego Highways. Distance: 1,679km; driving time: 20 hours. See map Brisbane to Sydney: 919km

Road travel distances from Hobart
Hobart to Devonport: 279km (then ferry to Melbourne)
Melbourne to Brisbane: 1,679km
Melbourne to Brisbane via Sydney: 1,824km

Mainland road travel distances
Brisbane to Sydney: 980km
Brisbane to Rockhampton: 637km
Brisbane to Townsville: 1,369km
Brisbane to Cairns: 1,715km
Brisbane to Toowoomba: 128km
Brisbane to Charleville: 746km
Brisbane to Mt. Isa: 1,813km
Townsville to Mt. Isa: 850km
Rockhampton to Longreach: 680km
Charleville to Longreach: 500km

By Air from Hobart:
Hobart to Brisbane: 2 hours 40 minutes
Hobart to Gold Coast: 4 hours 55 minutes
Hobart to Cairns: 6 hours 45 minutes

By Air (mainland Australia):
The major mainland domestic routes into and around Queensland are:
Brisbane to Sydney: 1 hour 25 minutes
Brisbane to Darwin: 3 hours 45 minutes
Brisbane to Cairns: 2 hours 25 minutes
Brisbane to Townsville: 1 hr. 40 minutes
Sunshine Coast to Sydney: 1 hour 35 minutes
Sunshine Coast to Melbourne: 2 hours 15 minutes
Gold Coast to Sydney: 1 hour 20 minutes
Gold Coast to Melbourne: 2 hours 5 minutes
Whitsunday Islands (Proserpine) to Sydney: 4 hours 40 minutes via Brisbane
Whitsunday Islands (Hamilton Island) to Sydney: 2 hours 30 minutes
Cairns to Sydney: 3 hours 10 minutes
Cairns to Melbourne: 3 hours 15 minutes

Getting Around

By Rail
Queensland Rail operates rail services from Brisbane to major regional centres throughout Queensland.
Brisbane – Charleville: 16 hours 45 minutes
Brisbane – Rockhampton: 11 hours 30 minutes
Rockhampton – Townsville: 11 hours 55 minutes
Rockhampton – Longreach: 13 hours 40 minutes
Townsville – Cairns: 6 hours 55 minutes
Townsville – Mt. Isa: 20 hours 55 minutes (via The Inlander)
Normanton – Croydon: 5 hours (via The Gulflander)
Cairns – Kuranda: 1 hour 45 minutes (via Kuranda Scenic Railway)
Cairns – Forsayth: 11 hours 15 minutes (via The Savannahlander)

By coach (road)
Numerous operators provide coach services between Sydney and the cities and regional centres of Queensland.

Self drive
Queensland’s towns are linked to each other, and to towns and cities in other states by a network of well signposted, well maintained sealed highways and major roads which allow for easy travel between localities. In Queensland, the speed limit on the open road is generally 110 kilometres per hour. In Queensland, a drivers licence from your home country or another Australian state will usually suffice for up to three months, as long as it has photo identification and its for the same class of vehicle you intend to drive. If you’re staying more than three months, you’ll need to get a Queensland drivers licence.

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