Amid the global COVID-19 crisis, travellers around the world are staying home, staying safe and eagerly waiting for life to return to normal. And while traditional travel may be out of the question for now, Queensland is inviting travellers to explore virtually today to help plan their next unforgettable holiday.
Supporting this notion, Sarah Mathews, Group Head of Destination Marketing APAC from Tripadvisor, confirmed that, “People's desire to travel is resilient, and our search data is showing positive signs of interest in domestic travel.”
“Travel starts with trip planning, and during this time, we encourage users to start planning their next trip now.
“It is all about keeping the hope of travelling again alive and being inspired through planning, knowing that when all of this has passed, that trip will be ready and waiting.”
To inspire their next holiday, travellers are invited to a sensory journey of Queensland that will bring the Sunshine State into their home through sight, sound, smell and taste.
People can enjoy everything Queensland has to offer with a raft of virtual reality experiences, live streams and Queensland-inspired movies that can transport viewers into the heart of the state's most incredible nature, wildlife, culture and culinary experiences.
Art and culture enthusiasts are invited to take a virtual tour or check out a virtual exhibition at some of Queensland's best cultural hubs such as The Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland Museum or Queensland Air Museum. The Queensland Ballet has also announced they will be offering free online ballet classes while Camerata, Queensland's Chamber Orchestra, are running a 5@5 initiative on their Facebook page which sees artists perform live for five minutes each day at 5pm.
For wildlife-lovers there is a plethora of live streams and educational videos online that allows viewers to watch and learn about Queensland's native fauna. Sea Life Sunshine Coast are live streaming from their Facebook page to introduce viewers to the different animals and creatures that live at the aquarium and provide educational talks, while Cockatours in Cairns are streaming free ecology talks, also from their Facebook page. Splitters Farm in Bundaberg is offering a real-life learning experience for the family, bringing rescued farm animals into living rooms in a Facebook Live video stream each weekday at 10am. People can tune in to watch the crocodiles feed at Koorana Crocodile Farm via Facebook live stream and educational videos featuring different animals are being posted to the Cooberrie Park Wildlife Sanctuary Facebook page. And for an 'anytime' animal-fix, the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary website hosts a range of webcams where people can watch koalas snacking on Eucalyptus leaves, dingo puppies playing and platypus swimming.
Queensland's relaxed energy and natural environment also serves as the perfect setting to rest, unwind and take a moment to look after one's body, mind and soul. Filmed in front of a beautiful Gold Coast backdrop, the normally exclusive Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat has made guided Qi Gong practice videos available to everyone on YouTube – the perfect way to start the day. To help travellers stay active and healthy while at home W Brisbane has released a 20-minute workout by FUEL Ambassador Luke Zoochi, who also happens to be Chris Hemsworth's trainer.
Finally, dive in to Queensland's most iconic destination, The Great Barrier Reef, from above and below the water with this video, and learn how visitors can help protect this spectacular natural wonder for generations to come. Queensland's YouTube channel also provides a range of informative and inspiring videos, including incredible 360-degree views of some Queensland's other amazing and awe-inspiring destinations.
Queensland may not have the grandeur or notoriety of traditional Hollywood, but that doesn't mean the Sunshine State hasn't provided spectacular backdrops for dozens of blockbuster films. Check out just some of these silver screen favourites that have been inspired by Queensland:
- Finding Nemo: The infamous tale of two fish, Marlin and Dory, who get swept along the Eastern Australian Current (EAC) as they head south to Sydney in search of Nemo brings to life the colour and the characters of Queensland's Great Barrier Reef.
- Fool's Gold: This Hollywood Blockbuster has Queensland written all over it. Filming transformed the main street of Port Douglas into Key West, Florida, with scenes filmed inside the popular Central Hotel, while Hamilton Island, Lizard Island and Airlie Beach doubled as the Bahamas.
- Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Men Tell No Tales: The fifth instalment of the swashbuckling franchise was filmed entirely in Queensland and it is not the West Indies that adds Hollywood sailing chutzpah to the plot, but the Gold Coast and the Whitsundays that make for the stunning backdrops.
