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Queensland Travel & Holiday Guide

orange bulletQueensland Highlights

bullet wideGreat Barrier Reef - the "must see" Queensland destination
bullet wideGold Coast - Australia's premier beach holiday destination
bullet wideGold Coast Holiday Accommodation
bullet wideGold Coast Beaches - the best in the world
bullet wideSunshine Coast - magnificent beaches and cool hinterland
bullet wideBrisbane - Queensland's capital city and major gateway
bullet wideSouth East Queensland - holiday gateway country
bullet wideCairns & Port Douglas - the gateway to the tropical north
bullet wideThe Whitsunday Islands - Airlie Beach and Great Barrier Reef
bullet wideCentral Queensland - cattle country and gateway to the southern reef
bullet wideQueensland Outback - wide open spaces and big night skies&

orange bulletQueensland At A Glance

The state capital is Brisbane... current population approx. 1.2 million [2015]. The most popular holiday destinations are the Gold Coast, Great Barrier Reef, Sunshine Coast plus Cairns and Port Douglas. Queensland is very diverse state, providing visitors with a choice of energetic Gold Coast, the more relaxed pace of Sunshine Coast holidays, the spectacular Great Barrier Reef or adventures in Tropical North Queensland and the remote gulf country.

The countryside ranges from virgin rain forest to dry outback and from equatorial tropics to cool plateaus. Queensland sits either side of the Tropic of Capricorn with warm tropics to the north and warm temperatures to the south. There is a narrow sub-equatorial coastal band that extends from Cairns around the northern coast to the Northern Territory border.

The state consists of a narrow coastal belt that runs the length of the state and which is home to the majority of tourism regions, the larger cities and towns and holiday centres. The higher rainfall on this coastal belt supports a large sugar industry, most of which is in the northern part of the state.

Once you head away from the coast and cross the Great Dividing Range you'll enter lush tablelands in the north of the sate, rolling cattle country grasslands and coal mines in the state centre and the rich grain farming country of the south. Keep heading west and you'll experience the Queensland Outback which becomes drier and more sparsely populated as you progress further inland.

orange bulletWhat Will I Be Able To Do?

When it comes to things to do and places to see, Queensland is one of Australia's premier holiday destinations. Whatever your preferred leisure activities and attractions, you'll find it in Queensland! From the sand, sun and sea of a Gold Coast holiday, north to the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest, west to the incredible night skies of the outback and the unrivalled wildlife throughout the state, Queensland is a "must see" destination.

The jewel in the Queensland tourism crown is the Great Barrier Reef, one of world's most incredible holiday destinations and the epi-centre of Australian scuba diving. Home to spectacular marine life and bird populations, this marine park extends over 2000 km along the Queensland coast from Gladstone in the south to Cape York in the north.

There are more than 2900 individual reefs and 71 coral islands. The two most popular reef access points are at Cairns in the far north and further south at Airlie Beach, the gateway to the beautiful Whitsunday Islands.

Queensland's Gold Coast has been a favourite family holiday destination for generations. The unending string of pristine beaches make the Gold Coast one of the world's greatest destinations for beach and ocean vacations. The nearby Gold Coast hinterland and its exceptional hiking trails provides a refreshing change from the sun, sea, surf and sand.

The Sunshine Coast starts one hour's drive north of Brisbane and while smaller and less populous than the Gold Coast, it is also a very popular holiday destination.

Here are just some of the things to do in Queensland. Book your adventures from the ExperienceOZ ad block in the left column.

  • Explore the Great Barrier Reef
  • Enjoy the Gold Coast resort lifestyle
  • Swim and surf world class beaches
  • Scuba diving and snorkelling
  • Sail the magnificent Whitsundays
  • Explore the Daintree rainforest
  • Bushwalking in the National Parks
  • Sport fishing charters
  • Explore magnificent Fraser Island
  • Adrenalin rush jet boating
  • Whale watching at Hervey Bay
  • Hot air balloons
  • White water rafting
  • Canoeing and kayaking
  • 4WD outback safaris
  • Family farm holidays
  • Visit historic Qld pubs
  • Gem fossicking
  • Wildlife parks
  • World class golf courses
  • Visit the Barron Falls

orange bulletWhat Are My Accommodation Options?

