Queensland is dominated by the coast, and it’s no surprise that most of the settlements and tourist attractions are concentrated along the narrow coastal strip. The coast has some amazing natural features such as the Great Barrier Reef, verdant rainforests and dramatic mountain ranges.
Inland is the Great Dividing Range, which comes close to the coast of Queensland before slicing its way down into NSW and Victoria, and the tablelands – fertile areas of flat agricultural land that run to the west. Finally, there’s the barren outback, which fades into the Northern Territory (NT).
In the far northern Gulf Country and Cape York Peninsula there are huge empty regions cut by countless dry riverbeds, which can become swollen torrents in the wet season. During this time, the network of waterways sometimes brings road transport to a complete halt.
Queensland seasons are more a case of hot and wet or cool and dry than of summer and winter. November/December to April/May is the wetter, hotter half of the year, while the real Wet, particularly affecting northern coastal areas, is January to March. This is also the season for tropical cyclones and, if one hits, the Bruce Hwy can be blocked by the ensuing floods.
In the south, Brisbane and Rockhampton get about 450mm of rain from January to March, and temperatures in Brisbane rarely drop below 20°C. Queensland doesn’t really experience ‘cold weather’, except inland or upland at night from about May to September. Inland, of course, there’s also a lot less rain than near the coast.