Your complete guide to Queensland

Are you thinking of visiting Queensland? Do you have questions or need some answers? Then come and discover all you need to know right now!

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Queensland, also known by the shortened version QLD (and sometimes referred to as The Sunny State), is the 2nd largest state or territory in Australia, smaller only to Western Australia. It is home to 4.5 million people, known as Queenslanders, and its capital city is Brisbane.

Natural rock pools on Fraser Island
Queensland, the state of tropical
beaches, islands, and fun!!!

Queenslanders are sometimes referred to as Banana Benders (depending on who you ask this name either infers that they put the bends in the banana or that they are bent in the head like a banana) or Cane Toads (this is a nick name given to the states ruby team, and references the fact that this obnoxious pest was first introduced to Australia in this state).


As you can see on the map above, it is the located in the north-east of Australia, and has the most northern point of mainland Australia, Cape York. It borders with New South Wales to the south, the Northern Territory to the west, and in the south-west corner it borders with South Australia, the driest state on the whole continent.


By population, it is the third most populated state or territory, with only New South Wales and Victoria having more people. However, if measured by people per km² this ranking drops because of the huge size of the state. This means that you should not expect a mass of people, don't forget that this is Australia, and Queensland only has on average 2.6 people per km²!

To put this into perspective, the United Kingdom has 256 per km², Germany has 229 per km², and France has 117 per km². That's right... the UK has about 1,000% more people per km²!

Ranking of the largest cities (by population): ¹
1. Brisbane
(2.1 million)
2. Sunshine Coast(242,000)
3. Townsville(168,000)
4. Cairns(146,000)
5. Toowoomba(125,000)
6. Mackay(83,000)
7. Rockhampton(76,000)
8. Bundaberg(66,000)
9. Hervey Bay(58,000)
10. Gladstone(51,000)
¹ Sourced from, you guessed it, Wikipedia!

This means that about 46% of the state's population live in Brisbane, and you can see that the next 9 biggest cities quickly drop off in population. If you excluded all the cities listed above, the average population density drops from 2.6 people per km² to a tiny 0.8 people per km².

What does this mean?

Once you get out of the cities, expect big wide open spaces! The areas in and around the east coast are fairly heavily populated with many small - medium townships and cities. From the 10 cities listed above, only Toowoomba is not directly located on the coast. Once you head inland, expect the number to towns to decrease quickly, and the distances between them to increase dramatically, especially to the west and north of the state, where large areas are classified as arid or savannah.

National Parks

A dingo on the beach of Fraser Island
Animal of Australia: The Dingo.
This one is on a Fraser Island beach.

There are 470 protected areas covering over 4% of the state, and 223 of these are national parks, which cover 3.8% of the state. While this percentage figure may sound small, this equates to about 70,000 km², about the size of Ireland, and only a little smaller than the Czech Republic!

A total of 11.5% of Australia's land is classified as protected, so Queensland has some catching up to do. However, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park covers an area of 345,000km² (almost the size of Germany, or 1.3 times the size of the entire UK), so this helps to make up for the smaller size of the protected land areas.

What else?

Due to its size, great weather, tropical areas and islands, natural attractions including the Great Barrier Reef and Fraser Island (just to name 2 of the biggest), the state is a major tourist attraction with interstate visitors, backpackers, and overseas tourists. This is further enhanced by the large amounts of fruit picking and farm work for backpackers all year round. It is not surprising that tourism is one of the state's major industries.

Queensland is truly an amazing state, and you won't be disappointed. With tropical islands, the Great Barrier Reef, hundreds of national parks, amazing Outback Australia areas, rain forests, and much more, you could easily spend a whole year just exploring this one state!

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