18 February 2011 by Luke McCormick
Each week Luke McCormick, Wexas Channel Editor, provides an inside look at the latest headlines and gives his independent, expert comment.
This week: A fair-dinkum look at the state of play Down Under and valuable insights into Australia’s gastronomic scene.
Australia is open for business following the floods in southern Queensland and the cyclone that affected parts of the tropical north.
Tourists are enjoying a warm Aussie welcome and are experiencing the stunning beaches, reef and rainforests of Queensland as part of their Australian holiday.
Could any other country on earth offer the possibilities and exceptional natural beauty of this island nation?
From the world-class resorts, reefs and rainforests of Tropical North Queensland to the superb vineyards and restaurants in regional Victoria, Australia is one of the world’s most exciting destinations and certainly still as beautiful as ever.
"Only a small part of this vast continent was affected by the recent - and widely reported - floods, fires and cyclones. The majority of Australia’s iconic natural attractions and sights are open and ready to be enjoyed."
The majority of tourism operators in Queensland are open and popular tourism hubs such as Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef are mostly back to normal business operations.
Ferry services between the Whitsunday Islands and Whitsunday Coast have also been restored and the Whitsunday Coast and Great Barrier Reef airports are operating normally.
Tropical North Queensland and The Whitsundays are regions that quickly got back to business following the cyclone, but they are suffering from the perception that all of Queensland was affected by the weather.
"In fact only a small area around Mission Beach bore the brunt of the storm and most tourism operations in that area are now operational."
However Dunk Island and Bedarra Island will not reopen until September after suffering extensive damage.
Certainly the Great Barrier Reef resorts on Lizard Island and Heron Island are now open and welcoming guests. The accommodation on Lizard Island has recently seen a ‘soft’ refurbishment, while Heron Island is in the middle of the annual green turtle migration.
From November to March every year a breeding population of green turtles come ashore on Heron Island to nest and hatch their young. It’s for this reason one of Australia’s premier research stations was set up on this coral cay 72km off the coast from Gladstone.
Guests at Heron Island Resort are encouraged to learn more about the station and its work to get a better understanding of the delicate underwater world that surrounds them.
Tourism Queensland’s Jane Nicholson, its international director based in the UK, said the destination is "shining through" in the wake of Cyclone Yasi, a category five system, which crossed the Queensland coast on February 02.
"As air access into important tourist hubs such as Cairns and the Whitsundays returns to normal and tourism businesses re-open their doors, it’s imperative that we let UK visitors know that Queensland is bouncing back and is ready to welcome them," she said.
Cairns International Airport is fully operational and accommodation in Cairns, Palm Cove, Port Douglas, Cairns Tablelands, Daintree and Cape Tribulation are open and operating as normal.