Welcome to Queensland
Queensland is Australia's take on paradise. Warm, laidback and heartbreakingly beautiful, its sweep of pristine beaches, luxuriant jungle and ethereal peaks conjure a southern Shangri-La.
Seven times the size of Great Britain and two and a half times the size of Texas, Queensland is a geographic behemoth. No other Australian state matches its natural diversity, an impressive collection of 27 bioregions supporting over 1000 ecosystem types, from rainforests and wetlands, to savannas, dry tropics, rangelands and the coast. Five of Australia’s eleven World Heritage-listed natural sites are found here, including the world wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef. Punctuating these spectacular landscapes is a string of vibrant cities and laid-back towns, from sophisticated Brisbane and wham-glam Gold Coast, to the sultry, laid-back chic of Noosa and Port Douglas.
In short, Queensland is one, huge, adrenalin-pumping playground. Should you snorkel the inimitable Great Barrier Reef, ride waves in Caloundra, or sand-board dunes on Fraser Island? Then again, you could always sail across azure Whitsunday waters, seek glow worms in a Gold Coast Hinterland rainforest, or glide silently through the Noosa Everglades. The possibilities are virtually endless, from furious, fast-paced thrills to reflective, restorative interludes. Of course, if it’s all just too overwhelming, Queensland's heavenly beaches are the perfect place to do sweet nada.
On Your Plate & In Your Glass
Enviable produce, bold chefs and artisan producers are sharpening Queensland's culinary cred. Hatted restaurants, on-point cafes and rambling farmers’ markets underscore Brisbane, a city now also exploding with polished microbreweries, wine bars and specialist cocktail dens. Standout eateries are adding fresh buzz on both the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, the latter region now also famous for its craft-beer boom. Not that it’s all ales, sours and saisons. Queensland’s Granite Belt is Australia’s most experimental wine region, pouring everything from luscious Saperavi to amphora-fermented Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne blends. Come thirsty. Come famished.
Contrary to the jokes bandied down south, Queensland and culture are not mutually exclusive. Brisbane is the state's undisputed arts epicentre, home to a string of Australian masterpieces, the nation's largest gallery of contemporary art, not to mention a cracking live-music scene. World-renowned street artists reinvigorate walls in Brisbane and Toowoomba, while tenors bellow at Ballandean's annual Opera in the Vineyard festival. Most unique, however, is Queensland's rich indigenous cultures, which offer extraordinary insight into this ancient land through art, dance and guided tours across the state, from Currumbin to Cooktown.