If you are in Australia at the moment, you’ve probably heard State of Origin mentioned on the TV, in the news or in the pub.

Well, what is it?!

State of Origin is an annual series of rugby league games played between New South Wales and Queensland. They play three games a year in all, first to two wins the series, and New South Wales haven’t won a series in eight years….until now!

New South Wales beat Queensland in the first game at the end of May in Brisbane and completed a series win with a hard-fought win in Sydney three weeks ago. The teams will play the final game of the series in Brisbane today as New South Wales will go for their first whitewash in 14 years.

Now that the rugby league is out of the way, we can get down to the serious question – which state is better, New South Wales or Queensland?!

The Cities

Sydney certainly takes some beating. With the harbour as one of the most recognisable and beautiful places in the world, never mind just in Australia, New South Wales have an immediate advantage.

Brisbane is a great city, perfectly positioned on the coast. Close enough to great places like Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast it is probably Australia’s most underrated city but it can’t topple Sydney.

Cairns isn’t really a city, more of a big town, which is the same as other stops like  Newcastle, Townsville and the other bigger stops in both states.

You just can’t look past Sydney for this one though, whether it is Bondi or Newtown that takes your fancy, it is one of the best cities in the world to visit and to live in.

NSW 1 – 0 QLD.

The Beaches

Now it gets interesting.

New South Wales boasts one of the most famous beaches in the world in Bondi and some of the most beautiful coastline you’ll ever see.

The south coast of NSW, around Jervis Bay has some of the whitest sand you are ever likely to see and further north Byron Bay is an iconic stretch of surf known the world over.

If you want to talk beaches in Australia, the conversation has to include Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands. If you haven’t been (why the hell not?!) – close your eyes and think of paradise. That’s it.

Whitehaven has the world’s whitest sand (officially) and crystal blue waters that will leave you speechless. Queensland has much more than Whitehaven though.

The Sunshine Coast is an absolutely gorgeous stretch of coastline highlighted by Noosa. Magnetic Island has some seriously underrated beaches too, and the water is warm!

The jewel of northern Queensland has to be Mission Beach, an almost untouched stretch of sand that also happens to be one of the best places in Australia to sky-dive!

Sorry Bondi, Queensland takes this one.

NSW 1 – 1 QLD


Sydney Harbour crops up again here. the Bridge and Opera House are two of the most iconic landmarks in Australia. Sydney also has its fair share of other icons from the Sydney Cricket Group to the Westfield Tower.

Elsewhere in NSW, the Lighthouse at Byron Bay is the most easterly point of the continent and is an amazing sight to behold. The Blue Mountains, and their Three Sisters, are also a beautiful place for a few photographs. Not to forget the original ‘big thing’ – The Big Banana of Coffs Harbour!

Queensland has a lot to offer in terms of natural beauty but not much of the man-made variety. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most famous landmarks in the world and stretches nearly the entire way along the Queensland coast.

Further north, the world’s oldest rainforest can be found as the Daintree skirts along the tropical coast north of Cairns.

The Q1 Tower in Gold Coast offers stunning views of the beach from one of the highest residential buildings in the world and further inland, the Glasshouse Mountains are a strange sight to behold.

Even with the Barrier Reef, the edge has to go to New South Wales. Sydney tips the scales while Byron and others make it a winner.

NSW 2 – 1 QLD

Party Scene

Another tough one to call. Queensland has Airlie Beach, set in paradise with more pubs, clubs and bars than you’ll know what to do with – Airlie is a great place to throw a few beers back. Once you’ve had your fun on a boat in the Whitsundays, your end of cruise party is the perfect opportunity to get a little bit messy!

Cairns is another underrated night out, thanks in large part to Gilligan’s – one of the best party hostels in Australia. Cairns is pretty small so it is really easy to get around and hit up a few bars on any night you please. There is always something going on.

Brisbane isn’t as famous as Sydney and Melbourne for its nightlife but has a good small bar scene with some decent cocktail bars.

As you’d expect, Sydney is a great night out. Whatever you’re after – a few quiet drinks, some cocktails or a full-blown night on the tiles – Sydney has you covered.

Outside of Sydney though, Byron Bay is the only really good place with a distinctly different feel than anywhere else in Australia. Advantage Queensland.

NSW 2 – 2 QLD

Cool Stuff To Do

The Great Barrier Reef has already been mentioned and it is an unbelievable place to visit. Whether you snorkel or dive, or just go out on a boat trip, the Great Barrier Reef is incredible.

While you are in North Queensland, why not get the pulse racing with a bungy, sky-dive or canyon swing?! Maybe even head inland for a look at the rodeo, a real outback experience!

Fraser Island and the Whitsundays are also definite must-sees. Whether you go for an overnight option or just a day trip, we would definitely recommend more than a day trip, neither can be missed.

In New South Wales, Byron Bay is the first stop from the north. As mentioned earlier, it has the most easterly point on the mainland and has a great culture and feel – thanks to the hippies! The surf is amazing too and, for some reason, the sunsets in Byron always seem to be a winner!

The northern coast of New South Wales is filled with amazing little beach towns, with gorgeous white sand and blue water. Port Macquarie and Forster are cool little towns that give you an idea of what small-town Australia is really like and both boast some beautiful beaches and outstanding coastal scenery.

Wine regions abound in New South Wales with the Hunter Valley the most famous, and easy to access from Sydney, but there is also Orange and Mudgee for the wine lovers.

Inland, the Western Plains Zoo (the big brother of Taronga in Sydney) gives a safari experience in Australia which is pretty awesome! You can stay in African inspired safari tents and wake up surrounded by giraffes, zebra and antelope which is amazing.

Then there is Sydney. With the Bridge Climb, Opera House tours, Darling Harbour, fireworks all the time and everything else you’ve already read about!

Further south and you are driving a less adventurous version of the Great Ocean Road on the south coast and you can even hit the slopes for a bit of skiing near the Victorian border!

Both Queensland and New South Wales offer such varied experiences that it is impossible to pick a winner in this one which means we’ve got a tie!

NSW 2 – 2 QLD (How very diplomatic of us!)

What state would be your winner? Does Queensland take the cake or New South Wales? What about outside of the State of Origin clash? Victoria or Western Australia take your fancy? Let us know in the comments section below!

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