Things to See & Do

Sun-kissed and made up: the Whitsundays, post-Debbie

Despite everything you’ve heard, the Whitsundays are open for business, just months after one of the most destructive cyclones in decades in northern Queensland. The sun is out, the water is shimmering and day tours to the region’s most spectacular attractions are in full swing again.

It has been a remarkable effort for the popular tourist enclave and surrounds to get back to pristine condition. But the region is once again bustling with busy holiday-seekers looking for sun and island experiences on the Great Barrier Reef.

DURING: Cyclone-hit BIG4 Bowen Coral Coast Beachfront Holiday Park.

AFTER: BIG4 Bowen Coral Coast Beachfront Holiday Park as it is now.

While BIG4 parks in the region are all open for business and enjoying excellent winter patronage, famous island locations like Daydream Island will take a little longer to recover, and won’t be able to open their doors until next year.

“The boat operators are still running their day trips out to the islands, and to Whitehaven Beach,” said a staff member from BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort, when explaining the resurgence in QLD tourism.

“The reef is fine again, a lot of the shops have now re-opened and there is lot of greenery and sunshine. It’s only the locals who can really notice the small differences after Cyclone Debbie.

While Cyclone Debbie’s fury played out on televisions across the nation, it was a second storm that caused some damage at Bowen, another popular BIG4 location.

“The reef is fine again, a lot of the shops have now re-opened and there is lot of greenery and sunshine."

“We had lightning and rainfall non-stop for about 12 hours, about a day after Debbie went through,” said a park spokesperson from BIG4 Bowen Coral Coast Beachfront Holiday Park. “That rain caused a lot of unexpected damage.”

Given their tropical location, all parks suffered heavy plant losses – with a combined 950+ truckloads of green waste removed from BIG4 Airlie Cove and BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resorts.

BIG4 Airlie Cove & Caravan Park is still in recovery mode four months later with approximately 70% of the park’s accommodation now open for bookings, with another seven cabins expected to re-open in June.

BIG4 Bowen Coral Coast Beachfront Holiday Park (pictured) and its Airlie Beach neighbours have had a remarkable recovery post-Debbie.

“It was hard, but we keep chipping away and we’ll have the park back to its beautiful best soon,” said manager Michael Quigley.

“We expect to have the resort open to its full capacity by the September school holidays.”

All three BIG4 resorts mentioned the support of their communities, as well as regular users of BIG4 parks, as a source of inspiration in the massive clean-up that followed.

“We were getting phone calls from our regulars checking in to see if they could help,” said one resort worker.

“It was a huge task made easier knowing we had the full support of our colleagues, family and friends we’ve built up over all these years.”

BIG4 Bowen Coral Coast Beachfront Holiday Park as it was before its re-emergence.

Meanwhile, BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort will open 13 incredible new slides to take kids on a whole new set of adventures when the project is due to be completed in July.

Designed for young families, the project includes slides of different speeds, heights and lengths. The massive overall area of the waterslide park will be equivalent to an Olympic swimming pool and feature mini-slides, including a frog and an octopus, tipping bucket, water features for toddlers and a 300mm deep splash pool.

Grab yourself a winter-warming Whitsundays deal here.

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1 comment on “Sun-kissed and made up: the Whitsundays, post-Debbie”

  1. Russell King

    15 June 2017 at 8:32 pm

    We have just spent 2 weeks at the Big 4 Adventurer Park, all was fine, you would hardly know Debbie had been. Staff were just great as usual

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