Jules Lund joined the throngs at Dairy Farmers Stadium to watch a rugby league derby. The North Queensland Cowboys
were playing the Gold Coast Titans
. For just the length of the game, supporters were split after having been incredibly united in their hour of need.
It was interesting and heartening that whichever part of Queensland our presenters visited, and no matter how serious or just cosmetic their own damage was, everyone showed genuine concern for their fellow Queenslanders. Cyclone Yasi was a great leveller in more ways than one!
Rugby league superstar Johnathan Thurston is a local and he was there to help. His high profile quite possibly may have inspired others to pitch in. He described the scene as "pretty hectic", which would be an understatement. He told Jules that once the water subsided, the streets had so much sand on them, they could have been beaches.
Jules also spoke to Townsville mayor, Les Tyrell, who said that during the worst period of the mammoth storm, not one street was accessible and around 60,000 trees, roots and all, were strewn across the city. Council workers, the army and countless volunteers toiled day and night to clean up, and Townsville is looking beautiful again.
The Strand, a stretch along the Townsville foreshore, was founded in the mid-19th century. The original was severely damaged by Cyclone Sid in 1998. Yasi didn't miss it and it was one of the hardest hit places. As Jules walked along he could see no evidence of damage, and the rockpool, barbecue area, lifesaving club, Strand Park, Waterpark and Tobruk Memorial Baths were back to the way they were.
The 20-storey Holiday Inn, known by locals as the Sugar Shaker for obvious reasons, suffered huge losses. Windows were smashed and lots of flying debris landed everywhere. Ninety rooms were taken offline but everything has been repaired, and the 4.5-star property is pristine once again.
Mantra One Bright Point is a 20-minute ferry ride from the mainland. The luxury property has the ultimate oceanfront location and is nestled in natural island beauty. There are four distinct buildings, four pools, spa, barbecue and fitness rooms. Choose from one-, two- and three-bedroom beach house-style apartments, many with Coral Sea views.
Jules talked with general manager, Eric Dickinson. They lost two pools and ground floor apartments were damaged. Staff spent the following days removing fish and trees from the remaining pools. Tiles that had become missiles were located and happily, the resident baby koala is safe and still enjoys taking lift rides with guests.
Visitors are once again enjoying Mantra One swimming, snorkelling and enjoying superb food. Yasi is quickly becoming just a bad memory.
Base Backpackers Hostel is one of Australia's only beachfront backpackers. Views are incredible, but weren't so gorgeous the day after Yasi's visit. No buildings were damaged and there was the huge clean-up job at hand. The same philosophy was voiced again: "it could have been a lot worse".
, the gateway to the Whitsundays, came out unscathed, but business is still way down. Ironically, islands that were affected are recovering financially faster than the mainland.
People just haven't been sufficiently confident to make bookings. It's the same in many areas of Queensland, but be assured that wherever you choose to go on your next holiday, you won't be disappointed.
Jules checked out Daydream Island Resort & Spa in the Whitsundays. Despite being barely touched by Yasi, apart from lots of leaves and general flying rubbish, it is still a haven and the welcome mat is well and truly out.
There are lots of accommodation choices and several restaurants and bars, each offering something different, including quick snacks, a smorgasbord or a romantic dinner by candle- and moonlight.
Daydream offers more than 20 free activities including non-motorised water sports, an open-air cinema on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, giant chess, rainforest walks, kayaking, beach volleyball, scavenger hunts, catamarans, water polo, bocce and coconut bowls.
Guests love the resort's manmade living reef aquarium and take part in daily fish feeding. The award-winning Rejuvenation Spa has several pampering therapies.
Jason had a quick look at neighbouring islands, and we're pleased to let you know that Whitehaven Beach, Hamilton and Lindeman islands are all waiting for you.
Around Townsville, 1300km north of Brisbane and 350km south of Cairns.
Holiday Inn Townsville rooms start at $132 a night.
Mantra One Bright Point rooms start at $185 a night.
Base Backpackers Magnetic Island dormitory accommodation starts at $27 a night. Double rooms start at $65 a night.
Daydream Island Resort & Spa rooms start at $299 a night. Breakfast is included. Daydream's Tropical Island Getaway Special is a stay four nights, pay for three. It is a tempting $449 per person, twin-share, including breakfast and an upgrade to the next available room type. Children stay and have breakfast for free. Available for stays until May 31, 2011, with a minimum stay of four nights. Other conditions apply.
Prices correct at April 14, 2011.
For further information
Ph: (07) 4726 2738
Fax: (07) 4726 2700
1 Nelly Bay Road
Magnetic Island, Queensland 4819
Ph: (07) 4778 5777
Fax: (07) 47785777
Mantra One Bright Point
146 Sooning Street
Magnetic Island, Queensland 4819
Ph: (07) 4758 2100
Fax: (07) 4758 1676
The Holiday Inn Townsville
334 Flinders Mall
Townsville, Queensland 4810
Ph: (07) 4729 2000
Fax: (07) 4772 5930
Daydream Island Resort & Spa
Mackay, Queensland 4740
Ph: 1800 075 040
Fax: (07) 3259 2399