Answering your questions about safety in Queensland

Surfers at sunset, Noosa. Pic: Joanne Lane, http://www.visitedplanet.com

Tourism Queensland is reeling with the recent spate of natural disasters to hit the state. Many of you are staying away because of fears of cyclones and floods, but this is actually the time we need tourists to start coming back to help these affected communities get back on their feet.

Besides if it really was such a dangerous place to live do you think thousands of Queenslanders would hang around? Of course not! It’s a fantastic state that you absolutely should visit!

A large part of getting tourists back is allowing them to understand what the perceived “dangers” are to traveling and living in Queensland. Yes there are dangers but many are avoided very easily. So here’s a few questions we’ve been asked over the years with answers we hope will encourage you to still travel here. If we haven’t answered your question then fire away and ask!

And any backpackers that have experienced some inclement weather in Queensland of late, do write in to blog@vipbackpackers.com with your story!

Are cyclones common in Queensland?

Cyclone season is officially designated between November and April and on average 4-5 cyclones may affect Queensland during that time. Most of the impact is in north Queensland although flooding rain, winds and erosion can occur elsewhere.

However given the early warning systems in place and the excellent disaster management planning as displayed by the response to Cyclone Yasi, you should be fine if you’re up north during a storm. You may also have time, as many did, to leave the area entirely.

Many backpackers were housed in evacuation centres during Cyclone Yasi so just follow the instructions and advice of authorities and locals as they did and you should be okay. If you’re further south of a cyclone still heed warnings to stay out of the water as dangerous tides and water activity can occur a long way from the actual cyclone.

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

What about all those dangerous animals?

Yes Queensland has mosquitoes, flies, sandflies, crocodiles, stingers, spiders and snakes. It’s all well documented and they’re out there. But thousands of Queenslanders live with these animals every day without any problems. So what should you do?

Obviously crocodiles and sharks are aggressive so you should avoid swimming in creeks, rivers and billabongs where crocs are present. Sharks feed at dawn and dusk often near the mouth of rivers so avoid those areas and try always to swim inside the flagged areas on main beaches.

Stingers are prevalent from roughly November to May each year up north and their stings have killed people. They do haunt beaches, but rarely islands and reefs, so stay inside the stinger enclosures, wear a stinger suit or simply keep out of the water. If you are stung current advice is to douse the stung site in vinegar.

Other insects are largely just annoying not dangerous. For ant bites you can reduce swelling and pain with cold ice or water. Use insect repellents to deter mosquitoes and flies. And with snakes and spiders simply keep out of their way.

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

What about dangerous ocean currents?

Surf lifesavers patrol Australia’s beaches for good reason – so you can relax and enjoy the conditions in and out of the water. They assess the beach conditions and patrol sections that are safe for swimming. Swim inside the flags they set out and you’ll avoid trouble. On unmarked beaches never swim alone, don’t swim after consuming alcohol and try to avoid swimming after dark. Common sense needs to prevail.

I want to come to Queensland but I’m not sure where I can go?

Some areas of the state have not been affected at all by the recent floods or cyclones, while others have tidied up and are already ready to start welcoming you back. Check out the Queensland Holidays website for current conditions for travel. Here’s a small excerpt:
Destinations including the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Agnes Water, 1770, Queensland’s Outback, Southern Downs and Granite Belt and Toowoomba are currently accessible and ready to welcome visitors.
The Capricorn region is now recovering from the Queensland floods with most tourism operations open and affected tourism operations returning to normal as quickly as possible. There are however still some local road closures in some areas. Visit http://131940.qld.gov.au/ for the latest road conditions.

We’ve also featured the amazing Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in our February 2011 newsletter– two fantastic regions in the southeast that have not been affected by either flooding or cyclones.

We hope to see you in Queensland soon!

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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

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3 thoughts on “Answering your questions about safety in Queensland

  1. Easily my favourite Aussie state, people are great, so laid-back and as for dangers, well obviously out there like the post says but nothing to be worried about.

  2. Saw a snake, dingo and some spiders when I visited. But all fine. Not used to those sorts of things coming from the UK but it was fine. Oh, I do recommend insect repellent though for those mosquitoes, annoying things.

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