Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Northern and Outback Queensland

Northern Queensland 

During our trip to Australia we will be visiting Cairns. Cairns is located in Northern Queensland. Here's some background on Cairns and the area surrounding it! 

This area of Australia was first visited by Europeans when Captain Cook and his crew were forced to stop here due to their damaged ship. They didn't stay very long and never found out what was really there. In the early days of civilization people in Northern Queensland relied on gold. Today, the area thrives off of the tourism industry. The Outback area of Queensland relies on agriculture and mining for their main industries. 

The main city in Northern Queensland is Cairns. It is a well-connected city with transportation to other states in Australia as well as, an international airport. The city of Cairns is home to approximately 130,000 people and is home to the Flecker Botanic Gardens. These gardens are home to many tropical plants and over 100 species of palm trees. 

While this is all fine and dandy, the real attraction in Northern Queensland happens to be one of Australia's main attractions, as well. I'll give you some hints: Queensland does have an ocean on one side...and this attraction can be seen from space. Ding, ding, ding. You guessed correctly! The Great Barrier Reef 

Now, many towns near the beach primarily exist because of the tourism brought in by the Great Barrier Reef. This includes Port Douglas and Green Island. There are luxurious resorts around these towns and Port Douglas is actually the main departing point for Quicksilver tours. (I'm assuming this is the same as the beach clothes brand.) Green Island is actually a Coral Cay and it is one of the only inhabited ones in the Great Barrier Reef. This is a tiny tiny island. It only takes 15 minutes to walk around the entire island! Green Island is popular because of the nearness to the mainland and also, having a five-star resort sitting on it doesn't hurt. 

Queensland's Outback 

The largest town in the Outback region is Normanton. This is a desert for most of the year, however, once the rains come in during November it turns into a wetland. The northwesterly region of Queensland is considered Gulf Savannah. Here there are savannah grasses and large bird and wildlife populations. This happens to be one of the most remote areas of Australia. The main industries here are the fishing and cattle industries. 

Mount Isa is a town in the western Outback. It is home to the world's largest silver and lead mine. The main attraction is the rodeo which is held annually here. The prizes total more than $100,000 and many people come from all over the world to participate. About 75 miles east of Mount Isa is actually where QANTAS (Queensland and Northern Territorial Aerial Services) first flight departed from. Today, QANTAS is Australia's national airline. 

This is just some of the high points on the chapter regarding Northern and Outback Queensland. 


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