By Fadi Esttaifan
Queensland is Australia’s second largest state, covering 1,722 000 square kilometers and the third most populous with more than 4500 thousand inhabitants. It occupies 22.5 per cent of the continent in the north-east and has boundaries with New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory. It is bounded by the Gulf of Carpentaria, Torres Strait and the Coral Sea in the north and the South Pacific Ocean in the east. The total coastline is 7400 kilometers with the corals of the Great Barrier Reef fringing the eastern coastline for more than 2000 kilometers. Brisbane, the capital, is located in the south-eastern corner of the State.
Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland, Australia’s second largest state by area. In addition to being the third most populous city in Australia, Brisbane is the largest of Australia’s six capital cities by geographic area and the third largest in the world, occupying some 1,140 square kilometers.Located on the eastern seaboard of Australia with a range of almost 28 degrees south and a distance of roughly 153 degrees east, Brisbane enjoys the closest proximity to Asia than any other Australian capital city.The winding reaches of the Brisbane River are a prominent feature of the landscape, as are hilly suburban pockets and extensive parkland areas. Brisbane’s positioning in the ‘Macleay Overlap’, a mixing zone between western, temperate and subtropical ecosystems, also makes it one of the most bio-diverse regions in Australia.
Flora, Fauna and Bird
The Cooktown orchid, Dendrobium phalaenopsis, is the state flower of Queensland.
Originally thought to be Dendrobium bigibbum, the correct botanical name for the Cooktown orchid has been the subject of speculation and debate.
In fact, when the Cooktown orchid was proclaimed the floral emblem of Queensland in 1959, it was under the botanical name of Dendrobium bigibbum var phalaenopsis. But it appeared that when British botanist John Linley (1799-1865) named the plant, it was not to be found near Cooktown, the north Queensland town after which the orchid was named.
The koala was officially named the animal (faunal) emblem of Queensland in 1971 after a newspaper poll showed strong public support for this endearing marsupial. The Queensland Government introduced the poll due to a proposal by state tourism ministers for all states to adopt a faunal emblem. The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is commonly located throughout eastern areas of Queensland, south of Townsville, although it has been found as far north as Cooktown and as far west as Cunnamulla. The koala is the largest arboreal folivore found in Australia, with a lifestyle adapted to life in the trees. It is the only extant member of the family Phascolarctidae, but the debate continues amongst researchers as to whether there are two or three sub-species or whether there are any at all. Potentially up to three subspecies exist: Phascolarctos cinereus victor (found in Victoria), P. cinereus cinereus (New South Wales) and P. cinereus adustus (Queensland). Its closest living relative is the wombat – both have backward facing pouches.
The brolga has featured on the Queensland Coat of Arms since 1977. It wasn't until January 1986 that it was announced as the official bird emblem of Queensland. The brolga, known as the native companion, is a bird in the cranes family. It has also been given the name Australian crane. The brolga is a common, gregarious wetland bird species of tropical and south-eastern Australia and New Guinea, It is a tall, upright bird with a small head, long beak, slender neck and long legs. The plumage is mainly grey, with black wing tips, and it has an orange-red band of colour on its head. It is well known for its intricate mating dance. The nest is built of sticks on an island in marshland and usually two eggs are laid. Incubation takes 32 days and the newly hatched young are precocial. The adult diet is mostly plant matter, but invertebrates and small vertebrates are also eaten.
The Daintree Rainforest is a tropical rainforest region on the north-east coast of Queensland, Australia. The Daintree Rainforest is Australia's largest continuous tropical rainforest. Covering an area of around 2600 square kilometers which is approximately 762 times bigger than New York's Central Park.
The Whitsunday Islands were formed more than 100 million years ago after volcanic activity formed mountainous terrain that remained connected to the mainland coast. After the last ice age (approximately 30,000 to 50,000 years ago) the mountains were partially covered by the rising sea creating the network of islands we see today. Humpback Whales pass through the waters between July and September during their annual migration. Yachting generally reports average wind speeds of between 0-15 knots.150 kilometers north of Mackay and 300 kilometers south of Townsville the stunning Whitsunday Islands are set at the heart of the World Heritage Listed
Geographical Features of Queensland
The Flinders River is the longest river in Queensland, Australia at about 1,004 kilometres. The river rises in the Burra Range, part of the Great Dividing Range, 110 km northeast of Hughenden and flows in a westerly direction past Hughenden,Richmond and Julia Creek then north-west to the Gulf of Carpentaria 25 km west of Karumba, Queensland. The south of the catchment is bordered by the Selwyn Range.
At 1,004 km in length, it is the ninth longest river in Australia. The catchment covers 109,000 km². The primary land use in the catchment is grazing.
Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef, one of Australia's most remarkable natural gifts, the Great Barrier Reef is blessed with the breathtaking beauty of the world's largest coral reef. The reef contains a large quantity of marine life and comprises of over 3000 individual reef systems and coral cays and literally hundreds of charming tropical islands with some of the worlds most beautiful sun-soaked, golden beaches. Because of its natural beauty, the Great Barrier Reef has become one of the world’s most sought after tourist destinations. A visitor to the Great Barrier Reef can enjoy many experiences including snorkeling, scuba diving, aircraft or helicopter tours, bare boats (self-sail), glass-bottomed boat viewing, semi-submersibles and educational trips, cruise ship tours, whale watching and swimming with dolphins.
Wallaman Falls, Girringun National Park is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area; show the highest, lasting, single-drop waterfall in Australia. Open forest dominates the ridge tops. Rainforest lines the gullies and creeks. The area is home to endangered cassowaries and musky rat-kangaroos. Stroll 800 meters along the banks of Stony Creek on the Banggurru walk and learn about the rainforest.
The Torres Strait Islands
The Torres Strait Islands are part of the Australian state of Queensland. Situated between mainland Australia and Papua New Guinea, the Torres Strait Islands are the only part of Australia sharing a border with another country.The Torres Strait Islands are part of the Australian state of Queensland. The organizational center for the territory is based on Thursday Island where are regrouped 15 Queensland Government and 14 Commonwealth Government Departments. At the local level, each island community elects its own council which meets monthly to run the domestic affairs of the island. These councils have very wide powers. Councillors are elected for a three-year term. The chairperson of each council is a member of the Island Coordinating Council which meets to discuss regional issues. In 1994, in response to local demands for greater autonomy, the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) was established to allow Torres Strait islanders to manage their own affairs according to their own ailan kastom (island custom) and to develop a stronger economic base for the region.
Fraser Island stretches over 123 kilometres in length and 22 kilometres at its widest point. With an area of 184 000 hectares, it is the largest sand island in the world. Fraser Island is a precious part of Australia's natural and cultural heritage, it is protected for all to appreciate and enjoy. Fraser island is a place of exceptional beauty, with its long uninterrupted white beaches flanked by strikingly coloured sand cliffs, and over 100 freshwater lakes, some tea-coloured and others clear and blue all ringed by white sandy beaches. Ancient rainforests grow in sand along the banks of fast-flowing, crystal-clear creeks. Fraser Island is the only place in the world where tall rainforests are found growing on sand dunes at elevations of over 200 metres.