Self-drive experiences in Queensland
Welcome to the Big Country and the sprawling, sun-kissed State of Queensland. From the golden beaches of the south-east to the rolling fields of the Darling Downs, the Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef to the tropical north, this is heaven on Earth.
Why wouldn’t you visit Queensland? With the tropical climate, spectacular beaches, rugged outback, friendly people, relaxed and casual atmosphere and a multitude of things to do, you couldn’t ask for more in a holiday destination.
Queensland has 13 regions for you to explore, each offering something unique and distinctive. The Capital, Brisbane offers a relaxing way of life but it you are after the ultimate Aussie country experience, head to Western Downs. Townsville is surrounded by coastal towns and rainforest, while Tropical North Queensland is the perfect base for you to explore the Great Barrier Reef.
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So take some time to savour the experiences that will become lifelong memories... there is no way around it, Queensland is simply captivating. Queensland Tourism Website
Major Driving Routes
Queensland is renowned for its self-drive touring routes, through diverse terrain, rolling country hills, remote outback deserts and lush tropical rainforests. For a full list of all of Queensland’s major Drive Routes visit www.driveqld.com.au
Wine & Food
Alfresco dining, hinterland vineyards and internationally recognised restaurants are awaiting you. Great food and wine replenish the body and revive the spirit. Queensland's gourmet paradise is delectable with award-winning wines and beers, organic produce and seafood that reflect many international influences.Follow a food and wine trail and you'll be sipping on a Chardonnay or rolling a Shiraz around your mouth on a grape-fuelled adventure. Wineries are often located in picturesque settings and many offer the opportunity for picnics in grassy knolls overlooking vineyard slopes. Pick up fresh produce and make your own antipasto with olives, cheeses, nuts and avocados straight off a tree.
Queensland's multicultural communities add spice to culinary delights. Australian cuisine blends fresh ingredients and uses European culinary traditions and the light touch of Asian seasoning. You'll taste some of the best food in the world in Queensland and even the most discerning diner will be satisfied. With fresh barramundi, mud crab, exotic crocodile meat, mangoes and macadamia nuts…that’s how you’ll really know you're in Queensland.
Nature & Scenic
Re-connect with nature and enjoy the simple pleasures of walking through outstanding National Parks and State Forests.
Nearly five percent of the huge landmass of Queensland is now protected as national park. So where will your favourite Queensland national park walk turn out to be?
Art & Culture
Forget dusty museums and tired exhibits, Queensland’s arts scene is prolific. With accomplished artists and internationally recognised art galleries, Queensland is quickly establishing itself as a leading destination for the arts.
This development has been years in the making, thousands, in fact. Natural rock art galleries evidence Aboriginal artists from days gone by. View these illustrations at several locations, as each offers a slightly unique style, theme and perspective. Or view more recent Aboriginal works at a gallery with the largest collection in Australia.
Come experience the cultural heritage of Queensland. Museums and memorials mark historic events and people to ensure they will not be forgotten. Former island convict settlements now reflect the hardships that early Australians' endured. While gold-rush eras are remembered in old photographs reminiscent of times when towns tripled in size and everyone had "gold fever".
So why not take some time to enjoy Queensland culture, just expect to receive a friendly smile and chat when you visit...genuine country charm is still around today.
Beach & Coastal Encounters
On water, splash over the surface on jet skis, banana boats and high speed ocean rafts or feel the thrill of deep seas sports fishing. Explore hidden riches in the ocean by scuba diving or snorkelling among the many shipwrecks along the Queensland Coast.
Experience nature at its finest in Queensland. With five World Heritage listed areas and kilometres of ocean and natural landscapes, you’ll be amazed.
Queensland’s preserved sites are recognised for their irreplaceable beauty. The 3,000 individual reefs and coral islands of the Great Barrier Reef harbour thousands of fish and marine creatures. While the World Heritage listed rainforests of the Wet Tropics and Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves encompass the north and south of the State.
Large tracks of significant dinosaur and fossil sites at Riversleigh are testament of a former inland sea that once dominated Queensland’s Outback. Just as the giant sand dunes and perched lakes of Fraser Island depict natural wonders like no other place in the world.
