Here in Queensland, we're ringing in the festive cheer the best way we know how – introducing a string of new experiences from north to south and east to west. Shiny new hotels are preparing to cut the ribbon while new dining precincts are set to pop the cork, glamping tents are popping up and heritage icons are bursting with a new lease of life. Welcome, 2018!
The Star Gold Coast's new luxury suite hotel (opening ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games)
The Star Gold Coast (formerly Jupiters Hotel & Casino) has revealed the name of their new luxury suite hotel tower adjacent to the existing property, due to be unveiled ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. The Darling will feature 57 luxury suites from 70 to 328 square metres in size, with butler service and only the finest amenities and finishes, new signature bars and restaurants and world-class gaming amenities. www.star.com.au/goldcoast/
Upgrade of The Burleigh Pavilion, Gold Coast (relaunching in Spring 2018)
The iconic Pavilion on Burleigh Heads beach, dubbed by TripAdvisor in 2017 as one of Australia's best beaches, will undergo a $6 million makeover in 2018, funded by the owners of Sydney's Manly Wharf Hotel and Mrs Sippy in Double Bay and Seminyak in Bali. Apart from an exterior overhaul, a new bistro and bar will take over the building's top floor adding a more casual space to soak up the sun and waterfront views, before relaunching as The Burleigh Pavilion in 2018.
Adina Apartment Hotel Brisbane (opening February 2018)
One of Brisbane CBD's heritage buildings, the 1922 sandstone-clad Queensland Government Savings Bank building, will transform into the 220-room Adina Apartment hotel in early 2018, introducing spacious apartments complete with a kitchen, laundry and living room, and studio rooms with a kitchenette. The Hotel features a pool and fitness centre, and will introduce a signature food and beverage offering on the ground floor that celebrates the building's Art Deco origins. www.tfehotels.com/adina
Spirits of the Red Sand, Beenleigh (officially opening March 2018)
Ever wondered what life was like in a 19th century Australian village, a time when British settlers forever changed the aboriginal people's way of life? The new Spirts of the Red Sand experience in Beenleigh is a 2.5-hour journey through the 1800s, led by Jarrah, the only survivor of three Aboriginal brothers, and based on the true story of his family. This interactive experience with indigenous culture takes up to 120 guests through seven sets of live theatre, like the Dreamtime, a precolonial village and a jail, with an 18-strong cast of direct descendants of the first people. The cast will join guests for a warm damper dinner in the dining hall when the show concludes. Located in the Beenleigh Historical Village, 45km from the Gold Coast CBD and 36km from Brisbane's CBD, tickets include transfers from either location, and start from $25 to $65 for kids and $120 for adults. www.spiritsredsand.com
Sirromet Winery glamping tents (opening March 2018)
Queensland's largest and most awarded winery is set to introduce a string of glamping tents to their 560-acre property at Mt Cotton. Stage one will see 16 self-contained tents popping up in early 2018, with approval to build up to 55 tents in total. All tents will be silk-lined and come with internal bathrooms. www.sirromet.com
W Hotel (opening March 15, 2018)
Long the playground for the rich and famous, W Hotel is finally making its return to Australia, setting up exclusively in Brisbane. Construction on the $800 million, 305-room six-star hotel is well underway with the hotel expected to open its doors on March 15, 2018. W Brisbane will be home to a fancy indoor swimming pool, three restaurants, and an Extreme Wow Suite – the W brand's interpretation of the traditional Presidential Suite. www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=4187&language=en_US
Emporium 2, South Bank (opening mid-2018)
Hip design, the latest in-room technology and personalised service will be the starring elements of the Emporium Hotels Group's new five-star, 360-room Emporium Southpoint, hotel in Brisbane, which is scheduled for completion in mid-2018. The luxury boutique hotel will feature 143 suites, 217 residential apartments, Belle Epoque Patisserie, a retail precinct, restaurant and a Sky Bar overlooking a 23m infinity pool with vistas of the Brisbane CBD. www.lastpieceofsouthbank.com/new-emporium-hotel
Howard Smith Wharves, Fortitude Valley (opening late 2018)
The Howard Smith Wharves revitalisation project is set to redevelop an underutilised site into a lifestyle, entertainment and events precinct, positioned on 3.4 hectares of riverfront land under the iconic Story Bridge. The site will introduce a five-star, 164-room boutique Art Series Hotel, alongside urban chic restaurants, cafes, coffee-roasting and a craft brewery.. www.howardsmithwharves.com
Southern Queensland Country
Quest Toowoomba Apartment Hotel (reopening February 2018)
The Quest Toowoomba Apartment Hotel will reopen its doors in February 2018 after extensive refurbishment. The 74-room tower offers studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments, complete with modern décor, timber furnishings and stainless-steel kitchen appliances. Located in the heart of town, it's an ideal base to explore the region's cuisine, Melbourne-esque graffiti laneways and street art, the huge Grand Central shopping complex, Cobb & Co Museum's 'Hands On' artisan skills workshops, Toowoomba's trademark parks and gardens and nearby Ravensbourne and Crows Nest National Parks. www.questapartments.com.au/properties/qld/toowoomba/quest-toowoomba/overview
Mary Valley Rattler, Gympie Region (opening Autumn 2018)
The Mary Valley Rattler will be back on track and offering scenic journeys between Gympie and Amamoor from early 2018. Built more than 100 years ago, the restored steam train will chug through the charming Mary Valley, taking passengers on one way or return trips. Take a leaf out of the stoker's book at the fully restored Old Gympie Station, where firing and preparing the engine tutorials are all a part of the Mary Valley Rattler experience. Hop on the afternoon run from Gympie and stop at Dagun Station for a wine and cheese tasting while mingling with the locals at the station markets. The Mary Valley Rattler will hit the tracks in autumn of 2018, operating on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. www.maryvalleyrattler.com.au
