Queensland is set to welcome a plethora of new and exciting tourism experiences across the state this year. From stylish hotels to surfboard making tours and fresh music festivals, here are some of the new stays, tours and events opening in 2022 to add to your holiday bucket list.
This year the Gold Coast welcomes two world-renowned hotel brands to the iconic beachfront skyline. International brand, The Langham, will launch its third Australian property in Surfers Paradise in 2022. The deluxe beachfront hotel will span 169 rooms/suites and 170 serviced apartments. The hotel will also feature the brand’s Signature Cantonese restaurant T’ang Court and afternoon tea served at the Palm Court – lobby lounge and bar. In the neighbouring precinct of Broadbeach, The Dorsett opened on Boxing Day 2021 marking the brand’s entry into the Australian hotel market. Rates start from $250 per night.
Queensland’s capital will also welcome two new additions in 2022. The 194-room Voco Brisbane City Centre is scheduled to open its doors on 28 April. The property, which overlooks the Brisbane River at North Quay, will showcase vibrant artwork and feature a lobby restaurant, Kraft, serving craft brews, wine and cocktails. Opening in June, Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre sees designer Joseph Pang give the interiors of the 212-room riverfront hotel a fresh transformation, incorporating the story and character of the surrounding city neighbourhood throughout the property. The hotel’s restaurant, bar and café will also receive a contemporary new look.
Located in the heart of the Sunshine Coast’s new central business district, Holiday Inn Express Sunshine Coast is the region’s first internationally branded accommodation to launch in more than 30 years. The nine-story hotel will feature 181 rooms alongside a rooftop pool, bar and dining venue, function facilities and ground floor retail space. Holiday Inn Express Sunshine Coast is set to open on 30 April 2022.
Divers will flip at the chance to plunge into the Gold Coast’s new Wonder Reef when it opens in early 2022. The $5 million floating attraction is being installed 2.5kms offshore from Main Beach and will be a short 20-minute boat ride from the mainland. The world-first purpose-built buoyant reef has been described as a fusion of art, science and engineering. The aim is to attract marine life to the carefully crafted habitat appealing to divers who may not have traditionally considered the Gold Coast for dive expeditions.
Go behind the scenes and learn the art of board making at Australia’s home of surfing, the Gold Coast. The team at S*Lab, a creative hub for Surfboard Warehouse’s designers, has created a hands-on surfboard design and shaping tour, run out of the company’s Miami headquarters. Using cutting edge 3D software, visitors can create their dream board under the tutelage of expert board shapers. World surfing legends Rabbit Bartholomew, Beau Young, Rachel Tilley and Andrew McKinnon were involved in developing the experience. Take home your own personally crafted board or head straight for the surf. The tour is set to drop in April.
The team behind the popular Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel is set to operate the new Reef Magic Pontoon on Moore Reef, 45 km off the coast of Cairns on the Great Barrier Reef. Owned by Australian adventure and leisure tourism company, Experience Co, the pontoon, will open in early 2022 and immerse passengers in the wonders of the reef across two daily departures. The platform will be totally self-sufficient, utilising wind and solar power and will feature a floor-to-ceiling underwater observatory. Conservation will also play a key role with liveaboard accommodation and an onboard purpose-built laboratory to facilitate scientific research. Sea country guides will treat guests to indigenous storytelling, culture and performance.
Adventure enthusiasts will relish the opportunity to dip, jump and whiz through 28km of mountain bike trails currently under construction at Russell Park in the Bunya Mountains. The trails are designed to have minimal impact on the natural environment and will comprise five specially designed mountain bike ‘loops’ and two trails to be shared among walkers and riders. Weaving through the world’s largest bunya forest, the Bunya Mountains Mountain Bike Track is due to open in June 2022.
