Five of Australia’s eleven World Natural Heritage sites are in Queensland, including the Great Barrier Reef and Fraser Island. There are also pristine beaches and rivers, rainforests, and a range of mountain peaks and table lands.

The state’s economy relies on agriculture, tourism, education, international trade, mining and insurance. Brisbane is its capital, flanked by the surfing beaches of Gold and Sunshine Coasts.

The Great Barrier Reef

One of the world’s seven natural wonders, this incredible reef system stretches 2,000 kilometres along Queensland’s coast. It’s a Unesco World Heritage Area and is renowned for its biodiversity.

It’s the largest living structure on Earth and can even be seen from space. It consists of 2,500 individual reefs and 900 islands. These include sandy cays and larger vegetated cays, to rugged continental islands rising high above the sea level.

Corals not only create spectacular underwater environments but also help clean the water and the air. This is because they filter out the sediment in the ocean and algae, which get their nutrients from photosynthesis, live on them.

The Great Barrier Reef is under threat but there is hope. You can join the campaign for a Net-Free Reef by contacting your elected representatives and encouraging them to support measures to protect this beautiful natural icon. You can do even more by supporting local tourism businesses that are working hard to reduce the impact of human activity on the Reef.

The Daintree Rainforest

One of the most iconic attractions in Tropical North Queensland, the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest is home to some of the best preserved plant life on Earth. Located a short drive north of Cairns, the rainforest covers 1,200 square kilometers and is often (unofficially) extended to include Mossman Gorge. It is part of a larger tropical rainforest region known as the Wet Tropics Rainforest.

The area is home to more than 3,000 species of plants and animals, with its flora dating back 110 million years. Visitors can explore the rainforest by hiking trails and taking a river cruise.

There are also plenty of places to learn about the flora and fauna of the rainforest, including the Daintree Discovery Centre. Alternatively, join the Kuku Yalanji tribe and gain an ancient perspective on this special environment through a walking tour that includes spearing mud crabs and gathering bush tucker.

The Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast is a region of flawless beaches, coveted surf and laid-back locals that attract visitors from all over the world. The region spans a golden stretch of coastline from Bribie Island to Cooloola Coast. It’s also a popular holiday destination even for Queenslanders who love its relaxed and welcoming lifestyle.

In addition to the many beautiful beaches and pristine National Parks the Sunshine Coast boasts some great shopping, dining and leisure activities. It is also a hub of business and industry with the area’s agricultural areas producing sugar, ginger, vegetables, macadamia nuts and a variety of sub-tropical fruits.

The region’s cosy hinterland regions hold dense foliage, cascading waterfalls and out-of-the-way quaint villages that showcase local art and crafts. It’s easy to find something that suits everyone in this part of Queensland, especially when the weather is nice. Winter is mild, but summer brings some heat and the ocean breezes keep it a little cooler.

The Gold Coast

The Gold Coast – or simply the “Goldies” – is Australia’s sun-soaked playground. Its glitzy beaches are framed by skyscrapers and it boasts an elaborate system of inland canals and waterways.

The area’s emerald waters are home to technicolour coral and exotic marine life, while its rainforests teem with wildlife. It’s also where you’ll find charming towns, endless sugarcane plantations and a melting pot of coastal and country influences.

The city is a hub for outdoor adventure with surfing, boating and kayaking on offer. But you can also find your thrill atop rollercoasters at theme parks like Dreamworld and Sea World, or wander the hiking trails of Lamington National Park to discover waterfalls and rainforest. It’s no surprise the region has produced celebrities including former World Wrestling Entertainment performer Nathan Jones, Australian golfer Samantha Stosur and 2011 US Open tennis champion Sally Pearson. It’s also the home of a number of television news programs. Seven and Nine News produce half-hour local Gold Coast bulletins on weeknights, which air as opt-outs from their metropolitan programs.