Habitat Noosa (opening April 1, 2018)
A 42-year-old campground is undergoing extensive renovations to introduce Habitat Noosa - a world-class eco-tourism facility located in the Great Sandy National Park, a short five-minute boat ride from the Noosa Everglades and a 25-minute shuttle transfer from Noosa. The 65-acre site, with 500 metres of riverfront on the Noosa River provides onsite camping, powered sites, cabins and glamping accommodation. Habitat is home to a large eastern grey kangaroo population, living side by side, in the eco camp. Other facilities include a kiosk, bar, bistro and entertainment area complete with views over the Noosa River. Habitat Noosa will offer exclusive and direct access to the Noosa Everglades on their bar-b-canoe and eco cruise experiences, while boats, canoes, kayaks and SUPs are available for guests to hire at leisure. Rates for unpowered sites start from $15 and powered from $22 per night, while glamping starts from $33 per night for a Wilderness Tent and ranges to $290 per person ($145 twin share) for a Paperbark Tent. www.habitatnoosa.com.au
Aussie World expansion, Sunshine Coast (Pub to relaunch late 2018)
Sunshine Coast's Aussie World is undergoing a 16-hectare, five-year extension that will include five new major rides like the Typhoon 360 and Crazy Mouse Coaster. The renovation of the notorious 'Pub', to be located along the newly renamed Downunder Drive, is expected to be completed in late 2018, while a stack of musical talent will hit hotspot 'The Shed', including Richie Sambora, James Reyne, Angry Anderson and The Sunnyboys. www.aussieworld.com.au
Military tourism in Maryborough (opening early 2018)
Always a favourite on the heritage trail, the quaint town of Maryborough is set to redefine its place in the past with the launch a $2 million Military Trail that will dig deep into the town's military credentials (stretching back to the 1800s) to highlight 16 locations linked to Australia's proud military history. Core to the multi-day military experience is an expanding monument to local legend Duncan Chapman, a member of the 9th division and the first Australian to step ashore at Gallipoli and survive what he later scribed as “a living hell”.
The military trail also includes stops at Fraser Island - the training ground for one of the most audacious operations of WW2 and the birth place of the Z Special Unit, todays' SAS, a visit to the Maheno shipwreck - the former military hospital once anchored off Gallipoli, a stop at Duncan Chapman's childhood home and a visit to the Maryborough Colonial and Military Museum - recognized around the nation for its precious cache of more than $15 million of personal medals, mementos and letters from all theatres of war.
Artificial reef and dive site (opening mid-2018)
The Royal Australian Navy's first purpose-built amphibious heavy-lift ship, ex-HMAS Tobruk, is due to be scuttled by mid-2018, six months ahead of schedule, to create a world-class dive site off the Fraser Coast. With the ship to be located in the waters of the Great Sandy Marine Park and only a short distance to the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef's Lady Elliot Island, this artificial reef will provide a stunning wreck dive option for the Fraser Coast. www.qld.gov.au/environment/coasts-waterways/marine-parks/ex-hmas-tobruk
Southern Great Barrier Reef
Yeppoon Foreshore and Town Centre Revitalisation (opening Easter 2018)
The $53million revitalisation project of the Yeppoon Foreshore and Town Centre has entered its fifth and final stage of development, and is expected to open around Easter in 2018. Since the first stage was completed in 2003, introducing areas like the multi-award winning 'Keppel Kraken' water play park, and the completion of stage five will see major elements, like the Lagoon Precinct, beach amphitheatre stage roof, main foreshore, skate park upgrade and new play equipment in Appleton Park, come to life. www.livingstone.qld.gov.au/855/Yeppoon-Foreshore-and-Town-Centre-Revita
Reopening of the Waltzing Matilda Centre (reopening April 2018)
After a fire destroyed Winton's much-loved Waltzing Matilda Centre in June 2015, the tribute to one of Australia's most popular poets is expected to reopen in April 2018, in time to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The museum, was the first in the world dedicated to a song, Waltzing Matilda, written by Banjo Paterson in 1895. Award-winning Architect firm Cox Rayner, acclaimed for their involvement in the design of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs have designed the new Centre. www.matildacentre.com.au
Reopening of Daydream Island, Whitsundays (reopening October 2018)
One of Queensland's most iconic islands will undergo a major facelift! Daydream Island Resort and Spa have increased their redevelopment investment to $65 million, revealing funding for a new marina. Infrastructure upgrades include refurbishments of all 292 rooms, renovations to the arrivals pavilion, reception and main Atrium area, Waterfalls restaurant, Lagoons bar and upgrade of Lovers Cove to include a private bar and undercover area. A brand new Asian-inspired restaurant will also be built along with an underwater observatory complete with a 20-seat dining room looking into the Living Reef, an indoor cinema for 50 people. Meanwhile, four guest rooms will be transformed into a new reef education centre and a turtle hospital. www.daydreamisland.com
Tropical North Queensland
Mount Mulligan Lodge, Mouth Mulligan Station Tropical North Queensland (opening mid-2018)
Around 170kms west of Cairns in the rugged outback terrain of North Queensland and under the shadow of Mount Mulligan's spectacular 18-kilometre sandstone ridge (ten times larger than Uluru) is Mount Mulligan Station. Located within the 28,000-hectare property on the edge of a weir, Mount Mulligan Lodge will offer 24 guests a bespoke and world-class Queensland experience. The. 12 luxury, rooms, suites or villas boast private patios with views of the majestic 400m high cliff face and the waterway. www.mountmulligan.com
Word Count: 2030
Author: Maddison Tanner
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