Australia's holiday country
The whole of Queensland, the 'Sunshine State', lies within the tropical and subtropical zones of Australia; and since most holidaymakers seek sunshine and heat, Queensland is Australia's holiday country par excellence. With a coastline of 7400km, it offers an endless scope for water sports of all kinds.
Queensland is the second largest of the Australian states (after Western Australia). Of its 1,727,200sq.km more than half lie in the tropics, north of the Tropic of Capricorn.
The Great Dividing Range, which extends from northern Queensland through New South Wales to Victoria, forms a picturesque backdrop to the coastal regions, reaching close to the coast in the north and south of Queensland. To the west of the Great Dividing Range is a hilly plateau, beyond which are the endless expanses of the outback.
Off the coast, like a gigantic breakwater, is the Great Barrier Reef, a complex of coral reefs which in character and scale is unique in the world. It
extends from the Torres Strait, to the north of Cape York, where it comes close to the land, for almost 2000km and ends, 300km off the coast, in the latitude of Bundaberg and Gladstone, following the escarpment of the continental shelf. Within the area of the Great Barrier Reef are some two dozen islands equipped to cater for holidaymakers.
Queensland's principal attractions, both for Australians and for visitors, are its magnificent beaches. Along its 2000km of coast (measured as the crow flies) a number of different regions can be distinguished - southeastern, central and northern Queensland and the far north - with numerous holiday places along the coast and road and rail links with their hinterland in the Great Dividing Range. From these various resorts the coastal islands and those on the Great Barrier Reef can be visited. There are also over 300 national parks and other reserves (some of them very small) established to protect endangered areas, in particular expanses of rain forest and the Great Barrier Reef.