Queensland, Australia is a picture-perfect tropical paradise. It offers year-round sunshine (although when you’ve lived here a few years you definitely acclimatise and feel the cooler days in winter!), incredible beaches and plenty of opportunities to enjoy outdoor hobbies.
Queensland in Australia is the second-largest state by size (but with a population of 5.3 million well spread out so it doesn’t feel overcrowded). It mixes laid-back beaches with lush rainforests, dry topics and scenic mountains. Queensland’s capital, Brisbane, is located in the southeast of the state and it’s the third largest city in Australia. Brisbane is a fabulous, compact and clean city with a vibrant tourist area called South Bank.
Queensland map: Where is Queensland in Australia?
As you can see, Queensland is located in the northeast of Australia, with the state capital Brisbane being in the southeast of the state.
Here is a overview of the main cities in Queensland…
Queensland state capital: Brisbane
Brisbane is the capital city of the Australian state of Queensland, and the third most populous city in the country. Located in the southeast of the state, it is situated on the banks of the Brisbane River, and is home to a population of over 2.5 million people. The city is known for its subtropical climate, outdoor lifestyle and cultural diversity. You can find out all about Brisbane here
Other main cities in Queensland
Brisbane is the most heavily populated city in Queensland, but there are other cities to consider.
The Gold Coast is a coastal city located in the southeast of Queensland, about an hour’s drive south of Brisbane. It is best known for its incredible stretches of sandy beaches, its glorious weather and its vibrant nightlife. The Gold Coast is home to a lot of popular attractions including theme parks such as Dreamworld, Movie World, and Wet’n’Wild, as well as natural attractions such as the Springbrook National Park, Lamington National Park, and the lush Gold Coast hinterland.
The Gold Coast is also a major centre for sport and fitness, with lots of parks, hiking and biking trails, and surfing spots. It’s a great lifestyle destination.
The Gold Coast is also an important economic center, with a strong focus on tourism and service industries, as well as a growing technology and innovation sector. The city is home to a number of educational institutions, including Bond University and Griffith University.
The Gold Coast is a diverse and vibrant city, with many different neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and amenities, making it a great place to live, work, and visit.
While living on the Gold Coast and commuting to Brisbane is an option, look at drive times carefully as it can be a long commute. The Gold Coast makes a fantastic beach day trip location for those living in Brisbane and the surrounds. If you can find work there, it’s a great lifestyle destination!
Not a city like the Gold Coast but it’s a region of Queensland that is too important to miss off the list! The Sunshine Coast is located in south east Queensland, around 100km north of Brisbane (about an hour and 20-minute drive).
The region is known for its stunning natural beauty, including beaches, hinterland and scenic drives, as well as its vibrant, friendly communities. The area is also a place to enjoy a diverse range of activities and attractions, including hiking, surfing and fishing.
The Sunshine Coast is made up of several towns, including Caloundra, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Noosa, and many others. Each town has its own unique character and charm.
Caloundra, located on the southern end of the coast, is a popular destination for families and offers a range of activities including swimming, fishing and boating. Maroochydore, located in the center of the coast, is the region’s commercial hub and offers shops, cafes and restaurants. Mooloolaba is a popular tourist destination and is known for its beach, esplanade and ocean views. Noosa, located at the northern end of the coast, is a stylish destination for surfers and beachgoers and is known for its National Park, surf breaks and designer shops.
Weather wise, you get the benefit of the southern Queensland subtropical climate (less sticky than further north but it can still get a bit humid at times) so mild winters and hot summers.
The Sunshine Coast offers a fantastic quality of life and the ultimate laid-back lifestyle. It is a perfect place to live, work and visit, with a great climate, friendly communities and an abundance of natural beauty. Unfortunately, like the Gold Coast, it’s a bit far for a daily commute to Brisbane, and house prices have been increasing in recent years (with people looking for a sea change) but then if it was any closer, everyone would want to live there! It’s a pretty special place if you can find work there or if you run your own business that you can run from anywhere.
Townsville is a coastal city located in north eastern Queensland (about a 15 hours drive from Brisbane). Townsville is the largest city in the region and it’s the economic center of North Queensland. It is situated on the Ross Creek and the Townsville Harbour, and is home to a population of around 180,000 people.
Townsville is known for its tropical climate (it gets HOT and sticky!) and outdoor lifestyle, with many beaches, parks and gardens, as well as the nearby Great Barrier Reef and Magnetic Island so it’s a great spot for those looking to enjoy the outdoors and nature. It’s also home to several cultural and educational institutions, such as the Townsville Cultural Centre, the Museum of Tropical Queensland, and James Cook University.
The city has a strong economy based on mining, agriculture, and military, and is also becoming a center for renewable energy and bio-technology so it has a strong future to look forward to in terms of specialist jobs.
