Wet wet wet Queensland – what to do, where to go, how to help

The outskirts of Rockhampton. Pic: AP.

As you might have heard about 60 percent of the state of Queensland in Australia is submerged in water with some of the worst flooding on record.While VIP Backpackers is an international network we are Australian based so our thoughts are with our Queensland friends. Plus we’d like to give you a quick update on the situation so you can make travel plans.

Certainly many travellers have their overland travel plans across Queensland thwarted with a number of road and rail closures across the state. However many of Queensland’s tourism destinations are still open for business as the southern and northern coasts remain largely unaffected, including parts of the central coast around Fraser Island.

So that means you should not put your Queensland holiday plans to one side yet, the state needs your tourism dollar more than ever, plus there’s plenty of places you can still go.

Here’s some info from the www.queenslandholidays.com.au website:

Affected areas: parts of Central Queensland, the Outback and Western Downs. Access is currently restricted in these areas.
Recovering areas: Most tourism businesses in Bundaberg, Gladstone, Agnes Water and 1770, including Heron Island, Mon Repos Turtle Experience, Bargara beaches, Lady Elliot Island and Lady Musgrave Island, are now open and returning to normal business operation. There may however be some limited local road access.
Non-affected areas: Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast, Southern Downs, Toowoomba, Mackay, Whitsundays, Townsville and Tropical North Queensland.  These areas are currently accessible and are fully open for business including beaches, island resorts, accommodation providers, tours and attractions.

You might want to avoid the affected areas and assess conditions in recovering areas before you set out. But the non-affected regions are in full swing and let’s face it, contain some of the reasons you’ve come here in the first place. Let’s take a look:

Southbank beach, Brisbane. Pic: Joanne Lane, http://www.visitedplanet.com

The state capital has only had very very minor flooding and the CBD is generally free from that. It has been a little wet but the usual humidity that is the hallmark of Queensland summers is gone so you’ll enjoy cooler days in the mid 20 degree temperatures, you can choose from a fine selection of museums, art galleries, parks and gardens, shopping centres, markets and cafes/restaurants.

For more information:
* Read our travel guide.
* Book Brisbane accommodation.

Events in Brisbane this January:
Brisbane International Tennis Tournament (current)
30th annual Cockroach Races (Jan 26)

Hamilton Island, Whitsundays. Pic: Joanne Lane, http://www.visitedplanet.com

Airlie Beach

We received an email from Tourism Queensland this week saying Airlie Beach has sunny skies and a quick weather check confirmed this. From the south the train/bus lines are cut so you will need to fly in, however roads are open to the north through to Cairns.

Airlie Beach gives you access to the Whitsundays and the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Gorgeous blue tropical waters here feature an archipelago of lovely sandy atolls and islands. You can fish, sail, dive, snorkel and enjoy all the marine and tropical life around you.

For more information:
* Read our travel guide.
* Book Airlie Beach accommodation.

Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast

It is raining here a little but there’s no flooding in this corner of Queensland, plus you get wet anyway if you head to the beach! There’s plenty of things you can do in these two regions. First just so you understand, the Gold Coast is south of Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast to the north.

On the Sunshine Coast you could head to to Noosa and enjoy walking, swimming or surfing around/through the National Park – keep an eye out for wildlife like koalas, bush turkeys and goannas also! Alternatively you could join a canoe trip heading up the Noosa River to the inland lakes and coloured sands or simply relax with shopping and eating on Hastings Street. Alternatively head a little south to Mooloolabah where the famous Underwater World is based. There’s plenty of good beaches here too and some fine seaside walks and shopping. Or go into the evergreen hinterland region around Mapleton or out to the Mary Valley and Blackall Range for some quaint country towns, eclectic art galleries and boutiques and all the wonderful produce of this region.

If you’re keen on seeing the famed Gold coast there’s plenty more beach action and swells to enjoy in this corner of southern Queensland, south of Brisbane, plus all the casino and night action of Surfers Paradise.

For more information:
* Read our travel guide to the Gold Coast.
* Book accommodation on the Gold Coast.
* Red our travel guide to the Noosa and Mooloolabah.
* Book Noosa and Mooloolabah accommodation.

Fraser Island shipwreck. Pic: Joanne Lane, http://www.visitedplanet.com

Hervey Bay and Fraser Island

Fortunately roads into Hervey Bay have not been affected from the south. So you can still access the famed Fraser Island, one of the world’s most amazing sand islands with its resident wild horses, dingos, and birds. Plus there’s plenty of 4WDing, fishing, lake swimming, hiking and camping to enjoy.

For more information:
* Read our travel guide.
* Book Hervey Bay accommodation.


The tropical north of Queensland is in the non-affected region of the state. Which means all those amazing islands, reef systems and rainforests are still out there waiting for you. This could well be a journey of a lifetime and a chance to enjoy the world’s most incredible ecosystem without the crowds.

For more information:
* Read our travel guide.
* Book Cairns accommodation.

If you’re still in Queensland once the flooding has eased please do visit our outback areas. They’ll be trying to get back on their feet and your support will encourage them. There’s so much to see in western Queensland and we’ll run a feature on some of those affected regions and how you can help in a future post.

If you have any concerns about your travel plans contact your travel agent or accommodation/tour provider. For updates on flood news go to the Queensland Government webpage. Road closure information is listed on http://131940.qld.gov.au/ and weather forecasts at the Bureau of Meteorology.

If you would like to donate money to help the flood victims visit the Queensland Government Flood Assistance Appeal website.


Hope you’re enjoying the VIP Backpacker’s Travel Blog. There’ll be an update added every other Friday, so keep tuning in to keep your travel dreams alive! If there are any travel topics you want covered feel free to contact me, Jo, at blog@vipbackpackers.com



3 thoughts on “Wet wet wet Queensland – what to do, where to go, how to help

  1. Pingback: Beautiful Queensland – perfect one day flooded the next « Vipbackpackers's Blog

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