Province guides Australia
Situated in the northeast corner of Australia, Queensland is widely recognised as the country's holiday playground. Aptly nicknamed the 'Sunshine State', it is known for its hot weather, glorious coastlines and, in particular, the iconic Great Barrier Reef.
The Reef is a UNESCO-listed marine park that stretches for more than 1,250 miles (2,000km) along the Queensland coast. This richly-coloured underwater world has one of the most diverse animal and plant ecosystems on earth, and is dotted with idyllic island resorts. Queensland's collection of UNESCO World Heritage Sites also includes the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites at Riversleigh, the Wet Tropics of Queensland, the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, and Fraser Island.
Further south, beyond Brisbane, the coastline is known as the Gold Coast. Here visitors can swim and surf all year round at 35 patrolled beaches along the 45 miles (70km) of coastline. Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland, while Cairns, in the tropical north, is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Brisbane boasts some world-class attractions too, such as the iconic Story Bridge and the oldest and largest koala sanctuary in the world, the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, where lucky visitors can feed, pet and hold the lovable koalas.
Queensland also has a buzzing cultural scene that should not be overlooked. Pieces from world-renowned street artists energise walls in Brisbane and Toowoomba, and Australia's largest gallery of contemporary art lies in Brisbane. The state's cracking live-music calendar is another draw, with the Ballandean Estate's annual Opera in the Vineyard festival featuring as a highlight. Visitors should make a point of exploring the rich indigenous cultures, which offer tremendous insight into this ancient region through art, dance and guided tours.