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Wednesday, June 29, 2011


A just launched web portal for all things self-drive in North Queensland makes it easy to navigate through the coastal tropics and outback:

The site’s info and many links cater to visitors whether they’re driving by car, campervan, caravan or 4WD. Full of tips, guides and hints for NQ touring, it also offers the lowdown on four popular routes - the Great Tropical Drive, the Overlander’s Way, the Matilda Highway and the Savannah Way.

There’s the usual social media options to share the joys of a road trip - and even a YouTube channel showing some of the best highlights along the way. Drive North Queensland co-ordinator Russell Boswell says the website is an address for anything - from fishing and camping permits to where the best mobile phone coverage can be found.

“It’s about getting connected to the locality you’re entering in the best way. It’s also really easy to click onto the next level of information - from regional attractions say on a Tableland Visitor Information Centre’s site, through to a statewide trip planning site like RACQ, all the way up to a national weather information site,” said Russell Boswell.

For events, the Tourism Queensland funded portal pulls through Events Queensland listings comprehensively, and for accommodation and attractions the site links directly into regional tourism organisations. Travelers can sign up for an e-newsletter from the portal, and ‘ask ahead’ via the social media options.

Holiday Travel TV’s Dianne Costa, who created the video vignettes for the site’s YouTube channel, said the opportunity to film many of the wonderful and breathtaking destinations in North Queensland had been ‘life changing’.

“For two east coast people used to the spoils of city life about to embark on an unknown journey west to the 'dry dusty outback', we were understandably hesitant and unsure as to what lay ahead. But thank goodness we did it! What an amazing and life changing experience. We had never encountered so many friendly and happy people who were all too happy to welcome us and proudly show us their way of life,” she said.

Dianne said the drive experience was incredible, especially for two non-grey nomads in their 30s who were unsure what to expect. “We started to notice a pattern in the tourist parks each day too - 5pm happy hour. No matter which outback van park you stay at, at about 5pm many of the visitors would venture out to their outdoor setting with a beer or wine in hand and enjoy their afternoon and reminisce. If you were new to the van park, it wouldn't be long before someone came over and invited you back to their 'place' and next thing there would be a mini party with everyone talking about their adventures and recommending new places to visit.”

Dianne often heard the comment "We were meant to go 'here' but ended up 'there' because everyone kept recommending us to somewhere else and we have loved it".

“For someone like me who always flew to a destination and stayed in nice hotels, I have never enjoyed a travel experience as much as my drive experience through the Queensland outback. It has been a life changing experience and I have met many wonderful new friends (who I still bump in to along the way) and I can't wait until the next time we are back on the road again.

You don't need to be a grey nomad to enjoy life on the road, it could and should be done at any age, young and old, and you will have the most incredible and wonderful memories for a lifetime. So watch the videos to see how you could have these amazing experiences and let the road west and north captivate your senses also.

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The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
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