- Muriel's Wedding: Australian classic Muriel's Wedding is set in the fictitious town of 'Porpoise Spit' and keen travellers will be able to spot Surfers Paradise, Seaworld, Breakers Bistro at Tugan and Coolangatta as the backdrop for some scenes. Meanwhile, Hibiscus Island where the girls are 'honeymooning' was filmed on beautiful Hamilton Island.
Every destination has its own unique sound and Queensland is no different. All it takes is a bit of imagination and a whisper of the ocean or the tweet of a bird to transport listeners straight to the Sunshine State – just close your eyes and listen.
Experience the calming sounds of rolling waves on the Queensland coast or take a moment to stop and listen to the echoes of the peaceful Daintree and dream about tropical holidays planned for the future. There is also a great range of Queensland inspired playlists, including sounds of the rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, available to stream and download on Spotify.
Take a break and wind down before a good night's sleep with Wildlife Warrior Binidi Irwin from Queensland's Australia Zoo. Bindi has put together a sleep story on the Calm mindfulness app where she takes listeners from rainforest to reef, exploring the incredible wildlife of Australia.
For something a bit more upbeat, bring the party 'in-house' with Riversands Easter in the Vines country music event being live streamed on Facebook across the Easter weekend.
The sense of smell is an integral part of any travel experience – with certain smells and fragrances evoking memories and emotions of holidays gone by. Essential oils and wax candles are a great way for travellers to enjoy the smells of Queensland without even needing to step outside. Try this essential oil fragrance for the uplifting scent of the Great Barrier Reef or these scented candles inspired by the lush Daintree Rainforest to transport the mind to the natural wonders of Queensland.
Some of the most iconic tastes of Queensland can be ordered online and found in retailers all over the world – bringing iconic and fresh delicacies straight to the door.
With Bundaberg quickly becoming one of Queensland's beverage hotspots people can try a range of different drinks to suit any occasion. Quench that thirst with one of Bundaberg Brewed Drinks' refreshing tropical flavours or treat yourself to a glass of the most famous local drop, Bundaberg Rum. For non-rum drinkers the latest addition to the Bundaberg drinks scene is Kalki Moon gin, vodka and liquors – a seriously good drop which can also be purchased from Dan Murphy's.
Buderim Ginger is a longstanding Queensland producer which has been delighting tastes buds for almost 80 years. Try the ginger cordial for a rejuvenating afternoon drink or snack on ginger flavoured chews and ginger marmalade on toast. Another Queensland staple, the macadamia nut, also known as the Queensland nut, signifies all that is good about the Sunshine State and is used in recipes from all different cultures.
Sit down for a classic Queensland morning team with a lamington, the iconic coconut and chocolate-coated sponge which was named after Lord Lamington (or even possibly his wife Lady Lamington), the first Governor of Queensland and a cuppa made from Daintree Tea or Nerada Tea.
Finer delicacies to really treat the taste buds can also be found in Queensland with Awassi Cheesery offering their products online which pair nicely with a glass of award-winning wine from Ridgemill Estate in the Granite Belt. For those looking for a complete wine-tasting experience City Winery in Brisbane is offering virtual food and wine pairing experiences, wine and cheese tasting, and wine blending workshops.
Everyone knows the Tim Tam is a world-famous Australian snack but taking a bite of the new Sunshine Coast Strawberries and Cream flavoured Tim Tam, will transport you to a warm and sunny summer's day in Queensland in an instant.
Still left wanting to experience more of Queensland and start planning a Sunshine State escape? Check out the Queensland Uncovered blog for more inspiring content and virtual holiday ideas to keep the holiday dream alive.
Images (to be credited to Tourism and Events Queensland): https://www.dropbox.com/sh/aynanw4xxiriuen/AADBl-Kd6ficzmDzX7VwrwRka?dl=0
Publicist, Tourism and Events Queensland
P: +61 7 3535 5337