The border between NSW and QLD has been announced to open on December 1, just in time for your best Australian summer yet.
Following months of strict border closures between the two states, the announcement from Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, comes much to the delight of families who are eager to reunite after months apart.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Jeannette Young, had previously stated that border restrictions would not be lifted until Sydney was able to record 28 consecutive days with no unknown community transmission of COVID-19 cases.
The successful response of the city has allowed Sydney to reach this milestone, and as a result, Greater Sydney is no longer considered a hotspot.
Should Victoria record no cases on Wednesday, travellers from the state will also be allowed into Queensland without a mandatory quarantine period.
“We know how tough this has been on families. This is a great day. It’s exciting news,” Palaszczuk said. “Queensland is good to go.”
The ease of travel restrictions between NSW and QLD is also expected to prompt a boost in domestic tourism. “We absolutely want to see our tourism industry continue to flourish and prosper,” Palaszczuk added.
Now, as Sydneysiders no doubt rush to take advantage of the airlines’ Black Friday sales and snag a bargain fare to QLD, we’re helping you curate the ultimate itinerary. Here’s where you’ll find us this summer in Queensland:
Where to stay in QLD
We deserve to treat ourselves with a holiday like no other, which is why for our first trip to Queensland post-pandemic, we’re staying on a private island in the Great Barrier Reef. You’d assume an experience like that to cost an arm and a leg, but we’ve found an affordable private island (three words we never thought we’d write together) that’s ready and waiting to welcome guests.
Camp Island is located in the northern Whitsundays and positioned within the heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef marine park. Comprised of four deluxe villas, each with its own ensuite, the accommodations on the island sleep up to eight guests. At $1,300 a night for the entire island, you can easily divide that by eight for the number of guests allowed, to pay only $162.50 per person, per night. You are welcome.
Qualia, Hamilton Island
The lavish Qualia Resort has 60 guest pavilions set across 12 hectares of landscaped grounds. In addition to private beach access, there are two infinity pools with postcard views plus an epic spa that offers a full suite of personal therapies — such as yoga instruction, iridology and naturopathy — to complement your warm stone massage or full-body salt scrub.
The dining here is next level, too. Fine diner Pebble Beach offers fresh seafood and air-freighted charcuterie, while the alfresco Long Pavilion serves modern European with Australian influences.
What to do in QLD
Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel
Perhaps one of the most special experiences one can have in Queensland, a day trip with Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel involves heading out to two Great Barrier Reef with Indigenous sea rangers.
“Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel is a unique reef educational Great Barrier Reef experience incorporating the world’s oldest living culture and the stories Traditional Owners have passed down over tens of thousands of years,” the tour site reads.
Recently, Heart Island on the Great Barrier Reef opened for the first time to visitors. The heart-shaped reef had previously been available to enjoy only from above, but now, Whitsunday day-trippers can explore Heart Reef by snorkelling the crystal waters surrounding it.
Visitors to Hamilton Island can now embark on a three-hour day-trip to visit the romantic formation and swim near coral bommie. The excursion begins with a 30-minute private helicopter ride departing from Qualia resort. You’ll land safety atop a floating pontoon near Heart Reef, enjoy canapes and bubbles, then snorkel around the reef before taking your return flight.
The Great Barrier Reef Drive
The Great Barrier Reef Drive along the Queensland coast is 300km of jaw-dropping scenery. The world’s largest reef system lies on one side of the car, while the other side offers a view of the lush Daintree Rainforest. You won’t know which way to look, and you’ll do just about anything to be the passenger over the driver.
“Stop along the way to snorkel in Port Douglas, learn about Aboriginal culture in the ancient Daintree Rainforest and spot saltwater crocodiles in Cape Tribulation,” Tourism Australia says of the scenic drive.