As I was born in tropical North Queensland on the Atherton Tablelands, and have worked in and traveled to most parts of Queensland, I feel that I can offer some great travel tips and relevant information for you.
TIP NO 1 VOLTAGE
The nominal mains electrical voltage is 230 Volts in Australia. As plug sockets require the Australian Standard plug pin arrangement, travel adaptors can be purchased within Australia, usually at airports. Many times while working in resorts, motels, backpackers, hotels, and lodges, I saw disappointed tourists when not being able to use their various electrical appliances that they had carried with them. Do not forget about charging your mobile phone and buy a physical jack adapter once you’re in the country.
TIP NO 2 METRIC SYSTEM
In Queensland the metric system is used so all distances are in kilometres (klm’s), and speed is in kilometres per hour. The conversion for our 60 klms per hour which is the average speed in a built up area, is roughly 37 miles per hour. Be aware that in some built up areas, the speed limit may be only 50 klms per hour, and school zones are usually 40 klms per hour, before and after school times. There is a heavy fine and penalties for exceeding the speed limit. The best way is to always check the speed limit signs and your speedometer.
Normal speed limits which generally apply are –
40 kilometres per hour ((klm/hr) in all areas where the present limit is 50/60/70 klms per hour
60 kilometres per hour (klm/hr) in all areas where the present limit is 80 klms per hour
60 or 80 kilometres per hour in areas with the present speed limit is 90 to 100 klms per hour
80 kilometres per hour where the present speed limit is 110 klms per hour
TIP NO 3 DAYLIGHT SAVINGS
Queensland does not operate daylight saving and local time is always 10 hours in front of GMT. Other states of Australia do operate daylight saving times from the first Sunday in October to the first Sunday in April, so be aware of this if you fly into Queensland from other Australian states.
TIP NO 4 DRIVING IN QUEENSLAND
Driving in Queensland, Australia and hiring a vehicle – Most hire companies will ask to see a valid un-restricted driving license and if this is in English this will usually be accepted. However if you have a licence which is not in English, you should first obtain a valid International Driving Permit before you leave your home country. Australia requires a “1949 Convention IDP”. And don’t forget, drive on the left side of the road. And always ask the hire company if you are allowed to drive the hire vehicle on a dirt road or you may have your insurance cancelled.
TIP NO 5 WEATHER
The weather cycle in Queensland is the same throughout Australia with our summer months being December, January and February. Autumn months are March, April and May and winter months are June, July and August. Spring months are September, October and November and are very pleasant.
TIP NO 6 EMERGENCIES
000 is the National emergency number in Australia and this is used for all emergency services including Fire Service, Ambulance Service and the Police. It would be advisable to enter this number into your mobile phone.
TIP NO 7 MOBILE PHONE USE
Australia has a modern telecommunications and mobile telephone network which includes 3G services to most parts of Qld. Check with your mobile company to see if “International Roaming” is available and this service can be activated for you whilst in Australia. Phone companies operating in Qld include Telstra, Vodafone, and Optus.
TRAVEL TIPS and INFORMATION
Queensland is home to about 4 million people and is the second largest state in Australia. Areas of Queensland in the interior are vast and sparsely populated, while coastal areas have a denser population. Tourists love the average summer temperatures of 25 degrees celsius (77F) and the average winter temperatures of 15 degrees celsius(59F). Brisbane is the capital of Queensland with about 2 million people in residence.
Queensland starts from Coolangatta on the Gold Coast and finishes at the northern point of Cape York. The most popular holiday spots range from the Gold Coast to Cairns in North Qld, which is a driving distance of about 1760klms. However, you can fly into the Brisbane airport in South East Qld, Maroochydore airport on the Sunshine Coast, Hamilton Island airport in the Whitsundays, Townsville airport for North Qld, or Cairns international airport for a tropical vacation. There are about 40 airports throughout Queensland, large bus companies and fast trains available, so getting to your destination is easy.
Many of the holiday resorts supply a free courtesy coach to pick you up from the airports or train and bus depots and deliver you stress free to their door for your relaxing or ‘full of adventure activities’ vacation. There are many online places to choose your accommodation from and in all areas of Queensland. Accommodation is divided into several classifications including hotels, apartments, resorts, motels and Boutique accommodation, resort caravan parks and Bed and Breakfasts. As a guide, apartments and cabins tend to have more extensive ‘in room cooking facilities’ for people looking for a self catering holiday.
If you want to explore a part of Outback Queensland, hop on a flight to Longreach from Brisbane using Qantas (2hrs 25mins), jump on a bus tour to Winton and visit Lark Quarry where 93million year-old fossils capture a dinosaur stampede. These dinosaur tracks are under shelter in a museum to preserve and protect them.
If you love your comfort, travel in a luxury air-conditioned tour coach or if wanting to be adventurous and drive yourself, hire an air-conditioned four wheel drive vehicle from Longreach. The 179 klm road from Longreach to Winton is sealed but from Winton to Lark Quarry it is a badly maintained dirt road. I learnt the hard way. My husband and I travelled to Lark Quarry in our old, 1985, non air-conditioned bus and the red dust consumed us. It smothered everything inside including us, which is why I recommend using a modern air-conditioned vehicle. Still, we enjoyed the end result and would not have missed the experience of the Outback.
Winton is known for its water supply which pushes its way to the earth’s crust from three artesian bores, all around 1,200 metres deep gushing at a temperature of 83 degrees Celsius.(195F) The water comes from the Great Artesian Basin which provides water for almost all areas of Australia’s Outback.
Hotel or motel accommodation is available in Longreach and Winton and most of these places will book your tours. Discover attractions like the Stockman’s Hall of Fame, Qantas Founders Outback Museum, the Waltzing Matilda Centre and the School of the Air.
You could not visit Queensland without checking out the beautiful Sunshine Coast situated about 104 klms by car from Brisbane. Or you can fly from Brisbane directly into Maroochydore airport where you will have a large choice of accommodation. Again, most resorts offer a courtesy coach pick up.
I hope these tips and information on holidaying in Queensland help you with your visit to this wonderful state of Australia, ‘down under’.
Patricia Lilly holds a Diploma of Hospitality and has worked in the industry for over 30 years. Online Accommodation and Tours-Australia is the business that she developed five years ago using her extensive experience and knowledge of the travel industry. Patricia offers interesting information on her web site and ensures safe and secure accommodation bookings online.