Regions of Queensland explained

The Regions of Queensland refers to the geographic areas of the Australian state of Queensland. Due to its large size and decentralised population, the state is often divided into regions for statistical and administrative purposes. Each region varies somewhat in terms of its economy, population, climate, geography, flora and fauna. Cultural and official perceptions and definitions of the various regions differ somewhat depending on the government agency or popular group by which they are being applied.


Various Queensland state government departments adopt different definitions of regions for administrative purposes. The Queensland government Office of Economic and Statistical Research defines eleven regions. These are (roughly from south to north):

These are the same divisions used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and are the basis for this article. Sometimes several of these regions may be combined and referred to as a single region (for example the Mackay, Northern, and Far Northern regions may be referred to as 'North Queensland'). Smaller regions may also exist within these defined regions, such as the Torres Strait Islands or the Whitsunday Islands.

South East Queensland

South East Queensland is commonly considered to be a single region. It contains two statistical regions listed above, Brisbane and Moreton. The region has a population of 2,572,586 people, or 66% of the state's population. The area contains Brisbane, the state's capital city, as well as the cities of Gold Coast and Ipswich. It also contains the areas of Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast, which comprises several municipalities. The region is the major administrative and commercial centre and focus of tourism within Queensland.


The Brisbane region comprises the greater Brisbane metropolitan area, including the Brisbane City Council and several other local government areas including parts of the Gold Coast and Ipswich local Government areas. The region consists of the state's largest urban area containing a population of 1,857,594 people, or 44% of the state's total. [1] It is the state's main commercial and administrative centre and contains the state's largest domestic and international airport. Local Government areas within the region are:


The Moreton Region is largely used for statistical purposes and is not commonly popularly referred to as such. The area is popularly regarded as being part of 'South East Queensland' and contains the areas not within the Brisbane metropolitan area, namely the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast, the outer western parts of Ipswich and rural areas west of Ipswich but east of Toowoomba. .

The Gold and Sunshine Coasts, located south and north of Brisbane respectively are two of the Queensland's most popular tourist regions. Both are located along popular beaches and contain many hotels and resorts. Each region has an airport which caters primarily to tourists. The remaining parts of the region are located inland, west of Brisbane, and are primarily rural.

The region has a population of 797,696, 20.5% of the State's total.

Wide Bay - Burnett

Major centres within the Wide Bay – Burnett region include Bundaberg and Hervey Bay. It also contains the town of Maryborough and Fraser Island a popular tourist destination and world's largest sand island. The area is rich in sugar cane farms and mills and has a significant tourism industry. The region borders the Sunshine Coast to the south and the Fitzroy region to the north. It has a population of 244,847 .

Darling Downs

The Darling Downs is a fertile agricultural region immediately west of the city of Toowoomba and approximately 200km west of Brisbane.

South West

The South West region, borders the states of New South Wales and South Australia and the Northern Territory and is sparsely populated. It contains the towns of Roma, Charleville, Cunnamulla and Birdsville. Economic activities include cattle grazing, cotton farming, and natural resource extraction. The Cooper Basin gas field is a major natural gas reserve within the region which provides much of the state’s natural gas . The substantial ASX quoted Santos for one is active in the Cooper and Eromanga Basins. AGL (ASX AGK) claims: AGL Energy is Australia’s leading energy provider and the only Australian energy producer with a full suite of renewable generation, providing natural gas and electricity to more than six million Australians.

The town of Charleville is at the end of the Warrego Highway (The other end being Brisbane) and is a popular tourist stop including a Bilby reserve, Royal Flying Doctor Service museum and the Cosmos Centre. The towns of Cunnamulla and Quilpie are the centres of opal mining activities. The town of Birdsville, near the South Australian border is a popular tourist stop on the Birdsville Track, a four wheel drive route through the Strzelecki Desert. The eastern section of the South West region is known as the Maranoa (to the west of the Darling Downs) and, to the west, the Channel Country. See South West regional map.


The Fitzroy region contains the major centres of Rockhampton and Gladstone, the coastal areas and popular holiday destination's Agnes Water and 1770, and well as the hinterland areas further west. The region's economy is heavily dominated by coal mining, and cattle grazing. A major aluminium smelter is located in Gladstone. The region has a population of 187,916 people and covers an area of 122,971.5 km².

See also: Central Queensland


The Mackay region is centred on the coastal city of Mackay and extends some 300km inland. It contains the Whitsunday Islands group and the coastal towns of Proserpine, Bowen and Sarina. The coastal areas are densely covered in sugar cane farms, while the less densely populated inland areas have several mining communities.


See main article: North Queensland. The Northern region is a coastal region centered around the city of Townsville. Townsville is the location of a major seaport handling exports from mines in Mount Isa and cattle exports from coastal and inland areas. The region also contains a bulk sugar exporting terminal at Lucinda in the region's north. It also contains the great inland city of Charters Towers and the coastal towns of Ayr and Ingham.

North West

See main article: Gulf Country. Known as the Gulf Country, the North West region is located along the Gulf of Carpentaria coast. The region's terrain is mostly arid or savannah country. The major city in the region is Mount Isa with a population of approximately 25,000. Other population centres include Burketown, Cloncurry, Doomadgee, Kowanyama, Mornington Island and Normanton.

The region has a population of 35,779 or less than 1% of the state's total . 28.1% of the region's population identify as Indigenous. The region's economy is heavily dominated by the Mount Isa Mines which extracts zinc, copper, silver and lead. Another significant industry is cattle grazing. The region covers an area of 308,098.3 km², roughly the size of New Mexico or Italy.

Far North

See main article: Far North Queensland. The Far Northern region covers most of Cape York Peninsula and stretches to the Torres Strait at the northern most part of the State.

The main population and administrative centre of the region is located in Cairns. Other key population centres include Cooktown, the Atherton Tableland, Weipa and the Torres Strait Islands. The region also consists of many Aboriginal and farming communities. In 2003 the region's population was 231,494 of which 117,531 lived in Cairns.

Significant industries include tourism, cattle grazing, agriculture (sugar cane and tropical fruits) and mining of both sand and bauxite.

Other definitions

Other names for regions are also in popular usage, for example by other government agencies and in various maps of regions of Queensland. The state also contains some smaller regions within those discussed above which are not necessarily used for statistical purposes, but which are distinct in terms of their geography, economy or demographic characteristics. Other regions in Queensland include:

See also


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. - Queensland Statistical divisions.
  2. Brisbane Statistical Division
  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Moreton statistical division
  4. Office of Economic and Statistical research - Aborisginal and Torres Strait Islander population
  5. Australian Bureau of Statistics - North West regional profile.
  6. Australian Bureau of Statistics - Wide Bay-Burnet divisional profile

Notes and References

  1. News: 3218.0 3218.0 Population Estimates by Statistical Local Area, 2001 to 2007. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 31 March 2008. 2008-05-30.