“One day great, the next wonderful” is the saying that goes with Queensland already for many years, and not in vain. Queensland is situated in the eastern part of Australia, along a long coast called the “Great Barrier Reef.” Queensland is known for its excellent weather and is therefore also called “The Sunshine State.” Most of the year you will find clear skies here, and warm to hot weather.
Queensland is a tourist destination for tourist from overseas as well as from Australia’s other states. Below, we will give you an overview of the region’s central tourist sites.
Queensland was first discovered at the beginning of the 17th century by two Dutch explorers who landed in north Queensland, at what is known today as the town of Cape York Peninsula. The English Lieutenant James Cook became known as the first European to tread on Queensland’s eastern shore in 1770. First, the state’s settlements served as British convicts’ colonies, as in the rest of Australia.
Queensland’s capital, Brisbane, was established in 1825 as a colony for undisciplined convicts. In 1839, the convict colony era officially ended and the area was for sale for permanent settling. The year 1851 was very decisive: in a public meeting it was decided to separate Queensland from its southern neighbor, New South Wales. Queen Victoria gave her blessing to the procedure, and from there, the way to establishing towns and permanent settlement around Brisbane was short.
Another important year was 1901, when it was decided that the various colonies in Australia would join into one federal state under “The Commonwealth of Australia.” Most of Queensland’s population said “yes” to this dramatic development, and thus Queensland became a state and was no longer a colony.
As of 2004, about 3,900,000 people live in Queensland, making it the largest and most developed state in Australia. The local government estimates that by 2051 the population will double in size, and realistic guesses talk about another 1,5 million people by the year 2025. In news broadcasts on TV, the implications of such an increase are discussed in terms of ecology, population density, and quality of life for those living already there.
Brisbane is Queensland’s capital; you can read about in the cities category. Brisbane has tried for years to fight the image it has among people from other towns in Australia. For years, it was cynically called “Bris-Vegas,” underlining the importance of betting and a lazy life-style for local residents. The town has also been considered boring and gray, but since then, much water has doubtlessly flown down the Brisbane River. If you know Brisbane from a visit 10 years ago, you will not be able to recognize the 2005 model of Brisbane. The town has invested millions of dollars into turning the South Bank area into a lovely corner of amazing beauty, including an artificial beach, parks, trendy shopping areas, and special cinemas. In addition, the town itself has undergone changes, and new high-rise buildings have sprung up overnight. In June 2005, a new and prestigious shopping center was opened in the city’s center, which is the last part of Queen Street Mall. The center included expensive stores like Louis Vinton, Tiffany’s , Max Mara, Guess, and others. Lately, the town has launched a TV campaign in which it invites Australians to come to Brisbane, “The Town Where Things Happen All The Time.”
The city of Gold Coast is the fifth largest in Australia, and is known all over the continent and the world as a first-grade tourist center mainly because of the youth TV series “Surfers’ Paradise,” . Gold Coast experienced its main upswing during the 80’s, when many tourist facilities mushroomed, together with hotels and guesthouses.
Gold Coast is “the” place for surfers, who arrive from all over Australia to show off their skills and billbong bodies. Many tourists come to Gold Coast to enjoy 42 km of golden beaches and blue skies, as well as huge shopping centers, nightclubs, and the region’s beautiful landscape.
Gold Coast’s central attraction is the yearly “Indy Race” that takes place in the middle of October. This tradition began in 1990, and every year, more and more people come to watch it, as well as the other attractions surrounding the event. In 2004, there where 309,000 visitors.
Another popular event, which takes place towards the end of the year, is “Schoolies Week,” when thousands of youngsters celebrate the end of school and the beginning of vacation. Usually, the event includes lots of alcohol, dancing on the beach, bathing suits, and sometimes violence and police arrests.
You cannot discuss Gold Coast without mentioning its four main attractions: “Movie World,” “Dream World,” “Sea World,” and “Wet & Wild.” The Warner Brothers of Hollywood fame established a series of amusement parks for the entire family in Gold Coast that can provide entertainment for at least several days. Each amusement park is located a few hundred meters from its neighbor, and you have to pay for each one separately, unless you get a combination ticket, or, for real fans, a one-year-ticket. Caution: it is best to visit the parks on a weekday and not during school or work vacation times, in order to avoid long lines.
If there is a paradise, it doubtlessly looks like Whitsunday’s. Do not miss this amazing experience, arriving by boat or yacht at this dream of an island, because you have never and will never see something like this in your life— take our word for it. Most trips to the island start from the town of Early Beach, known mainly for cheap alcohol and its pubs and discos. From 5 o’clock in the afternoon, “Happy Hours” start in the town’s main street and beer prices go down accordingly. You can go on an organized cruise from Early Beach to Whitsunday’s and choose different packages. Some sleep on board, while others stay at vacation villages near the island, where you can also find 5 star hotels. During the cruise, you can take part in various activities, such as snorkeling, diving, swimming or lazing around on deck with a cold drink and staring at the amazing view. The island’s most famous beach is Whitehaven Beach – 7 km of white beach, one of the most photographed beaches in the world.
To be in Queensland and not to visit Fraser Island is like being in Italy and not tasting Italian ice cream. You tell yourself ‘I can get that anywhere’ but after you taste it, you can’t understand how you could possibly have thought twice about it. The same goes for Fraser. You may think to yourself, “I have already seen golden beaches, nature, green – what can be so different?” Well, go and see for yourself.
The island is a 120-km-long nature reserve accessible only by 4x4 land rover. It is the largest sand island in the world and the only place where large rain forests grow on sand.
Australians try their best to preserve the island in its original state, although in recent years, a hotel as well as a food & souvenir shop opened on the island for those who are not interested in sleeping on camping grounds but still want to enjoy the island’s beauty. You reach the island from Harvey Bay by ferry, where you can also find nice beaches, bars, and restaurants full of tourists.
On the island, there are splendid beaches (almost-white sand, turquoise waters, great view), rivers and creeks with sweet water, rain forests and high watchtowers over the are