If the 11th month of the calendar (that's you, November) is like the 11th hour, then crikey, it's time to get on with it and make your holiday plans. This month we've wrapped up a sack full of Queensland tourism products including old tales to tell, new ways to see the reef and eye-popping hotels to check out. Nothing says Santa Claus better than a Queensland escape, right?
Discover one of the outer Great Barrier Reef sites with the launch of Sunlover Reef Cruises' new pontoon and tour, bringing the company's total infrastructure investment to $6 million. The Arlington Reef Tour is a half-day exploration of one of the largest reef systems in the region, with signature Sunlover experiences like snorkelling, underwater observatory, marine life tank presentation, glass bottom boat tours and fish feeding. The new pontoon features a 25km wave-breaking reef crest, providing a sheltered lagoon for activities. Guests can opt for an introductory or Certified scuba dive, Seawalker Helmet dive, take a scenic Heli flight with Nautilus Aviation and then head to Cairns Museum once back on dry land with a complimentary entry ticket. Tours depart from Cairns Marina at 7am and return at 1.30pm, with prices starting from $78 for kids 4 to 15 years, $150 for adults and $378 for a family of two adults and two kids.
Eugene Kotze - General Manager, Sunlover Reef Cruises
P: +61 7 4050 1327, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Flatiron skyscrapers are no longer synonymous with the New York City skyline – the classic structure has been reimagined at FV by Peppers. This 970-room luxury hotel is the newest addition to Fortitude Valley's accommodation offering, with one and two-bedroom apartments boasting understated elegance – neutral tones, minimal furnishings and floor to ceiling glass for 5-star views of Brisbane City. The minimal décor is made up with stellar onsite facilities like a heated u-shaped skyline pool with swim up pool bar on level 6, a moonlight cinema and a yoga retreat. Opening special rates are available until November 30, starting from $199 per night for a one-bedroom apartment.
Megan Pechey - Regional Sales & Marketing Manager (QLD), Mantra Group
P: +61 7 5631 2659, E: email@example.com
Time to lace up!
'Not all those who wander are lost' and nowhere does this ring truer than Hamilton Island, with two new walking trails added to their scenic terrain. A secluded slice of beach on the southern side of the Island, affectionately known as Escape Beach, can now be accessed from Saddle Junction via a hilly trail that stretches 2.5 kilometres one way, or as part of a 4.7-kilometre loop walk from South East Head. Here hikers can encounter wallabies, creek crossings and stellar views over the Whitsunday waters. Venture along the second trail to Coral Cove, a hidden bay fringed by reef and surrounded by tall pines, accessed from Saddle Junction on a 4.6-kilometre round trip. These trails require a moderate fitness level and are free to access. Don't forget to pack your togs – there's plenty of swimming spots to take a dip and cool off.
Denny-Lyn Dixon - General Manager – Marketing, Hamilton Island
P: +61 2 9433 0404, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
For those with pacific tastes…
There's a new boat on the Whitsundays 'block' turning sailing dreams into reality to secluded bays and beaches like Macona Inlet and Butterfly Bay. Airlie Beach Day Sailing tours depart from Abell Point Marina at 8.15am for a full day of snorkelling the reef, indulging in a buffet style gourmet lunch and freshly made canapes, prepared by French chef and Airlie Beach local Alaine Antonius, and paired with a BYO tipple. Guests can tailor the sailing itinerary to suit with a maximum of 10 guests per trip. Rates start from $199 per person or $1400 for a private charter.
Dale and Tam Tansley - Owners, Airlie Beach Day Sailing
P: +61 437 558 358
Buenos dias, bon Sol
Seaside opulence lies a stone's throw from the shores of Burleigh Heads beach at bon Sol, the latest luxury boutique holiday home on the Gold Coast. Situated on the corner of First Ave and the iconic Esplanade (across from one of Australia's best beaches as dubbed in 2017 by TripAdvisor) the exterior is a brick 1960s-unit complex, and inside, pops of colour, a mix of textiles and fine furnishings have been carefully paired by Brisbane-based designer, Anna Spiro. The Pandanus room, reminiscent of a chic Hamptons home, is available for bookings while the Hibiscus room will follow suit in 2018. Adding to the luxe experience, a beach club-style service is available for $150, where beach chairs, umbrellas and a cool box filled with water and soft drink are pre-prepared on Burleigh Beach for true Aussie escape. Room rates start from $500 per night for a minimum 7 nights stay rising to $1,090 per night for a minimum 3 nights in peak season (December to April).
Terry - Property Manager, bon Sol
P: +61 499 114 162, E: email@example.com
Chug along this new trail
Lovers of the great outdoors, rejoice! A new 89km rail trail cum exercise track is now open on the Fraser Coast from Kilkivan to Kingaroy. There's 45.5 kilometres of natural surface suitable for hikers, cyclists and horse riders from Kilkivan to Murgon, and 43.5 kilometres of sealed section from Murgon to Kingaroy for pedestrians and cyclists only. Take in the lush greenery of the South Burnett region as you trek alongside local history, highlighted by signage along the route. The new $2 million trail is free to access and runs alongside towns like Goomeri, Wondai and Tingoora.
Bradley Nardi - Marketing and Communications Manager, Fraser Coast Tourism and Events
P: +61 7 4191 2600, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
What's old is New(stead) again
Step back in time to the 1800s when there was only one address worth knowing in Brisbane: Newstead House. Embark on an immersive tour hosted by the late Anna Wickham, First Lady of the House, (portrayed by an actress) as she offers rare insight into a time when this grand home was the place to be seen. Discover hidden secrets about the Wickham household, life in colonial Brisbane and the dignitaries of the period in and around the home grounds. Tickets are $35pp (family rates available) for the 90-minute tour available until 28 February 2018.
Jennifer Garcia - Communications & Programming Manager, Newstead House
P: 07 3216 1846, E: email@example.com
Cruise into culture
For one day only, dive deep into the lives of Queensland's longest inhabitants of one of the largest sand islands in the world on the Indigenous Cultural Cruise. Departing from Meeanjin (Brisbane City), journey to Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) as Indigenous guides share dreaming stories about North Stradbroke Island's Quandamooka Country and People. Immerse yourself in ancient cultural practices from boomerang throwing, a guided cliff-top Gorge Walk and traditional dance songs followed by a fresh seafood lunch prepared by a talented Quandamooka chef. Tickets are $195pp available on 6 December 2017 only.
Helen Groombridge – Communications & Marketing Manager, Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation
P: 07 3415 2816, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Queensland to a tea
Sure, you've visited Queensland, but have you ever tasted it? Take your taste buds on a tantalising journey through the Sunshine State at Stamford Plaza's Spirit of Queensland Lobby High Tea. From fluffy fresh Queensland blue pumpkin scones (served with Maleny dairy cream) to a taste of the Brisbane EKKA with a deconstructed strawberry sundae, this high tea is crafted from quintessential Queensland produce and was originally created for and served to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during her 2011 visit to Brisbane. Tickets are $49pp, available Friday (3pm – 5pm), Saturday and Sunday (3:30pm – 5:30pm) every week.
Debbie MacGillivray - Director of Marketing, Stamford Plaza Brisbane
P: 07 3232 0219, E: email@example.com