Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern corner 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 colonised 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 annually as Queensland Day. The area that currently forms 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 population is concentrated in the south-east corner, which includes the capital Brisbane, Logan City, Ipswich, Toowoomba, and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. Other major regional centres include Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay 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. The people of Queensland are colloquially known as 'Banana Benders' or 'Canetoads', the former possibly due to the large Banana plantations in the tropics, the latter a reference born of the environmental disaster occurring when the cane toad was imported to rid the sugar cane fields of cane beetle pest. This is often referred to during the 'State of Origin', an annual Rugby League competition between Queensland and fierce rivals New South Wales.
Tourism is Queensland's leading tertiary industry with millions of interstate and overseas visitors flocking to the Sunshine State each year. Queensland is a state of many contrasts that range from sunny tropical coastal areas, lush rainforests to dry inland areas.
The main tourist destinations of Queensland include:
- Gold Coast
- Sunshine Coast
- Hervey Bay/Fraser Island
- Whitsundays (Airlie Beach, Whitehaven Beach, Hamilton Island, Daydream Island)
- Far North Queensland (Cairns, Port Douglas,The Daintree)
- North Queensland (Townsville, Magnetic Island)
- North Stradbroke Island and South Stradbroke Island
- The Great Barrier Reef
The Gold Coast of Queensland is also sometimes referred to as "Australia's Theme Park Capital", with five major amusement parks:
- Movie World
- Sea World
- Wet 'n' Wild
- WhiteWater World
There are also wildlife parks in Queensland - Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast and Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast (home of Steve Irwin until his death on 4 September 2006).
Due to the size of Queensland, 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 provide moisture for rainfall.
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.
Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org/