Queensland: What you need to know
Where is it?
Located in the north-east corner of Australia, Queensland is the country’s second largest state and its third most populated. To its west is the Northern Territory and to its south is New South Wales. It occupies more than half of Australia’s east coast, from Port Douglas, a popular destination for Australian celebrities, in the north, to the Sunshine Coast in the south.
Queensland is home to many of Australia’s best landmarks and tourist attractions, including the Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island and the Whitsunday Islands. The largest city in the area is Brisbane.
How do I get there?
Queensland is very large state, so the easiest way to arrive is via the air. The main transport centre in the region is Brisbane, which has an international airport. From the airport you can get the Skytrain for less than 20$ for a direct connection to the city centre, where you’ll find buses that travel to the rest of the state.
South of Brisbane, Gold Coast airport in Coolangata serves many international flights, in particular to and from Asia. In the north, Cairns has a smaller airport but is easily reached by domestic flights.
The main companies for long-distance coach travel in Australia are Greyhound and Premier. You can purchase flexible tickets to travel the entire east coast in several segments. However, if you’re travelling between major cities for work, flying will take much less time and be just as cheap – flights from Cairns to Sydney take around three hours and can cost as little as 50$.
Is it a good place to learn English?
Queensland has a less international population than New South Wales and Victoria, but Brisbane is a large urban centre with people from all over the world. This makes it the best place in Queensland to live and learn English. The other cities, Cairns and Surfer’s Paradise, are primarily tourist destinations, so they are not as good for learning English.
Australia’s government operate an Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) for new residents, which may entitle you to up to 510 hours of free language tuition. Make sure to visit this official site and register soon after you arrive in Australia to ensure you can start learning as soon as possible!
What else is there to do?
Queensland has some of the best attractions not just in Australia, but in the whole world. The Great Barrier Reef is an incredible place to learn to scuba dive or just go snorkelling on a day trip, whilst elsewhere you can drive a four wheel truck on the beach at Fraser Island and live on a sailing boat on the Whitsundays.
Famous Exports: Steve Irwin, Geoffrey Rush
Moving to Brisbane: 5 things you need to know
So, you’re moving to Brisbane. Great! ‘Brissy’ is the capital of the Australian state of Queensland, meaning that it’s located near some of the country’s best attractions and tourist destinations. Unlike most Australian cities it is not situated on the coast – rather, the city centre is built around the river of the same name. Unlike Sydney and Melbourne, the climate in Brisbane is warm all year round, with a rainy season between December and Feburary.
The only question is…what next? Moving to a new city can be daunting, so here’s 5 essential steps to get you started.
1.) Where to live
Paddington: Paddington is one of Brisbane’s most desirable suburbs, located just 2km west of the city centre. It is popular with young people and has a large student population.
Fortitude Valley: The Valley is the heart of Brisbane’s night life, with the main clubs and bars in the city. It is a popular place to live for young people who don’t mind how busy and loud it can be.
West End: The West End is one of Brisbane’s most diverse areas and offers a lot of cultural options, such as Brisbane’s best book stores and a variety of restaurants. It is within walking distance of the city centre but has a very different atmosphere to the high rise buildings of central Brisbane.
New Farm: New Farm is a pleasant suburb located on the river Brisbane, accessible by bus and the CityCat ferry from the city centre.
St. Lucia: St. Lucia, surrounded by the river, is the location of the main campus of the University of Queensland and therefore a popular place to live for students.
Mt. Gravatt: This suburb is located to the south east of the city centre, with cheaper accommodation than many other areas in Brisbane.
2.) Where to work
Brisbane has experienced major economic growth in the last 20 years and is now one of Australia’s busiest business centres. There are lots of opportunities within retail and hospitality in the city centre. In addition to this, skilled and unskilled labour is a common occupation for people living overseas, particularly working in construction. In order to apply for work in construction you’ll need an official white card, which requires a payment of around 50$ and a series of basic tests that can be taken online.
Outside of the city, Queensland is an extremely fertile region with a very large agricultural trade. Farming work can be a good experience or a bad one, depending on what you are doing. Jobs where you are paid directly according to how much fruit you pick are not very profitable; skilled jobs in a farm warehouse or at a cattle station are much more beneficial.
3.) How to get around
Brisbane has a system similar to Melbourne’s Myki; the Go Card is the pay as you go service that you can use to get around the city. You can purchase and top up the card for as little as 5$ a time at 7-Eleven stores or online.
The city centre is rather compact, so if you’re living there it’ll be easy to walk to work. Another way of travelling through the city is via a CityCat tax boat, allowing you to enjoy the view of the city from the river.
Public transport in the city is integrated under the Translink system. The main rail station, Brisbane Central, is located on the corner of Edward and Ann Street. From here you can catch a Citytrain service to Brisbane’s suburbs or travel on the Gold Coast line to the south. The Skytrain service also runs from this station, providing regular connections to Brisbane International Airport.
Regular private bus and coach services connect Brisbane to tourist destinations such as the Sunshine Coast and Byron Bay. Greyhound and Premier Coaches also provide buses and night buses to destinations further away, such as Fraser Island in the north and the eighteen-hour journey to Sydney in the south. If you’re travelling between cities, flying will be much quicker and maybe even cheaper if you book in advance.
4.) What to see as soon as you arrive
The best of Brisbane’s sights are found along the Brisbane River. Take a CityCat ferry to experience it at high speed, rent a bicycle to enjoy the riverside bike routes or walk to enjoy everything at a slower pace. On the South Bank you’ll find some of the cities best restaurants alongside the lagoon. Although Brisbane is not on the coast, the lagoon brings a small stretch of artificial beach to the city centre. It’s great to cool down on a hot day, but it gets extremely busy on weekends!
5.) How to spend your free time
Head to the South Bank for great restaurants, cafes and bars as well as the South Bank cinema, by far the best value cinema in the city. In the West End you’ll find smaller restaurants, independent shops and Brisbane’s best book stores, making it a favourite for culture fans.
For a night out, Fortitude Valley is the favourite of locals and travellers alike, with big clubs playing all kinds of music – just beware, it can be an expensive place to party!