Queensland, located in northeastern Australia, is the second largest state in the country. More than half of its territory lies above the Tropic of Capricorn. Queensland is known for its stunning coastline and endless pristine beaches. It is also endowed with national park forests, rolling plains, rich tropical rainforests, forest covered mountains and vast wilderness.The national wonder of the Great Barrier Reef also lies in Queensland, and the state is among the top tourist destinations in the world. Brisbane is Queensland’s capital, which lies on the east coast, along the Brisbane River. Brisbane has a population of nearly 1.5 million, while the population of Queensland is about 3.5 million.
Queensland enjoys 300 days of sunshine every year and has a tropical climate. Days are made up of 8 to 9 hours of sunshine and the average maximum temperature is 25.3C, with a minimum of 15.7C. For these reasons, Queensland bears the nickname of the ‘Sunshine State’. The pleasant temperature allows for a host of fun activities, and Queensland can easily be also nicknamed the ‘Funshine State’.
The Sunshine Coast
The Sunshine Coast is a peri-urban area in Queensland, and is the third most populated area in the state. It is located on the coastline of the Pacific Ocean, 100 km north of Brisbane. The beaches are quieter here, compared to the famous Gold Coast.
Some of the best beaches on the Sunshine Coast are Mudjimba, Marcoola, Warana and Buddina. Mooloolaba in particular is a hugely popular beach. The towns of Mooloolaba and Maroochydore are set close to each other, almost constituting one bigger town. The beaches are beautiful and have numerous cafés and restaurants, areas for shopping and the scenic Maroochy River. Sunny days allow for an array of beach activities. The popular Eumundi Markets are a shopping haven for those looking to purchase something different or handmade. The markets are open every Wednesday and Saturday from morning until about 2 in the afternoon. Over 1,000 arts and crafts stalls are present, and there is also some great food to sample and world-class music.
A fun activity for the whole family is a visit to the Australian Zoo, which is located about 15km outside the area. Once you’ve had enough of the beach, you can head back to the beautiful hinterland, which is just a 10 to 20 minute drive away. As the Sunshine Coast is located close to Brisbane, it enjoys similar weather. The beaches can be enjoyed even during winter.
The Gold Coast
Queensland’s Gold Coast sits atop the edge of the Asia-Pacific rim and is connected to two international airports. Its location is strategic as it makes it a destination for investment, business, sport, events and tourism.
The Gold Coast spans 57 km of coastline. It is home to nearly half a million people. Beyond the stunning beaches, there are sub-tropical rainforests with some of the best natural scenery. Almost 12 million visitors arrive at the Gold Coast every year. There’s a ton of things to do in this destination, from shopping and restaurants to theme parks and natural attractions. The Gold Coast is today a diverse and modern city with a great future. It will also play host to the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
It is also a business-friendly city and ranks among the top 10 countries in the world for ease of doing business. It can take just two and a half days to start a new business here and there are few regulations and very little bureaucracy. The Gold Coast is jam-packed with activities and is a paradise for those who love the outdoors. One such fun activity is whale watching during the season from June to November. There are a number of whale watching tours and boats available to enable you to get a bit closer to the magnificent creatures. The Broadwater, a shallow estuary located on the gold Coast, is filled with people engaging in water sports such as kayaking, paddle boarding and surfing. Australia’s biggest theme park, Dreamworld, is also located here. Another fun adventure for the whole family is a visit to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary where you can discover some of the country’s wildlife. Spread across 27 hectares of rainforest, there are interactive animal exhibits, wildlife shows and many other activities.
The capital city of Brisbane also has much to offer. In the entertainment precinct of South Bank stands the Wheel of Brisbane, which offers sky-high, 360-degree views of the city. Enclosed gondolas lift you up to nearly 60 meters above the ground and let you feast on breathtaking views of Brisbane across the iconic Brisbane River.
Another interesting activity for young and old alike is a trip to The Australian Woolshed, where you can see how sheep are shorn and watch the sheepdogs gather the flock. You can even hand-feed the kangaroos and cuddle the koalas. There are also waterslides, a park and a restaurant.
An activity that is great fun for kids is a visit to the Lyell Deer Farm. Started by a couple who had had enough of busy city life and bought 40 acres of virgin bush near Mt Samson, this deer farm currently has four species of deer. There are educational tours for kids where they watch deer farming in action and learn about various related topics such as the growth of antlers and breeding cycles of the different species. There is free entry into the farm, and tea and homemade cookies are also available.
Fraser Island and Central Queensland
A visit to the Tondoon Botanic Gardens in Gladstone, Queensland is an excellent way to infuse fun into an educational activity. The Gardens were created in order to provide a recreation place for visitors and residents. They are also a great source of knowledge on many aspects such as horticulture, botany and ecology. Plants of the Port Curtis Region and Tropical North Queensland are displayed in a natural atmosphere. The gardens occupy an 83-hectare site. They officially opened in 1988 and have been providing the visitors and local residents with a place for relaxation and recreation. There are multiple walking trails through out the place and you can discover cultivated gardens around Mount Biondello. Lake Tondoon is located in the center of the gardens, and until 1945 it was the source of Gladstone’s water supply. Today the lake is a habitat for different kinds of freshwater birds. There are free guided tours of the gardens available. There are also picnic areas and a kids’ playground. ‘Ecofest’, an environmental awareness event, takes place every year.
