Welcome in 2022 with a sun-filled getaway brimming with 22 radiant new travel experiences recently launched in Queensland – and all in time for Christmas.
Wet and wonderful water holidays
Warmer weather combined with long sunny days means it's time to unpack those swimmers and dive right into these new splash-tastic tours and experiences.
- Spend a night 100km out to sea, under the stars and onboard the new Lady Musgrave HQ. Nestled in the turquoise waters of the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Lady Musgrave HQ is the Reef's second underwater pontoon-style accommodation. This new product has two major drawcards: the eight reef-view queen size canopy beds come with canvas walls that roll up to reveal sprawling views of the Lady Musgrave Island lagoon, while the underwater observatory bunks cater for dive groups keen to explore remote and untouched sites only accessible from the pontoon. Lady Musgrave HQ treads lightly with a zero-carbon footprint thanks to being 100% wind and solar powered. The Master Reef Guides on board also deliver vital educational and citizen science initiatives. Sleep on the Southern Great Barrier Reef from $900 per person twin share.
- Tangalooma Island Resort has added two new tours to the epic line up of existing activities. The first is the Tangalooma Cruiser, a two-hour fast-boat adventure to explore the west coast of Moreton Island for just $99 per adult. Then, as the sun begins to set, it's time to settle in for an afternoon 'tipple' with the second new tour, a Sunset Cocktails experience, to watch the pastel colours of days end paint the sky over Moreton Bay.
- From Sandstone Point to sandy beaches, River to Bay has added a new Moreton Bay tour to its roster of water-based experiences. The Sandstone Point to Tangalooma Day Cruise departs from the Sandstone Point Hotel jetty and Spinnaker Sound Marina, approximately an hour north of Brisbane, for a quick 45-minute jaunt across the bay. Once on the island, guests can access the pools, retail stores, restaurants, bars, tours and facilities at Tangalooma Island Resort. Lunch on the island is also included in the $119 per person ticket.
- Get the blood pumping with the Gold Coast's newest thrill-seeker experience, providing sky high views of the coastline. The new action-packed adventure from Skydive Australia and Sea World Helicopters is Australia's only helicopter tandem skydive experience, soaring 10,000 feet above Surfers Paradise before freefalling with views of the Gold Coast skyline and beaches below, landing on iconic Main Beach. Prices start from $595 per person.
- Launching in December 2021, award winning tourism operator Red Cat Adventures will make the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and islands off Mackay even more accessible with the introduction of the 'Wildcat' The custom-built vessel visits untouched parts of the reef and affords guests plenty of time in the water snorkeling and visiting secluded island beaches not often accessed by tourists. Bookings for Wildcat are available now with first tours departing in December. The all-inclusive day tour package starts from $179 per adult or $599 for a family of four.
Foodie frivolity and flavourful feasts
Calling all food fanatics! It's time to turn up the flavour with these six sensational food and drink experiences hot out of the Queensland kitchen.
- Bringing the 'kiff' (cool) to southeast Queensland, Kiff & Culture offer guided day trips to Tamborine Mountain and Gold Coast beachside hubs, scoping out the region's best food and drink experiences including some of Australia's top restaurants, wineries, distilleries, and breweries. So, rally the #squad and get ready for an Instagram-worthy day of food and fun times. Tours start from $165 per person depending on itinerary location and tour duration.
- Cali Beach Club is a stylish and vibrant entertainment precinct in the heart of Surfers Paradise. Having opened in September the venue is proving a popular backdrop for many Instagram feeds. We're talking luxe poolside cabanas, rooftop pool and live music space, a world class restaurant on its way, multiple bars, an outdoor cinema and even a beach volleyball court! If a dining and entertainment venue ever screamed summer vibes, Cali Beach Club is it.
- On the Sunshine Coast, Tasty Tours have partnered with local distillery, Sunshine & Sons, to deliver a luxury picnic experience in the hinterland. The premium picnic experience includes door-to-door return transfers, a stylish picnic set up on the lush lawn (think marquee, reclining floor chairs, lush pillows, low table and linen napkins), personal waitstaff, generous grazing boards and a three-hour drink package, Sunshine & Sons cocktails included. Choose from a brunch or sunset sitting on Saturday or Sunday with a minimum four people (starting from $145 per person) or opt for a private two-person picnic arranged by request.
- Unwind in the River City and experience some of the capital's best cocktail bars with River to Bay's tantalising new Cocktail Cruise (jump aboard for $99 per adult). Coasting along the Brisbane River the cruise is a relaxed and convenient way to sample Brisbane's most delectable concoctions with a complimentary drink as you board before sampling drops at Toscano, Fiume Bar, Mary Mae's and Will and Flow, with priority entry given to River to Bay guests.
- Awaken the senses with an exclusive evening of art, culture and culinary delights at the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art's (QAGOMA) First Artists: Exceptional Indigenous Art and Dining Experience. For $4,199 enjoy a private tour of Queensland's unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and cultural history. Hear from an Australian First Nations storyteller, artist and curator before joining them for an intimate dinner by Koori Chef Chris Jordan and QAGOMA's Executive Chef Doug Innes-Wills. The immersive experience is brought together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander live music and dance performances. Alternatively, opt for the group experience connecting artwork and culture, with a tour of the exhibition, hands-on creative activities and canapes for $465 per person.
- It's macadamia-mania in Bundaberg with the opening of The Orchard Table at Macadamias Australia. Delve into the history of Bundaberg and its rich farming industry, learn about the family behind Macadamias Australia and take a self-guided tour of the orchard. Sample everything macadamia with a guided tasting, or during the harvest season, pick your own and try to - 'bust a nut' at the cracking stations. The Orchard Table café offers locally produced treats and coffee made from a blend of macadamia-inspired coffee beans. Pick up some macadamia goodies to take home at the onsite Farmgate Store.
