In the driver’s seat to kick-start winter tourism

Written by: Townsville Enterprise | June 3, 2020

From reef to rainforest to the rugged outback, driving in North Queensland is an experience like no other.

Following the Queensland Government’s announcement to reopen intrastate travel and ease gathering restrictions, the five Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) across North Queensland are continuing to collaborate by launching a driving holiday campaign to encourage Queenslanders to take a holiday in the north.

The recently launched Drive North Queensland campaign is off the back of the announcements made by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on 31 May bringing forward the Stage 2 roadmap to easing restrictions across the state. Prior to that announcement, Townsville Enterprise and the four RTOs representing the Cairns, Whitsundays, Mackay, and Outback regions appreciated the opportunity to present a proposal to the Premier to fast-track the reopening of North Queensland. This followed an earlier submission from Townsville Enterprise on 3 April advocating for a faster, regionally based reopening strategy reflecting North Queensland’s progress on the health crisis. On top of the combined advocacy efforts of the five tourism bodies in North Queensland, there has been a chorus of public and private sector voices united in the call to get businesses back to business sooner rather than later.

Drive North Queensland centres upon promoting a variety of driving holiday itineraries to encourage Queenslanders to book a drive holiday in North Queensland this winter and leverage the newfound freedom to explore Queensland once again. We’ve proven our voices are louder when united so when the opportunity came for Townsville Enterprise to partner with Cairns, Whitsundays, Mackay and the Outback again it was an obvious choice. Launching straight into a campaign was important to give businesses the confidence to reopen and support the industry hit first and hardest by COVID-19. The campaign aims to support the 37,400 direct jobs within North Queensland that rely on the tourism and hospitality industry, bringing much-needed confidence back to these businesses. Data indicates that during the height of restrictions, two out of three Australians were already planning or thinking about a holiday and now with travel a reality again we anticipate this number to grow. By having a campaign ready and waiting to press go on we wanted to ensure North Queensland is top of mind for a post-isolation winter escape.

Considering 80% of our region’s domestic visitation is from within the State the Drive North Queensland itineraries are focused on showcasing the very best of the North. The itineraries have been designed to cater for a variety of holiday appetites, ranging from island hopping from the Whitsundays to Hinchinbrook Island, wildlife encounters with the wallabies of Cape Hillsborough to the Longhorns of Charters Towers, as well as itineraries for lovers of luxury onboard Magnetic Island sunset sailing and driving north to private wilderness retreats in Paluma.

Across television, print and online, the Drive North Queensland campaign is estimated to generate $1 million in publicity through partner channels and attract 60,000 website visitors from a reach of 750,000 viewers. The campaign has already started on television directing travellers to to plan an itinerary taking in the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s oldest rainforest and the Outback, with new itineraries to be constantly added. To launch the Drive North Queensland campaign and mark the reopening of the tourism industry, tourism leaders from North Queensland RTOs literally took a plunge and dived headfirst into experiencing just some of the unique tourism attractions in the North. Townsville Enterprise Tourism & Events Director, Lisa Woolfe scuba dived the soon to be opened Museum of Underwater Art at John Brewer Reef, Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO, Mark Olsen bungee jumped in Cairns, and Tourism Whitsundays CEO, Tash Wheeler took a joyride on a jet boat, all promoting the one-stop-shop of North Queensland drive holiday itineraries at

These are just some of the hundreds of world-class experiences on offer across the region and our operators are swinging the doors wide open to Queenslanders to take a winter holiday in the North. Start planning your North Queensland adventure today by exploring the range of unique touring routes and travel tips at

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