Parts of North Queensland have endured some rough weather this week, but Queensland is a big state, and there’s one thing you can always count on: it’ll still be perfect the next day.
Earlier this week, The Whitsundays, Hamilton Island, Mackay and Airlie Beach bore the brunt of Cyclone Debbie’s 250kp/h plus winds and, currently, South East Queensland is copping gnarly thunderstorms and heavy rain.
It’s too early to give a comprehensive report – we’ve even asked our sources at Queensland Tourism for more information. The best we can do is direct you to www.qldalert.com for updates.
But you know what? All this will pass within days, and yet many travellers have, perhaps prematurely, cancelled plans to visit the state over the next month, for fear of further bad weather.
Typically, this is the best time of the year to visit the sunshine state – the ultra-hot summer sun has passed into a more temperate autumn, making this a popular time to trek to Queensland. It’s a big state, and although the North has been battered, there’s still a lot to see and do in Australia’s favourite holiday state.
In particular, the following six regions that haven’t been affected by Cyclone Debbie all offer tantalising reasons to visit.
In Tropical North Queensland, Cairns and Port Douglas were lucky to escape Debbie’s whipping winds. The Great Barrier Reef may be a little choppy at the moment, but the further north you head, the calmer the waters. The Wet Tropics are home to the most ancient rainforests in the world, some of which are 150 million years old – six to 10 times older than those found in the Amazon. The World Heritage Site also boasts flora and fauna that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. It runs from Cooktown to Townsville and includes 31 national parks, conservation sites and reserves such as Paluma Range National Park, Barron Gorge National Park and the Daintree National Park.
Townsville, which luckily escaped the worst of the tempest, averages about 320 days of sunshine each year, so it’s little wonder the locals are always smiling. With burgeoning shopping, food and entertainment scenes, as well as its regular local markets, Townsville’s transformation makes it a must-see city.
Brisbane and the Sunshine coast are dealing with heavy rain at the moment, but once those rainclouds pass and the water subsides, these regions will be as lovely as they were before the storm.
In my mind, as I’m sure it is in the local psyche, Brisbane is the coolest capital in the country. And why not? Its cafés, trendy hotels, microbreweries, galleries and lifestyle that’s the envy of the land certainly make a solid case for visiting Brisbane. Every time I go there I never want to leave.
A little further north, along the Sunshine Coast, you’ll find beautiful beaches and top fishing spots. Head little further inland and enjoy all that the hinterland has to offer. From national parks and arts and crafts trails to antique shopping and treks through the Glass House Mountains, the ‘Sunny Coast’ has a lot to boast about.
Finally, for a true ‘Aussie’ experience, you can’t go past Outback Queensland. It’s loaded with all the history and Australian culture you can poke a diving rod at. And when I say history, I mean history – you can literally step back in time and dust off 20-million-year-old dinosaur bones anywhere between Winton, Richmond and Hughenden. Even better are the unblemished star-studded skies that allow you to feel as if you’ve dropped off the face of the earth. And with historic sites such as Longreach, the home of Qantas, and the Barcaldine, home to the tree of Knowledge, Outback Queensland truly tells the tale of our nation.
So, don’t let the soon-to-pass ‘Debbie effect’ deter you from one of the most fun, and affordable holiday destinations in Australia and, indeed, the world. Queensland is open for business and, as much as always, is waiting to welcome you.
For visitor information and enquiries, please visit queensland.com