Oceania > Australia > Queensland > South East Queensland
Brisbane & Moreton Bay
- 1 Brisbane - largest city and state capital
- 2 Ipswich - historical industrial town of Brisbane
- 3 Logan City
- 4 Redcliffe - quiet Brisbane commuter town
- 5 Samford
- 8 Beerwah - small town, and location of the famous Steve Irwin 'Australia Zoo'
- 9 Caloundra
- 10 Coolum
- 11 Flaxton
- 12 Gympie
- 13 Landsborough
- 14 Maleny
- 15 Mapleton
- 16 Maroochydore
- 17 Montville - Small tourist town with arts & crafts
- 18 Mooloolaba
- 19 Nambour
- 20 Noosa
- 21 Yandina
- 1 Glass House Mountains National Park – these cores of extinct volcanoes are so called because they are shaped like the glass furnaces of industrial Britain
- 2 Moreton Island – environmental paradise within reach of Brisbane city
- 3 Noosa National Park – in the Noosa hinterland
- 4 North Stradbroke Island – the world's second largest sand island, near Brisbane
- 5 Numinbah Valley – in the Gold Coast hinterland
- 6 Tamborine Mountain – in the Gold Coast hinterland
South East Queensland is the most populous and fastest growing region in Queensland.
Brisbane is Australia's third largest city and capital of Queensland.
The Gold Coast (including Surfers Paradise) to the south of Brisbane is possibly Australia's main party destination by the beach.
Renowned for its relaxed approach to Queensland life, the Sunshine Coast is famous for its uncrowded white sand beaches and green scenery to the north of Brisbane. Stretching for nearly 70 kilometres, the Sunshine Coast falls within the Sunshine Coast Council's jurisdiction and provides for a great (and popular) escape from Brisbane, or the Gold Coast. A holiday mecca even for South East Queensland locals, the Sunshine Coast is a great place to relax, unwind and taste the amazing local produce.
The Scenic Rim region is a thriving rural paradise with breathtaking scenery set in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range and surrounded by world heritage listed national parks. Home to a population of more than 34,000, the region covers 4,250sq km and is located an hour south of Brisbane and an hour inland from the Gold Coast. From its myriad of wineries and art galleries to expansive bushwalking tracks, state of the art equine facilities, growing rural communities and friendly country charm. Many forest areas were previously logged, but the forest recovery has been excellent, and virtually all the logging tracks have disappeared except for those still used for foot access.
South East Queensland was home to 20,000 Aboriginal people prior to British occupation. Local tribes in the area included the Yuggurapal, Yuggumbeh, Quandamooka and the Gubbi Gubbi.
The Glass House Mountains of the region were sighted by Captain James Cook from the deck of the HM Endeavour in 1770. Other European explorers in the region included Matthew Flinders, John Oxley, Allen Cunningham, William Landsborough, Ludwig Leichhardt and Patrick Logan. In the 19th century, Europeans were able to settle in the region.
Many of the Sunshine Coast's towns began as simple ports and jetties for timber industry during the 1860s and 1870s, as the area once had magnificent stands of forest. Likewise, the region's road were used for hauling timber. Timbergetters used the region's creeks, rivers and lakes as seaways to float out their logs of cedar - the resultant wood being shipped far afield as Europe
The region is very well served by three airports. Brisbane is the international hub, however both Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast airports have good connections throughout Australia.
See the Brisbane guide for Brisbane airport. An important international airport with many international connections. Trains directly from the airport will connect you with the city and the rest of the region. Buses and shuttle transfers to both the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast are available.
Gold Coast Airport
Gold Coast Airport (OOL IATA) is widely known as Coolangatta Airport. Because it straddles the NSW and Queensland borders, you land in one state and arrive in another. It is a fairly small terminal but handles around 3.5 million passengers per year with frequent connections from major Australian cities and some international flights from New Zealand and Asia.
- The airport is 30 minutes’ drive from Surfers Paradise and an hour from Byron Bay. The drive to Brisbane can take an hour and fifteen minutes.
- Jetstar, Qantas, and Virgin Australia all have frequent domestic flights from Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.
- Internationally, AirAsia X and Air New Zealand fly in from New Zealand and Malaysia.
- Surfside Bus Lines offer convenient transfers to hotels and theme parks. The free Airport Link shuttle takes you straight to the Gold Coast Highway, where public transport is readily available.
- Car rental companies can be located opposite the check-in counters at the airport.
- Taxis are available immediately outside the terminal.
Sunshine Coast Airport
- 1 Sunshine Coast Airport (MCY IATA) (10km north of Maroochydore), ☏ . Has daily flights to Sydney and Melbourne. The airport has good facilities for an airport of its size, with multiple ATMs, rental cars, transfer services, and food and shopping outlets.
There is a small cafe in the arrivals area, selling coffee and snacks, open from the first flight to the last. Most of the facilities are located after clearing security in the departures area, there is a cafe, a salad store, jewellery store, bookstore and a bar. There is an outside area next to the tarmac which can be an area to enjoy a drink while waiting for your flight.