Queensland has an abundance of native Australian wildlife. Watch the progression of protected humpback whales on their journey along the Queensland coast. Hold your breath while they play in the water during the winter months. Access this awesome spectacle from numerous points along the coast from the Gold Coast to the Whitsundays.
Queensland beaches provide excellent environments for loggerhead, flatback, green and leatherback turtles. At the beginning of summer, visit Mon Repos and quietly watch up to 20 turtles slowly progress up the beach to lay eggs. And a few months later, see the hatchlings make a perilous journey to the Pacific’s edge.
Spot a platypus, or maybe another shy Australian mammal, on a guided nocturnal tour. In rural areas you may even experience a mob of kangaroos bound through your campsite. Be awe-struck at the natural beauty of Queensland!
Queensland currently has a population of approximately 4,001,023
Climate:||Queensland enjoys a pleasant climate year round with a warm summer from December to February and mild winter in July and August, with some variation across the State.|
The southern and central coastal areas have a comfortable subtropical climate. A little further inland the southeast experiences a temperate climate with four distinct seasons.
The tropical north has a distinct wet season, when you may experience some cyclone activity and a milder dry season through the winter months. It is important to note that some roads in north Queensland are impassable during the wet season. Outback western Queensland is drier than the rest of the State, and winter nights can be quite cold.
Cultural Mix:||Queensland is a dynamic and diverse society with a great variety of cultures, languages and religions. It recognises the unique status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the original owners and custodians of Australian lands and waters, and the rich cultural mix of society gained through immigration.|
Transport:||Queensland is a vast state full of amazing sights. If you're here on a short trip, you may prefer to travel by air. Australia’s domestic airlines provide extensive coverage allowing you to hop quickly between cities and sights. Or if you prefer a more leisurely pace, travel by rail or road. Queensland has a vast network of well-maintained roads and highways with some of the most beautiful road touring in the world. Vehicle hire is simple. And all cities are linked by a rail network.|
- Road rules play a key part in a safe drive holiday in Queensland.
- Queensland is a large state, approximately seven times the size of Victoria or the United Kingdom. Driving distances are great. Beware of driver fatigue. When planning a long drive get a good nights sleep before the trip, share the driving with your companions and stop for a rest at least every two hours.
- Ensure your vehicle is in good working order and has been serviced recently.
- In country areas road conditions can vary from bitumen surfaces to gravel and dirt. Be careful of potholes, soft road edges, narrow bridges and dusty roads. Be careful of crossing over a road covered in water - cross slowly only if the road surface is firm, and stay in the middle of the road.
- Always seek local advice about road conditions. Contact the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ), local police or the park ranger.
- In an Emergency, phone 000 for police, fire or ambulance.
- Travel with other vehicles to remote places and let someone know your travel plans.
- Carry a current road map.
- Do not hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers. Be aware of road hazards including road trains and animals on the road. Allow plenty of room before you overtake road trains (very large trucks with a series of trailers that can be a total length of up to 10 cars!) and be prepared for them to sway a little as you overtake. Also be prepared for the 'windrush' when passing as it can pull you towards the road train.
- Animals, Australian wildlife and livestock often graze on the roadside and can stray onto the road. Be very careful when driving at sunrise, sunset and at night, when animals are most active. If an animal crosses in front of you brake gently - do not swerve wildly to avoid it.
- In the Outback use a four-wheel drive vehicle on unsealed roads in remote areas and carry appropriate communications equipment. Outside of towns mobile phones will not work in the Outback. See more information in our Outback travel section.
- For more details on safety, view the National Visitor Safety Program.
- Keith Urban
- Bernard Fanning
- Geoffrey Rush
- Deborah Mailman
- Kristy Hinze (Super Model)
- Steve Irwin
- Rebecca Sparrow (Brisbane author)
- Greg Norman
- Pat Rafter
- Grant Hackett
- Mark Occhilupo
Itineraries – Britz Northern Exposure Follow the road north, taking in the amazing Sunshine Coast, the Whitsundays, World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, Cairns and the awesome Great Barrier Reef.