Queensland is Australia’s second largest state. It occupies approximately 23% of the continent in the north-east and shares boundaries with New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Queensland spans 1,727,000sq. kilometres. It is seven times the size of Great Britain and the amount of geographical variation within the state definitely reflects that multiple countries could fit within its borders!
Queenslanders famously live an outdoor lifestyle. The state is nicknamed the Sunshine State for its fantastic climate and is well known to be “beautiful one day, perfect the next”. There are over 14 captivating holiday destinations to explore—from world class beaches on the coast, to inland mountain chains, rainforests and the expansive outback plains in the west! Whether you’re after an active holiday or simply want to relax, do it all here!
Queensland is famous for its pristine beaches and tropical islands. Over 200 national parks cover more than 6.5 hectares across the state, plus there are lush mountainous rainforests, bushlands and creeks and flat table lands perfect for farming. Sugarcane, beef, wheat, cotton, wool, bananas, peanuts, pineapple and citrus are among the state’s major agricultural products, plus there are a lot of mining exports and commodities, including coal and metals.
- Country: Australia
- Capital: Brisbane
- International Airports: Brisbane International Airport, Gold Coast Airport, Cairns Airport
- Language: English
- Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD)
- Population: Approximately 4,921,259
History and Geography
Queensland has a rich history, rooted in Indigenous habitation and European settlement. The state’s archaeological sites date as far back as 30,000 years—a time when trees dominated grasslands and there were over 90 unique indigenous languages! Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a range of Dreaming tales referring to the history of the state. They reflect patterns of settlement around the coastal areas and estuaries as well as extensive short and long distance trading.
Europeans first saw Queensland in the 1600s. Dutch explorers, Willem Jansz and Jan Carstens arrived at the Cape York Peninsula and Gulf of Carpentaria respectively, though it wasn’t until the arrival of English Lieutenant James Cook that European encounters were officially acknowledged. Cook landed on the east coast of Queensland in 1770. A penal settlement was later established in Brisbane (in 1825) and the state as we know it today was officially born on the 6th June, 1851 when Queen Victoria granted independence from New South Wales.
Queensland’s geography is what makes it such a captivating state. There are 14 major destinations housing tablelands, mountain ranges, rivers and islands, plus expansive outback plains that stretch on for days! Over 4 million people call Queensland home but, surprisingly, less than half occupy Brisbane, the metropolitan hub. The majority of the state’s population can be found on the coast. This expansive 7400km stretch is bounded by the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Torres Strait and the Coral Sea in the north and the South Pacific Ocean in the east.
What to do in Queensland
Everything you do in Queensland will be bathed in sunlight. The state experiences around 260 days of sunshine every year, making it the ideal place to get outside and do as much as you can! Queensland is home to 5 of Australia’s 11 World Natural Heritage areas. These include the Scenic Rim National Parks, Riversleigh Fossil Fields, the Wet Tropics (including the Daintree National Park) Fraser Island (the world’s largest sand island) and the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier stretches 2000km and fringes the coast. It is visible from space and can be most easily accessed from Cairns and Port Douglas.
If snorkelling and diving isn’t your thing, head to the southeast to surf some of the state’s world-class breaks! There are waves to try out at the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, plus a range of pristine, family-friendly beaches further north. Tropical islands sit just off shore, there are rivers, estuaries and rainforests for those who travel inland, plus a range of incredible mountain peaks and table lands for hikers and bushwalkers! One of Queensland’s major industries is tourism, so you’ll never be at a loss for something to do. Click to learn more about the incredible experiences or tours you can go on around this great state!
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