Queensland is the second largest of the Australian states and has the third highest population.
Like many things in Australia, looking at a map doesn't convey just how vast the country is. From Brisbane in the south, around 100km from the NSW border to Cairns, the distance to the most northerly town of large size, is 1700km. The most northerly tip of the coast is over 900km further on. It's so remote that even Google can't work out how to drive there!
Dubbed the 'Sunshine State' Queensland is famous for the Great Barrier Reef, stretching in a vast arc along the coast, and its beach resorts along the Gold Coast.
It was also the location for one of the best examples of the 'law of unintended consequences' in 1935. The growing of sugar cane had been integral to the economy and when a beetle infestation struck the roots of the sugar cane, destroying vast swathes of the crop, cane toads were introduced from Hawaii in an attempt to control the beetles. Given its size and toxic skin, it has had a marked impact on Australia's reptile population and has now spread far beyond the initial distribution area.
A recent survey by the tourism authorities found that nearly 20% of the population had lived there for less than 2 years and 24% were born in another country.
The appeal of Queensland, with its considerable natural resources and laid-back tropical lifestyle has seen the state outperform others in recent years and has seen a large influx of overseas migrants and other Australians seeking the good life.
DID YOU KNOW: Queensland nearly wasn’t called Queensland! When the State became independent from NSW in 1859, there was a move to call the new state Cooksland, after the explorer. Queen Victoria decided otherwise and, because she had already used her name when signing the independence papers for the state of Victoria, Queensland came into being!