Let Queensland do the seducing this Valentine's Day with alluring experiences, like jet skiing along the translucent waters of the world's number one beach or sleeping on a 2,300 kilometre reef wonderland. Guaranteed to make your other half swoon, take a peek at the new products that have Queenslander's hearts racing this February.
Here are six reasons why we have the hots for Tropical North Queensland this month...
Crystalbrook collects Cairns
Tourism and hospitality group, Crystalbrook Collections, will develop three multi-purpose hotel complexes in the heart of Cairns City from August 2018 to early 2020. Each with a different name and persona, Riley, Bailey and Flynn promise five-star luxury, a smorgasbord of restaurants and bars and even a 24-hour fitness centre with further details to come.
Ooh la Shangri-La
One of Cairns' most iconic buildings, Shangri-La Hotel, will undergo a $13 million transformation that will revamp all 184 guestrooms and focus on modern simplicity with nautical accents (a nod to the local surroundings in the Marina). The transformations will take place in two phases from March to early December 2018. Shangri-La will operate as per usual with uninterrupted services.
Full steam ahead
All abroad! Cruise, chug and chew your way around Port Douglas with the Choo Choo Explorer 3-in-1 package. Float down the scenic Dickson Inlet (with a drink in hand), hop aboard the historic Bally Hooley steam train from Crystalbrook Marina and drink in panoramic views of the Daintree Rainforest with a bite to eat at Choo Choos Café in St Crispins – or do the entire tour in reverse! The 3-in-1 package departs daily costing $40pp for adults and $35pp for children.
Rum roll, please!
There's a new tippler tucked in the heart of Port Douglas, but you'll have to find it first. Nestled in an unassuming location on Macrossan St (identified only by a red light), Jimmy Rums Mixing Lounge serves up exotic cocktails crafted with flair and showmanship. Step into a dark and brooding interior inspired by the speakeasy bars of the 30s and let your senses drink in the theatre of this hole-in-the-wall lounge. Jimmy Rums is open daily from 5pm to 1am.
Jimmy Rums Mixing Lounge
P: 07 4099 5912
Set sail on the Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is now just a strong breeze away from Port Douglas thanks to the newest outer reef sailing experience from Tropical Journeys. Catering to 30 guests, set sail on Aquarius, a dedicated snorkel only vessel, to Tongue Reef for guided snorkelling tours through reef teeming with marine life. Above water, relax on the upper deck and indulge in a delicious buffet lunch and refreshments before returning for sunset. The sail and snorkel day tour on Aquarius starts at $245pp for adults and $180pp for children.
P: 07 4099 6999
Oh, my, gorge. Discover a different side of the World Heritage Listed Daintree Rainforest on a guided walking tour with Venture Deeper. Departing from Mossman Gorge, wander through the Wet Tropics with a professional naturalist as your guide to a piece of prehistoric paradise in the untouched and living fossil, Upper Gorge. Gain insight into Indigenous culture, the Rainforest and the Reef on this small group three-hour tour. Prices start from $100pp.
And in other news from around the state…
Reach for the Star
The Star Gold Coast will raise the bar (literally) and the reputation of the seaside city's world-class dining and entertainment with the latest and final addition to its major redevelopment ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Co-managed by acclaimed Gold Coast restaurateur Simon Gloftis (owner of Australian Good Food Guide 2018 Readers Choice restaurant, Hellenika) and entertainment guru Billy Cross (founder of the Summafieldayze music festival), the stunning new rooftop restaurant and bar promises panoramic views of the city skyline. The bar will play host to local DJs and up to 500 guests while the restaurant opens onto an infinity pool. The Star's new rooftop venue will welcome its first guests in March with the name, further design and menu details to come.
Show me the money!
Foodies meet your new to-go. One of Noosa's most popular dining (and drinking) destinations, Miss Moneypenny's, has migrated south with a second venue to join the growing Gold Coast foodie scene this March. Located in the brand new Avani apartments (on the site of the former Broadbeach Beach Hotel), Miss Moneypenny's will emulate the relaxed atmosphere of its sister venue with a focus on social dining, reimagined cocktails and Mediterranean and Middle Eastern inspired modern Australian cuisine. The venue comes with a transparent, glass-ended hotel swimming pool directly above the entrance, taking people watching to a whole new level.
Drink for a cause
Cheers to that! Bargara Brewing Company has partnered with Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort to create 'RAY XYA', an Extra Pale Ale with a sub-tropical flavour to raise awareness of the Southern Great Barrier Reef and one of Queensland's Great Eight marine animals, the manta ray. With 90% of the Australian population of mantas calling Lady Elliot Island home, the purchase of each beer will encourage consumers to get behind #projectmanta and learn about the important part that the Great Barrier Reef and its inhabitants play on the future of the planet. Ray XPA will initially be available at Queensland proprietors (Dan Murphy's, Cellarbrations, Liquor Market) with a nation-wide release later in the month.
Paradise a shore thing
After three years in the making, boutique nautical-themed resort, Freedom Shores, is set to open in The Whitsundays in mid-2018. With rooms designed to replicate the boats docked at the marina (and made from the hulls of old ships), a cocktail bar crafted from General Douglas MacArthur's WW2 vessel and palm trees sourced from the set of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie filmed in Queensland, this quirky resort promises to be a crowd pleaser. The resort restaurant, Northerlies Beach Bar and Grill, is now operating and boasts box office views of the Whitsundays Passage – all just metres from the water's edge and a free shuttle bus service to Airlie Beach for guests.
A Good Night's Reef
Ever wanted to sleep with the fish? Discover the peace and tranquillity of the Great Barrier Reef after dark with Cruise Whitsundays' ReefSleep. The popular Reefsleep has doubled its capacity and boosted its menu with catering by four-star restaurant D'Vine offering fresh local seafood and hearty classics like char-grilled steak and slow braised lamb shanks. The fully-refurbished two-day, one-night ReefSleep tour departs daily with adult prices starting at $499pp.
P: 07 4846 7031
A Need for Speed
Zip, zoom and zap along the world's number one beach from your very own jet ski on the new Cruise Whitsundays' Whitehaven Beach & Jetski Snorkelling Adventure. Explore the wonders of a pristine island paradise on a cruise and then choose to drive (jet ski) or dive (snorkel) around the 74 islands in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. The all-inclusive tours are offered daily and start at $229pp.
P: 07 4846 7031
Dive deep into the lives of Queensland's longest living inhabitants on a 90-minute walking tour that recreates the moments of the final journey from childhood to adulthood with the Nyanda Cultural Tour in Brisbane's northern suburbs. Along the way, venture through the bush to the Nyanda waterhole and one of just two bora sites remaining in Brisbane, and experience ancient cultural practices including a smoking ceremony, finding bush tucker and ochre (paint) making demonstrations. Led by the late Senator Neville Bonner's descendants, tours run weekly on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.
Nyanda Cultural Tours
P: 07 3868 1244
Word Count: 1413
Authors: Isabella Quaid
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