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Queensland 

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Queensland - The Sunshine State

Queensland is known as the Sunshine State for good reason, because there is nearly always sunshine - what all tourists want. However, lots of sun means there is not much rain and this is also seen in the inland half of the state, where there are vast expanses of flat, red plains that grow only a few stunted trees or shrubs.

What tourists see when they visit the Sunshine State is nearly always the coastal strip, famed for its beaches, theme parks, resorts, islands, and all the normal attractions you find in friendly coastal areas. You can take part in just about any water sport or activity that you care to mention. There are the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef to explore. And there are a great many pristine beaches both on the coast and surrounding many lovely islands just waiting for the tourist to come and enjoy.

There is the capital of Queensland, Brisbane should you love the urban feel of a big city. But the laid-back style and wide streets make this city one of the least urban-feeling in Australia. Here you can be part of the rush and bustle without feeling rushed or frazzled. Then there are the many larger towns that all welcome the tourist with lots of leisure activities, cruises for sightseeing, resorts and beaches.

Not far from the coast are lush rainforests in those areas that do get lots of rain. Queensland rain forests used to be the home of magnificent stands of red cedar, but most of these were cut out long ago. Now tourists enjoy tours dedicated to seeing as much wildlife as possible while still protecting the environment. The south of Queensland is the home of many stone fruit orchards that also sell their fruit from the farm gate so that passers-by can enjoy the fresh taste of fruit straight from the tree.

But once you leave that coastal strip and head inland you hit what is called ‘outback country’. This is far less hospitable - a hot, dry, arid landscape with a stark, red-brown beauty all its own. There is danger here for the unwary wanderer whose vehicle may break down. People from countries where it’s possible to perish of cold, can hardly understand that in outback Queensland you could perish from the heat. So always take plenty of drinking water with you and never leave your vehicle, even if you do break down.

Even though the outback is dangerous, the well-prepared tourist can still enjoy the rich heritage of Australia’s heartland. There are rivers to cruise, magic nights camping under the stars, old country pubs - and of course many more modern motels and resorts in the bigger towns. You can holiday on a real farm for a taste of the outback stockman’s life. And at Longreach you can take a trip in a real Cobb and Co Coach just like the early pioneers used to do.

Between the Great Dividing Range and the border of the Northern Territory is another kind of environment called the gulf savannah. Still mostly flat, the land is covered with tall grasses and the rivers full of crocs. Abandoned goldfields abound, their silence more telling of past drama than any speech would be. So there is much to enjoy in the outback; fishing, cruises, bushwalks, horse riding, viewing the wild animals and even swimming - but the latter only in areas deemed safe.