Queensland summers are hot and can be wet. The winters are more
pleasant and may be the best time to visit. The southern winter
months to visit are typically June through August.
Some Key Attractions:
The Great Barrier Reef was formed about 9,000 years ago
after the last ice age. The coral can only grow below the water
level and therefore as the ice melted, the water level increased
and the coral formed the reef. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest
reef system in the world stretching for 1,250 miles and occupying
an area of 135,000 square miles.
There is a diverse aquatic life on the reef with an estimated
2,000 types of fish and 500 species of coral polyps not to mention
the bird life as well. The spectacular colours of the fish and
coral make The Great Barrier Reef a favorite for divers from all
over the world.
One of the best ways to access the reef is via the towns of Cairns
and Townsville. There are also many island resorts.
Some of the islands are Bedara Island, Brampton Island, Daydream
Island, Dunk Island, Fitzroy Island, Great Keppel Island, Green
Island, Hamilton Island, Hayman Island, Heron Island, Lady Elliott
Island, Lizard Island, Long Island, Magnetic Island and Orpheus
Island. Information on most of these islands can be accessed here
at Click for Australia. These islands belong to a group of islands
called The Whitsunday
Islands. The Whitsundays
are a great place to scuba dive, snorkel, sail
or just relax on a cruise. There are 74 tropical islands and
7 of these have resorts. The Whitsundays have the same latitude
as Hawaii in the northern hemisphere.
Cairns is a small tropical city in the north of Queensland
located between rainforest and mountains and the sea. Its is is
the primary gateway to Northern Australia. Cairns is 1,807 kilometres
(approximately 1,100 miles) from Brisbane which gives you an idea
of how large Queensland is. Islands such Green and Fitzroy Islands
are a short trip away. Most of the tourism is based on the Great
Barrier Reef and water sports but there is also a Casino and separate
Convention Centre as well.
Townsville is a tropical city
located in the north of Queensland. The climate
is warm and sunny with 300 days a year of sunshine. It is a great
venue for sailing, cruises,
snorkeling and scuba diving. Magnetic Island is just 20 minutes
by ferry from Townsville. Magnetic
Island is a large continental island lying just off the mainland
from Townsville. With a population of 2000 spread out over several
villages, it has 23 secluded beaches and coves with fringing coral
reefs lying just offshore. Other islands in the Townsville area
include Bedarra Island, Dunk Island, Hinchinbrook Island and Orpheus
Port Douglas has become an international holiday mecca
- just 70 kilometres north of Cairns. With nothing taller than
a palm tree, development is low-rise, low-key and relaxing. It
is regarded as the most popular base from which to explore the
northern areas of the reef and rainforest coast of Daintree and
Daintree: About 80 km (50 miles) north of Cairns begins
the largest virgin tract of rainforest in Australia. This lush,
tropical vegetation of the World Heritage listed Wet Tropic rainforests
is a living testimonial to the ancient rainforests which once
covered the earths surface.
Cape Tribulation is an area north of Daintree, which is
the end of the paved road. The Daintree Ferry provides access
into the Cape Tribulation area. This is accessible by conventional
vehicles except during periods of heavy rain. Coach tours and
a bus service also visit this area. Some hire car companies insist
on four wheel drive vehicles. Cape tribulation is one area where
the rainforest runs right down to the water. It is a pristine
beautiful area with magnificent beaches. The rainforests here
are now protected by World Heritage Laws so tourists have the
privledge of visiting unspoilt virgin rainforest. Attractions
inlcude rainforest & bush walks, Cape Tribulation Beach, Marrdja
Botanical Walk and Coconut Beach & Resort.
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The Gold Coast is a modern series of towns located on
miles of beaches on the south
east coast of Queensland. Hotels and resorts are plentiful
on the Gold Coast which is located about one hour's drive south
People come here from all over Australia and the world to vacation
in the sun and surf. Not unlike Florida, the Gold Coast attracts
thousands of retirees. The warm winter climate
makes this suitable for older folks who do not like the southern
winters. However, don't be fooled by this, as there is plenty
to do for the younger crowd. Clubs, restaurants and pubs are plentiful
and outdoor activities such as surfing are ideal on the Gold Coast.
In the heart of the Gold Coast, there is the town called Surfer's
Paradise which is a strip of high rise buildings that were built
during the boom years in the 1970's and 1980's much to the protest
and disappointment of many. This is where many people stay on
vacation because of an abundance of accommodation and activities.
Some of the main attractions include Seaworld, Warner Brothers
Movie World, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and Dreamworld all of
which make the Gold Coast an ideal vacation spot for families.
Currumbin Sanctuary is 12 miles south of Surfer's Paradise where
you can feed and pat some of the local Australian wildlife such
as brightly coloured lorikeets (birds), kangaroos and wallabies.
At night you may want to try your luck at the Jupiter's Casino
or just relax in one of the many restaurants.
The best way to get to the Gold Coast is to fly into Coolangatta
Airport. Driving is possible but it is a long
drive from other cities such as Sydney. You can also fly into
Brisbane airport and drive from there. Qantas has many daily services
to Coolangatta and Brisbane.
The Sunshine Coast: Queensland's
Sunshine Coast is located
to the north of Brisbane and is made up of several resort towns.
It stretches for 25 miles along the coast and is a mix of beautiful
beaches and rocky headlands. The Sunshine
Coast is not as developed as the Gold Coast and therefore
the lifestyle is more relaxed.
The main town on the Sunshine Coast is Noosa. Noosa has a nice
selection of restaurants and exclusive boutiques. It is a somewhat
fashionable resort. Other towns in the area include Noosa Heads.
Inland from the resort beaches there are the Glasshouse Mountains.
These mountains rise sharply from the Queensland Hinterland to
over 1,600 feet. They are 10 volcanic cones that were formed 20
million years ago. Today, they provide a challenge for rock climbers
and a great view for tourists.
Brisbane: The largest city
is Brisbane which is a popular place to live for many Australians
because of the warm climate.
Brisbane is the third largest city in Australia with a population
of approximately 1.5 million people. Brisbane was established
as a penal colony when Sydney required another settlement for
Key sites in Brisbane are generally historic in nature. Examples
are City Hall, Old Government House, Anzac Square and St. Stephen's
Cathedral. For a closer look at the local flora and fauna you
may want to consider the Botanic Gardens and the Lone Pine Koala
Sanctuary. Of course, like many of Australia's cities, Brisbane
is a hub for great wining
The best way to get to Brisbane is to fly. Domestic carriers such
as Qantas fly to Brisbane daily. You can drive
from other major cities but it is a long way.
Fraser Island: One of the most incredible sand islands
in the world, Fraser Island,
is not found in the exotic tropics - but rather in South-East
Queensland. Fraser Island
is the worlds largest sand island - measuring an incredible
184,000 hectares and stretching over 120km offshore from the Fraser
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