Queensland has fared well in Bruce Elder’s new travel book, encouraging domestic travel in our great island continent
Travel journalist Bruce Elder compiled 1014 places to see in Australia with Queensland a personal favourite.
Elder says he really tried to give the states a balanced coverage, but the east coast states and South Australia have done very well.
“There’s a lot of things in Queensland, it probably has done better than most states. Mainly because, not only does Queensland have the remarkable coast, but it’s got wonderful things like the Carnarvon Gorge, the area around the Gulf of Carpentaria, the sensational aboriginal paintings at Laura, the impressive Cape York Peninsula and all of that area around Port Douglas and Cairns,” Elder says.
Elder has been exploring every nook and cranny of Australia for the past 20 years, researching its rich diversity and history, meeting its people and capturing it all in words and images.
He says while living abroad, he realised he knew more about London and Europe then he knew about his own country, and became committed to the idea of seeing every part of Australia.
“It’s more than geography to me, it’s about history. One of my current fascinations is the geology of the country, which very few people know about.”
He says Australians are getting better at choosing domestic travel over international options, but he still believes we’re not very good at this.
“The baby boomer generation – now they are retired – [are] really starting to get in a caravan and get out there and start having a look, which is great.
“If you didn’t do or see most of these [places and attractions listed in the book] by the time you head for the retirement village or the airport, you have not experienced the best Australia has to offer,” Elder says.
Elders believes that there are 1014 places that everyone who is interested in experiencing the rich diversity of Australia should try to see, with chapters in the book such as Encounters with the Ocean, Encounters with People, Encounters with History and Encounters for Yourself.
The title of the book was a resistance to the idea that there should be 1000 or 1001 places to see; he didn’t see why there needed to be a neat number.
With so many options it will be impossible not to find something to appeal to even the most jaded travellers, he claims.
“It’s not an easy country by any means, the distances are vast and you really need to be committed and also historically we’ve been taught our history very badly.
“We don’t really get a sense of excitement about places, because we just don’t know the history.
“Although I must say part of the appreciation of Tasmania is the extraordinary early history and the savagery of the convict era, which is largely intact, which is really the critical thing. If you go to Tasmania you really can get a feeling of what it was like in the early convict years, whereas there’s not as much evidence of that in New South Wales or even in Western Australia,” Elder says.
He says over and over again he has encountered things that could never be captured by a photograph or a written description and encourages people to experience them for themselves.
“Use this book as a guide. If you experience all 1014 places, you will have a very good idea of the true nature of this remarkable continent,” he says.
Here are Bruce Elder’s top Queensland picks from his book 1014 places to see in Australia:
1. The aboriginal paintings at Laura
2. Walking through Carnarvon Gorge, and the aboriginal artworks found there
3. Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays
4. Lizard Island is still the ultimate experience on the Great Barrier Reef
5. Undara lava tubes in North Queensland – these tubes were created from a huge volcano millions of years ago