Queensland is a state of Australia that occupies
the north-eastern section of the mainland continent.
It is bordered by the Northern Territory to the
west, South Australia to the south-west and New
South Wales to the south. To the east, Queensland is
bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean. The
state is Australia's second largest by area,
following Western Australia, and the country's third
most populous after New South Wales and Victoria.
The area was first occupied by Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders, who arrived between 40,000 and 65,000 years ago, according to various dating methods. Later, Queensland was made a British Crown Colony that was separated from New South Wales on 6 June 1859, a date now celebrated state-wide as Queensland Day.
The area that currently forms the state capital, Brisbane, was originally the Moreton Bay penal colony, intended as a place for recidivist convicts who had offended while serving out their sentences in New South Wales. The state later encouraged free settlement, and today Queensland's economy is dominated by the agricultural, tourist and natural resource sectors.
The state's population is concentrated in South East Queensland, which includes Brisbane, Logan City, Redland City, Ipswich, Toowoomba, and the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. Other major regional centres include Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Ingham and Mount Isa.
Queensland is often nicknamed the Sunshine State, since it enjoys warm weather and a sizeable portion of the state is in the tropics.
Queensland is bordered to the north by the Torres Strait with Boigu Island off the coast of New Guinea representing the absolute northern extreme of the territory. The triangular Cape York Peninsula, which points toward New Guinea is the northernmost part of the state's mainland. West of the peninsula's tip, northern Queensland is bordered by the Gulf of Carpentaria, while the Coral Sea— an arm of the Pacific Ocean— borders Queensland to the east. To the west, Queensland is bordered by the Northern Territory, at the 138°E longitude, and to the south-west by the north-eastern corner of South Australia.
In the south, there are three sections that comprise its border: the watershed from Point Danger to the Dumaresq River; the river section involving the Dumaresq, the MacIntyre and the Barwon; and 29°S latitude (including some minor historical encroachments below the 29th parallel) over to the South Australian border.
The state capital is Brisbane, located on the coast 100 kilometres (60 mi) by road north of the New South Wales border. The fifth-largest city by area in the world, Mount Isa, is located in Queensland. The city area is in excess of 40,000 square kilometres (15,400 sq mi). The state is divided into several officially recognised regions. Other smaller geographical regions of note include the Atherton Tablelands, the Granite Belt, and the Channel Country in the far south-west.
Queensland has many places of natural beauty, including: the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast having some of the state's most popular beaches; the Bunya Mountains and the Great Dividing Range with numerous lookouts, waterfalls and picnic areas; Carnarvon Gorge; Whitsunday Islands and Hinchinbrook Island.
The state contains six World Heritage listed preservation areas: Australian Fossil Mammal Sites at Riversleigh in the Gulf Country, Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, Fraser Island, Great Barrier Reef, Lamington National Park and the Wet Tropics of Queensland.
Because of its size, there is significant variation in climate across the state. Low rainfall and hot summers are typical for the inland west, a monsoonal 'wet' season in the far north, and warm temperate conditions along the coastal strip. Inland and in southern ranges low minimum temperatures are experienced. The climate of the coastal strip is influenced by warm ocean waters, keeping the region free from extremes of temperature and providing moisture for rainfall.
There are five predominate climatic zones in Queensland, based on temperature and humidity:
hot humid summer (far north and coastal)
warm humid summer (coastal elevated hinterlands and coastal south-east)
hot dry summer, mild winter (central west)
hot dry summer, cold winter (southern west)
temperate - warm summer, cold winter (inland south-east, e.g. Granite Belt)
However, most of the Queensland populace experience two weather seasons: a "winter" period of rather warm temperatures and minimal rainfall and a sultry summer period of hot, sticky temperatures and higher levels of rainfall.
Tourism is Queensland's leading tertiary industry with millions of interstate and overseas visitors flocking to the Sunshine State each year. The industry generates $4.0 billion annually, accounting for 4.5% of Queensland's GSP. Queensland is a state of many landscapes that range from sunny tropical coastal areas, lush rainforests to dry inland areas.
The main tourist destinations of Queensland include, Brisbane, Far North Queensland including Cairns, Port Douglas and the Daintree Rainforest, Gold Coast, the Great Barrier Reef, Hervey Bay and nearby Fraser Island, North Queensland including Townsville and Magnetic Island, North Stradbroke Island and South Stradbroke Island, the Sunshine Coast and the Whitsundays known for Airlie Beach, Whitehaven Beach, Hamilton Island and Daydream Island.
The Gold Coast of Queensland is also sometimes referred to as "Australia's Theme Park Capital", with five major amusement parks. These are Dreamworld, Movie World, Sea World, Wet 'n' Wild and WhiteWater World.
There are also wildlife parks in Queensland, including:
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary at Currumbin
David Fleay Wildlife Park at Burleigh Heads
UnderWater World at Mooloolaba
Australia Zoo near Beerwah/Glass House Mountains, home of Steve Irwin until his death in 2006.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary at Fig Tree Pocket
Brisbane Forest Park at The Gap
North of Brisbane
Alma Park Zoo at Dakabin
Kumbartcho Wildlife Sanctuary (originally Bunya Park Wildlife Sanctuary)
Accommodation in Queensland caters for nearly 22% of the total expenditure, followed by restaurants/meals (15%), airfares (11%), fuel (11%) and shopping/gifts (11%).
Queensland is served by a number of National Highways and, particularly in South East Queensland, high quality motorways such as the M1.
Principal rail services are provided by Queensland Rail and Pacific National, predominantly along the coamajor ports including the Port of Brisbane and subsidiary ports at Gladstone and Townsville.
Jet Vehicle services are Provided by Greenhouse Energy, Queensland Transport, Department of Main Roads, Defence Force Reserve of Queensland, Brisbane Jet Taxi and Australian Jetlines, Predominatly along the Airports, including the Brisbane Airport, Gold Coast Airport and Cairns Airport.
Brisbane Airport is the main international and domestic gateway serving the state. Gold Coast Airport and Cairns International Airport are the two next most prominent airports, both with scheduled international flights. Other regional airports, with scheduled domestic flights, include Great Barrier Reef Airport, Hervey Bay Airport, Mackay Airport, Mount Isa Airport, Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport, Rockhampton Airport, Sunshine Coast Airport and Townsville Airport.
South East Queensland is governed by an integrated public transport system, TransLink, which provides bus, rail and ferry services. Regional bus andlong-distance rail services are also provided throughout the State. Local bus services are also available in most regional centres.