Tourism award ‘a win for Whitsundays’

A Whitsunday cruise company says its win at the Australian Tourism Awards is a win for the region.

Fantasea’s Reefworld dive platform took out the award for significant tourism attraction.

General manager Mike Mahoney says it is nice to be recognised by people within the industry but the prize also has commercial benefits.

“It’s just great that we keep the 74 islands brand there in front of both the industry and the consumer,” Mr Mahoney said.

“The Whitsundays is really developing. It’s a very exciting time for us.”


Long weekends on Norfolk Island for New Zealanders

Long weekends in Norfolk Island are now on the itinerary with the announcement weekday flights out of New Zealand are being changed.

From March 29, Air New Zealand’s return Boeing 737 service departs Auckland on Thursdays instead of Wednesdays.

The weekend Sunday return flight remains unchanged.

Air New Zealand’s Jo Kennedy says the move is due to aircraft availability with the introduction of the Northern Summer schedule.

Norfolk Island Tourism general manager Steve McInnes says there are benefits for the sub-tropical island.

“This move opens up the short break market enabling visitors to come across for a long weekend. Plus the early 8.30am departure out of Auckland and a measly 100 minute flying time enables travellers to get almost a full day with us.”

Air New Zealand is still offering free connecting flights to Auckland from Wellington and Christchurch.

For further information on Norfolk Island, please visit Norfolk Island, an exotic island paradise at :

Rain brings relief to Great Barrier Reef

Recent torrential rains in northeastern Australia have provided some rare relief for the Great Barrier Reef. The rains and cloudy conditions have significantly reduced ocean temperatures, making them the coolest in years. The reef is usually at risk of serious scorching and bleaching during the summer months.The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living organism, stretching over more than 345,000 square kilometers. It is also the world’s most protected marine area.

Still, it is under threat, from a combination of global warming, pollution and over-fishing.

Scientists had predicted that this summer would be a tough one for the reef. They feared that extreme heat would scorch the coral. But recent storms that dumped torrential rain across much of Australia’s northeast have brought some unexpected good news.

The normally warm seas that cover the reef have been stirred, and Jeff Maynard of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority says the temperatures have dropped.

“This year reef temperatures are showing that temperatures for the majority of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park are below the long-term averages we see for this time of year,” he said. “So right now, we’re considering coral bleaching risks to be low compared to bleaching years like ‘98 and 2002.”

The future, however, still does not look good.

Bleaching occurs when unusually warm seas cause the organisms that make up the coral to die. All that is left is a white limestone skeleton.

Researchers believe that as the world’s climate continues to change, the bleaching of the coral will become increasingly common.

The Great Barrier Reef, designated a World Heritage site, is Australia’s most popular destination for tourists.

It is home to 1,500 types of fish, and at more than 2,000 kilometers long, it is the only living thing the naked eye can see from space.

 For further information on The Great Barrier Reef and other Queensland vacation spots, please click on:

Chef convicted of Norfolk Island killing

The first murder trial on Norfolk Island in 150 years ended yesterday with a jury finding a New Zealand chef guilty of killing a woman he had run over and then stabbed repeatedly.Janelle Patton, 29, suffered 64 separate injuries including a fractured skull and numerous stab wounds in the attack in 2002. The brutality of Patton’s murder shocked Norfolk residents, many of them descendants of 18th-century mutineers from the British warship Bounty

Ghost Tour

Norfolk Island offers visitors the best of both worlds to be thrilled, then chilled. Go for an evening ghost tour and then calm your nerves with yoga on the beach the next morning. Ghost busters will love the lantern-lit walking tour of the seaside cemetery and the abandoned convict colony. The experience costs $90 and includes a three-course dinner in the convict ruins after the ghost tour, and a healthy breakfast on the beach after the yoga session. For further information on Norfolk Island, please visit:

* Norfolk Island – an exotic getaway paradise


Set on an undulating rural plateau emanating from the surrounding cliff tops, the carpet of Norfolk pines and lush, green rainforest stretch to the summit of Mt Pitt in Norfolk’s national park. The pristine, blue waters have an abundance of marine life on the coral reef alongside beautiful lagoon beaches. To find out more about Norfolk Island, please visit:,_a_getaway_paradise.html

* Lord Howe Island – a unique holiday destination


Lord Howe Island is one of the most unique holiday destinations in the Pacific. There’s swimming, fishing, snorkelling, mountain bike riding and bushwalking – or you can just relax in the pristine environment of a World Heritage Area. This unique paradise is capped by two rainforest covered volcanic peaks, often shrouded in cloud.

For more information on Lord Howe Island, please visit:,_a_pristine,_exotic_vacation.html