Cooberrie Park Wildlife Sanctuary north of Yeppoon is dialing up the family fun this year. In December 2021 the sanctuary opened stage one of a new tourism attraction – Capricorn Dinosaur Mini Golf. Stage two of the development will see a dinosaur walk, 35 life-sized dinosaur replicas, an educational fossil dig and an interactive indoor experience launch later in 2022 as part of the Capricorn Dinosaur Park development.
Still in the Capricorn region, 25 February marks the beginning of a new chapter in Rockhampton’s cultural story with the opening of the Rockhampton Museum of Art. Located in the heart of the Rockhampton Riverside Precinct, Rockhampton Museum of Art is the largest gallery in regional Queensland and home to one of the finest collections of modern Australian paintings from artists such as Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Russell Drysdale, John Coburn and Charles Blackman. Contemporary artists including the likes of Michael Zavros, Del Kathryn Barton, Richard Bell, Sally Gabori (Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda) and Ben Quilty also feature. The opening exhibition, ‘The Welcome Home Exhibition’, will celebrate the rich and vibrant collection that has defined Rockhampton’s cultural scene for the past 45 years.
The Sunshine State will welcome five new additions to the existing calendar of world-class events in 2022. Named by Lonely Planet as one of the world’s top ten regions to visit in 2022, the Scenic Rim will host the inaugural Long Sunset Festival on 12 February 2022. Set in Elysian Fields, Canungra, Angus & Julia Stone headline the festival supported by Brisbane group Ballpark Music and other homegrown talent. Local food and artwork, celebrating the surrounding region, will also feature in the event line up.
After a four-year hiatus the Mackay Beach Horse Races will return from 10 – 12 June 2022 and is expected to attract more than 5,000 spectators to the shores of Mackay Harbour Beach. Alongside the main event, an energetic entertainment program takes inspiration from the pumping beach clubs of Europe presenting a fully catered Quarterdeck, ‘Fashions on the Sand’ and pre- and post-race concerts.
This year it’s all about soaking in sunshine in Tropical North Queensland with two new outdoor events on the radar. Sounds Bout Right Music Festival see headliners What So Not, Boy & Bear and Hooligan Hefs mix it with international talent and local acts at the Cairns Showgrounds on 30 April. While passionate peddlers will rush to the Port Douglas Gran Fondo Festival from 9 – 11 September 2022, where the spectacularly pretty Great Barrier Reef Drive will host the 136km and 100km return Gran Fondo rides from Port Douglas to Palm Cove and the 48km one-way leisurely Medio Fondo from Palm Cove to Port Douglas.
In a first for the Mount Isa Mines Rodeo, elements of the much-loved outback festival will hit the road in 2022. Road to Rodeo will give Queensland towns a taste of the largest rodeo in the southern hemisphere, packed full of rodeo riding and rocking live music. Longreach plays host to the first event on 30 April and 01 May 2022 with a series of other Queensland locations to follow over the next two years.
Nine notable new tourism experiences that opened over summer
Need more inspiration for your travel bucket-list? Check out the raft of tourism experiences and stays that popped up over the festive season.
- Down Under Submarines, Sunshine Coast – launched December 2021
- HOLA Eumundi, Sunshine Coast – launched December 2021
- The Sebel Whitsundays Airlie Beach, Whitsundays – launched December 2021
- SeaLink Big Island Day Tour, Whitsundays – launched November 2021
- Wildcat Mackay, Mackay – launched November 2021
- Underwater Scooter Adventure Kayak & Snorkel Tour, Hervey Bay – launched November 2021
- Cairns River Cruises new guided tours and charters, Cairns – launched November 2021
- AAT Kings’ Queensland Spirit: Heart of the Outback, Outback Queensland – launched November 2021
- Heli Pub Crawl Toowoomba, Toowoomba – launched late 2021
With so many fantastic experiences and stays launching in 2022, there’s no better time to start planning your next Queensland holiday. Visit queensland.com for more travel inspiration and itinerary ideas.
Editor’s note: For the latest information on COVID-19 travel advice in Queensland, click here.
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