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Australia’s northeastern state of Queensland is undeniably a great place to visit. Enviable weather, pristine beaches and laid-back locals make it a domestic and international tourism favourite. If you’re planning a trip down under and plan to spend time in Queensland, it’s a good idea to bring a bit of knowledge about its cities, (along with the travel insurance and sunscreen!). Queensland’s cities are incredibly diverse in what they have to offer, and we’ve created a brief ‘cheat-sheet’ on a few of Queensland’s cities to give you a bit of context before you arrive.

Cairns

Queensland’s most northern city, Cairns is the gateway city to the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands, and attracts a huge tourism industry. It’s a party town that is also supported by the local sugar cane industry, and is known for its tropical climate (there are only two seasons, wet and dry) and its lush rainforests.

Gold Coast

Queensland’s Gold Coast, while not technically a city, is still classed as one, though it would be more correct to call it a collection of small villages and communities. Within the Gold Coast, Surfer’s Paradise can be classed as the ‘city centre’, a town that exists almost entirely for tourism, something it is very good at! With gorgeous stretches of sand and a thriving nightlife, Surfer’s Paradise is the place to be for a decadent holiday in the sun.

Rockhampton

The beef capital of Australia, Rockhampton lies directly across the tropic of Capricorn, about 600km north of Brisbane. Rockhampton experiences almost 300 days of sunshine per year, which means that there’s never really a bad time to visit. A thriving country town with friendly locals and a relaxed atmosphere, Rockhampton is the place to get a steak and enjoy the weather.

Brisbane

The capital of Queensland and the third-largest city in Australia, Brisbane is a contemporary city with a country town feel. Brisbane apartments and hotels are world-class in their quality, and yet there is a friendliness and openness to the locals that you won’t experience in cities like Sydney or Melbourne. With a host of tourist activities and an enviable climate, Brisbane is well worth a visit. After the devastating floods that inundated the city in early 2011, Brisbane has shown its spirit and determination by rebuilding itself, and not only is it now well and truly open for business, the optimism and strength of the locals will leave you truly touched