Getting there & around
Most travellers will arrive in Queensland from NSW, and while your car or bus can legally be inspected crossing the border, it hardly ever happens. You probably won’t even notice that you’ve passed from one state to the other. Brisbane is the main port of call for flights into Queensland and is the main international airport for the state, but Cairns and the Gold Coast airports also receive international flights.
Greyhound Australia (13 14 99; www.greyhound.com.au), the largest bus company in Australia, offers comprehensive coverage of Queensland and all the major tourist destinations, as well as excellent interstate connections.
The busiest route is up the coast on the Bruce Hwy from Brisbane to Cairns – there are various passes that cover this route, allowing multiple stops along all or part of the coast. Most passes involve interstate travel and attract a 10% discount for members of YHA, VIP, Nomads and other approved organisations, as well as card-carrying seniors/pensioners. Useful passes for Queensland include the ‘Mini Travellers Pass’, which gives you 45 days to travel from Sydney to Cairns for $327. The ‘Central Coaster’ pass is valid for 90 days and allows you to travel between Sydney and Brisbane for $173 and the ‘Queenslander’ pass allows travel between Brisbane and Cairns via the Inland Rd ($398, valid for 183 days). There are also several passes that include outback destinations en route to the NT. Check the Greyhound Australia website for more details.
The three national carriers, Qantas Airways (13 13 13; www.qantas.com.au), Jetstar (13 15 38; www.jetstar.com.au) and Virgin Blue (13 67 89; www.virginblue.com.au), fly to Queensland’s major cities. There are also smaller airlines, including charter flights, operating up and down the coast, across the Cape York Peninsula and into the outback.
Macair (13 13 13; www.macair.com.au) The major outback carrier.
The roads in Queensland are in good condition, particularly along the coast and main thoroughfares in the hinterland and outback. However, they can often turn into badly maintained sealed roads or dirt tracks in the more remote areas of the state. Note that driving in Queensland is a leisurely affair with locals sometimes not even making the speed limit.
In the past travellers have managed to travel along the coast or even over to Papua New Guinea or Darwin by crewing on the numerous yachts and cruisers that sail Queensland waters. It’s still possible to do, but it’s not easy. Ask at harbours, marinas or sailing clubs. Manly (near Brisbane), Airlie Beach, Townsville and Cairns are good places to try. You’ll normally have to contribute some money for your passage.
Queensland Rail (13 22 32, 1300 131 722; www.traveltrain.com.au) operates seven services in total throughout Queensland. The main railway line is the Brisbane to Cairns run, which is serviced by the Tilt Train, a high-speed connection that operates three times weekly, and the Sunlander, a more leisurely option with four services weekly. There are also inland services from Brisbane to Charleville, Brisbane to Longreach and Charleville, and from Townsville to Mt Isa, plus a more regular Tilt Train service between Brisbane and Rockhampton.