Queensland, Australia’s Sunshine State
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.
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.
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.
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.
Just a little over an hour drive south of Brisbane, lies Mount Tamborine, full of incredible rain forests and breath-taking scenery. Another great day trip idea, Mount Tamborine’s walking tracks are suitable for all levels.
The Mossman Gorge at Daintree National Park.
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 and Brisbane’s live music scene
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.