Heading north for the winter
When it gets frosty in Australia’s major metropolitan areas, adventure seekers and sports enthusiasts migrate north where the sun is shining, the ocean is warm and outdoor sports thrive.
We live in one of the most naturally spectacular regions in the world, nestled between rainforest and reef. Our winter weather is the stuff holidays are made of, with endless sunshine, low rainfall, pleasant temperatures and swimmable seas.
Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Leanne Coddington said Queensland’s beautiful weather has long been a drawcard for major events.
“Events like the Cairns Adventure Festival, the Townsville Running Festival and Adventurethon are vital for the North Queensland tourism industry and provide a perfect escape for participants looking to get away from the cold southern climate,” says Leanne.
“Not only can they compete in top level sporting events, they can enjoy everything the region has to offer which has flow-on benefits for local operators and businesses.”
The types of events we host in the north are varied, from running festivals to triathlons and ironman, sailing to windsurfing, golf and the more adventurous events like Spartan Race, Miss Muddy and Adventurethon. The Cairns Airport Adventure Festival is a key feature in the north’s event calendar, this year again attracting over 6000 competitors and 20,000 spectators over June 4–11.
The festival includes a full line up of events [pictured]: Coral Coast Triathlon; Ironman 70.3 Cairns; RRR Mountain Bike Challenge; Great Barrier Reef Ocean Challenge; Quicksilver Reef Swim – Green Island; The Cairns Post Bright Night Run; and the McDonald’s Ironkids Cairns. The pinnacle event though is the Cairns Airport Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns, a gruelling 3.8km swim, 180km bike leg along the coastal road towards Port Douglas and a 42.2km run that finishes in the heart of Cairns.
As the Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship, this event is also an important Ironman World Championship Qualifying Race. The event brings 75 qualifying slots to Cairns for the 2017 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, making it the best opportunity for athletes to qualify in the Asia-Pacific region.
Ironman Regional Director Chris Price said the Cairns Airport Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns is raced on arguably the most spectacular bike course in the world.
“Over its six year history the Cairns Airport Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns has become known as the ‘Ironman in paradise’ and a must-do on the Ironman circuit.”
“Over its six year history the Cairns Airport Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns has become known as the ‘Ironman in paradise’.”
– Chris Price
Launching the Cairns Airport Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns, race ambassador Tim Reed (2016 Ironman 70.3 World Champion, 2016 Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Champion and 2016 Ironman Australia Champion) talked of his long association with Cairns as both a visitor and a competitor.
“The attraction of this event extends past the race day excitement and includes access to some of the greatest natural wonders of the world, Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest and the stunning tropical island surrounds,” says Tim.
Another big drawcard for visitation this year will be the 2017 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships Cairns, attracting over 300 riders from 35 countries when riders descend on Cairns this September.
“In the past two years TEQ has secured 24 new events for Queensland and renewed the contracts of another 26 using a strategy that involves strong partnerships and playing to our strengths,” says Leanne.
“Last year Queensland’s events contributed 1.6 million visitor nights while events supported by TEQ in regional Queensland [regions outside of the south-east] attracted 180,000 visitors and generated more than 750,000 visitor nights. This year Queensland will host events worth an estimated $600 million, further building on our reputation as an ideal event destination for any time of year,” Leanne continues.
“Our vision is to inspire the world to experience the best address on Earth and we want Queenslanders to feel proud that we have the best events calendar on offer.”