Family fun across the generations
Holidays mean family time and with families coming together in all shapes, sizes and generations, these four new experiences will create life-long memories for every member of the 'fam'.
- Share the most important meal of the day with Australian celebrities of the furry kind thanks to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary's Breakfast with the Koalas. The encounter includes a gourmet breakfast surrounded by koalas, the opportunity to chat with keepers and a koala cuddle complete with take home photo. Entry to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for the day is also included in the package which costs just $69 per person.
- The purpose-built CrocArena at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas features an impressive grandstand with seating for 300 people to catch daily crocodile shows, as well as an underwater viewing area to watch these apex predators feast on lunch. 'Bigger kids' can test their nerves by coming face to face with a 350kg modern-day dinosaur on a 'Swim with the Salties' experience ($199 per person), submerged in a 180-degree Perspex pool.
- Gather the generations to explore Brisbane's public artwork on a Museum of Brisbane Public Art Walking Tour for $35 per person. The 90-minute stroll through the city highlights work from the early 1900s, to modern installations and laneway art. Similarly, learn about the generations that came before us and step back in time on a Tides of Brisbane Boat Tour for $120 per person. The Museum of Brisbane exclusive tour dives into the history and stories from Brisbane's past, takes in views of the stunning city skyline and includes a mooring at Sea Legs Brewing Co for refreshments.
- Another exciting journey for the generations is the new Packers' Ghost Trek from Getaway Trekking & Adventures (starting at $2,995 per person). Departing Kalunga, 100km south-west of Cairns, this seven-day trek partners keen hikers with a team of skilled donkeys to follow tracks used by packers and drovers in the late 1800's. The concept behind the experience is a real teamwork between trekker and donkey. While the donkeys assist in transporting camping gear and supplies, you'll need to work in sync with your four-legged companion to traverse the rugged terrain in a true test of fitness. Visit historical mining sites like Silver Valley, where silver was first discovered in Australia, stop for refreshments at the historical town of Irvinebank, marvel at views from mountain ranges and cool off in clear river systems before sleeping under the stars. If your family shares a love of history, nature and adventure, the Packers' Ghost Trek is a must do in Tropical North Queensland.
Where to stay while you play
Pair your next unforgettable Queensland experience with a stay at one of seven new accommodation options that have opened their doors over the past six months.
- Tucked away in the countryside next to World-Heritage Listed Lamington National Park, Hazelwood Estate offers luxury accommodation paired with a stylish country restaurant and bar on a privately owned polo and wagyu farm. The team work closely with local farmers to produce an authentic paddock-to-plate experience complementing the rural setting and celebrating the property's traditional roots, while a dedicated wagyu tasting cellar door will follow early next year.
- The Scenic Rim will also welcome a new concept in rural retreats with the opening of five new WanderPods® set to call The Overflow 1895 home. Blending seamlessly into the countryside, the deluxe WanderPods® were born out of a desire to create a hotel brand that would form part of a solution to sustainability. Featuring solar and rainwater harvesting facilities, advanced wastewater treatment systems and backup generator, the only footprint left behind will be that of well-rested guests. Wander will debut in Australia this December at The Overflow 1895.
- Find your serenity at Serenita Stanthorpe, a new glamping offering located on a cattle property in the Granite Belt, just two hours southwest of Brisbane. The extravagant canvas tent features a king bed, internal wood fireplace that doubles as a woodfire oven, ensuite, self-contained kitchen, plus in-tent massages and a private chef on hand. The outdoor bathtub on the deck overlooks the Severn River, for the ultimate spa under the stars. Indulge even further with complimentary, locally sourced antipasto platter, Heavenly Chocolates and Ballendean Wine.
- Scandi at Maleny is the Sunshine Coast's newest luxury boutique accommodation, nestled in the hills of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom Scandinavian-style cabin is a low impact adult-only retreat with jaw dropping views out to the valley and mountain ranges that sweep across the horizon. Scandi at Maleny is also committed to supporting local with a stocked pantry of local produce and a bathroom full of pamper products from Maleny-based natural beauty brand Mukti.
- Brisbane's slickest riverfront hotel has a new name with the rebranding of The Fantauzzo to Crystalbook Vincent. Sculpted into the sandstone cliffs beneath Brisbane's Story Bridge, Crystalbrook Vincent pays homage to the artist after which it is named with six storeys of art by Vincent Fantauzzo displayed throughout. Joining the Crystalbrook family, the hotel boasts its own rooftop pool and bar, Fiume, with sprawling views across the river towards the city. And the good times keep rolling just footsteps away, with Howard Smith Wharves' lineup of bars and restaurants only a short stroll from the front door.
- and 23. Escape to the tropics and throw out the alarm clock when you holiday in Cairns and the Daintree. The Benson Hotel is a stylish art-deco inspired accommodation in the heart of Cairns CBD, featuring 56 generous guest rooms and a rooftop bar and pool area with sun lounges and live music performances. Meanwhile, this December Silky Oaks Lodge will unveil a $15 million refurbishment of the celebrated rainforest retreat under new parent company Bailie Lodges. Perched among the trees adjacent to the World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park and on the doorstep of the Mossman River, the reimagined Silky Oaks Lodge will elevate its luxury experience with a contemporary feel that also reflects the tranquility of the surrounding environment and indigenous culture.
Start planning your summer holiday and skyrocket these new experiences and tours to the top of your bucket list. To find out more and be even more inspired for your next Queensland getaway visit queensland.com.
Editor's note: For the latest information on COVID-19 travel restrictions and advice in Queensland, click here.
This list is not exhaustive, to keep up with the latest news headlines from Queensland visit queensland.com.
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