Qantas starts direct flights between Melbourne and the Gold Coast

MELBURNIANS could soon be flocking to the Gold Coast with direct flights between the two regions now officially underway.

The first of many daily services took of yesterday and was operated by the airline’s iconic ‘Retro Roo’, Qantas’ newest 168-seater Boeing 737-800 aircraft painted in the 1970s livery.

Gold Coast Airport Chief Operating Officer David Collins said the commencement of this service is testament to Qantas’ support of the region.

“We believe this service will prove to be very successful from both an inbound and outbound perspective, adding more frequency to a route which is in high demand.”

“Gold Coast – Melbourne is the 7th busiest domestic route in Australia and we currently have up to 17 services per day operating.

“Qantas’ return to the Gold Coast three years ago with the Sydney service has been a great addition to Gold Coast Airport, and we are confident the Melbourne service will perform strongly as well,” said Mr Collins.

Qantas Domestic Chief Executive Officer Andrew David said the daily return services were introduced to meet growing demand for a premium service option on the route.

“The Gold Coast is a very popular travel destination, and our customers in Melbourne have been asking us for a direct Qantas flight.”

“The new daily service will add more than 61,000 seats into the Gold Coast market each year, which is in addition to our direct Gold Coast-Sydney flights that we launched in 2012,” Mr David said.

Gold Coast Tourism Chief Executive Officer Martin Winter said Melbourne has long been an important market for the Gold Coast, being its second largest source of interstate visitors.

“We expect this partnership with Qantas and the new daily services will reinforce the Gold Coast’s position as the holiday destination of choice for Melburnians,” Mr Winter said.

Flights have been timed to arrive in to the Gold Coast mid-morning and depart mid-afternoon, with exact times varying by day.

Qantas will further expand its presence in Queensland when it returns to the Sunshine Coast on 21 December with flights between Sydney and Maroochydore.

TRAVEL INSIDER: 7 things you need to know about Wuhan

PHOTO: Gold Coast Airport

PHOTO: Gold Coast Airport

This post is brought to you by Gold Coast Airport.

Always wanted to visit China? Well it’s now easier than ever, with Jetstar flying direct to Wuhan from Gold Coast Airport.

The inaugural flight touched at Gold Coast Airport on Wednesday morning, and moving forth Jetstar will offer a direct Gold Coast – Wuhan service twice a week.

Never heard of Wuhan before? Here are seven things you need to know about this fabulous Chinese destination:

1. Wuhan is the capital of China’s Hubei Province and is actually three cities rolled into one. The three Wuhan towns are called Wuchang, Hankou and Hanyang, and are divided by the Yangtze and Hanjing Rivers.

2. The most famous attractions and ones definitely worth visiting if you pop over to Wuhan are the Yellow Crane Tower, Guiyuan Temple, East Lake and the Provincial Museum. Taking a cruise on the Yangtze River is also a good option.

Yangtze River in Hubei Provence, China. PHOTO: Gold Coast Airport

Yangtze River, Wuhan, China. PHOTO: Gold Coast Airport

3. China is famous for its cherry blossoms, and there are some spectacular ones to be seen on the Wuhan University campus if you are there in March or April.

4. Wuhan experiences some extreme weather, with summer very hot and winters freezing and wet. So the best time to visit the city is during spring or autumn.

Shennongjia Mountains in Hubei Provence, China. PHOTO: Gold Coast Airport

Shennongjia Mountains in Hubei Provence, China. PHOTO: Gold Coast Airport

5. Local delicacies worth trying include re gan mian (noodles with a peanutty sauce) and suan la mian (hot and sour noodles). Wuhan’s fresh water fish dishes are also very highly recommended.

6. Shopaholics will be spoiled with choice in Wuhan, with the cultural streets the best place to head to find more traditional Chinese items. Han Zheng Street, Hanjiang Walking Street, Cultural Street in Xianggang Lu are a few of the favourite shopping hotspots for both tourists and locals.

7. Wuhan is known for having some of the most unique bars in China, so if you love enjoying a drink at the end of the day, you will be spoiled for choice. The streets in Wuhan also come alive around nine in the evening , with Ji Qing Jie street a locals favourite.

For more information on Wuhan, and how to get there, visit Gold Coast Airport.

Click here to watch the first direct flight from China land at Gold Coast Airport.

Gold Coast welcomes first direct flight from China

This post is brought to you by Gold Coast Airport.

Hot Tomato were at Gold Coast Airport this morning and welcomed Jetstar’s inaugural service between Gold Coast and Wuhan China along with Gold Coast Tourism today, which touched down just after 8.00am.

Passengers arriving on the first flight were met by key tourism, government, and aviation executives, as well as Australian animals from Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and theme park characters from Movie World and Dreamworld.

Gold Coast Airport Chief Operating Officer, David Collins said that the commencement of direct services from Wuhan China to the Gold Coast will meet current and forecasted demand in bringing Chinese tourists to the region.

