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10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Arriving in Queensland

This article is sponsored by Study Queensland

Moving to Queensland? It’s a good idea to do some background reading – or chat with someone who lives in the Sunshine State – before you arrive. That way, you’ll be fully prepared for the exciting opportunities that living in Queensland brings!

To help you get familiar with this beautiful Australian state, here are ten pointers and interesting facts about Queensland you should know before arriving.

1. Learn about Queensland’s First Nations groups

Of all the Queensland facts we’ve put together, it’s perhaps most important to understand the legacy of the state’s First Nations. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have called Australia home for around 50,000 years, and in 2016 almost 5 per cent of Queensland’s population identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. There are dozens of different language groups in the state, from the Gold Coast to Cape York.

You could start by learning the name of First Nations groups near you – Brisbane, for example, is the land of numerous groups, including the Yuggera people. The State Library of Queensland provides a free online resource outlining where First Nations languages are spoken across the state.

2. Understand the state’s size

Australia is a large country, and Queensland is its second-largest state. That means it’s big – very big. For comparison, Queensland is five times the size of Japan or two and a half times the size of Texas (!). 

Driving north from the New South Wales border, it can take up to three hours to reach the top of the Sunshine Coast, which is where South East Queensland ends. 

From there, the coastline stretches for thousands of kilometres, giving you an idea of just how expansive the state is. More than anything, its size means there’s a whole lot to see and do in Queensland – not only in the capital city of Brisbane, but also in regional centres across the state.

3. Know your public transport options

Melbourne is well-known for its tram network, and Sydney boasts an innovative double-decker train design. When it comes to public transport in Brisbane, alongside buses and trains, it’s the city’s ferry service that gets people moving. Every day, thousands of residents take the CityCat ferry up and down the river for work, study and leisure. It’s a truly stunning way to see Brisbane, and the Brisbane River, in all its glory.

4. Find accommodation

As an international student, you’ll have to secure accommodation before getting to Queensland. With so many possibilities, this process may seem daunting. Luckily, Study Queensland outlines a range of student accommodation, homestay and rental options for students to suit most budgets.

5. Get excited about Queensland’s sporting pride

As a general rule, Australians love to watch and play sports. Queenslanders are especially enthusiastic and support a number of local teams across various sporting codes, including rugby league (NRL) and Australian rules football (AFL).

Arguably, the biggest sporting occasion of the year is the State of Origin, a series of special rugby league games played between Queensland and New South Wales. The rivalry between the Queensland team, known as the Maroons, and the New South Wales team, known as the Blues, is a source of great pride for each state.

6. Check out international food locations

Have you ever arrived in a new city and wondered about the location of the nearest Asian grocer or Indian restaurant? Our city guides list some of the best places to visit in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and regional towns often have restaurants and grocers catering to international cuisines.

7. You can eat on a budget

Speaking of food, international students in Queensland, like anywhere in Australia, will likely have their eye on cheap food options when sticking to a budget. The good news is that Brisbane has its fair share of low-cost spots to grab something to eat.

In our Brisbane and Gold Coast city guides, you’ll find some of the best cheap eats in either city for you to explore. Plus, there’s a lot more information online if you go looking. Better yet, chat to a local for tips from someone with insider knowledge.

8. Practice the unique slang

Australian English has evolved into its own unique local dialect. You might have heard some Australian slang words already – ‘arvo’ meaning afternoon, for instance. But did you know that differences also exist between states and territories?

Many Queenslanders refer to swimming costumes as ‘togs’, which are called ‘cossies’ or simply ‘swimmers’ in other states. But even Queenslanders don’t always agree on which word works best, so don’t be surprised if you hear more than one word being used!

9. Prepare for warm climate

Queensland is well-known for having a hot and humid climate. Whether you live in Brisbane, Bowen or Bundaberg, be ready for long and hot summers with high rainfall by packing appropriate clothing. On the other hand, winter nights can be quite cold too, particularly out west and near the New South Wales border.

10. There’s affordable living

Want one last incentive to move to Queensland? Look no further than the fact that it’s relatively affordable to live there – by Australian standards, at least! The cost of living in Brisbane and the rest of Queensland can be cheaper than in the bigger cities of Sydney and Melbourne.

And there you have it: a list of ten Queensland facts for students looking to move to the Sunshine State. Don’t forget to check out the seven best places to visit in Queensland and our rundown of eight cool suburbs to live in Brisbane.