It’s a great place to live if you’re looking for somewhere quieter with lots of natural beauty and a laid-back tropical lifestyle, and the cheaper housing is a bonus!
Cairns is a city located in far north Queensland (about 19 hrs 40 minutes if you were to drive from Brisbane!). It is a popular tourist destination best known for its warm weather, its outdoor lifestyle, and as a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The city has a population of around 150,000 people. Cairns has a tropical climate, with high humidity and warm temperatures throughout the year. The city experiences two distinct seasons: the dry season (which runs from April to November) and the wet season (which runs from December to March).
Cairns is surrounded by natural beauty spots, with many national parks, rainforests, and beaches in the nearby area, including the Daintree Rainforest, the Atherton Tablelands, and the Great Barrier Reef. It’s also home to several cultural and educational institutions, such as the Cairns Museum and the James Cook University.
The economy of Cairns is based on tourism, agriculture, and mining. The city is also becoming a center for renewable energy and bio-technology, so again as lots of career opportunities in this specialism.
Cairns is a popular destination for adventure tourism, with many activities such as snorkeling, diving, and hiking.
Cairns is a great place to live if you’re looking for a quieter location surrounded by plenty of natural attractions (and providing you don’t mind the more extreme weather!)
Toowoomba is a regional city located in southeast Queensland, about 125 kilometers west of Brisbane (so you’re looking at around one hour 35 minutes to drive to Brisbane and about two hours drive to get to a beach from this inland city). It has a population of around 150,000 people and is the largest city in the Darling Downs region. The city is located on the crest of the Great Dividing Range and is known for its pretty gardens and parks (hence it is home to the amazing Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers annual event), as well as its rich cultural heritage.
Toowoomba is an important agricultural center and a wide variety of crops, including wheat, barley, and fruits are grown in the region. The city is also home to many educational institutions, including the University of Southern Queensland. Toowoomba even has its own airport!
Due to its high elevation, Toowoomba has a very different climate to other Queensland towns. It can get cooler in winter and there can occasionally be a frost or even light snowfall! It can still get hot in summer (although not as hot as Brisbane) and there is relatively low humidity.
Rockhampton is a regional city in the central part of Queensland, about 600 kilometers north of Brisbane (approx 7 hrs 20 minutes drive away). It has a population of around 80,000 people and is the largest city in the Central Queensland region. The city is situated on the Fitzroy River and is known for its rich history and natural beauty.
Rockhampton is an important agricultural center and a wide range of crops are grown here, including sugarcane and fruits, plus it’s a location for cattle farming. The city is also home to many educational institutions, including Central Queensland University.
Rockhampton has a number of tourist attractions including Rockhampton Heritage Village and the Capricorn Caves, and it’s an entry to the Great Barrier Reef.
Mackay is a coastal city located in northeast Queensland, about 970 kilometers north of Brisbane (around an 11-hour drive from Brisbane). It has a population of around 150,000 people and is the largest city in the Mackay Region. The city is situated on the Pioneer River and is known for its pristine natural beauty.
Mackay is another important agricultural center and like Rockhampton, sugarcane, fruits and cattle farms are abundant here. The city is also home to many educational institutions, including Central Queensland University.
Mackay is a popular tourist destination, with many attractions such as the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens, the Mackay Marina Village and the Artspace Mackay. The city also offers easy access to the Great Barrier Reef, Whitsunday Islands and the Eungella National Park.
Climate wise, Mackay has HOT summers, mild winters and high humidity so it can feel very sticky.
It’s a great place to live if you love the great outdoors!
There are lots of amazing places to consider living in Queensland!
Pros of living in Queensland, Australia
The weather (283 days of sunshine a year!)
The beaches! Although Brisbane itself only has a man-made beach (which is still pretty cool!), there are so many awesome beaches on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts and Bribie Island, and some pretty beaches such as those on the Redcliffe Peninsula so even Brisbane has beaches within easy reach if you’re looking to stay close to the capital. Outside of Brisbane, Queensland has some of the world’s best beaches including Whitehaven Beach which is often voted the best beach in the world!
Queensland’s attractions (natural attractions like the Great Barrier Reef, mountains and rainforest and man-made like theme parks and zoos)
Outdoor lifestyle opportunities – you can BBQ and head to the beach all year round!
Cost of houses (Queensland is cheaper than Sydney and Melbourne)
The barefoot lifestyle – wearing shoes is often optional!
Cons of living in Queensland, Australia
It’s quieter and more laid back (don’t move to Brisbane expecting it to have nightlife like London or Melbourne – although for me this is actually a ‘pro’.)
The weather when it gets humid and sticky
The extreme weather when it gets stormy