“Gold Coast Airport has been in collaboration with City of Gold Coast, Gold Coast Tourism and Tourism and Events Queensland for a number of years to bring this service to fruition, and today with the arrival of the inaugural first flight, all of the hard work has paid off.

“Visitation to the Gold Coast from China has grown 81% over the last four years and we are confident that this number will increase as a result of these direct services,” said Mr Collins.

These direct flights are the result of a landmark agreement with Jetstar and Hubei Wanda New Airline International Travel Services Co. Ltd.

“Jetstar has been a key airline partner for Gold Coast Airport since they commenced services to the Gold Coast in 2004 and we commend their commitment to this new service.

“Our Business Development team has been focused on securing a direct China service for a number of years and I’d like to acknowledge their dedication and commitment.

“We look forward to working with Jetstar and the Wanda Group to ensure the long–term success of these services,” said Mr Collins.

Gold Coast Tourism CEO, Martin Winter said the direct services to and from central China will increase the accessibility of the Gold Coast, to the growing Chinese market.

“Central China represents a new frontier for the Gold Coast in our marketing efforts in China. With existing air services from Southern, Northern and Eastern China, the addition of these Jetstar services from Central China greatly enhances the overall accessibility of the Gold Coast from the burgeoning Chinese market,” Mr Winter explained.

The Gold Coast – Wuhan China service operates twice weekly, and is operated by a B787 aircraft.

The city of Wuhan, with a population of 10 million people, is the capital of Hubei Province in China which has an overall population of 57 million people. Travel beyond Wuhan throughout China is possible from the capital’s airport and high speed rail system.

“On behalf of Gold Coast Airport I’d like to acknowledge and thank the Wanda Group for their commitment to bringing this service to fruition and the Hubei Provincial Government for their ongoing support of the new service,” said Mr Collins.

For more information on Gold Coast Airport, and their new direct route to Wuhan, China, visit: goldcoastairport.com.au or check them out on facebook

Australia scores 10 spots on Lonely Planet’s ultimate travel guide

ALEX HEINKE reports.

Ten of the world’s all-time best places to visit are in Australia, according to Lonely Planet, with Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef taking second place in the global travel authority’s Ultimate Travelist of the 500 of the best places to visit.

The travel guide’s definitive list outlines the most memorable and interesting places in the world ranked in order of brilliance.

Published today, the list was compiled from highlights found in Lonely Planet’s beloved guidebooks over the years and voted on by the Lonely Planet community.

In addition to the Great Barrier Reef, nine other Australian sites were listed include the 12 Apostles and Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), which beat London’s Tate Modern to make the top 20.

Uluru was 33rd while the Sydney Opera House came in 55th. The other Aussie spots are Cradle Mountain (32), Kakadu National Park (56), Blue Mountains National Park (202), Ningaloo Marine Park(265), Port Arthur (416).

The Temples of Angkor in Cambodia was rated number one on the list.

Great Barrier Reef ranked 2nd on list of ‘Best Places in the World’

Ten of the world’s all-time best places to visit are apparently right here in Australia

That’s according to leading travel company, Lonely Planet, on their ‘Ultimate Travelist’ which has been released today.

The company says the list is their ‘definitive wish-list of the 500 most thrilling, memorable and interesting places in the world’.

The top 10 places in Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist are:

  1. Temples of Angkor, Cambodia: “Angkor isn’t just an interesting ruin – it’s a spiritual epiphany in stone.”
  2. Great Barrier Reef, Australia: “This vital ecosystem enthrals all who visit, with abundant bird life and countless tropical islands and beaches.”
  3. Machu Picchu, Peru: “No-one really knows what happened here. Wander wide-eyed around the mysterious mountain metropolis in a liberating knowledge vacuum”
  4. Great Wall of China: “A few rugged souls trek the entire length of the wall, but even if you pick just one section, you’ll be humbled by its aura of indestructibility.”
  5. Taj Mahal, India: “There’s no other building in India that so perfectly encapsulates the attitudes and atmosphere of its era.”
  6. Grand Canyon National Park, USA: “Come here to hike, to raft the wild Colorado River, to spot condors, black bears and elk, or simply to marvel.”
  7. Colosseum, Italy: “Two millennia on, the hold it exerts over anyone who steps foot inside is as powerful as ever.”
  8. Iguazú Falls, Brazil – Argentina: “Big? These falls are mind-bogglingly mighty: tourist boats that ply the foaming plunge pools below look like matchsticks.”
  9. Alhambra, Spain: “Put simply, this is Spain’s most beautiful monument.”
  10. Aya Sofya, Turkey: “Like the beautiful city in which it stands, Aya Sofya represents a unique crossroads of continents and faiths.”

In addition to the Great Barrier Reef there are nine other Australian destinations on the list, including 12 Apostles (#12), Hobart’s Museum of Old & New Art (#20), Cradle Mountain (#32), Uluru (#33), Kakadu National Park (#56), Sydney Opera House (#57), Blue Mountains National Park (#202), Ningaloo Marine Park (#265), and Port Arthur (#416).