Mackay and Whitsundays
The Whitsunday Islands are a set of continental islands of varying sizes located off the central coast of Queensland. The northernmost islands are located alongside the town of Bowen, while the southernmost islands are situated off the coast of Mackay. They are considered to be the world’s most fascinating aquatic playgrounds. There are 74 tropical islands emerging from the spectacular turquoise waters.
Cruise Whitsundays is the ideal way to explore these islands. It offers some fantastic experiences and activities. The ‘Seaflight’ is the largest vessel in the Whitsundays. It is also the most comfortable as it is equipped with a motion control system. A pontoon sits in the Knuckle Reef Lagoon, an underwater delight where you can explore the corals and richness of marine life that is not present in the open areas. It is the abode of nearly 200 different varieties of fish and over 150 kinds of soft and hard coral. The pontoon has adequate space, but the Seaflight is also accessible throughout the day. You can choose to explore the reef by yourself or take a guided reef safari. You can also go scuba diving, or simply enjoy the underwater in a special viewing chamber. Another activity not to be missed, and the biggest fun factor is the giant waterslide!
Tropical North Queensland
For a memorable journey through Australia’s tropical rainforests, take the Skyrail through the Barron Gorge National Park. It covers a distance of 7.5 km and seats six people comfortably. The gondola almost skims the top of the canopy, offering great views of the rainforest, tropical Cairns, the Coral Sea and the Cairns Highlands.
The Skyrail makes two stops, one at Red Peak Station, where rangers give guided boardwalk tours and enlighten you about the ancient tropical forests, and the other at Barron Falls Station, which offers access walkways to three lookouts that provide breathtaking views of the Barron Gorge and Falls.
Another fine activity in this part of Queensland is a visit to Cable Ski Cairns and Cables Wakepark Penrith, which offers watersport activities for the whole family. The levels range from beginners to advanced, and various types of equipment are provides such as beginners’ kneeboards and advanced wakeboards. Beginners will have the assistance of qualified cableski coaches.
Tropical North Queensland is also the best destination to see crocodiles in Australia. Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures is located about 40 minutes from Cairns and is an educational and fun activity for children as well as adults. Some of the activities include turtle, fish and water bird feeding, crocodile farm tours, boat rides for spotting crocodiles and even snake shows.
If these fun activities haven’t piqued your interest yet, here are some more reasons why Queensland can easily be called the ‘Funshine State’.
Warm summers and mild winters
Since Queensland has a tropical climate, you needn’t worry about having to stay indoors due to cold weather. Although rainstorms sometimes occur, Queensland enjoys sunshine all year round.
Queensland has miles and miles of park area, bike paths, walking paths and hiking trails. These natural fitness options can be enjoyed throughout the year. The state also has an active sports culture. If you need a bit of motivation to stay fit, a move to Queensland will help!
Easy access to the Great Barrier Reef
It can take hours or days of traveling to get to the Great Barrier Reef from anywhere in Australia. Queensland is an exception, as the Great Barrier Reef stretches for more than 2000 km along the Queensland coastline. Depending on which city you live in, you may not even have to book a hotel to visit this natural treasure.
Access to numerous national parks
Daintree, Lamington, D’Aguilar, Noosa and Whitsunday Islands are just some of Queensland’s national parks. These national parks offer scenery that range from seascapes to rainforest paths. Those who love adventure will delight in these destinations. There may be far more panoramic vistas that you can explore, unless you decide to live in Queensland, in which case you will have ample time and energy to explore all the sunshine state’s beautiful destinations.
Beaches and hinterland
Instead of the national parks, you can choose to live near the beaches and hinterland. The hinterland is dotted with stunning mountains and valleys – ideal for the hiking enthusiast.
Queensland encourages and nurtures a musical culture with old and new bands performing and competing across the state. It is home to a number of world-renowned music groups such as the Bee Gees and Savage Garden.
Be prepared to dress down (t-shirts, sandals, shorts, flip flops) when in Queensland! The sunny atmosphere has given rise to a casual dress code and a slow-paced, relaxing lifestyle.
Queenslanders like things larger than life. The state has a number of ‘big’ things such as the Big Mango, Big Macadamia and Big Pineapple. It is also the abode of some of the country’s largest theme parks such as Sea World, Movie World and Dreamworld, all of which are located along the Gold Coast.
Art and culture
Apart from the sunshine and the sports, Queensland is also an important center for art, and the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art has a far greater art collection than any gallery in the cities of Sydney or Canberra. The gallery also holds events and features work from world-renowned filmmakers in its one-of-a-kind cinema.
What's your favourite thing about living in Queensland? Let us know in the comments!