Queensland is well serviced by a range of traditional and boutique hotels servicing both business and leisure travellers. The majority of hotels are in the capital city of Brisbane and the other major coastal towns. There are fewer hotels in the country regions where motels and motor inns are the usual type of accommodation.

The popular holiday destinations such as the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and the Cairns to Port Douglas region offer a great selection of hotels, apartments and holiday resorts that cater to all tastes and budgets. The holiday resorts in Surfers Paradise and the luxury accommodation in Broadbeach are the equal of anything to be found at  other world class holiday destinations.

Some of Queensland's finest holiday accommodation can be found in the Great Barrier Reef resorts that are built on several of the larger  islands.

There are some great bed and breakfast properties in Queensland, but the numbers are considerably lower than in the southern states. The majority of B&B's tend to be in the hinterland areas of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, on the Darling Downs and on the Atherton Tableland inland from Cairns. There are also some B&B's throughout the suburbs of Brisbane.

orange bulletHow Do I Get Around?

Travel in Queensland is time consuming because of the sheer size of the state. A journey of a couple of hundred kilometres is considered a short trip when you realise the state is 2000 kilometres (1250 miles) north-south and 1400 kilometres (900 miles) east-west. Those are straight line map distances, actual travel distances are considerably further.

Queensland travel is easy to arrange. Efficient train services link all major coastal and inland towns. Daily air services operate to all major towns as well as direct flights to some of the major island resorts and tourism centres. The Bruce Highway links Brisbane and Cairns and the intermediate towns, with most having their own tourism attractions and all offer a good selection of accommodation.

Several bus transport companies travel throughout the state. All major car rental companies are represented in the major cities and towns throughout the state. If you are flying in at Brisbane to start your visit, consider picking up a rental car at the airport and save on airport shuttle costs.

Australian camper rentals are a great way to see the real Australia with pick-up available in all the capital cities and some other popular tourist towns. Booking well in advance is recommended for these vehicles.  Some unsealed roads in remote areas will require that you travel in 4 wheel drive vehicles, especially if travelling in the wet season. Tour operators provide itineraries that cover all popular sites.

Driver information, maps and travel planning guides are available from the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) which has offices throughout the state.

Some typical road travel distances are:

  • Brisbane to Sydney = 980km (612 miles)
  • Brisbane to Rockhampton = 637km (398 miles)
  • Brisbane to Townsville = 1369km (855 miles)
  • Brisbane to Cairns = 1715km (1072 miles)
  • Brisbane to Toowoomba = 128km (80 miles)
  • Brisbane to Charleville = 746km (466 miles)
  • Brisbane to Mt Isa = 1813km (1133 miles)
  • Townsville to Mt Isa = 850km (530 miles)
  • Rockhampton to Longreach = 680km (425 miles)

orange bulletWhen Is The Best Time?

Queensland holidays are popular all year-round round and the state is a major tourist destination. The best time time of year will be that which matches the activities you have planned.  If personal comfort is important then the June - August winter period may suit your vacation best because summer in the Central, North and Far North regions will involve heat and humidity.

Queensland is a very diverse state with countryside that ranges from virgin rain forest to dry outback and from equatorial tropics to cool plateaus. The heat levels in the Outback during summer can be extreme and winter is the best time to visit. The South East region and the Great Barrier Reef are the major holiday destinations and generally have milder summer weather.

Regions such as the Gold Coast are chock full of popular holiday destinations and the demand for accommodation at locations such as Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach and Coolangatta always peaks for the school holiday periods.

Winter is June - August with maximum temperatures around 20° C in the southern coastal regions, 23° C in the central coastal regions and 25° C in the northern coastal regions.  Summer is December - February with maximum temperatures around 29° C in the southern coastal regions and 31° C in both the central and northern coastal regions.

Temperatures in outback areas are more extreme. Summer maximums typically range from 34° C in the southern outback up to 37° C in the north. Winter minimums can drop to -4° C in the southern outback and Darling Downs and around 8° C in the northern areas.

Rainfall is mainly during summer. Monsoonal cyclones (hurricanes) occasionally cross the tropical north coast during the summer months. This is not a frequent event and usually results in localised property damage and flooding.