What to do in Queensland during the Commonwealth Games
For the 21st Commonwealth Games, from 4 to 15 April 2018, over 6,600 athletes and team officials from 70 Commonwealth nations will jet into Queensland – with a fair few spectators ready to cheer them on too.
Of course, these travellers will come for the Games but stay for the sights: Queensland is one of the most diverse areas on earth, encompassing the natural beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and lush rainforests, as well as the ultra-modern Gold Coast and unspoilt islands of paradise
Just like the Games themselves, a trip down under will involve a busy, back-to-back schedule. Here’s what’s top of the Flexicover team's table.
Swim with the fishes in the Great Barrier Reef
Now is the time to pay a visit to the Great Barrier Reef – very carefully, of course. The blue and turquoise-streaked seas are a sight to behold above water, but dip your head in and the underwater world reveals itself. Vibrant schools of fish, families of turtles and fragile corals of all shapes and sizes live in balanced harmony, there to be witnessed by respectful snorkelers and divers. For those who prefer to stay on shore, ReefHQ in Townsville recreates coral life in an aquarium. Or to really experience coral life, an overnight stay on an island resort is the stuff memories are made of.
Experience the Outback in Longreach
In the very middle of Queensland lies the urban oasis of Longreach, a spot surrounded by desert for hundreds of miles. So this is the place to experience a different style of life and there’s much to learn about the history of Australia too. It houses the Qantas Museum (especially interesting as it’s the second oldest airline in the world) and the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame, a tribute to the Aussies that made the country what it is today. For something special, take a scenic flight to get an aerial view of the Outback’s vastness.
Go glitzy on the Gold Coast
If you like the beach party vibe of Miami, you’ll love the Gold Coast in Queensland. It’s marked by a skyline of high-rises and hotels, with enough five-star accommodation to give Vegas a run for its money. Make a beeline to Cavill Avenue, the beating heart of the area that runs from the famous ‘Surfer’s Paradise’ sign through bars, clubs, shops and restaurants. At night, when buskers come out and partygoers make their way to hidden nightclubs, it takes on a different mood entirely. Or for a hip experience, amble down Miami Marketta for night street feasts, live music and pop-up boutique stalls.
Go koala-spotting on Magnetic Island
The affectionately-dubbed ‘Maggie Island’ is a popular starting point for Great Barrier Reef tours, and is effectively a suburb of Townsville with around 2,000 residents. It’s also home to a large number of wild koalas, encountered while hiking along Fort Walk, Horseshoe Bay and Picnic Bay especially. Eagle-eyed nature lovers will also see other examples of wildlife in its National Park, which takes up 5,184 hectares (that’s two-thirds of the island): kangaroos, kookaburras, curlews, rock wallabies and flatback turtle can all be seen in their natural habitat. Who needs zoos when there’s Maggie Island.
Head into the depths of the rainforests
The rainforests of Queensland feel a million miles away from the urban environs of Cairns or the dry desert of the Outback, though they lie neatly between them. Join a rainforest day tour for a taster of what it’s like, or go native and base yourself at the rainforest village of Kuranda to find out exactly what’s behind the ferns. The village can be accessed via the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, a cable car which gives a bird’s eye view of the towering trees, or via a quaint train service that offers magnificent views of the rainforest’s expanse.
Wherever you plan to head to this year it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.