From game-changing party yacht to a golf game that changes the rules on how to do a hole-in-one, Queensland serves up a jackpot of new experiences and attractions that firmly peg the sunshine state at the top of most bucket lists. None are more notable than the revival of the ex-HMAS Tobruk, a heavy lift ship that now serves as Australia's newest dive site.
Dive the ex-HMAS Tobruk, Bundaber/Hervey Bay (February 2019): Lying metres below the surface in the Great Sandy Marine Park on the edge of the Southern Great Barrier Reef, the former amphibious heavy lift ship once belonging to the Royal Australian Navy is now an artificial reef, rich in sea life, suitable for a world-class dive site. Scuttled in June 2018 and opened for diving on February 25, 2019, divers can experience enjoy the rapid colonisation of marine species living around the ship plus sub-tropical fish darting in and out of the hull's nooks and crannies.
YOT Club: Opening, Gold Coast (March 2019): In another coup for the Gold Coast, the world's first superyacht lifestyle entertainment venue, YOT Club, launched in March, delivering the ultimate luxury superyacht experience. Licensed for 400 guests, and coming in at 40 metres long, 22 metres wide and with options for sit down dining and live music events, this is the ultimate venue on water for private or corporate functions, product launches or ticketed events. https://yotclub.com.au/
Self-drive Kite Surfing, Cape York (January 2019): Australian Kite Surfari, located on an isolated beach between Cape Bedford and Cape Flattery one hour north of Cooktown, have launched new packages to their permanent off-the-grid eco kite surfing camp. Guests can sign up for self-drive packages and drive from Cairns to kite surf in one of the best locations in Australia and stay in any one of the eight beach front cabins made from poly water tanks. Operating for eleven years, the new packages are more economical for travellers: https://www.australiankitesurfari.com.au/
Daintree Air Scenic Flights, Cooktown (January 2019): Daintree Air, based out of Cooktown are offering scenic flights over the Great Barrier Reef to Lizard Island and Cape York. Multi-engine planes depart Cairns at 08:00 am and fly at a low level above the World-heritage listed rainforests and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park before landing on Lizard Island for six hours of exploration. www.daintreeair.com.au/index.html.
New Turtle Centre, Bundaberg (to open 2019): After more than four decades serving nature lovers with the ultimate Nat Geo style close up turtle encounters, Bundaberg will launch a multi-million dollar new turtle centre to a year-round visitor experience with a focus on its conservation efforts. https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/mon-repos/turtle-centre.html
Gone Fishing, Cooktown (January 0219): Tropical North Queensland will hook serious anglers with the one, three and five day Gone Fishing packages based out of Cooktown. Try the Three Rivers Fishing Tour and fly or live bait for barramundi, mangrove jack, trevally and queenfish in the Endeavour, Anan and Bloomfield rivers. Cost is AUD $2600 per person based on two people http://fishingcooktown.com/packages/
Blue Lakes Hike, K'gari/Fraser Island, (September 2018): Ticking off five of the island's most beautiful freshwater lakes over a three-day, two-night, self-guided, fully supported trail, the Blue Lake Hike includes 4WD transfers to the daily starting point, luggage transfers, and a daily hosted arrival that also comes with a pre-pitched campsite and a hearty meal. Prices start from $650 per person for four to six people, and $850 per person for two people www.fraserislandhiking.com/glamping-hiker.html
Barramundi Discovery Centre, Karumba (Opens April 2019): Keen anglers can discover the secrets of Australia's most acclaimed iconic fish at The Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre, the only hatchery in the world to breed the Southern Gulf strain of barramundi. This new multi-million dollar facility, opening in April, offers one hour informative tours of the life of barramundi at Karumba, one the shore of Gulf of Carpentaria in North Queensland. https://www.barracentre.com.au/
Mt Mulligan Lodge, Tropical North Queensland (Opened April, 2019): Around 170kms west of Cairns in the shadow of Mount Mulligan's spectacular 18-kilometre sandstone ridge (incidentally, ten times larger than Uluru) lies Mount Mulligan Station, a 28,000-hectare outback cattle property. Revamped by the hospitality kings behind Daintree Eco Lodge and Orpheus Island Lodge, the station's eight villas come with majestic views and a personal ATV to explore the land. If the 1500 head of cattle don't ignite an affection for the outback, then tours to the Tyrconnel gold mine and the abandoned Mt Mulligan township will. www.mountmulligan.com
Art Series Hotel – The Fantauzzo, Brisbane (Opened March 2019): Carved into the cliff under the Brisbane's iconic Story Bridge, the $60million hotel features 166 guest rooms, with custom contemporary furnishings and original artworks. Inspired by and dedicated to Australia's most contemporary artist, Vincent Fantauzzo, the six-storey hotel boasts spectacular views of the Brisbane River and CBD. Designed by the highly acclaimed multi-disciplinary practice SJB, the natural tones and textures of the hotel's exterior blend into the cliff face, its geometry referencing the fragmented cliff shapes and the highly engineered bridge. https://howardsmithwharves.com/hotel