Queensland, Australia’s Sunshine State

July 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Enchanting Oceania, Feature Highlights, Nature

Queensland has been in the news a lot lately with their “dream job” promotion – they offered someone an island caretaker job, complete with a big salary and benefits, as long as the caretaker used social media to promote their work on the island. You can read all about it on the official Island Caretaker Blog, run by the contest winner Ben Southall. You can also follow his adventures on Twitter, although he doesn’t post many links there.

But what exactly is there to do in Queensland, you may ask? Why would you want a dream job there? Here’s a few of the highlights of Queensland, sometimes called Australia’s “Sunshine State.”

Crystal clear water at the Whitsundays. Photo credit - Dinaiz.

Crystal clear water at the Whitsundays. Photo credit - Dinaiz.

Whitsunday Islands

The Whitsunday islands area is where Ben Southhall is based – specifically his home is on Hamilton, the most developed of the islands and some consider it the most expensive land in the entire country. Whitsunday Island itself is where you’ll find Whitehaven Beach, a place that finds itself atop many “top beach” lists. The waters are clear and turquoise and the sand is pure white silica – pretty much the most pristine beach you could find without making it yourself. Options for exploring the islands ranges from big boat cruises, catamarans, and even small pontoon boats.

Diving in the Great Barrier Reef. Photo credit - In Veritas Lux.

Diving in the Great Barrier Reef. Photo credit - In Veritas Lux.

The Great Barrier Reef

One of the two UNESCO world heritage sites in Queensland is the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral formation. The reef area offers tons of flexibility for what you can see and do, from a quick daytrip to more intense explorations. It’s best to do a little research first, because each of the various islands has different amenities and different types of touring available. Glass-bottomed boats, snorkeling, scuba diving, or just sailing out on the blue sea are ways to fill your day, then be sure to try the fresh seafood during the evenings.

The Mossman Gorge at Daintree National Park. Photo credit - Storm.

The Mossman Gorge at Daintree National Park. Photo credit - Storm.

Daintree National Park

This national park in the far north of Queensland is the other UNESCO world heritage site in state, considered one of the oldest rainforests in the world. Trees once thought extinct have been found in the park, and you’ll also see plenty of rare flora and fauna. Cape Tribulation is a popular base camp with its hotels and resorts, giving you easy access to park highlights like the Mossman Gorge, Omeed Rock, or crocodile spotting on the Daintree River.

Brisbane Museum of Modern Arts by amk713, and Brisbane's live music scene by Scott MacLeod Liddle.

Brisbane Museum of Modern Arts by amk713, and Brisbane's live music scene by Scott MacLeod Liddle.

Brisbane, the Capital

If you don’t like fun in the sun, then Queensland probably isn’t the ideal place for you. However, you can still have some not-so-sandy urban adventures in the state capital, Brisbane, in the southeast corner of Queensland. Everything seems fresh and hip in Brisbane, and each of the city’s neighbourhoods has its own distinct flavor. Some of my best tips:

Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. It’s Australia’s largest and always has an impressive guest exhibit on. I just love this place.

Live Music. There’s always someone playing somewhere in town, so why not take advantage of the great evening weather. To see who’s playing, check out this music venue guide.

XXXX Ale House & Brewery. You can do the tour or just come for a drink. It’s in Milton, an area full of fantastic little cafes and boutique shops.

If You Go

The nice thing about Eastern Australia is that it is fairly easy to get around. Trains, buses, planes or ferries are all viable options to driving. However, if you plan to do some extensive touring in the bush (“outback”) then hiring a car is recommended. Regardless, do your homework – it’s not always evident which mode of transport is the best value for money, and you might save yourself a few Aussie dollars by shopping around.

About the Author. Andy Hayes. Andy Hayes is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. When not crossing the world to have his next Asian travel adventures, he is hitting the walking trails near home. To get in touch or see Andy’s other travelogues, visit his website, Sharing Experiences.