South East Queensland
The south eastern corner of Queensland is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia. It is also one of the most liveable. The South East has a mix of old style Queenslanders and new imports from the southern states and other parts of the world that make up a population that gives the South East and urban yet small town feel.
This interesting mix of cultures in the region and the state government’s emphasis on tourism make the South East a must see for any tourist who wants to get the whole experience of Australian life. The beaches of the South East are particularly beautiful and over the last 60 years has had a multibillion dollar tourist industry with all of its accompanying accruements spring up around it. Giving the Gold Coast and Sunshine coast a style and feel that is a blend of Hawaii and Miami.
The Sunshine Coast (about 90 minutes drive from the state capital of Brisbane) is a great counter culture area in Australia and hosts several festivals and other celebratory events that pay homage to an alternative way of life. The Sunshine Coast is also home to some of the most beautiful rain forest areas in the country and even on the hottest day’s a person is instantly comforted when they enter in the large national park areas that surround many of the shires, towns and hamlets that make up this particularly blessed region. The Sunshine Coast, with its perfect mix of sea (including surf beaches) and rain forested mountain areas has small communities of artisans, surfers, and other alternative people who have come there to build a future in the area.
But, the Sunshine Coast is not just for hippies and has all of the amenities of a large European city. But, it is often people who are looking for something of the beaten track that find themselves taking in the Sunshine Coast.
And it can be addictive.
The Sunshine Coast has gone under serious cosmetic changes in the wake of government legislation on the local government level though. Where many of the smaller rustic shires have come under the umbrella of larger ‘super councils’ who (the state government is hopeful) will bring about a more fluid and corporate style of local government that will make the region more efficient than it already is. Although the Sunshine Coast may lose some of its charm in this process, the future is still very bright and very alternative for this gorgeous area of the South East corner.
The other great tourist area of the South East is the Gold Coast.
If the Sunshine Coast is the antipodean Hawaii, than the Gold Coast is our Miami, Florida. But, thankfully without the street violence that plagues that great American city. The Gold Coast is best described as a strip of high rises that dominate the horizon as you come into Queensland from New South Wales.
Apartment buildings are only metres from the beach and most people who live there live for the beach and their cultural and social lives surround the sea, although the majority of the people who make their home on the Gold Coast do not get any income or anything else from it directly. The area has a high degree of affluence and this is reflected in the theme parks on the highway leading out of the Gold Coast moving into the southern suburbs of Brisbane as you go that way.
The three major theme parks on that strip of highway are: Dream world (the one with the coolest rides), Sea world (the oldest and most quintessentially Queenslanderish), and Warner Brothers Movie World where Australian and international crews have filmed (I think they are filming the third Narnia movie there as I write) and still use as an actual set. These three theme parks are some of the most entertaining of their kind in the world. And it is a rite of passage for most young Queenslanders to go to them at least once in their life before adulthood.
But, if theme parks are not your thing than it is the adult entertainment of the Gold Coast that you seek. The Gold Coast is home to Crown Casino, an attraction that has many visitors every year from all around the world, where you can see the ‘Outback Spectacular’ a horse show that emphasises the role of the horse and horseman in the development of Australian history and identity. It is a purely entertainment event but it gives a person a taste of the myth of Australia, if not the ‘according to Hoyle’ history. And a person can watch it many times without feeling bored. Just think of ‘Cirque du Solei’ without clowns and on horseback and you get a pretty fair idea of what it is that you are looking at.
But this is only a small part of what the South East corner has to offer students and tourists to the area. Sandwiched in between the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast is Brisbane the burgeoning capital of the state, and Brisbane is a tourist destination in and of itself. It is also home to several international recognised universities and is larger than most American cities of the mid and south west of that country. Brisbane, like all cities on Australia’s eastern coast started as a convict colony, and like the cities of Melbourne and Sydney has a gothic underbelly that is fun to explore if you have the nerve. There is many a ghost in Queensland’s capital and this dark history is the inspiration for a group of local writers who want to bring that history to the light.
But, apart from the ‘gothic underbelly’, Brisbane has a lively music scene centred the inner city district of ‘Fortitude Valley’ and large art galleries, cafes, alternative theatres, and other cultural attractions that a person can explore when they are travelling through the city. So, that is a little bit about the South East corner that might get you thinking that Queensland is the destination for you.
South East Queensland - Sunshine Coast - Simply South East
The South East Queensland region has been described as one of Australia’s most liveable areas. It is also home to a half dozen or so internationally recognised university campuses’ and a night life that is second to none.
The Fortitude Valley area just north of the Brisbane CBD is a hangout for the local counterculture and the area has many cafes, art galleries, nightclubs and pubs that are open every night.
Although hot in summer, the six months from March to September is a beautiful time to be in Brisbane. With the weather staying in the mid-twenties for most of the day and dipping in to the teens during the evening, Brisbane has one of the mildest winters in the world. This alone would make Queensland one of the most perfect places to study in the world.
South East Queensland is also home to the Gold Coast, a strip of beachfront that is a Mecca for surfers, international and domestic tourists, and those attracted to the deep blue waters of the South East Coastline.
Although, a hundred kilometres to the north of there is the Sunshine Coast, the favorite holiday destination for people who are native to the South East.
The Sunshine Coast sports excellent surf beaches and a lush hinterland that is home to a menagerie of colourful characters escaping the rat race.
Highlights of the Sunshine Coast hinterland are the many national parks and waterfalls that are accessed by young backpackers from Europe and North America.
While the Sunshine Coast has its own internationally accredited university that was started in 1994 and gained full recognition as a tertiary institution in 1998.
The University of the Sunshine Coast has a department that is dedicated to assisting international students achieve their goals while they attend the institution.
Therefore, the South East is an excellent option for any international student wanting to start their academic career in Australia. But be warned you might want to leave when you have completed your degree.