The number on the calendar may have ticked over, but the Trans-Tasman travel bubble continues to pause, at least for a smidge longer.
Thankfully, dreaming is still free and these four unusual lodgings – set to open this year in Queensland’s oldest rainforest, beside its most famous beach, next to a world heritage listed national park, and under the Great Barrier Reef – are set to inspire Kiwi travellers to get out the date planner and turn any dismay into desire.
Silky Oaks Lodge, Cairns & Great Barrier Reef – Rainforest retreat
Trust the destination that inspired the blockbuster movie Avatar to get us salivating about a holiday in a treehouse. Luxury treetop escape, Silky Oaks Lodge, has taken lockdown makeovers to new heights with plans to roll out a new vibe on 1 October 2021 under the Baillie Lodge brand.
Influenced by its Daintree Rainforest surroundings, the refurbed lodge will integrate indigenous artworks and custom furnishings by Australian designers across six luxury villa styles, including the new ultra-premium 323m2 Daintree Pavilion. Stay in one of the 40 villas that nestles quietly in the world’s oldest rainforest and bathe in the soul and the heritage of the region.
The Langham, Gold Coast – Beauty by the beach
Beachfront luxury on the Gold Coast’s fashionable Surfers Paradise doesn’t get more glam than the highly awaited Langham Gold Coast which throws open its grand doors at the end of 2021. Taking pride of place in one of three towers of the Jewel development, The Langham Gold Coast includes 169 rooms/suites and 170 serviced apartments with views across the iconic Surfers Paradise skyline in one direction and the soul-soothing Pacific Ocean in the other.
Not to mention direct access to one of the finest beaches just a few steps away. The Langham will host the signature Cantonese restaurant T’ang Court, an elegant afternoon tea served at Palm Court in the lobby lounge, and a luxe wellness spa with treatments inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Lady Musgrave HQ, Bundaberg – A pontoon to paradise
Get ready to jump on board Queensland’s second underwater lodging on the Great Barrier Reef – Lady Musgrave HQ, a new pontoon providing a novel overnight reef experience off the coast of Bundaberg. Launching early 2021, the pontoon gives divers and educational groups the chance for reef exploration by night thanks to retractable bunks built into the walls of the pontoon observatory. Lady Musgrave Island and its surrounding lagoon is a rich biosphere, noted for megafauna including a thriving turtle population.
Hazelwood Estate, Gold Coast – One for the landed gentry
When you have a lineup of amenities that reads like this: luxury homestead, onsite day spa, infinity swimming pool, social chukka, and a wagyu cellar door, then you know this getaway is going to be different. When it opens its gates in 2021, the 75-acre Hazelwood Estate will embrace a slower state of being.
Tucked into the foothills of the Gold Coast hinterland and backing onto the World-Heritage Listed Lamington National Park, this working polo and wagyu cattle farm will also partner with local farmers to create a paddock-to-plate experience that complements the rural roots of the property. The homestead is scheduled to open late 2021 followed by the launch of pavilions and cottages.
Coming in 2022
Still not ready to travel this year? Then flick ahead to 2022 for even more launches:
Queen’s Wharf, Brisbane
Brisbane’s cityscape will be sensationally transformed when the $3.6bn Queen’s Wharf Brisbane development opens in late 2022 taking residence on Brisbane’s riverfront. Poised to become the River City’s lifestyle and entertainment heart, the precinct will comprise of four hotels, a casino, a residential tower and a Skydeck, along with 50 restaurants, bars and cafés.
Queen’s Wharf Brisbane will also boast top shelf accommodation brands including The Star, The Rosewood and The Ritz Carlton (the latter of which will sit proudly in the historic Treasury Casino) across the 7.5-hectare public space.
By blending contemporary vision with the heritage roots of the existing buildings, Queen’s Wharf Brisbane will proudly position Brisbane as Australia’s New World City.
The Wangetti Trail, Cairns & Great Barrier Reef
Polish your trekking boots because Queensland’s first purpose-built walking and mountain bike track, the Wangetti Trail, is coming to Cairns & Great Barrier Reef in 2022. The one-of-a-kind eco-tourism trail is being created in consultation with the Yirrganydji People and Nyakali People.
It will stretch from Cairns to Port Douglas taking in the World Heritage Listed Wet Tropics. Approximately 94km in its entirety, the trail will eventually be home to eco-accommodation options and traditional camping sites. To find out what to expect along the journey, grab a cuppa and check out this video.
While there is plenty to look forward to in the coming year, the holiday state has not been idle. Click here to see 41 more tourism experiences that popped up during lockdown.