Queensland, the ‘Sunshine State’, is situated in the subtropical and tropical belt of north-east Australia and offers a wide variety of attractions. These include the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, the delightful resort towns and islands along the coast, tropical rainforests, striking outback landscapes, gemfields, Aboriginal cave and rock paintings, huge sheep and cattle stations, immense mining fields and unique river, estuary and open-water fishing grounds.
Although weather conditions vary from one region to another, its abundant sunshine makes the State ideal for touring on a campervan. The diverse and spectacular landscape varies from a rich, narrow coastal plain to a vast dry inland plain. The two regions are separated by rugged and erratic sprawl of the Great Dividing Range. The state can be divided into five distinct regions – Darling Downs, the Central Coast, Northern Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef.
The Sunshine Coast is a chain of easy-going beach resorts 100-150 kilometres north of Brisbane. The region is unspoiled and unhurried; the beaches are wide, sandy and uncrowded. It is the perfect choice for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Further north is Fraser Island and Orchid Resort, an ideal subtropical paradise for a campervan trip.
The Darling Downs is an agricultural district whose fertile soil is among the richest in the world, supporting vast farming and pastoral interests. The attractive city of Toowoomba is the regional hub, with all necessary facilities for campervan tourers.
The subtropical central coast region is an area of contrast and beauty. The luxuriant sugar cane fields along the coastal belt give way to rocky gorges and cattle country inland. The major centres along the coast include Gladstone, Rockhampton and Mackay; these can act as bases for wider travel in the region or as points of departure for the tranquil offshore islands and holiday resorts of the Great Barrier Reef.
North Queensland is diverse region, offering tropical islands, reefs, rainforests, mountains and wide open plains. The major centre is Townsville, a provincial city with an international airport. Attractions may include Breakwater Casino and Magnetic Island. Townsville is also a major point of departure for the Great Barrier Reef, an attractive tropical city surrounded by splendid tourist attractions. To the north are the secluded beaches of the Marlin Coast and Port Douglas.
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most remarkable regions. It is a vast collection of underwater shoals, reefs and coral cays extending from the tip of Cape York Peninsula in the north to Gladstone in the south. The Capricornia section incorporates the Whitsunday-Cumberland Islands, which attract thousands of visitors each year. This has been one of the most campervan holiday destinations in years.
Western Queensland is a vast area stretching from New South Wales border to the ‘gulf country’. Some of the remarkable outback towns include Longreach, which features the original Qantas hangar and the Stockman’s Hall of Fame; Cloncurry and Mount Isa, the traditional lands of the legendary Kalkadoon Aborigines; and Birdsville, renowned for its annual racemeeting, one of the most celebrated events in the outback calendar.
Brisbane is one of the biggest in Australia, lying just a few degrees south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Brisbane lies 20 kilometres inland from Moreton Bay on the banks of the Brisbane River. If you are starting your campervan hire holiday from Brisbane, you should visit the variety of attractions ranging from its old colonial buildings to its pubs, which have lots of character. Brisbane is also the gateway to the scenic wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and to the tropical coastal towns and resorts further north.
While in Brisbane, be sure to visit the City Hall; best known landmark. Don’t forget the Old Government House and the Treasury Building. Brisbane is also noted for its beautiful parks and gardens. On the fringe of the city is Lone Pine Sanctuary. You only to drive your campervan to the inner suburb of Fig Tree Pocket and visit this fauna sanctuary which contains over a hundred koalas in a natural environment, as well as other animals and birds.
In Brisbane, you can drive your campervan to Mount Coot-tha which features nature trails, a waterfall, swimming holes and barbeque areas. Drive your way to Sandgate, located 19 kilometres north of Brisbane, it is a nearby Redcliffe Peninsula notable for sailing and fishing. If you are into surfing and beach fun, then drive your way south to the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast stretches from Tweed Heads to Paradise Point and is often called the playground of the South Pacific. The main features include excellent surfing beaches, Currumbin Bird Sanctuary, marine centres and holiday resort areas.
Located on the south-central coast of Queensland, Airlie Beach is the principal mainland centre for the Whitsunday-Cumberland Group of islands, providing manpower, services and supplies tot the island resorts. It is also a holiday centre in its own right with facilities ranging from camping grounds to restaurants and night time entertainment
Located on the far north Queensland coast, Cairns is one of the state’s largest tourist centres. The city is situated close to the Great Barrier Reef, the Atherton Tableland, Cape York and the gulf country. Between September and December the town becomes focus for the annual black marlin season, attracting fishermen from around the world. The offshore reefs and islands include Lizard Island, rich in wildlife and an excellent fishing ground, and Green Island, a coral cay with an underwater observatory. Onshore attractions include Reef World, which is a giant aquarium of fish, turtles and other marine life; the botanic gardens, which have more than two hundreds species of palms and over ten thousand varieties of plants; the Big Boomerang, which displays Aboriginal and Pacific Island artefacts; crystal-clear streams, sparking waterfalls, lush tropical rainforest and mysterious lake craters.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s most extensive coral reef, extending for some 2000 kilometres along the Queensland coastline. On the sheltered side of the reef there are numerous tropical islands, most of them being the peaks of submerged mountains. Many others are simply coral cays rising only a few metres above the sea. The islands are unspoilt, have fringing coral reefs, and are classified in many instances as national parks.