From luxury villas on an Outback station and sleeping with sharks in Tropical North Queensland to welcoming the world's best at four new blockbuster events and sailing the Great Barrier Reef from Cape Tribulation – here are 9 new reasons to (re-)visit Queensland in 2017:
ONE YEAR OUT FROM THE GOLD COAST 2018 COMMONWEALTH GAMES (GC2018)Queensland is gearing up to host the largest sporting event in Australia this decade and 2017 will see a flurry of activity and festivities with the celebration of one year out from GC2018 (4 April 2017) and the start of the worldwide baton relay from Buckingham Palace through 70 Commonwealth nations to Australia.
From 4-15 April 2018, 6,600 athletes and team officials from 70 nations and territories will flock to the Sunshine State for GC2018. Billion-dollar infrastructure projects and the completion of sporting venues are well underway and the Gold Coast is buzzing with excitement fuelled by a growing scene of creatives and young entrepreneurs opening new businesses – from restaurants and funky cafes to art galleries and designer boutiques.
2016 saw a flurry of new hotel openings in Brisbane with many more opening their doors in 2017. Add to this some great new restaurants, urban haunts, two new events and one major exhibition and you start to understand why Brisbane will be THE place to visit in the new year.
BRISBANE ON THE RISE
NEW AND UNIQUE ACCOMMODATION OPTIONSA new luxury Outback lodge is set to open on North Queensland's Mount Mulligan Station in mid-2017. The 12 luxury accommodations will boast majestic views of the stunning 400m high cliff face (ten times larger than Uluru) and offer guests a bespoke and world-class experience of a working Outback station.
If you're more drawn towards the colourful underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef, visit the Cairns Aquarium (set to open in April 2017) where the sleepover experience allows you to snuggle into bed with hammerhead sharks and their mates circling you in their open ocean lagoon (if you dare!).
You can also bunker down in one of 15 new environmentally sustainable safari tents planned for the Green Mountain Campground in the World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park – a rainforest system that's been around for 100 million years. The safari tents have rainforest and mountain views and will be operated by O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat. Construction is set to begin mid-2017.