With Prince William’s recent visit to Australasia, the world’s attention turns back to Queensland and the towns that experienced unprecedented levels of flooding in January. The Royal trip coincided with the launch of a government-funded AUS$10million campaign to bring tourists back to the region, entitled “Nothing Beats Queensland”.
Approximately 2.1 million tourists visit the state every year, but an estimated one in five people cancelled or changed travel plans after the devastation caused by the floods. More than two months later, Queensland is open for business and promoting many of the prime spots that were largely unaffected by the natural disaster.
Queensland’s tropical climate and the laid-back attitude of its residents have made it popular with Brits for many years and the dry season, between April and July, is really the best time to go. The state’s biggest draw, the Great Barrier Reef, is commonly acknowledged as one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, and stretches 2300km along the east coast. But Queensland has much more to offer, with the buzzing nightlife of the Gold Coast, the white-sand beaches of Port Douglas and the Whitsunday islands, tropical rainforests, national parks and the iconic surf culture.
Our Sydney office found a great tropical Queensland 10-night cruise, departing from Sydney next month for £635 (AU$999), including AU$150 on-board credit per cabin. Guests will visit the Whitsunday Islands, Cairns, Willis Island and Brisbane, before returning to Sydney. For those flying in to Brisbane from the UK, executive rooms at the Metro Hotel Tower Mill in the city centre are now available for £60 per night (AUS$95) for stays until 31 May. Hotel Laguna on the Sunshine Coast has taken £146 (AU$230) off a 3-night stay in a Hastings Street Suite for Travelzoo subscribers. Three nights will cost £292 (AU$460) per stay and include a bottle of sparkling wine.
For excursions, UK travellers will find the best deals in Australia itself as suppliers try to attract tourists back to the Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays, the Daintree rainforest and Cape Tribulation. Try the award-winning Jungle Surfing in Cape Trib for £55 AUS$90 per person, or visit the stunning silica Whitehaven beach with a Whitsundays day tour from £65 (AUS$105) per adult.
Australia is an awe-inspiring size so Qantas’ Walkabout Pass is a good option for travellers wanting to explore more of the country. The pass allows travellers to add domestic flights to their return flight for a fraction of the price until 13 April, for travel until 20 June. Fly from London Heathrow to Sydney, Uluru (Ayer’s Rock), Cairns and back to London from £1082 return. Return flights to Brisbane start at £725 with Flight Centre, flying with China Airlines. Search for the best fares for your dates with Fly.com.