The Translink (Sunbus) 622 bus services the airport terminal hourly between Maroochydore and Noosa Junction, but somewhat inconveniently stops before the last flights arrive from Sydney and Melbourne. The 620 bus runs later and with greater frequency, but only stops on David Low Way outside the airport precinct. It is just over 1 kilometre to walk from this stop to the airport terminal, simply walk along the Friendship Drive out of the airport, turn right onto David Low way and walk the short distance to the stop. Change at Sunshine Plaza in Maroochydore for points south. Change at Noosa Junction for Noosa Heads and Noosaville.
The car hire chains are located in arrivals.
Door to door transfers are available to the entire sunshine coast area, but should be pre-booked. Henry's operates north (to Noosa and Coolum), and Sun-air operates south to Maroochydore, Caloundra. Discounts are available for groups - expect to pay around $20 per person. If you haven't prebooked, Henry's has a desk inside the arrivals area, where you can see if there is availability on the next shuttle. Sun-air has no presence at the airport, and you'll have to call them to see if you can arrange a pickup.
Sunshine Coast taxis Taxis are available and operated by Suncoast cabs (131 008). It can cost up to $100 to get to Noosa by taxi from the airport.
Brisbane has a direct train connection from Sydney which lasts 15 hours. A few hours slower than by car but a lot less stressful. For the more adventurous a connection from Melbourne via Sydney would take about 25 hours in total. Check plane ticket prices since a flight to one of the main three airports in this area may be cheaper than the train fare.
TransLink coordinates rail services in SEQ, including suburban services in Brisbane and interurban services on the North Coast rail line from Brisbane to Gympie North and the intermediate destinations Landsborough and Nambour, with connecting buses to Caloundra, Mooloolaba, Maroochydore and Noosa, From Brisbane to the Gold Coast and intermediate destinations of Logan and Beenleigh and from Brisbane west to Ipswich and Rosewood.
South East Queensland is integrated by its public transport system, Translink.
It is possible to take a coach from Brisbane and/or the Gold Coast. There is a cheap, regular local bus connecting the towns of the Sunshine Coast.
- Aussie World. Off the Pacific Highway. A family theme park that has a collection of over 30 rides and attractions.
- Australia Zoo, Beerwah. Owned and run by the family of the late Steve Irwin, is a popular tourist drawcard in Beerwah. The site tends to be frequented more by overseas visitors.
- Glass House Mountains National Park. And Beerburrum and Beerwah State Forests and Forest Reserves.
- Imbil State Forest. Rainforest and eucalypt forest. Camping in various areas. Tel: 13 13 04 for permits and information.
- Kondalilla National Park, ☏ . On Western Avenue about 4 km north of the centre of Montville. 327 hectares of lush subtropical rainforest and tall open forest plus Kondalilla Falls dropping 90 metres from Skene Creek into water pools below. Parking area, picnic facilities, barbecues, shelter sheds, toilets, a lookout and three walking trails. No fresh water available. Can become quite crowded during peak holiday periods.
- Picturesque hinterland towns are spread across the region.
The obvious thing to do is visit the beach and enjoy the sun. There are however a great deal of things to try out:
Brisbane & Moreton Bay
- Climb the Story Bridge in Brisbane. Although not quite as spectacular as Sydney's Harbour Bridge climb, this is still a great way to experience the city.
- Long walks are possible between various beaches around the various headlands (i.e., along the rocks) if the tide is low enough. Also at low tides, lots of interesting rock pools can be uncovered (but watch for unexpected waves if approaching near the edge).
- Dive the wreck of the HMAS Brisbane with Sunreef Scuba Diving
- Go Tandem SkyDiving with Sunshine Coast Skydivers
- The adventurous may wish to climb one of the Glasshouse Mountains
- Surf, or learn to surf, at Noosa
- Take a train ride on the Mary Valley Rattler at Gympie
A good amount of Australia's produce is grown in the inland areas.
High-end dining experiences are to be had in Brisbane .
The beach towns in the region are known for hard partying and drinking.
Although not as well known as the vineyards of the other states, this part of Queensland does boast a growing wine industry.
- When swimming at surf beaches, swim on beaches patrolled by surf lifesavers and between the red and yellow flags. Surf conditions can change quickly, and invisible rips can cause problems for even the strongest swimmers. The flags denote the safest area to swim in and the area is monitored.
- Drinking alcohol and swimming is an obvious risk anywhere. The proximity of the beach to the party life in many of the towns in this area means this point is worth reinforcing.
- If you see signs warning swimmers that "stingers" (poisonous animals) are in the water, read them carefully as some are deadly. Find a pool or use one of the net protected beach enclosures common on many main beaches.
- Shark attacks are rare but possible. Always swim on a patrolled beach.
- Unlike further north in the state, Crocodiles are not a threat in this region.